Posted by: Debra Kolkka | October 8, 2020

Early autumn at Casa Debbio

I have guests at Casa Debbio now, but before they came I spent some time at the house. Summer ended quite suddenly and we had a couple of weeks with lovely warm autumn days with cool mornings and evenings. Then it turned wet and a bit cold. I hope there a some better days still to come this autumn.

Our fruit trees had mixed results this year. The cherries seemed to be doing OK, but they split as they were becoming ripe and few were edible. There were no raspberries this year because the wild goats kept eating the plants.

But the pear trees bore lots of fruit.

There were some tiny apples the size of plums that were tart but tasty.

The kiwi vines are covered in fruit.

The quince tree did not do well and only produced 2 quince and they don’t look great.

I did eat some figs from the trees and they were delicious. I forgot to get photos.

There are persimmons still green on the trees.

Some of the pomegranate trees have fruit.

The table that Filippo and I turned into a planter did well.

The garden beside the house has been trimmed ready for winter and many of the lavender plants have been pruned.

We got some late roses on the bush the goats pruned regularly.

The red roses in front of the house are finished.

The view is changing constantly with season and the weather.

The first mists of autumn have come swirling through the valley in the mornings. I love watching this unfold.

I will be back there in a couple of weeks to begin work on some new garden beds. A lot of peonies will be coming out of pots and planted in their permanent homes along with some hydrangeas and rhododendrons. I’m hoping they will all survive the transplant and thrive next spring and summer.

I love watching the garden evolve. Considering we started from scratch 7 years ago I think the transformation is amazing.

My flight later this month to Australia has been cancelled with no other flight offered to replace it, so I am not even going to try to rebook until mid next year. If I go home now I will have to isolate in a hotel for 2 weeks. That holds no appeal for me so I will stay in Italy. I am lucky to have the option. 



  1. Oh, I’m happy to see this, knowing some more will come later as you return to work further on the garden. Selfishly, I have to admit, was the news of your extended stay….I am imagining that you’ll take us thru many more changes, keep us company during the Winter, produce all manner of creative things, both in your garden, surroundings and kitchen!! It feels like a gift; that I’m grateful for. The pomegranates are beautiful, as are the kiwi, persimmon; something poignant in the garden fading away, but the mists are enchanting. Not relishing the onset of Winter; we have been very close to home for 7 months now; it will continue as the 2nd wave seems to be here in Canada’s largest city, Toronto. I will eagerly await anything and everything that you care to share and post. Once again, grazie for including us in your charmed Life.

    • I am keen to get into the garden to prepare it for winter. Just as it was the first time I was in the garden all through spring it will be the first time I will spend the whole winter here.
      It is already quite cold and we can now see the trees beginning to change colour. Rain is forecast again for a week.
      Thank you for your comments. I hope I can live up to expectations.

      • How do you prepare your garden for winter? I’d be interested in reading about that. We’ve just moved to an apartment with a huge terrace that has many potted plants, although nothing as spectacular as your fruit trees (I’ve never seen kiwi growing before, how interesting!). No clue as to what I need to do to winterize all the potted plants. Burlap coverings, perhaps?

      • Mostly it involves pruning the plants that need it. We have a lot of lavender to prune along with hydrangeas, forsythia, wisteria and a few other plants. This autumn we have pulled out some lavender that was not thriving and we will move some peonies out of pots and put them in the ground, creating some new garden beds.
        Protecting plants from frost is important. I lost a few hydrangeas and rhododendrons in late spring when we got a sudden bout of cold weather. They actually froze in their posts. Covering them would have helped a little.

      • No expectations Debbio. You are not here to entertain us. Just keep us company. Glad you are so happy to stay put. Weird to talk about silver linings but we have to adjust and be grateful or go mad and, as you so beautifully put, you have much to be grateful for.

      • We just have to make the most of whatever situation we are in. This year has been difficult for many people. Here’s hoping for a better 2021.

  2. Stunning views of Vergemoli

    • Our mountains are beautiful and Vergemoli is a lovely village.

  3. That’s quite an extended stay. I’m glad you have such lovely places in which to dwell. I like forward to many more posts from Bella Italia.

    • Who would have thought when I arrived in February that this would happen?? This year has been strange for all of us.

  4. The garden has become a highlight of your posts Deb. We love seeing the plantings and prunings progress.

    • I love my garden and I am looking forward to getting back there to get it ready for the winter,p.

