Our Abruzzo Garden

A is for Apple

The first English apple I've successfully grown in Abruzzo !

OK…an apple is an apple is an apple. Except that growing the perfect English apple in Abruzzo’s unforgiving climate can become a bit of an obsession…

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Everything’s Coming Up Roses ! (And Other Plants Too…)

Gazania is a colourful addition to your summer planting scheme

What flowers, trees and shrubs will prosper in your Italian garden ? Here are a few ideas…

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Vegging-Out In The Orto

Tasty home-grown tomatoes

Ignore your Italian neighbours and their veg plots the size of football fields. Keep it small; keep it simple and enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own !

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Adventures on the Wall of Death

Five years on, we have a wall of colour !

A garden full of dead plants and guests arriving ? No problem…

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Five Foolproof Flowers for an Italian Garden

Here’s a mix of ultra-reliable perennials and annuals that have been tried and tested in our Abruzzo garden – an acre of south-facing blue clay without a shred of shade.

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Recipe: Pomegranate and Sweetcorn Salad

Extract the pomegranate seeds. Which is easier said than done. Absolutely and definitely DO NOT wear your favourite white silk sweater while you’re doing this.

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Five Foolproof Shrubs For An Italian Garden

On the basis of what I’ve bought, planted, forgotten to nurture and then watched shrug off summer heat and winter snow with equal ease, here are five shrubs that survive and prosper to perfection here – and seem a good bet to do so pretty well anywhere in Italy.

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Losing The Plot

Vegetable growing is something of a competitive sport round here – a summer diversion to fill the gap left by the absence of football. Huge vegetable plots are cultivated, producing prodigious quantities of food that no family could possibly eat and demanding equally heroic labours to keep them tended and watered.

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The Pool. Just Add Salt…

After seven months in the dark the water needs to regain its sparkle. It comes as a surprise to some that the pool isn’t drained for winter and refilled each spring. Aside from how you’d actually dispose of 80,000 litres of lightly-salted water, (not to mention the eye-watering cost of an annual refill), the imbalance of external pressure on the pool walls would make the whole thing cave-in.

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Mulch Ado About Nothing

Four olive harvests-worth of leaves later, while mulching’s no longer regarded as borderline insanity, it’s still regarded as some slightly eccentric English preoccupation. But Italian pride – and the notion that a non-farmer might have an idea worth taking-up – means it’s forever destined to be a minority horticultural practice…

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