Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 1, 2021


As I have mentioned before, this spring has been a bit ordinary in the garden at Casa Debbio. Deep snow in late winter took out quite a few plants. We didn’t pull them out, hoping they might recover in spring, but that now seems unlikely. The weather has been colder than usual this spring and many plants have suffered.

My beautiful lavender along the driveway wall looks bleak. It is growing, but I doubt it will do well this season.

The wisteria is also a bit sad. There are blossoms, but they aren’t a patch on last year.

There is one on the pergola on the side of the house which is doing better than the rest. It is very pretty and more prolific than the others.

Wild violets are popping up everywhere and are always a delight.

Tiny wild daisies grow in the grass all over the garden. It is very sad when they are mowed down, but they come back quickly.

Aquilegias turn up by themselves every year.

In the area behind the house they have self seeded and some have flowers along with another plant with tiny flowers that comes alive in spring after looking completely dead all winter.


My beautiful peonies have not let me down this year. I transplanted several that were growing in pots last autumn and planted quiet a few new ones. They have all grown and the tree peonies are covered in flowers.

Many are on the terrace below the house and I can’t get there in my wheelchair so I rely on Sarah to pick them for me.

This white one is the size of a small dinner plate and is as delicate a silk. The centre is pale pink. It is absolutely gorgeous and the plant is covered in them for the first time.

This peony is called Shirley Temple. Is it covered in buds which should bloom in the next couple of weeks.

The one beside it is the first one I planted. It always gets about 60 blooms.

The baby peonies I have grown from seed are thriving. I would have planted them in the garden this spring, but a broken ankle has got in the way and it is a bit late now to move them so they can wait until autumn.

I have just 4 days to go until my cast comes off. I am so looking forward to my freedom, particularly as Tuscany is now a yellow zone and I can travel in the region. I have a long list of places I want to visit or revisit. With a bit of luck the crummy weather we are having now will get better next week and I can get to work on my garden and some serious travel.


  1. I do follow you from Oregon, I was raised in Gallicano and in 1954 I emigrated to the USA, my brother emigrated to Australia, my heart is always close to my beautiful Tuscany… thank you for your chronicles and for the magnificent photos… My deepest gratitude.. Carlo

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery and happy traveling

    • Thank you for writing. Gallicano is a lovely little town. I stop and walk through occasionally on my way to and from Casa Debbio. The whole area is delightful as I’m sure you remember. I have enjoyed my extended stay despite the restrictions caused by covid. I look forward to more freedom coming up.

  2. It has not been a very kind year for the gardens, but it looks as if most of your plants survived.
    You will feel much better next week as the cast is removed. Good luck!

    • Most things survived even if they are not thriving. It is very disappointing, but there isn’t much to be done about the weather.

  3. Our spring here in the U.K. is the same, it’s been so cold and dry and a lot of frosts, our wisteria this year is very disappointing it has loads of dead flower buds that just crumble when you touch them. Good luck with your ankle.

    • It is disappointing when we put so much effort into the garden to have it ruined by the weather. It must be very hard to be a farmer when your livelihood depends on it.
      I have just a few days left until the cast comes off. I think it is healing well. It will be great to be mobile again.

  4. I love that white Peony Debra, do you know it’s name?

    • I don’t know the name of it unfortunately. This is the first year it has produced such gorgeous flowers. Most of my peonies are only a few years old but they get better every year. I love them.

      • They’re beautiful… certainly do much better than mine in Umbria with its sandy, clay soil…. I will have to do some investigating to see if I can find it!

        Hope you do ok once the cast is off… don’t go doing too much!

  5. So good to hear the cast is coming off & you will be able to enjoy getting around the garden. Love the wild violets & your peonies especially the beautiful white one. Frustrating when the weather plays havoc with blooming though. Enjoy your garden & we look forward to reading more of your travels.

    • Just 3 days to go now. The time really dragged at first, but now I am near the end it doesn’t seem so bad.
      I can’t wait to get out there and see how all my plants are going. I can only see those close to the house right now.

  6. Beautiful flowers Deb.

    • They are and I will be out there chatting to them soon.

  7. Those peonies! They really are magnificent!

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: