There are grapes growing along the drive opposite the oleanders.
They’re purple wine grapes that make good eating – an explosion of sweet juice in the mouth giving way, however, to a residue of seeds and skin which I usually spit out.
The trick is to put several grapes in your mouth at once.
The oleanders along one side of the drive are like a guard of honour every year.
A lot of the flowers aren’t open yet so there’s even more colour to come.
This pink oleander bloom smells as good as it looks.
The oleanders are in flower now, all down one side of the drive.
Yesterday and today being respectively my birthday and Clive’s, I’ve had cause to visit our postbox 😉
What was my surprise to see right in front of it, on the very edge of the drive where the post van draws up close, this beautiful orchid.
There are others around the place, but this one was a particularly special gift.
The photo shows our drive in November, wending away from the house.
A year ago to the day, with the help of two friends, we drove up it on our way to Britain for Clive to have treatment for his lymphedema.
He didn’t come home for more than 9 months. When he did return, almost 3 months ago, he was deposited on the sofa, unable to walk. He still can’t walk – can’t even get on his feet – and his world consists of everything he can see from that sofa.
In the next few posts, as I follow the anniversaries of those fateful few initial days, I’ll recount how it all came about.
Gabions are an Italian invention – the word means large cages – but when we asked for these to be erected, none of our Italian workforce recognised the name.
These gabions are holding back a very tall bank which we cut into in order to make a turning place in what was otherwise a 300 metre blind single-track drive.
The mesh cages were filled ‘in situ’ with rocks, some of which we bought, and others of which we ‘lifted’ from the environs.
The structure wasn’t the most beautiful thing to start with, but we planned to get climbing plants growing up it straight away.
The main problem with the site is that the water table is very high at certain times of year: dig and your hole instantly floods.
Lavender doesn’t flourish there, probably for that reason. Sweet peas are quite happy, though.
We had a very small wisteria which we nicknamed ‘the stick’; it grew a little bit and then died.
The red rose chugs along.
The white rose is a different story. When we bought it, we were told to ‘stand back’ after planting it or it would knock us over, it grows so fast.
After 5 years it ‘owns’ the gabions, reaching right to the top. It doesn’t need pruning, and it attaches to the mesh all by itself.
It blooms only once a year, but its foliage is always fresh and green.
The photo shows our own private landslip, one of Galileo’s favourite places to play.
It’s where a gate would slide across if ever we had one, in a part of the drive widened by cutting into the bank.
The gabions (wire cages) filled with stones do a wonderful job of holding back the rest of the bank.
But landslips, including ancient ones elsewhere on our land, aren’t always predictable and contained.
On the road to Foligno last Tuesday, a landslip went right across one carriageway and carried a house with it.
Nine families were evacuated from their homes just in case.
The road is still closed today so we went in the other direction to do our shopping to avoid the traffic jams along the diversion.
I dare say there’ll be many more consequences of this extraordinarily wet spring.