May, end of the Month Review

So much has flowered this month it has been impossible not to walk around the garden without finding another plant that has begun to flower.

Our hot dry weather has continued for the whole month; and even when I can see rain falling only a few kilometres away nothing has fallen on My Hesperides Garden!  The ground was already dry as this winter there was hardly any rain at all.  A year ago it was very different (then we’d had almost a whole year of rain except of course for July and August when it rarely rains in Lazio).

By the beginning of May all the tulips were finished, a very short show this year but enjoyable all the same.  Then in very quick succession Irises, Allium and then of course, May means roses.

a successful combination of Iris, Rosa rubifolia and Artemisia ponticum

Allium cristophii remains interesting for a long time

Rosa Gertude Jekyll looking and smelling wonderful

Last Monday I was a judge at an International Rose competition and I have to say that it made me realise how many bad roses enter into the market without having any additional value than the thousands that already exist.  We were judging roses that had been in commerce for less than 5 years and apart from perhaps one or at most two of those being evaluated I don’t think they merited inclusion ion any garden.  It certainly made me appreciate my own roses even more and made me happy with my choices.

Eremurus cleopatra

For the first time some of the Eremurus I planted 2 years ago have flowered.  Either they liked the cold this winter or the lack of rain – I like them but think they are probably too fussy for me to purchase more, maybe they will spread by themselves, I hope so.

Now on to the slope, the part of the garden I usually concentrate on for the EoMR.  Here is the slope when I first planted Stipa, Gaura and Verbena bonarienis last November.

7th November 2010

The same view now.

Everything has grown much more than I could have hoped and it is looking how imagined it would look in a couple of years’ time.  The effect of a meadow or prairie is strong especially with Stipa tenuissima blowing in the wind.

at the beginning of the month

The Weigela was moved here a year ago. it seems to like it

Stipa on 4th May

I admit to sowing the poppy seed

Evening light on the slope

Poppies with a giant Verbascum that seeded itself here from the fields outside the garden

Stipa now - just look how much its grown!

As always there are some happy accidents, I found some loose bulbs at the bottom of the box and thought they were allium so added them to the ‘stream’ flowing down the slope but I was wrong they were Gladioli byzantinus  – I love the contrast in colour with the Cerinthe and large grey leaves of Verbascum.

The Gaura is also beginning to flower, a few plants didn’t survive ants mining under them, but there are enough and I have more I can add if necessary.

What do I need to do to improve the planting?  I’m very satisfied already and I don’t want to add too many different plant species to the mix.  I’ve already planted the cuttings of Solanum jasminoides album I took last autumn and they are growing, I’m longing for the mass of frothy white flowers that will flow from the top of the bank to the bottom in future years.  At the moment I think I need to just wait and see what happens.  The Cerinthe are looking well past their best, but I’ll leave them to set seed and hope they plant themselves in an interesting way; the same for the poppies, both Californian and European.  If the Stipa get s too big I’ll just pull it out and allow seedlings to grow where they choose.

Just to finish a couple of views across the garden and a rose that grows wonderfully in hot climates but doesn’t like damp, cool weather so isn’t often grown in the UK.  R. Sally Holmes, I have three in the garden that were cuttings from a friend 4 years ago.

R. Sally Holmes in the Left hand border

Isn't that just beautiful?

Evening light shines through the planting

Looking accross from the greenhouse

Thank you Helen at Patient Gardener for hosting the End of Month View this month.  Visit her to see what others are planning and doing in their gardens this month.

&©Copyright 2011
All rights reserved.
Content created by Christina for
My Hesperides Garden.

21 thoughts on “May, end of the Month Review

  1. Lovely, Christina. I can’t tell you how I covet those Cleopatras! I might have to wait a great deal longer than 2 years!! They do have such height and elegance – but in the mild wet south west of England on heavy clay…. The slope is looking like a beautiful prairie,the gladiolus just right.

  2. Your slope looks amazing Christina, it looks as if it has been planted up for years, I can’t quite believe the transformation. I think you are right to wait and watch it develop for a while before deciding whether to add anything. The fairly limited palette of plants is key to how coherent it looks I think. Wonderful. Will you pick a new area for the EOMV now?

    • Hi Janet, thanks for your positive comments. I will continue to show changes and progress on the slope and will add to the area I started to discuss a couple of months ago where I want to plant some fruit trees and maybe another couple of vegetable beds or I ight give more in depth details of the different beds that I never seem to get around to doing in the normal way things. Next post must be the Veg garden.

  3. Some stunning plants and plantings Christina. It’s incredible to see how much growth there has been since last November. Your garden also positively sings out with warmth and sunshine. I’m green with envy 🙂

  4. Christina, Wow, your slope garden is gorgeous–what a success. I get very frustrated with all the plant introductions in certain groups too. For me it is heuchera, pulmonaria, snowdrops, toad-lily, etc. The really good plants get lost in the shuffle and often disappear from the marketplace in favor of new inferior cultivars. The rose ‘G. J.’ looks beautiful. Carolyn

    • Hi Carolyn, thank you for your enthusiasm. I appreciate it very much knowing how wonderful your garden is. Before judging the roses I’d never given enough thought as to which cultivars make it in the market place. It is sad to think that it is all down to marketing which plants are a success and not to the quality of the cultivar. Christina

  5. WOW!!! Your garden is looking absolutely fantastic! I love the stipa! Your roses, iris, poppies … The whole mix looks just amazing. I’m so inspired by your beautiful garden.

  6. It looks wonderful, the slope has really filled out. I like the poppies. I am going to plant some red Geums amongst my grasses so they lift the overall effect.

    I do think the colours in your garden sing out much better than mine probably due to the light.

    • Thank you, Helen. Light certainly has a profound effect on how colours appear, I usually try to take my photos early morning or in the evening when the light is low; in the bright light of day the colurs are completely bleached, I’ll try to give some examples in a later post. Christina

  7. Christina, I am serious when i say your garden is among my top five favorites of all the ones I have come across on Blotanical. You are truly an inspiration. I love your hillside garden! The color and foliage associations are fantastic.

  8. Christinia, I think I would pay to see your garden, the whole place looks amazing. The plants you’ve chosen sit fantastically together and complement the landscape really well. And the mass of poppies are beautiful, I wish I had the space for something like that! The prairie look is definitely growing on me.

  9. Wow, what a difference a month has made in your garden! I really like the transformation shots from the beginning of the month to the end, they’re soooo interesting as it shows just how fast nature can grow!

    • Hi Anthony, yes it is surprising just how quickly everything grows. Yesterday it was very hot in the morning, 26° C then it rained for 2 hours in the afternoon – you could almost hear everything growing after that.

  10. hello Christina, your garden looks wonderful and I love your slope garden very prairie garden, how wonderful to plant an area up and see such beautiful results, Frances

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