Piedmont & Alba

Piedmont is the state in Italy that is north of Liguria and Alba is a small city in Piedmont. We went to one beautiful garden and then had lunch in a castle.


There are many farms and vineyards in Piedmont among the rolling hills which make for a very picturesque landscape.

This is the long drive to our next garden lined with Linden trees (Tilia cordata).


The owner is the lady in the blue shirt.

The garden is divided up into several rooms bordered by Yew & Boxwood hedges.


Each room has its own plant pallet and going from one room to another is a surprise.

At one of the entries to the garden grows a beautiful Weeping Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’). The branching structure inside is very sculptural.

The lawn is planted with many bulbs such as Daffodils, Tulips and Camassias for winter and Spring color. After their foliage matures at the beginning of June everything is mowed and it becomes a lawn again for Summer.

The property was an abbey in the middle 16th century and then became a farmstead. The garden was not developed until 1992.

The secret garden was developed next to the church and is surrounded by walls.

The extensive lawns are mowed by these battery powered lawn mowers.

There are many climbing roses that are beautifully espaliered on the walls.

Interesting Plants:

Chinese Fringe Tree (Chionanthus retusus)

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

Note the “knees” coming up from the water’s edge. These enable the transfer of air into the roots so they can survive growing in swamps.


The gardener says the owner loves them but he doesn’t because they are always “floppy” and need to be dead-headed often.

Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)

Gas Plant (Dictamnus albus)

Oils from immature seed pods will ignite when you hold a match to it.

Golden Sweet Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’)

Clematis cv.

Meadow Rue (Thalictrum aquilegiifolium cv. )

Indoor swimming pool


This is the castle where we ate and views of the surrounding countryside. The castle was built in the middle of the 11th century.

This is one small dining area and the main dining hall where we ate the 6 course meal.

Menu and photo of each course.

The first course had some capers in the salad. These are photos of the caper plant growing on the wall on the outside of the castle.

Group photo

Next: Lake Maggiore

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