An impressionist garden in the Tuscan hills

 
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I’ve just come back from a short stay in Tuscany where I visited the beautiful ‘Podere Puscina Flowers’ owned by 3 sisters.

A family run business in the very heart of Tuscany where Teresa, Mara and Laura grow their own local flowers respecting the biodiversity and nature.

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I was greeted by Kira, their friendly dog and an incredible landscape. Walking through the fields was like being part of an impressionist painting. The colours of flowers, the bright blue sky, the magical wood at the end of the valley, together with the golden wheat fields were truly inspirational.

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There were many amazing varieties of flowers such as: romantic English garden roses, corn flower, lavender, veronica, false goat’s beard, love-in-amist, scbious, alchemilla …

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Cotinus

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Cosmea simple and double 

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Sanguisorba, amni, love-in-a-mist, strawberry scabious

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Acquilegia

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Scabious

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The one that captured my attention the most was the poppy. I’ve never seen so many different colours and varieties.

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I really enjoyed my wonderful stay at Puscina an enchanted place where 3 families live and work in harmony with nature.

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3 tips for a centre-piece with flowers from your gardens

 
 

Looking at the gardens so full of blooming flowers I thought about making a simple centre-piece with what nature offers us. I decided to create the arrangement working with just one colour and its different shades and consistencies.

The hue that I chose was the glorious red of my geraniums. You’re probably asking why I started with the colour and not the flowers. The reason being it narrows down the variety available. It’s essential to stick to one shade or a colour scheme when choosing the flowers you’re going to use. Keeping in mind this rule allows us the freedom to select the flowers and focus on the variety of shades, shapes and texture. I finally decided to match the geraniums with some oleander flowers and roses all with different hues of red.

Yesterday while I was on my way home, a blooming blackberry bush caught my eye. The graceful and tiny flowers seemed to have being drawn by children and are a pleasant reminder that summer is nearly here. I decided to use these to add lightness and frivolity to the centre-piece.

Fruit is also very useful when decorating a table. Shiny red cherries were the perfect choice that echoed the essence of summer. For movement and texture I added a sprig of rosemary, vine with tiny green grapes and some airy fennel bloom.

I use 3 small vases for this floral arrangement. Why 3? As the Latin saying goes “everything that comes in 3 is perfect”; a floral arrangement composed with 3 looks more natural and less forced than an even-numbered collection. Don’t be afraid to play around with the symmetry and asymmetry. Remember to use a simple vase if your composition is of a bold colour. For this centre-piece I used simple glass vases.

In a nutshell

  1. Decide on one colour

  2. Create a floral arrangement with 3 vases (glass or white ceramic or terracotta for a more rustic setting)

  3. Add fruit to give an extra special touch

  4. Enjoy and let yourself be transported by the colours

 
 

May blossoming in my garden and terrace

 
 

May is an awesome month for my garden and terrace, every day there is surprise awaiting. I’ve been watching the peony bush for some days and just yesterday the first white flower blossomed. There is such a lot of life within it, ants are running up and down its branches and insect are nestling among the petals.

A poppy with its delicate red petal has just blossomed and I really don’t know where the seed came from.

The plants that we chose for the terrace are growing very well.

The green wall that we created is fully blossomed: in April the Osmanthus plants were a perfumed white cloud and now all the roses are opening up. There are different rose plants and each one has its own distinctive colour and perfume. The huses range from pale white to deep purple. The perfume from the white roses is very delicate whereas that of the deep purple ones is so rich and timeless. These roses remind me of the English garden ones which I really love.

The seeds that we planted in early March are growing beautifully. We planted some sweet peas, nigella and cornockles, but we have to wait patiently to see them bloom.

The herbs are coming on splendidly and the first strawberries were delicious.

Yellow, pink and red roses run along the garden fence. Like paint from an artist’s palette splashes of colour brighten every corner of the garden.

On Sunday afternoon I was sitting on the terrace in the shade reading an article about the use of the rose in the cosmetic industry. I discovered that the rose it the most studied flower by biologists and botanists. The only two roses that are used in this sector are the antique cabbage rose and the damask rose. The cabbage rose is cultivated in the South of France and Morocco in the valley of roses and I strongly recommend that you go there! The damask rose comes from Turkey and Bulgaria. Elisabeth de Feydau, professor of the Ecole of Perfumiers of Versailles, describes the scent of the cabbage rose : as herbaceous, poudrè and gourmand. The damask rose however has a fruitier scent with notes of litchi, raspberry, geranium and verbena.

Still on the same topic have a look at the video about the “Rose of Grainville” which was coultivated for the first time in Grainville in Normandy by the Dior. The villa and garden became a museum in 1997.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back next month to tell you how white lavender and seeds are coming along.

 
 

DECORATE A TERRACE ON THE LAKE #1

 
 

We are off to the garden market with Giovanni, a botanist and a garden designer. We are choosing the most suitable plants for the terrace on the lake.

This terrace will become a relax corner, a heaven of peace and tranquility.

Giovanni and I decided to create two green areas. On the terrace there were already some plants: hellebourus, nadina, skimmia , roses, tulips bulbs, muscari and hyacinth. We chose some perennials, herbs, shrubs, grass family and some flower seeds.
Our aim was to have flowers all year round. All these plants like sun and half shade, need general topsoil and are very easy to take care of.
We selected some herbs with different foliage: variegated thyme with small green/gold leaves, red mint whose leaves are nearly marsala red, lemon balm, basil and oregano.

Not forgetting a small presents for elves: wild strawberries...

Lavender was a must so we picked two varieties: the wild pink lavender which is already in bloom and the white edelweiss. I’m very curious about the white one as it’s the first time that I’ve seen it.

It was love at first sight with the wild Stipa bush with its flowing dancing mane (I noticed that Hermes used it in a recent advert).

In the last few decades the grass family has become more and more and popular. Many international garden designers love these shrubs as they need little care and water. They are exuberant all year around and breathtaking in winter when covered in frost.

If you happen to go to Lake Iseo this summer, the village of Paratico has a beautiful area of dancing grasses near the lake front. Don’t miss the “The Floating Piers” created by the Bulgarian artist Christo From the 18th June to the 3rd July.

We thought of integrating some Osmanthus shrubs with the roses to create a green wall. The Osmanthus is a frost resistant, perennial plant, with a white spring blossom.

We added a touch of China with the Rosalita Moscata which has 5 petals and an amazing light perfume.
With our treasure of plants and seeds we headed for the lake to plant them.

We put the Bacsac pots near some old ones of different sizes. A few red pots were added to give it a splash of colour.

See you next month!