July – end of month review

July has been hot, to begin hot and humid and ending hot and windy; though probably it hasn’t been as hot as other years the humidity has made it less bearable.  However during the last week the Tramontana blew and it was cool and on Saturday there were thunder storms – very unusual in Italy in July.

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon)

It has been a month where the vegetable garden has been more demanding than the borders.  July has been a month full of vegetables and fruit, butterflies and bees, and dinners outside, beginning at sunset and continuing into the night.  The sound of the Little Owl bring food for her chick, the bees so intent on drinking the nectar of the Datura flowers that they made perfectly circular holes in the petals so that they could enter even before they opened.

my very first melon, sweet and juicy

Savouring the first melon, the first sweetcorn; looking anew at my recipe books to find interesting new recipes for dealing with the gluts.

The lavender and perovskia have been attracting bees and butterflies all month.  We have pruned the lavender (the last weekend of the month) it would have been better done even 2 weeks earlier – I feel I have regained the structure of the garden; it is only the cost that prevents me changing the lavender hedges to Myrtle.

The wind has been so strong I have had to irrigate even some of the borders that I usually leave to wait for the rain.  Leaves have looked crisp rather than luxuriant.  Some plants have surprised me with how well they have dealt with the weather.  Hemerocallus are certainly overlooked as being suited to a hot, dry Mediterranean climate.  They were flowering for much of the month.

Rosa mutablis has also been in flower for much of the month as has Rosa Molineux, R. Scepter’d Isle, R. Westerland and R. Clair Matin.

Rosa Molineux

It has been cooking using the crops, trying to keep up with harvesting the tomatoes, zucchini, basil and the cucumbers.

Oven roasted vegetables with ALL my own produce

I was thrilled that Caesalpinia gilliesii flowered this month.  A friend gave me a small cutting last year, so I didn’t expect it to flower this year.  It is now a small, very small tree.

Caesalpinia gilliesii (Bird of Paradise bush)

The pleasure of the garden has been its abundance, despite the heat and wind for much of the month I have been very satisfied.

7 thoughts on “July – end of month review

  1. Hi – I’m glad you have joined in the end of month post and look forward to discovering more about your garden. Where abouts in Italy are you?

    • I live in Northern Lazio about half way between Rome and Siena,; it is an area forgotten by most tourists. Viterbo is a city still completely surrounded by its Medieval walls about the same population as Siena. It is an area of many Etruscan tombs and you can recognise many of the faces seen in the painted Etruscan tombs on the polulation today!

  2. I love your bird of paradise, and envy your melon, which looks delicious. You have reminded me that the lavender needs to be clipped- along with a few hundred other tasks that need doing…but it does look much better when cut.

  3. I am very impressed with your melon – did it need a lot of water & space? I have a caesalpina in a pot and wonder about planting it out. Did yours survive the winter ok?

    • Hi Yvonne, The melons surprised me. I expected maybe 2 per plant. so far from 2 plants I have 7 melons. They spread a bit, but no more than zucchini and I think you could climb them up a support. They are irrigated for a total of 45 mintes per night (3 x 15 minutes) giving them about 3 litres directly to the root area.

  4. Hi, the last pictureof this post is very nice. I am amazed by Italian gardens as you can see on my blog and I know surroudings of Viterbo as relaxing place for rich Italians in the past. I hope I will have more time to visit it during some of my next visits.

    • Thank you Jana. Yes, Viterbo is the centre of some of the most important Renaissance gardens in the world. I hope you will come to visit Villa Lante, Palazzo Farnese and Bomarzo soon. Your post about hydrangeas is very interesting with lovely photos.

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