As you will have read the past week has been utterly glorious here in Umbria. Temperatures reached 18ºc and azure skies and big sun filled the days.
I took advantage of the beautiful weather to get into the garden here at Bellaugello Gay Guesthouse. A big tidy up took place, and I also started on the trees to the east of the house, and worked on the new main entrance steps leading down from the car park.
We have constructed a flight of steps in a very organic way using wood poles, they look utterly delightful and once planted with rambling roses and rosemaries will merge into the hillside. These steps lead directly from the car park area to the upper terrace accessing the Diva, Duca, and Specchio Suites, with further large steps leading to the dining terrace and Giardino suite. The steps have meant a bit of re-orienting of lawned areas, which will be seeded in march when the risk of big frosts is over. Add to that new lighting (discrete and not too bright) leading from the car park down to the sauna and the next phase of my original garden scheme falls into place. I have calculated the next lavender plant order and will soon be off to the Vivaio to collect the plants, more fragrance, hurrah!
Last night the weather changed and I woke to see the Appeninnes covered in a dusting of snow. It is trying to snow here at Bellaugello but very half-heartedly, so unable to get into the garden I headed to the post office and pharmacy in nearby Scritto.
The guy in the post office is always really helpful. Not only for that reason do I use that post office, but the fact it is in my nearest village, there is rarely a big queue and I hope by my little business it will help contribute to keeping the office open, and thus retain life in the local community. Today I was greeted by the news that postal charges overseas have risen. Now 75cts for a letter, so I had to add postage to my pre-stamped mail. I was also given a bill for parcels of oil and jam that I sent two weeks ago. It seems the day I posted them the prices went up, but the post office computer was not then updated. I sent small tins of Bellaugello organic olive oil to friends back in Scotland and paid €19.00 per parcel for postage. Today I had to pay a surcharge of €2.00. Inflation hits rural Italy!!
My good friend Penny called and suggested I come over next week to raid her garden. Penny has a large house near Umbertide and over the past fifteen years has created a halcyon english-italianate garden. She has abundant roses of all descriptions and fragrances, and next week the moon is in the right phase to take cuttings, so secateurs in hand I will be adding to the gardens here at Bellaugello gay b&b. I love roses rambling through other plants and climbing trees, mix them with clematis and the effect is stunning.