Italy has been is chaos for the last week. Snow has fallen in huge quantities over much of the country including Rome and the South where it is more unusual for there to be very much snow. To say it caught everyone unawares is an understatement. The schools in Rome have been closed for the last week and all public offices were closed for 3 days, and not a great deal better in Viterbo.
It began snowing on Friday 3rd February. Here the flakes were small and icy and the wind was so strong that it wasn’t beautiful at all with deep drifts where the wind dumped the snow and poor icy-stemmed plants being bent horizontal by the North –North East wind that was said to be coming from Siberia.
The lane to our house was cleared by a friendly farmer on Sunday afternoon but the wind covered it with snow again so that it was very difficult to get out. The NG struggled to the station on Monday morning only to find that there were no trains. I didn’t get out of the house until Thursday; by which time I was feeling quite stir crazy.
Friday seems to be the day for snow and last Friday (10th February) we awoke to already deep snow – it continued all day and continued until just after midnight. This snow, with less wind was beautiful, deep and crisp and even making the garden a magical place. We haven’t had anywhere near as much snow as this since we moved to Italy in 2003; in fact I don’t remember seeing this much snow except when in the mountains to ski.
In the above image you can’t see the lavender hedges at all; they are entirely enveloped in snow; today (Sunday) I removed the snow from the box cubes because the snow was breaking the shapes open and I worried that some stems would be broken.
The town is more organised this week and yesterday evening a tractor with a snow shovel came to clear the road and the lane to our house, we had to clear the 100 metres of drive ourselves this morning. We are now hoping that the wind doesn’t deposit too much of the surrounding snow back onto the lane.
Inside the greenhouse things are rather different. It is protected from the cold winds by Leylandii and Olives, so much so that the automatic roof lights have been opening and inside I have been forced to water everything. I was very worried about doing this as if the night temperatures drop very low the plants will suffer but they were actually wilting so I had no choice. An update on the peppers that I left to grow during the winter, I am astounded even with temperatures that have only crept a little over zero for the last 10 days the peppers are ripening, slowly yes, but they are ripening. I harvested some during the week when vegetables outside were buried. They even tasted very good!
There are also lettuces that take longer to bolt in the cold so we may even manage to eat them all. In the pot you might recognise carrot leaves, I’ve never had success growing them outside so followed an idea from an Italian gardening magazine and I’m trying them in a large pot.
In the garden the only colour is from fruits and berries, the bright red of the crab apples attracts the birds but they don’t actually eat them, I’m not sure why.