The end of April is like the end of May or even end of June in the UK. Everything is coming into flower, every day when I walk around the garden I am surprised by some bloom I didn’t even see the bud of the previous day.
The tulips are no more – I’ll be writing a follow up post as to what happened to the rest of the tulips I was expecting to flower.
So this past week has been a week of firsts! First roses, first irises, first strawberries, first hot still days with butterflies sipping the nectar of thyme flowers.
I have French Lavender planted at the base of most of the pillars around the terrace; it hasn’t really looked very happy and I have been pondering whether I should remove it and plant with something else; but I hadn’t thought of anything else so it was a pleasant surprise to see that this year it is looking lovely, sprawling out to give solidity to the pillar roses climbing above, another first.
Yellow roses are forming arches up and over the pillara and beams that form the pergola
Rosa mutabilis is forming a real hedge for the first time and is full of flower.
I planted a banksia rose three years ago; it has struggled as it was planted into very poor soil (more or less into solid tuffo) with no irrigation but this year for the first time it has filled out and is covered in a profusion of pale yellow blooms.
Some planting combinations that I planned last year, and moved plants around in the autumn are now producing the effects I hoped for.
I planted more Gladioli bizantinus near a prostrate Ceonothus, I like the clashing combination of colours.
I moved Irises last autumn, Kent Pride to be close to the new growth of Nandino; I moved some Iris Jane Phillips near to Rosa Molineux and some to nearby the Ceonothus/Gladioli combination shown above. After I wrote the post I was admonished by a friend who said that I was transplanting the Irises far too late and that it should be done in July; I am new to Iris growing so knew that I would just have to wait and see – all the irises I transplanted have thick buds or are already opening their fascinating flowers to reveal their ‘beards’. I don’t think my friend was wrong, just that in Italy the growing season continues much longer into autumn (especially last autumn when it was warm until Christmas) so there was plenty of time for the tubers to settle and grow. Most plants will die if transplanted in July, which is when I apparently should have moved them; probably Iris could be moved then because their tubers hold all the moisture they need for the summer anyway.
Iris Jane Phillips
Ceonothus and Thyme growing satisfyingly together, a more subtle combination
Thyme also combines with Cistus' more vibrant tones
Iris Jane Phillips with pink Cistus and the pink new leaves of Mahonia
All the above combinations are to be found at the top of the drive border; this year this is filling out so that the shrubs are beginning to grow into each other, pushing out some of the more transient perennials.
Some combinations are happy accidents; the above cistus was newly planted last autumn, I very much like how it reflects the colour of Iris ‘Kent Pride’ next to it.
Iris 'Kent Pride'
It will be better still when the cistus grows and produces more flowers.
Many roses are flowering already but I’ll save those for another day, There seem to be more buds than usual on the roses which could be due to the cold spell in the winter or that they are now more established.
R. Sophie's perpetual
Looking across the upper drive border out to the surrounding countryside
I’m joining Helen the Patient Gardener for her End of the Month View, do visit her to see what is happening in other gardens at the end of the April 2012.
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