Ca’ Rossa, indeed

I took this post title from Mr. Kininvie last comment: yes, Ca’ Rossa, indeed!

When I started this blog the renovation of the house had already started, so people used to have some issues about the ‘name’ of my house. The renovation is not coming to an end yet but I am very happy to see my house a little more presentable than before.

The ‘before’ picture was taken in july 2010, the ‘after’ has been snapped this morning.

Painting the house has been a very challenging task, it took me about one whole week and my father came over to help me. The week has been chosen carefully, it wasn’t supposed to rain, I feared it would have ruined the job, so what’s better than the hottest week in ages?! We had two anticyclones from Africa: one called ‘Scipione’ (aka Publius Cornelius Scipio, the ancient roman general who defeated Hannibal in Africa) and the one we are dying for lately which is called ‘Caronte’ (Charon) and is really carrying us to hell! We have about 35°C during daytime with a rather high percentage of humidity, which makes you feel about 40°C. Nights are not that different.

The garden is looking good though, so good that I started with some snaps to the house and ended quickly running after butterflies and photographing the garden.

When I choose the shade of red for the house I was really bothered: I feared that it could be too much orange or too much maroon, that a so big red feature in the garden (yes that is what I conseider the house) would have clashed with everything around but at the end of the day I’m quite pleased with my final choice. The colour changes a little according to the sunlight and it gives emphasis to the garden, instead of clashing.

Dipsacus sylvestris, bronze fennel and rosa Sally Holmes

Dipsacus sylvestris, bronze fennel and rosa Sally Holmes

In a little spot, in the gravel garden, I planted a Sally Holmes from cutting. The rose came in a small plastic pot along with a dipsacus sylvestris (a native plant that I love), a bronze fennel and a little euphorbia. Dipsacus, fennel and euphorbias doesn’t like to be transplanted, so I didn’t have the courage to touch them. Now everything is growing packed in a very little space but I hope all the annuals will self seed around and then die, leaving the rose to grow.

The bunch seems to provide a great interest amongst all sorts of bugs, including Swallowtail caterpillar that are savaging the fennel but I guess it worths it.

Swallowtail on verbena bonariensis

Swallowtail on verbena bonariensis

Swallowtail on verbena bonariensis

Swallowtail on verbena bonariensis

I also spotted a very elegant shelter bug, in a striped black and red suit by Jean Paul Gaultier, I guess.

bugs on fennel and bees on echinacea purpurea and achillea

bugs on fennel and bees on echinacea purpurea and achillea

As I said the garden is looking rather pretty, getting ready for the grasses prime time, meanwhile it looks like a kaleidoscope, I wonder how the plants can stand this heat: I’ll watch them from the window!

Echinops 'Taplow Blue' with solidago, veronicastrum 'Fascination' with helenium 'Waldtraut', a view of the house from the grass garden

Echinops ‘Taplow Blue’ with solidago, veronicastrum ‘Fascination’ with helenium ‘Waldtraut’, a view of the house from the grass garden

General views of the grass garden, a close up of allium sphaerocephalon

General views of the grass garden, a close up of allium sphaerocephalon


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47 thoughts on “Ca’ Rossa, indeed

  1. Your garden is superb, Alberto! really superb! Your temperatures are a little lower than ours and the wind is still blowing like crazy here. I agree with you, the red house is a lovely decoration for the garden!
    BTW let me know which of the Irises you would like, I’ll be splitting them soon. Christina

    • Oh, Christina, I’m so sorry it’s the second time you ask me about the irises! This heat is cooking my head I think. I’d really like some of your black irises and those pale blue ones. I also forgot to tell you to check Pauline’s blog (her comment is just below here) and see her post about iris of some weeks ago, she has an iris like your brown/white one you forgot the name but she didn’t!

  2. Your house is looking really good Alberto and forms a super backdrop to your garden which is amazing with all its flowers. I’m rather glad that our temperatures are not as high as yours, but could do with a bit more than our lowly17 degrees during the day and 15 at night! Your swallowtail butterfly is really beautiful, unfortunately they don’t come this far north, so I will just have to enjoy them in your posts.

    • You really don’t have swallowtails? I guess they like warm weather because I only see them in full summer. 17 degrees? That would be a dream to me now! It sounds pretty weird for July though… Even for England! I’m waiting for the anticyclone… Impatiently…

    • Hi Cindy and welcome! Thanks for your comment, red as a neutral sounds pretty strong but I must admit pretty right too. Depending on the shade of the red though. I am colour blind (not totally, I have some issues seeing reds) and you cannot imagine how frustrating it was for me choosing a red on a little coloured square in a sheet.
      Love your art, I’m going to spend a little time on your blog ASAP.

    • Ciao Loretta! Grazie mille dei complimenti! Il giardino è pieno di erbacce e ha sete, spero che arrivi la pioggia prevista nei prossimi giorni!

  3. Alberto,

    Your gardens and home look beautiful. You must be so thrilled to see things coming into place.
    Your Echinacea are splendid……
    To have the Swallowtail caterpillars eating your fennel is an honour my friend…..I respectfully suggest you plant more fennel. I get pleasure from seeing the butterflies leave their eggs on my plants, as far as I personally am concerned that is what they are there for 🙂

    You have the most beautiful garden. I know the hard work involved……you have done so very well.

    • Hello Cheryl! I was so happy to have a few plants of fennel established this year, and the plan was to leave them to freely self seed around, indeed. The problem is that this generatin of caterpillars is savaging my poor plants and I’m not sure I’m going to have seeds from them. Thanks for your always so kind comments.

  4. Well Alberto I must admit to envy of your faster-than-the-speed-of-light painting. It looks great and I know you will be happy to have it completed. (Would you like to come over and help me with the kitchen?) The color contrast with the gardens is ideal.

