Love of my Life...

I lied when I bought il Poggiolo…

I told everyone, You-know-who at the head of the pack, that I wanted a house: A) in the Lunigiana because, it was my piece of Italian territory and it reminded me of the North Georgia mountains where my family once had a second home; B) large enough to host guests but, not too large to have them perpetually under foot; and C) one with a bit of a garden. It was ONLY about the garden.

Happy to be a property owner of an actual property of l-a-n-d, I dreamed gardening would become the Third Love of My Life. Naturally, You and the Dogs would come in as First and Second. Or, would it be Second and First?

Whilst Our Builder + Crew tackled saving il Poggiolo’s 5,000 dilapidated square feet…

You & I hired this ragazzo, who had come highly recommended by the movie-star handsome owner of the agricultural consorzio down in the Big Town of Aulla, to clear out il Poggiolo’s jungle, keeping any flowering plants and fruit trees for Posterity. By stealth of several early morning forays of slash & burn, il Poggiolo was left with 5 prune trees, 1 mulberry tree and 3 willows. The rest bushwhacked and gone up in smoke. The garden resembled a nuked and/or de-militarised zone.

You & I got to work…

You researched foliage suitable to the cold of a Lunigiana Winter and the heat of its Summer. I was given my purchasing orders. We plundered all the local nurseries. Tears streamed down their owner’s faces, inviting us back at our earliest convenience. You & I furiously shovelled, dug, planted, fertilized and watered. A green privacy screen our main objective and way from the Builder + Crew’s messes. Debates jockeyed on where, what and how. Our attire was essential: to block the sun. You in his funny straw hat a baggy khakis, while I sported a baseball cap and a long-sleeve yellow mock turtle-neck. This went on for the full four years it took to re-build il Poggiolo. Gosh I thought this is Heaven! Not sure this was the case with You. Often he could be found napping in a lounge chair out on the aia, book gently folded on his chest, the straw hat cocked to cover his face from the sun and annoying flies. Good. I’ll just go put that what-ever-it’s-called where I want it and he’ll never know. He always did… damn-it.

Fifth year, I hit a wall. You turned to filling up our renovated 5,000 sq. ft farm-house with stuff, leaving the gardening to me. I was stunned to discover the planted plants needed care & maintenance: pruning, trimming, nurturing, moving or chucking into the mulch pile. Successive years, care & maintenance became Care & Maintenance. Ten years later it is CARE & MAINTENANCE. Expanded task list: pruning, trimming, nurturing, moving, chucking, burning, hauling and yelling This is bloody work!!! You’s reply? What did you expect? Planting perennials for the rest of your Life?

A way was shown to me…

Now I have garden consultants. A lady comes and does our roses. Her husband comes to do light pruning. His best friend comes to do the heavy pruning. Boy, what an art that is. Better left to those who know how to do it. You says I don’t prune, I massacre. A buddy of the best friend comes to do heavy moving & lifting & carting away. I even have a fellow and his cousin who do our pergolas. How about that? And with these helpers I no longer have to yell.

But, I miss the passion of planting. That is what gardening is to me. A bit narrow in focus, perhaps, but it is what it is. And on Saturday and for the next Saturdays through the month of March, I will be planting besides doing the bloody work!!! Got to have the passion.