Tuesday 16 February 2010
...but it feels as though the cold weather might actually have finished for this winter. The forecast for the next ten days or so is warm and wet, and yesterday was the first really good gardening day of the year - so I took advantage of it to dig the first of the raspberry beds, where we'll soon be constructing the fruit cage, at the far end of the South Garden. For one bed of raspberries and another of strawberries (the climbing variety) I'll use local stock, but for all the others I plan to bring plants from London at the beginning of March; the general Italian attitude to gardening is a bit unevolved, frankly, in comparison with the UK, where I can be confident of getting a reliable range of early and late-fruiting varieties. With plants available in garden shops here, it's always a bit of a pig in a poke (unless sourcing them via Signor Tempestini - but I haven't bothered him with requests for soft fruit, amongst all the other things he's sorting out for the Santa Caterina garden).
As long as the weather holds, I'd like to get the asparagus beds prepared and the crowns actually in the ground within the next couple of days; two long, narrow beds to go along the side of the old orchard. I think eighteen crowns should be enough to keep us satisfied during spargel season, over the next few years. All I need is for the Technical dept to drag himself away from his current project of restoring the floor tiles in the library, so that he can construct the frames I need for two raised beds (to be made from 4 metre lengths of scaffolding planks, that we've been using as makeshift kitchen counters while waiting for the welsh slate to arrive ...)
We were discussing yesterday what we'll miss from this house after we've moved, and concluded that the thing above all that we'll miss is the way the sun streams into the kitchen and dining room first thing in the mornings. Yes, we'll get it also up at Santa Caterina, but not quite so dramatically, I think, and it won't have have the reflected light from the lily pond which glimmers seductively at times up onto the kitchen ceiling. Oh, well - swings and roundabouts...there are so many things I'm looking forward to about living in the new house that I certainly won't regret the change.
Lamb Salad (with leftover cold lamb, roast with garlic & anchovy, that we had when Barbara & Miche came for dinner the other day)
Saltimbocca alla Romana; braised fennel.