  5. How lucky to have such wonderful successful projects during the plague. We are feeling so safe and grateful out on Lamb Island. My sister and I have been extending our garden. Luckily my son is living and working here so is available to do the heavy work. Mid next year seems so far away. Love your posts.

    • I have Filippo to do the work I can’t do. He is amazing. I feel very lucky to be in such a gorgeous place in this crazy time.
      The notice that my flight was cancelled said “Sorry for any inconvenience.” Good grief!
      It is OK for me because I have a place to stay. I feel for those who are truly inconvenienced.

  6. All looks lovely. How lucky to stay on in Italy in your lovely house. We are all so restricted here in Victoria and each State controlling it’s borders. Don’t blame you for staying on in Italy. You must be comparatively safe in your part of Italy. I quite like hibernating In winter with good books and sewing. Enjoy!

    • I am lucky to be in a beautiful, safe place in this difficult time. Travelling half way around the world right now doesn’t seem like a good idea.
      When I rebooked after the June cancellation for October I felt sure it would be OK. I hope next June will be OK.
      I like winter too. I have sewing and gardening and with some luck some local travel.

      • And also Christmas. Such a special time in Italy.
        I spent Christmas in Tuscany some years ago and it snowed, which it rarely does in Tuscany. The village live Nativity was so special.

      • The living nativity events are great, but I am not sure they will happen this year. None of the autumn festivities are on in this area.

  7. Your garden must give you so much pleasure, as would staying on in Italy. I guess you will mostly be in Ponte a Serraglio ?
    I would agree that the prospect of an expensive quarantine of 2 weeks is much less attractive than staying on in Bella Italia. Is your Jim with you there?
    Enjoy your winter and I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

    • I will divide my time between Casa Debbio in Vergemoli and Ponte a Serraglio, depending on weather. It is lovely on the mountain in winter, but the road can be treacherous in bad weather and if it snows I can’t drive in and out of the village to the house. I can walk, but it is a bit slippery. It doesn’t snow often, but it happens.
      My husband is stuck in Australia. We thought he would be able to come by September, but that didn’t happen. Now we are thinking he will come in March and we will return to Australia together in June.

      • A very difficult year for everyone. We did not return to aTodi, because of the difficulties of returning to Oz! But we miss it soo much. We will return in early April, regardless. Hopefully by then our government will have opened the borders, or at least relaxed the restrictions a lot more.

      • My husband is hoping to come in March. If travel is still restricted he can apply for permission to leave. I saw on the government website that permission may be granted if you intend to be out or Australia for 3 months or more. We intend to return in mid June if we can without hotel isolation. I would not mind isolating at home.

      • Yes, we knew we could leave with permission, as we also own a home in Todi. But the almost impossibility of getting a return flight has been widely publicised here, just as you have found. This is the reason, plus the uncertainty of how the pandemic was evolving there. We are also happy to isolate at home, both in Italy and Sydney, but less so in an expensive hotel here.
        I’m envious that you are no doubt safe in your homes away from the main areas of concern. Stay well! A year to remember!

  8. I enjoyed the abundance of fruits at your garden. Good for you, that didn’t attempt to rebook your flight, your surroundings are holding so many treasure for you to enjoy and probably to rediscover, in Bella Italia.

    • Yes, there are worse places to be stuck! The thought of travelling half way around the world right now does not appeal. I am lucky to have choices, many don’t.

  9. I did not think that there was room for improvement in your lovely garden; however, and in spite of the goats, it looks better every time. Congratulations!

    • The garden does get better every year. It was great to be there in spring to see it come to life. The goats nearly drove me nuts this year, but the garden managed to survive despite their constant presence.

  10. Absolutely beautiful. Very well done. Have to visit one day. Xx

    • If you are still here in a couple of weeks that can be arranged. If not come up in spring when it looks its best.

  11. What a great garden, and I love the autumn mists

    • I love autumn too. I love it almost as much as spring.

      • Beginnings and endings….

  12. Loved reading of your visit & work going on at Casa Debbio & plans for your future garden renewal. With winter soon approaching we look forward to different photos. The mists through the valleys look so lovely. You are indeed lucky to be delayed in beautiful Italia even if plans for you & Jim are uncertain. Who would have thought when you departed early this year that this virus would still be affecting so many. Take care & we look forward to more interesting stories/photos.

    • I really thought that when I booked my October flight when the June flight was cancelled that I would be heading home. This is not to be.
      I intend to make the most of my extended stay. I really hope things get better next year!

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