Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 22, 2019

Home for a while

I am back home in Brisbane for a while. I left behind torrential rain that lasted weeks for heat and smoke. There are fires burning all around the city, a terrible situation. I wish I could have dragged some of the rain with me.

One of the best things about being home at this time of the year is the fruit. My favourites are mangoes as cherries and right now they are looking and tasting great.

I spent a couple of autumn months in our little corner of Tuscany. It is a gorgeous time of the year. I can’t decide whether I like spring or autumn better.

I divide my time between Bagni di Lucca and Vergemoli, as well as a bit of travelling.

Ponte a Serraglio, our part of Bagni di Lucca is gorgeous, whatever the weather.

The drive between the villages and in our mountains is always a treat.


I always make time for a walk around Lucca’s fabulous wall.

When I arrived at Casa Debbio the garden was still looking great, not as good as spring and summer, but lovely anyway. Once again Filippo did a great job over the summer. The month of rain in May seemed to set the garden up for some serious growth.

The straw bed lasted for summer and now might become goat food.

The original weeping cherry grew a lot this summer. The wild goats trimmed the lower leaves just before I arrived.

Wisteria has just about covered the pergola.

Our pomegranate trees produced fruit and we had lots of chestnuts.

I love to wake up on the side of the mountain and see what the weather is serving up. The rain might prevent pruning work in the garden, but is does make for some spectacular views.

The drive up to Vergemoli is beautiful. The road winds its way up the mountain with a gorgeous view at every turn.

We had the first snow on the mountains around us while I was there, and lots of rain. I’ll be back in February for some lovely winter weather and to watch our garden come alive again in spring…can’t wait.

If you live in Brisbane come to say hello at my Pop Up every Saturday from 10.00 – 2.00 at Sarva, 239 Boundary St, West End (Cnr Corbett St). I make summer clothes and accessories in pure cotton and linen, perfect for our hot days. My friend Savva (who owns the shop) is a designer and makes garments to order and he is a whizz at alterations.


  1. What a beautiful place!

    • Yes, our bit of Tuscany is gorgeous.

  2. One of the prettiest places on earth. That whole area of Bagni di Lucca. Soon to be very cold. Yes we do enjoy delicious fruit and the best sea food here in Australia so that’s one of a number of consolations.

    • It is nice to be home for a while, but I do miss my other home when I am not there. I wish the 2 places were closer.

  3. Looking at your wonderful photos, Debra, I am tempted to say that you lead a charmed life. 😃 The cherries and mango look delicious.

    • I am very lucky to be able to divide my time between 2 great places. I love Australia and Italy. It does involve a bit of work. Our garden has been built from a bramble covered series of terraces. I love watching it grow.

      • I do remember your before photos. You’ve done an amazing job.

  4. I want your life.

    • I do love my life in both places, but there are challenges. Just before I left Italy the water heaters in both places died and it took a bit of juggling to get them fixed while showering from saucepans of hot water. The intense rain meant I could get any works done in the garden…very frustrating and don’t get me started on trying to sort out official stuff in Italy. These are obviously small things and my life is great.

      • Small things do add up! Official stuff is really annoying. Being a home owner, or worse, a multiple home owner, is really frustrating!!!

  5. We drove home from N NSW yesterday. The colours of the burnt bush are oddly beautiful and, with the smoke haze and if i squinted a bit, looked a bit Autumnal. Not a good way to get my ‘fix’ of Autumn colours.

    • The fires here are terrifying. We need rain, and lots of it, soon.

  6. Your place is just lovely, in any season, Debra

    • Casa Debbio is wonderful! I look forward to being back in February to work in the garden.

  7. Enjoy the cherries and mangoes and I do hope that the fires will be soon under control. Huge storm here in SannSebastiannand this has been the wettest November in history.

    • It was extremely wet in our area too. I wish the rain would come to Australia.

  8. Beautiful photos of your corner of Italy. I have been reading about your awful fires in Australia and the poor people loosing everything and the toll on your beautiful wildlife. I do hope you guys get some much needed rain soon.

    • I hope we get rain soon. It is desperate in so many areas.

  9. Your garden grows more beautiful every year! So sad about the fires everywhere. I can’t imagine what will happen around Christmas when it hits peak summer heat.

    • Let’s hope we get lots of rain soon.

  10. Your photos as always are lovely, each time I visit I want to plan another trip. I’ve been worrying about all my Australian friends as I see the news about the awful fires. I was also watching all the flooding in France and Italy…it is terrible that the rain it is too much in one part of the world and not enough in another.

    • The weather has gone crazy. Hot and dry here in Australia and too wet in Italy. If only we had a magic wand! We are hoping for lots of rain here to put out the devastating fires.
      Merry Christmas to you!

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