by Carole Cross
photographs by Carole Cross
Photographs to illustrate the article published in The Mediterranean Garden No 78, October 2014
Carole Cross has been gardening in Umbria since 1998. Her first garden was developed from scratch and is featured in Members’ Gardens here where she shows ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs of the house and garden. Two of her favourite views of the now mature garden:
An autumn mist scene taken this September from the back of the house.
A border of grey-greens. The Vitex agnus-castus in the background is holding its seed heads which have reddened in the autumn light.
Then, as she writes, two years ago “.... the ever-increasing years began to take their toll and gradually the effort involved in the upkeep of our isolated house and garden began to be more of a burden, making us realise that we should perhaps consider moving on.”
And so on to a new, smaller garden with raised beds in the confines of a town and with no “marauding cinghiale, wild boar”.
Raised area roughly two metres by six and a half.
But this is no ordinary site: “The house was developed in part of a complex of buildings attached to the 15th-century church of San Domenica....”. This means the garden is bordered by wonderfully weathered stone walls.
The small area to the front of the house is about five metres by two and a half at the gate end widening to five metres nearest the house. To the right it is bounded by an old wall shown in the photograph while part of the church encloses the other side to the left of the path, out of sight.
The old wall “... is also home to several old Capparis spinosa plants, another cause for great pleasure on my part since I have never been successful in establishing them in previous gardens.”
The church cloister forms the south-west boundary. This area is nine and a half metres by six at its widest point but tapers to four and a half at the front. In the centre at the back there is a fine mature persimmon tree. The narrow strip to the left is where the old oil tank is buried with not much depth of soil above, meaning the original plan to plant cypress trees here had to be abandoned.
“The garden area of the new house is quite small but sufficient to keep me happy and allow me to while away many hours in the open air in the future, relaxing, it is to be hoped, rather than always seeing something that needs attention.”
General view of the new garden to the back of the house.