Poppy Time

Photo by Rick Gush I love the orange poppies from my home state of California, but the red poppies of Italy are striking and exotic to me. One of the reasons I really like living in Italy is that so much of ordinary, everyday existence is exotic to me. For example, I get a big […]

Ancient Pittosporums

Rapallo has many of the ancient shrub Pittosporum tobira. These shrubs, which are actually small trees, are really attractive year-round, particularly in spring when they bloom.

River Cane

Photo by Rick Gush Though an invasive speices in some places, Arundo (or river cane) has many uses. I know river cane (Arundo donax) is a nasty weed in some places, like California, and that it displaces many native species in riparian habitats, thereby destroying local ecologies. I urge all gardeners and farmers to treat […]

Adirondack Chairs

Despite being an avid gardener, I’m a B-plus-grade carpenter. My cuts are usually off by a 1/16 inch, my sanding and varnishing aren’t so careful, and anything really sophisticated, like a dado joint, is beyond my skill-set.

Dirt Work

It’s early spring, and that means that I’m spending a lot of time preparing the soil in the garden beds prior to planting.

Azalea Prime

I’m crazy about azaleas and rhododendrons, so I’m particularly appreciative of the Rapallo municipal gardening department this time of year. They’ve scattered huge potted azalea and rhododendron plants throughout the city center this week.

Wisteria Frenzy

Photo by Rick Gush The cascading purple wisteria reigns here in Italy. It’s full-blown spring now in Italy, and things are blooming like crazy. I helped my friend use a weed eater on his olive groves this week, and though I cut down a lot of grass, I mostly mowed down fields of full blooming […]

Working with Tools

Photo by Rick Gush This week, I got to try out my new curved surform—a tool to create pieces for my Adirondack chairs. I’ve got several projects going at the moment: building a pair of Adirondack chairs, starting spring garden work and prepping my next art project. All of these activities require excessive and repeated tool […]

Growing Good Neighbors

I have neighbors whose garden adjoins ours at the top of the cliff in a narrow area that was a neighborhood refuse pile before I converted it into part of our garden.