Spring in Italy se

Hello to you all.  Some of you have been kind enough to email me asking how we are surviving in Italy when I know the headlines around the world are suggesting conditions are dire here.  Yet me reassure you that we are well.

Our city, province and even region do not have a large number of cases of Covid 19; however we have been in self imposed isolation for longer than the country as a whole as a friend of ours with who we had been in contact was teaching and some of his students had been in contact with another student who was the very first case here in Viterbo.

We started our self isolation week commencing the 24th of February while the lockdown of the country began on the 9th March.

Anemone coronaria have been the best they have ever been this year adding colour to the garden since January

I have never been so grateful to have a garden.  Most Italians live in apartments, many without even a balcony – I do not know how they are managing to survive; I would be completely crazy by now.  For most of March the weather was lovely, sunny and warm and I achieved weeding the whole garden and mulching all the beds.

This was much earlier in March

Sadly last week the wind began blowing from Siberia and the icy temperatures and and glare force winds completely killed all the wisteria flowers before most had even opened.  I could have cried!

Tulips with Euphorbia myrsinites today April 1st

Restrictions are justifiably strong.  You can only leave the house for 3 reasons; to go to work – but most offices are working from home, and all shops except food stores are closed, medical reasons, and to shop for necessities.  You must carry a document (which seems to change almost daily) which states who you are, address where you are registered, where you are actually living, where you are travelling from and where to and at what time.  You cannot travel outside the community in which you live.

Hyacinths have played their part in adding perfume to the garden

Up until this week most people I know have been relatively positive; meeting friends for virtual aperitivi, keeping in close contact via social media and all being generally supportive of each other.

Although the rise in new cases is slowing, hearing the figures for deaths each day is hard. Many fear we will still be in lockdown as we enter the warmer months; it would be intolerably hard to be inside their homes when the weather becomes hot.  So again I feel very fortunately to live in the country with a garden.

We are also fortunate to have a vegetable garden that is still giving us winter vegetables and a freezer still well stocked with crops from last summer.

General view of the garden showing the glow Euphorbia creates in spring

Italy was the first country to be affected by the virus in Europe and we are 2 or 3 weeks ahead of you in the virus’s progress.  Please all you keep safe; don’t think that it won’t be so bad where you live.  Unless everyone plays their part and stays in social isolation the virus will spread faster and further and health services won’t be able to cope with the numbers of cases needing admission.  EVERYONE can help by staying at home and resisting any impulse to go out if it isn’t completely necessary.

Tulips have ignored the cold winds and are flowering all around the garden

Thank you again for your kind messages; I will be responding to you all.



56 thoughts on “Spring in Italy se

  1. Gorgeous garden, Christina. I’m so glad you’re well–I wondered how you were faring. Yes, those of us with even a small bit of space are so fortunate and you were wise to start your self-isolation so early. Be well, stay safe.

    • Hi Tina. Lovely to hear from you. How are you coping with your lockdown? This may spur me to start blogging again, although I think I will organise myself differently.

      • I was glad to see your post come across in my WordPress Reader! We’re okay, fortunate to live in a neighborhood with friendly, helpful folk, who also know to keep their distance. 🙂 I hope you start blogging again! It can become stale and it’s good to take a break, but so nice to observe gardens and gardeners from far away.

  2. So glad to hear from you and to hear that you are well! It is a long time to be confined and I am also so grateful we have a big garden and space all around us. I was thinking of you just half an hour ago as I was weeding out bits of Artemisia which is spreading underground like mad! I do love it, but will rethink whether it can stay. I remember seeing yours and loving all that silvery foliage. Your garden looks as beautiful as always. Sad about the Wisteria. My freshly pruned buddleia also suffered terribly in that cold wind – yes, we had it too, for several days on end. Our restrictions are similar, but with no documents necessary. Let’s hope this all comes to an end soon and people can start rebuilding their lives and businesses. Best wishes to you and your husband. Take care Christina! xx

    • Thank you Cathy. I am always grateful to have a garden and now more than ever I realise what a blessing it is. Germany seems to be very organised with its testing. They have also been quite good here, which is of course why the figures are so high. I don’t think it will end soon but I hope it will be under control by summer.

  3. So lovely to see a post from you Christina and to get a glimpse of your lovely garden. Your anemones are beautiful. How sensible that people have to stay in their own areas. We have an enormous number of second homers moving into Suffolk from London and bringing their bugs with them. I am full of admiration for how well you are coping with what for you has been a long lockdown, we are only just at the beginning of ours and at least we are allowed out for exercise. Please let us have some more posts from you, I would love to see more of your tulips. Take care. Liz x

    • Hello Liz, we were allowed to go out for exercise at the beginning but then people were driving miles to do it so that has now been limited to very close to home. We can walk out into the fields around us as one one comes to check and there aren’t other people around so it is safe. People here have been stopped going to their second homes at the weekends by I think you could still transfer there. Take care.

