It’s slightly unreal to be still pottering around the garden in a polo shirt while in the UK, igloo prices have gone through the roof, and a team of huskies and a sled have replaced the SUV as the favoured transport to get to/from the supermarket.

It's mid-December, but the roses are still blooming !Yesterday, two weeks before Christmas, it was 19˚C in our Abruzzo garden at noon. That’s 66˚F.

So the roses continue to bloom away happily, and down by the pool, it’s scarcely less colourful than it was in high summer.  

There is, of course, a downside. A confused apple tree has been trying to blossom a good four months early and weeds continue to flourish.

But maybe not for long.

Tomorrow, snow is forecast. And the day after tomorrow. And the day after that. About 35cms all-told.

And then the sun is due to come back out, so it’ll all melt.

If the forecast’s to be believed, we’re dreaming of a damp Christmas.

Our Green and Eco-Friendly Abruzzo Garden…

We took advantage of the great weather to bring in our annual consignment of leftovers from the olive harvest which we use as a mulch and general soil conditioner.

It’s an incredibly good way of recycling this abundant natural resource, which is about as green and eco-friendly as it gets.

And free too. Oil mill owners are delighted that anyone actually wants the tons of waste that accumulate during the harvest as they normally have to pay to dispose of it.

From just one of the olive mills in our immediate area, we hauled in five huge trailer-loads of leaves and what remains of the olives themselves after they’ve been turned into oil.

Five huge trailer-loads of eco-friendly olive harvest waste for  our Abruzzo garden !We’re now the proud owners of about three tons of this lovely stuff, which’ll gently rot down over the winter and be used on the garden next spring.

It’s the third year we’ve done this and now that word’s got around that there’s this crazy Englishman who puts this stuff on his garden, other mill owners are queueing-up to offer us even more next year.

Which is fine by us as our Italian acre of gardens, veggie patch and orchard just swallows it up – and is visibly improved as a result.

And are local farmers clamouring to use this free, locally-available resource too ? No.

The farming community around us is very traditional and conservative and new-fangled ideas like recycling olive harvest waste is viewed with extreme caution.

Animal waste is what’s always been used on the land and is what goes on being used.

You can’t help but feel our neighbours are missing a trick.