A couple of days ago was the fifth anniversary of my arrival here in Italy.  At the risk of seeming indolent and somewhat sybaritic I post this pic taken the other day of me in the infinity pool here at my home, Bellaugello Gay Guest House near the delightful medieval city of Gubbio in Umbria.

However…. to get to this stage over the past five years I have actually been a little bit busy.

First of all it took almost a year to negotiate and complete the purchase of the then derelict farm and house – whilst at the same time getting to grips with learning a new language.  Nobody had lived here for over forty years, the place was cocooned and delightful, but like a sleeping beauty sadly neglected.

And so I set about restoration and conversion to form a luxury gay guest house….

We even built a great wall…

and then I got to paint soooo many rooms…. and install sooo many kitchens…..

and finally furnished the house…..

and the more than 1000 plants planted to make a garden matured…..

where we had previously installed a temporary swimming pool……

which was removed once our real 15 x 5 meter salt treated infinity pool was completed last year…

Which I think is where I began….

This morning soft rain fell and clouds hung in the valley below.  It was one of those magical Umbrian days, as slowly the mists rose and refreshed hillsides and fields were revealed.  The much needed rain brought life to the plants, and newly fertilised lawns here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.

And talking of plants, as if by magic three fabulous heavily scented roses appeared yesterday morning on the terrace.  It seems my guests from the southern hemisphere just adore roses, and felt that the gardens at Bellaugello Gay B&B could do with a few more….

Thanks to James and David for their fragrant and beautiful gifts and also for having planted them!  It was real fun having you guys to stay.


May and June are spectacular months here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria.  The weather is warm, and spring has filled the trees with fruit – all be it that the birds stripped bare a cherry tree in just one morning.  The roses are blooming, the geraniums bursting forth with their deep reds and crimsons, and the lavender is growing daily bigger, flower heads filling.

Umbria and Toscana have many spectacular gardens open to the public and these months are an ideal time for the plantsman to visit, roads are quiet, there are few queues, and the colours are amazing.

Last night we sat for dinner of truffled lasagne, my Italian meatballs, scented with pine nuts and lemon zest, and a creamy lemon tart, all accompanied by wines chosen by the guys including the fabulous Di Filippo Poggio Madrigale, the deep intense Merlot and Sangiovese wine produced by the biological cantina of Di Filippo near Perugia.  Guests are from all over the world, both southern and northern hemispheres, and conversation flowed…