    Echinacea is nowhere near blooming yet here, but we are all rain.

    • I don’t like working so I try to do it quickly and well (so that I don’t need to do it again). Today I spend the whole day on the sofa, chatting with the dogs. Heat plays tricks on my mind…
      I would be glad to come over and refresh a little under your sky! Got some red paint left, we can use it for the kitchen…

      I’ll send you some sun and heat for your echinaceas!

  5. I also have ‘Sally Holmes’! It is a fantastic rose! Fantastic garden, and it does my Midwestern heart good to see purple coneflowers and helenium blooming so happily in Italy!

    • Hi Jason, I grow a lot of American natives in my garden, not only echinaceas and heleniums, even though they are both amongst my fave. I am very envious of your ratibida! It’s beautiful I had some plants given to me by a friend but unfortunately they didn’t self seed around for the following year, so I lost it.

  6. Your house and garden are looking wonderful Alberto. You have worked really hard…not it’s time to bask in the glory…especially on very hot days!

  7. Hi Alberto,

    At least someone is having nice weather – I hear parts of the US are also getting record-breaking 40 degree temperatures! I think you’ve all stolen our sun 😦

    Your garden is looking beautiful, although I think I too would rather enjoy it from the relative shade of the house 🙂

    • Dear Liz, please come over and take all the sun and heat that you want back to England! England? Aaaaah! The country famous in the world for its sunny and hot days… That’s the place where I would go steal some sun! 🙂

      (I’d rather steal your rain actually…)

  8. I adore the house color and the gardens are just amazing…your pollinators are beautiful especially the swallowtail…I will tell you that your beloved DIPSACUS SYLVESTRIS is an invasive weed here in my State….it took over my meadow and we have had to hand pull hundreds so it doesn’t take over my lovely meadow…while it is a lovely plant and one many admire, it is on my hit list…I wonder how it is controlled where you are since one plant here with thousands of seeds can take over in no time…I wish I could let it grow….amazing how something so pretty and a native one place is considered an invasive in another….too bad 😦

    • Hi Donna! Dipsacus is a weed here as well, but it only grows in some spotted places. I know that birds eat the seeds like mads, maybe that is a way of control, I don’t know. The dried seed heads in winter are so pretty and Tim Burton looking, I just love them!

  9. Thanks for reminding me, Mr A, what summer should look like! And yes, I often get distracted and chase after butterflies too. I hope you and your Dad had a suitable reward for doing all that painting? D

    • Hi Dave! As I’ve been working for myself I didn’t get any reward apart for seeing the job done, and daddy got an almost brand new battery charger for his iPhone. Yep, he’s pretty cheap! Now I need to study a way to attract more birds to my garden…

  10. Hello Alberto, I’m sitting in a dense fog here in Scotland, and the ground is so wet that I can’t do a thing except grumble. I think we should swap gardens for ten days….it might stop both of us complaining, teach me to love grasses and teach you to enjoy mud! Next year, OK?

    • Dear mr. K, have you ever heard of home swapping? That is something I’ve been thinking to do for quite a long time. A few years ago we rent some woman’s flat in Amsterdam for 10 days. All her stuff was around the house and yet we didn’t touch anything of hers and living there was very cosy. So don’t ask me twice to swap our homes or I’ll take you seriously. I’d like to see Scotland. (oh my house comes along with two dogs and a cat to feed and cuddle).

  11. You did a great job on your house, what a difference! Your garden is lovely as always, and your photography is wonderful, I really enjoyed looking at all your pictures.

  12. Alberto, I love what you are doing with your house and gardens! Great photos, especially the swallow tail and striped bug shots. I have been so busy I have been behind in my blogging, so I had to read your last few posts to catch up. What a treat! I also enjoyed views of your previous urban garden. I think your sort-of terra-cotta red is a bold and beautiful choice and makes a statement about its owner! And it does look fabulous as a backdrop for the garden.I am impressed with your paint job. My dear husband painted our house by himself, working around the weather and his own schedule. It took him nearly year! I was pulling my hair out!

    • Hahaha! Well if I did it during my normal working days I would have finished in more than a year! Fortunately I took days off to do the painting, surely this made me save a lot of money rather than calling a pro.
      Anyway I’ll tell you something but don’t go and tell anyone ok? I still have to paint the east facing wall because the workers haven’t finished yet…

  13. I love the house color…it’s bold and vibrant…and a perfect background for your equally bold & vibrant garden! I’m always amazed at how fabulous your garden looks, and as you said, this isn’t even the peak yet…just wait for all the grasses!

    • Hi Scott! I’m waiting for the grasses too… And for some rain too! Thanks for your comment about the colour. I think that vibrant is the perfect word.

  14. The house colour is fabulous and I love the way it is second place to your garden. Looking at your veronicastrum has made me realise that I really do need some (not want, need, like a four year old!).

    • I always say need too. That doesn’t make us four year old spoiled gardeners but it makes us very serious grown-ups that know what they need (indeed) to realize their very serious garden project. I needed a lot of veronicastrums in the past, the pink one in this post is Fascination, an early flowerer with candelabra like spikes. Now I also have the white one in bloom. I love them.

    • Thank you Claire! Now I don’t see swallowtails anymore, nor their caterpillar on the fennel but there is a more yellow butterfly very pretty coming and going, I’ll take some pics!

  15. Hi Alberto, I do hope everything is OK. I miss your posts. It got to hot for me to do anything in the garden, I could send you some Irises soon, if you’d still like them. Christina

    • Ciao Christina! I know I’ve been missing for a while around here and I feel terribly guilty! I’m coming back soon, I promise!
      Meanwhile, for those irises I’d love to receive some! I think you have my address, haven’t you?

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