    • It is frightening everywhere. I also think that until cases increase in their own countries, people tend to think that it won’t happen to them. Some governments have been very slow to react, so it isn’t taken seriously. Let’s hope everyone can start pulling together and get things under control.

  4. Christina,
    There isn’t a heart emoji large enough for what this post did for me. Not a day goes by that I am not thinking of the people in Italy — and all over the world — and bottling up my worry for what’s to come here in the States. I live in South Florida, and I feel so incredibly fortunate to have a garden to extend my isolation space and to give my brain a rest. At the moment, my area of the country is just a few steps behind what’s happening in NY, where I have family and friends. In some of your earlier comments, I saw that you made mention of some governments that have been slow to react — I don’t think I need to tell you that I am living in a country and a state where that is the case, and I think that has heightened my anxiety. To not have faith in the people at the top is a very scary place to be — and so, I avoid the news, try to stay focused and positive, read, binge-watch television shows, and garden. Your post has helped. Please, continue to stay positive — and I hope with all of my hope is that the world, and all of the nations and governments and people, will learn from this. I know that may be lofty thinking, but I have to have hope. Be well.

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It certainly makes it worth posting if it can help someone else. Even if your area isn’t locked down you can still try to self isolate as much as possible, that’s what we did because of our friends contact. Luckily he wasn’t infected so that worry is over. Be ready with a plan for shopping etc. At least in the States everything is well set up for deliveries. Take care.

  5. So very lovely to have a post from you Christina, to hear how you are and to see what your garden is doing. I agree that many people in many places have been too complacent. You have had over a month of self isolation already and it is good to hear that most of those around you have managed to remain largely positive, as It is the strength of everyone’s mental health that concerns me. As you say, those of us blessed with gardens have an advantage not available to flat dwellers and such physical restrictions must be really tough – as for those who live in a city rather than the countryside too. You will have been enjoying your spring flowers, Christina, so thanks for sharing them with us too, and I am so sorry to hear about the wisteria…

    • I can remember a conversation back in January when everyone thought what was happening in China was complete over reaction, but they actually reacted more quickly than any other country and they are now coming out the other side. Keep safe

      • I suppose the virulence of it has taken people by surprise, not having experienced the like before. Apart from daily walks and a weekly shop of 10-15 minutes I am at home with the Golfer, so hopefully as safe as I can be.

        • I actually think that people who are retired are quite fortunate; we don’t have to worry about our jobs and we are used to using our time at home enjoyably and productively.

          • Yes, that is a very good point Christina and although I never take either for granted I hadn’t considered the retirement element in this context, so thanks for pointing it out

  6. Christina, what a joy to hear from you and that you are well. You are confined but you are lucky to have a wonderful garden with divine flowers where you can stroll and entertain yourself. Here in Spain we are also very bad with the Covid-19. We are in a state of alarm with the same rules that you have been confined since March 14 and the next revision date is April 9, but they are already saying that the confinement will continue until May. He has caught my dear Mother and me in the flat in Madrid. If he had caught us in the country house we would be very well with the garden. But here we are in our Madrid apartment. Fortunately we have a large terrace and many trees. Christina I don’t know if you will know that my dear Father passed away last year on August 11th. I am very depressed, stuck in a bottomless pit that I can’t get out of. Fortunately, Cathy, Karen and Cathy’s blogs have helped a lot. And today seeing yours and the beautiful photos of your blog I have been very happy. Christina you already know that you have to be very careful. I hope you are in good health and in good spirits. Much hope that we will get out of this, you will see. I have not written to you because I do not have your email. Stay at home safe like me and my mother. Take care. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xx

    • I’m so happy that you saw my post and commented. I have been thinking about you so much since I knew that you were in Madrid where there is a lot of infection. I’m so sorry to hear about your father, but you must not be depressed about it, it is usual that our parents die before us. I will send you my email address so we can write even when I don’t write the blog. Take very good care of yourself.

