Posted by: Debra Kolkka | April 8, 2020

Lockdown report

Here in Italy we are beginning the fifth week of lockdown. It seems that the numbers of people contracting the virus are decreasing but strict lockdown is still in place with no end date certain. We are not allowed to leave the house except for essential shopping.

It has now been decided that everyone must wear a mask at all times when away from home. In Tuscany masks are being distributed to each household.

Right now I can still see cars approaching Casa Debbio along the track through the forest. Once the trees have more coverage that won’t happen. Yesterday I saw a car hurtling along the track. I rarely have anyone come to the house, especially now.

It was my nearest neighbour delivering my masks. The village received their quota a day after the announcement. I think that is very efficient. Vergemoli has fewer than 100 residents and is just one of hundreds of tiny mountain villages in the Garfagnana.

These 2 masks will cover my next 2 outings. Previously I made one from a red and white check linen table napkin, keeping with the Italian theme.

For me at Casa Debbio it is all OK. The weather is lovely. The mornings and evenings are still cool but the days are warm and sunny.

I have been kept busy watering the garden, particularly the newer plants. My nearest plant nursery was allowed to open early this week. I was first at the gate on Monday morning and filled up the car. What looked like quite a lot of plants in the car is hardly noticeable in the garden. I am trying to fill in a few gaps left by things that didn’t make it through winter and planting a few annuals.

We have not had rain in weeks and everything is drying out. There isn’t much hope that the grass will grow, but I can keep most things alive until it rains again.

My biggest cherry tree is in full bloom.

The trees in front of the house are becoming greener every day.

If you look closely you can see some white spots. These are wild fruit trees coming to life in spring.

My peonies are in all stages of growth. Some are still just tiny pink points poking out of the soil, while others have flowers which the bugs and bees love.

This is the first peony I planted at Casa Debbio. It gets about 60 blooms each year. The flowers are a glorious crimson colour.

The one beside it is called Shirley Temple. It grew about 30 pale pink flowers last year.

An animal of some kind climbed into this pot and squashed the growing peony flat. It seems to be bouncing back. The goats/deer/porcupines don’t just eat stuff, they like to dig them up, pull them out and sit on them. My goat shouting is not working.

Wisteria is beginning to open. There are several different types.


The ginestra and forsythia are continuing to put on a good show.

So is one pot of rhododendron. There are others close to blooming, including one that had a severe pruning by goats recently.

Lilacs are almost open.

So are ricotta flowers.

I planted a couple of things around the edge of the bed. I hope the seeds I put in grow soon. Something pulled out the pink flowers last night, but I managed to replant it before it died. ( I don’t like goats)

The big excitement is my drive down the mountain tomorrow for my weekly food shop…and I get to wear my new mask. We have to wear gloves while shopping too. I found a pair of cotton gloves which I prefer to the plastic ones issued at the supermarket.

Stay home and stay well.



  1. The beauty of your area makes me smile – and during these crazy times, finding smiles is important. Stay safe.

    • It is a good place to be at this awful time. I hope you are OK.

      • All well here.

  2. Naughty goats. Hope they don’t chew up the beautiful peonies. Thank goodness they can’t climb on the wisteria trellis. Enjoy your Easter shopping at the village supermarket and glad you have your mask and gloves ready.Stay safe

    • The goats don’t eat peonies, lavender, rosemary or wisteria, which is why I have so many of those plants. They do eat my roses and are currently enjoying gazanias. I won’t bother buying those again. Almost all of the flowers have been chewed off.

  3. Hi Deb! I’m very impressed with the efficiency of the mask delivery!!
    I was thinking about the goats… they are probably used to you shouting now and are no longer frightened. Time for a new sound… try banging some saucepans together … it might work?
    Photos are lovely the sky is an amazing blue. Have fun at the supermarket! Jx

    • I’ve tried all sorts of things with the goats. I put the outside lights on at intervals, clap my hands, shout, bang saucepan lids. I think they are laughing at me.

  4. Very impressed with the service to get masks to all households. You can not be too careful with this nasty virus. Even here in Cowaramup I am wearing a mask when I go shopping. Your beautiful garden is certainly changing on a daily basis. Take care and stay safe.

    • If wearing a mask helps I am happy to do so. The light weight one is certainly better than my napkin! This will pass…eventually.

  5. Hello Debra, So good to see that you are doing well and in great spirits 🙂

    In India, we are entering the third week of lock down and the number of cases are increasing day by day…

    I am from a small state named Kerala, at the south western corner of India, and here the situation is quite under control.

    I never spent quality time on in our garden or on vegetable farming till last year, but, the lock down is turning out to be a blessing in disguise and I started enjoying my time with the plants and in growing vegetables.

    This unexpected break from the day today busy life has taught me the simple but important things in life.

    I hope the world recovers from this pandemic soon and it will be much better place after this tough times…

    Hope to hear more from your beautiful place 🙂

    • Working in a garden is a wonderful thing to do! I have planted seeds and hope they will grow soon. I don’t know what I would do without my garden to work/walk in.
      I’m pleased to hear your area is OK.
      Stay safe.

  6. Hi Deb. Good to hear that you are enjoying your gardening. Here in Spain, we are in the same situation. Fortunately, my new apartment has two terraces and fantastic views over the Bay, so confinement is bearable. Enjoy your time in Italy!

    • I can imagine you lovely view. We are the lucky ones.

  7. You are doing so well in your splendid isolation – maybe you could try leaving a few recipes for goat stew around the garden! I got some chicken wire and fashioned some cloches for new plants because bandicoots rootle them out but i think you’d need something like chain mail to keep out a hungry goat. I do so hope Italy’s situation continues to improve.

    • It isn’t wild goat hunting season until November! I don’t mind them eating a few things, but the destruction for no purpose really annoys me. There is a whole forest of lovely new spring shoots there to eat. Leave my garden alone!
      We have protective mesh around the trunks of the fruit trees otherwise they ringbark them.
      I planted dahlias one year and not a single one came up. I suspect the porcupines ate them.

  8. Darned goats! 🙂 Enjoy your trip to the shop!

  9. […] Lockdown report — Bagni di Lucca and Beyond […]

  10. There are many things we can do to end this misery, but.. Who cares? It’s our wishes that needed a solution. End marriage, religion, gender war, etc. It is easy, but we are Nazi puppies, holy spirit extended, to use women and run nuclear power plants. Oneness sounds so lovely for the evil Matrix.

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