Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Step Garden In Umbria

  I need to think about something nice and simple this evening...something that won't cause my stomach to turn, or my heart to pound.
  I need to take a short, sweet break and wander on back to Umbria for a spell.
  As those who regularly read Live Pronto know, I enjoy fooling around in gardens. My garden, for sure, but I'm happy to hang out and pull some weeds just about anywhere, if the sun is warm.

  In Umbria, where my husband Johnny & I spend a couple of months each year, I can't help but put some color around the front stoop. It's in my genes. Both of my Italian born grandpas were avid gardeners, and I was lucky enough to have them each living close by when I was growing up in the Bay Area.

  It only made sense to become an actual gardener when I grew up. Nowadays, I have help in my own garden(thanks, Pedro!), as I can't do the heavy lifting anymore. But in Umbria, it's just a few pots of color and herbs that I enjoy tending to..
  If the sun is out, I'll sit on the steps grooming my little babies, and just take a moment to chill out.
  When we first arrive, our dear friend and 'landlady' Katia, will have already put a few spots of color in the pots...But she knows that I like to take the trips to the nursery and really go for it.

Katia is so sweet to put in some primroses before we arrive.


It's a little too early to do much when we first get there, but as soon as possible, we head to my favorite nurseries to see whats ready to be planted...

The classic geraniums of Italy!
Hey, they do great, and bloom all the way into fall.

I love a back seat full of color!


I am fussy about what plants I want, and what color scheme I want. Hey, it's one of my creative outlets, and loads of people see the steps, so it has to be just right.
  Plus, I'm a well known plant snob. There. I said it.
  No matter what I end up with, I always go for some nice herbs to cook with. I love heading down the stairs to clip some herbs for dinner.

Along with color, I'll always get some sage, thyme, rosemary and marjoram.
My favorites to use fresh.

  I'll admit, I get a big old kick out of the oohs and aahs that we hear from inside when folks walk by and take pictures. It brings me joy to know that both the locals as well as visitors enjoy my little scene.

It's a small but mighty little garden.

  These are all shots I've taken over the last four times we have stayed in this spot. It's become a true home away from home, and the garden is a big part of this feeling. I really look forward to making it happen, tending it, and then letting the next guests enjoy it, too.
  Of course, we arrive for spring, so I feel pretty spoiled to get these color combinations going.

Everybody knows when we are here!

A bit of color on our 'street'.

  I like to check out our friend's gardens, too. We love to hang out for a glass of wine at one or another's place. If there is a little work to do, I'm usually up for it. But just listening to the birds and bees can be pretty damn sweet.
  There are always weeds to pull, or plants to be divided somewhere. If it's a nice day, and not too hot...heaven. 
  My little garden doesn't take much work, so I'll put in a load of laundry, grab my tiny clippers and just fool around, seeing what's blooming, or about to.

  Watering is all by hand, and it's up and down two flights of pasta, please! I don't mind at all, and I even make sure to get some organic liquid fertilizer to give all the plants a good start.
  Like at home in California, I use a glass bottle or two (, in Umbria) to water. I gather the cold water while I wait for warm water at the kitchen sink, and it goes to the plants.

We love our 'Step Garden'!

Every year is a little different. That's what makes it fun for me.

  There isn't the variety at the nurseries like we have here, but I can still create something I love. The weekly farmer's markets have plant vendors, too, and I'll always get cool stuff from them.
  They sell little veggie starts and seed, too. I can't wait to be staying there full time, to really do some gardening.
  For now, hey...I'm happy. I can't wait. I'm in 'GO' mode now.

Knowing that we'll be on our way in a scant few weeks makes all this other craziness just a little easier to deal with....

Are you ready to go now, Baby?
I am!!

  Sigh. It's about time, man.