  7. Hello Christina, I had been thinking of you in Italy and by chance logged on and your post came up. My goodness, there are very few words to express how dreadful this all is but I am so glad that you are safe and well. We are in day 8 of lockdown here, I live in the Cotswolds now and my village is quite deserted and am so grateful to be here and not in a city, with limited space. Take care, best wishes, Julie

  8. Glad to know that you are well, Christina. When I get stir-crazy staying at home, I think about how nearly everyone in the world is feeling the same way. Like you, I am grateful to have a yard and garden, which is just waking up, to keep me distracted. And living rurally, walking is permitted, so everyone can at least get exercise.
    Sorry about your beautiful wisteria blossoms being ruined, agonizing. Your garden photos are lovely, I remember envying your richly coloured hyacinths last year. ❤

    • Good to hear that you are able to walk in the countryside, we are able to walk around us but in the cities it is now not encouraged. You will enjoy seeing your garden coming back to life even more this year.

  9. How wonderful to hear from you and to see your beautiful garden again, Christina. I’m glad you’re well and that your garden is helping maintain your spirits, as mine is. We’re not as far along with the pandemic as you are but California issued its shelter-at-home order earlier than most parts of the United States and our hope it that it’ll make a difference here, although we’re bracing for a major hit within the next few weeks. The numbers on the peninsula on which I live are still very small (although testing is also very poor) and the first death here was announced just yesterday but, watching the losses in New York and other areas of the country, are very hard as you noted. Best wishes.

    • I hope the numbers stay low close to you as they are near us. It is perhaps this has hit us as winter turns to spring rather than in autumn when the thought of being locked inside would not have been good for the spirits. Our gardens always provide us with tasks to distract us from the terrible news which bombards us.

  10. Christina, molto bene! your garden looks wonderful and I love your use of chartruese with the bulbs. It is nice to know the world feels the same way about our situation, Italy is breaking my heart. The governor of Florida just issued a stay at home order, far too late in my opinion. We have been home for almost two weeks, I fortunately have a gigantic pile of mulch, any number of plants i would like to move around and a chest freezer. i got delivery from Aldi this week. Despite the circumstance, it is lovely to see you blogging again.

    • I’m very pleased to hear that people have been self isolating even before being instructed to do so; a much harder decision, of course, if you are working. Enjoy your plant moving and mulching! Keep safe, restare a casa.

  11. It’s great to hear you are well! And wonderful to hear from the others commenting as well! Your garden pictures make me hope that we will yet get to travel to Italy someday. Here in NZ we were not hit as early and haven’t had as many cases yet. I was lucky to get out of the city before the lockdown, so I have the garden and somewhere to walk, as well as a little more time to enjoy it.

    • Your Prime minister seems to be acting prudently, I would have more trust in her than many of the politicians around the world. I’m happy to hear that you managed to get to your house and garden for the lockdown. I haven’t seen any posts from you and was worried, but I suppose, that like me, you needed to reprioritize your time. Take care Cath.

  12. So good to hear from you and relieved to hear that you’re well. The anemones look fantastic and I’m always happy to see them doing well in your garden. The wisteria is a disappointment though. Ours was frosted two years in a row now and I miss that abundant fragrance and the show of blooms.
    Keep doing what you’re doing! We are much more of a mess here in the US and I fear the price we pay will be similar to the Italian tragedy.

    • I’ve continued to read your blog all through the time when I haven’t been posting myself; we are lucky to have our gardens to sustain us through this very difficult time. Stay safe.

  13. Nice to read this update from you and I’m glad you have a garden to bring you beauty, some distraction and food. Your anemones are very beautiful. I’ve been so sorry to read about what is happening in Italy – one of my favourite countries – and I understand your need to warn people in other countries not to underestimate the threat. My sweetheart has limited me to only three chances to tell him to be careful of this, that and the other each day. He is in America and it is hard to see their numbers going up so rapidly. I’m sending my very best wishes.

    • Thank you for your warm comments Susan. I understand your concerns for your loved one. Keeping safe is important not just for oneself but to stop the spread of the disease to the most vulnerable. Our gardens and the nature all around us is a treasure not to be underestimated.

  14. So nice to see your post in my mailbox and enjoy the lovely photos. We are trying to isolate here in the US but so many ignorant people are crowding the stores and hoarding items. I am fortunate to be able to enjoy my flowers in my yard and spend time out there. The pollen is very bad, but the azaleas, daffodils and trees are blooming and the lillies, roses and hydrangeas are getting leaves. Very peaceful to stay home and enjoy my plants. Stay safe. This cannot last forever!

  15. So glad to hear from you Christina and to hear that you are safe and well. The news has been dreadful from Italy and other countries and my heart goes out to you all. This is my third week of staying at home as I fall into the age group that were told to stay at home right from the beginning, I am finding that having no one to talk to the hardest part, so am making lots of phone calls etc to stay in touch. Everyone has been very good offering help, but at the moment I just go out once a week for my shopping as Sainsburys have set an hour aside for us oldies and we are all regimented to stay 6ft apart from each other. My garden is my salvation, I’m out there at every opportunity with the birds,bees and butterflies and my war on weeds is progressing nicely.
    Your garden is beautiful as usual, it must be a great comfort to you, please stay safe and well.

