A very lucky escape plus vegetable garden update

I think I may have mentioned on more than one occasion that Italy has extremes of weather! When it rains it is in torrents; when it is windy it is gale force (it throws our heavy caste iron chairs to the ground); when it’s hot, it burns. But Friday was a surprise to everyone.

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Is it snow?

This week has seen a big change in the weather.  No more kidding myself that it is spring or autumn, winter has arrived.  It is early for it to be so cold here in Lazio

On Monday I drove to Rome, I chose the road that goes over the Cimini hills (mountains) they aren’t that high so it rather depends where you come from whether you consider them mountains or hills, the highest point on the road is 850 m.  It was cold but also beautifully sunny, as I was driving I saw in the distance the snow tipped peak of Monte Amiata, but that’s higher than the Cimini and way off in Tuscany so I didn’t change my mind about my route.  Mistake!  As I climbed the trees began to be sprinkled with white.  Was it frost?  Then it became clear, the trees were coated in a thick layer of snow; it was amazingly beautiful and I regret not taking any photographs, but I thought the road was too dangerous to stop.  Cars coming in the opposite direction were driving very slowly and as I neared the highest point (860 m) there was a group of Carabinieri, stopping the traffic, saying the road was closed due to ice!  So I retraced my steps and took a lower road to arrive at my destination an hour late on a journey that should have taken 50 minutes!

Then yesterday, Wednesday when the forecast said it would be sunny, it first rained and then hailed, huge pieces of ice some about the size if a marble, others smaller – and it was so cold that many remained on the ground for two days!

Hail stones on the window cill

Hail stones on the window cill

Hailstones on the terrace

Hailstones on the terrace

Hail in the garden

Hail in the garden

White fields of hail stones

White fields of hail stones

Today garden is white with frost, the clipped Lavender looking lovely outlined in white; but some intervention is needed; the lemons and limes that I had already moved from the north east side of the house to the west side to avoid the cold north wind (Tramontana) now need to be moved into the greenhouse, so a little rearranging is also called for there.

Lavender in the formal garden white with frost

Lavender in the formal garden white with frost