    • I think people here are talking to each other more than before and using WhatsApp to feel united in small groups. I’m glad your weather has improved so you can be outside, it does make such a difference to our mood. You are right to stay away from others, maybe you could even have your groceries delivered although I’m sure your short shopping trips are a respite from the isolation.

  16. Hello Christina, I did a double take when I recognised your icon as I was scrolling through the WP reader. I am very glad to hear that you are well and coping with an already lengthy time in isolation. Yes, our gardens are such a plus in dealing with our new routines. I go out once a week to shop for food, but that is it. Happily my exercise classes have moved to Zoom and the Wimpole crowd have taken to WhatsApp as you mentioned. Plus once a week we do the #BigClap, which is a fun way to wave at neighbours up and down the road and register our support and awe of the NHS and service workers.
    Your garden is looking beautiful. I am sure mine is considerably tidier than usual, but mostly I been work in the vegetable patch, determined to eat as varied diet as poss.
    Take care and stay safe!

    • Are you still able to work, Wimpole must still need attention. Now that the weather is really warming up I’m able to really prepare the vegetable beds here. The last couple of days we have been riddling compost to put on the beds. The greenhouse is full of seedlings so in that way everything seems normal! I think I’m actually quite a loner, so most of the time I enjoy the isolation, not so much when it was too cold and windy to be outside.

  17. I’m glad you are well. At least we can go to and from town without any papers! I’m about to enjoy my weekly grocery pickup, where some items are still not available…but it’s always taken 3 stores to get everything here, it’s only less is available! Sorry about the arctic cold front you had…we just slowly warm up and more flowers, after a mild and quite wet cool season.

    • The self declaration document isn’t a problem, just encourages others to think before going out (maybe). The shops are well stocked and there hasn’t really been any panic buying. A lack of fresh yeast at the beginning but everything I usually buy is available. It probably helps that Italy is about 90% self sufficient in food so closed borders aren’t effecting supplies.

  18. I tried a few times yesterday to comment Christina but could couldn’t post my comment 😦
    So maybe better luck this morning. It’s good to hear that you are well. I have been keeping in touch with my Italian cousins – two of whom live in apartments in Rome 😦 I was looking forward to a spring of going hither and thither having fallen on holiday in Italy last September. I ended up with my right hand in plaster on two separate occasions and was finally plaster free at the end of January. Still staying put at home is no hardship with a garden to keep me occupied and books to be read but it must be very challenging for some people especially those on their own. Your spring garden looks most colourful. So sorry to hear about your wisteria. I know that is one of the highlights of your year. I always think of those cruel winds from Siberia affecting areas like East Anglia but not Lazio.

    • Cold winds from the north east are quite a feature of our weather. I lost all the flowers when we had the beast from the east but they weren’t nearly flowering that year so in some ways this year is much worse as it was just beginning to flower and was full of opening buds. Worryingly there isn’t even any foliage buds showing I’m quite worried about it even producing shade for us this year. Sorry to hear about your broken arm, I hope it is completely recovered now.

  19. Lovely to hear from you again Christina and to know that you are well! We could do with some more pictures from Italy – your garden always lifts my spirits!

  20. Christina, I checked on your blog in March to see how you were doing, and I am glad to now see that you have posted and that you are well.

    In particular, I have been thinking of you and your greenhouse, as I have begun thinking of having one installed myself (I have a BIG birthday coming up this year). I will be re-reading your related posts, but I wanted to ask how the greenhouse has fared with the wind, because that is my greatest concern. Of course you are a clever lady and I am sure that you chose a well-protected spot! I can only hope to be able to do so well.

    Stay safe!

    • I love my greenhouse and it allows me to grow most of the plants for the veg plot and cut flower beds from seed. It is a hive of activity from September through to the end of April, after that it is very, very hot inside, the only thing thriving is lemon grass! I have 4 opening roof lights and shade netting on the outside that I actually leave on all year. With hindsight and if there had been the possibility, I would have placed it where it didn’t get so much sun. Even in winter it can heat up significantly on a sunny day. I don’t remember how cold your hair winters are but I imagine you could have similar issues. I’m very happy to answer any questions you have. What I would find very useful is a shade house.

  21. A truly beautiful garden in Italy is a rare treat. I’ll be trying to grow herbs and some food on my balcony eventually here in Italy. Following for ideas of what flowers to add to the mix.

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