End of Month View June

I had thought in the end of May View, that the slope wouldn’t change very much so I would have to choose another area of the garden; I was wrong, Wild Verbascums blown into the garden from the surrounding fields have changed the way it looks altogether.

Another aspect I hadn’t taken into account was that plants I don’t count as being on the slope really, above the line of the Holm Oak bushes, have grown to such an extent that they have become the background to the slope – this is especially true of the large orange Knifophia, truly Red Hot Pokers!

From the top of the slope looking along towards the drive

In the foreground of the above image you can just see a Salvia Turkestanica which seeded from the huge one I had 2 years ago (I’m relieved this one is not so large as they are so awful to remove because of the ghastly smell –I noticed before it doesn’t start to smell until it has flowers, weird!

Looking up the slope with the amazing Solanum jasminoides that flowers for ever

From midway up the drive looking down

There is Perovskia in this border too!

Other things I’d quickly like to share with you: the blue of the Perovskia!

If you would like to read more about what’s happening in other gardens all over the world visit Helen at The Patient Gardener.  Once again a big thank you to Helen for hosting this meme for us.

From next month I’m thinking of writing about the progress of individual beds.  Listing all the plants they contain and highlighting changes I’ve made and why (if there is a reason).  If I do this I’ll begin with the Small Island, just because I’m so pleased with the way it looks this year

Part of the Small Island

This morning I harvested all the garlic and the white onions that had bent over (on their own, I don’t believe you should bend them forcefully)

Just over half of the white onions

You may have noticed fennel growing by the edge of the drive, I harvest the flowers, dry them put them into jars and use this intensely flavoured condiment when cooking roast potatoes, sausage risotto or Porcini (ceps).

Fennel, picked this morning

Picked last week, dried and awaiting the tedious job of piutting just the yellow flowers into a jar. Worth its weight in gold

As I walking past the lavender I saw this strange looking bug, I don’t know what it is or if it does any damage, it was alone so I doubt it will do much damage anyway.

Any ideas as to what it is?

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

The bleached garden begins

Now is the time year that the colour in the garden fades and bleaches with the bright sun.  The best time for taking photographs is early morning for just before dusk, but that doesn’t give a true version of how the garden looks for most of the day.

Allium sphaerocephalon with Euphorbia rigida

Some plants continue to look attractive even in the strong light but others look almost grey!  Silver leaved plants sparkle, I have many different species and varieties and I enjoy the way they make the colours near them sing out.

Allium sphaerocephalon blends with many other plants and usually repeat flowers in the second and third years in my garden, it will even seed itself and flower quite quickly. Here it is with a Phormium I thought had died in the cold winter, it is now looking better than it did last year. I do like the way the allium grows from pale green through to deep purple and makes little exclamation marks of dense colour.

Allium sphaerocephalon with a similar coloured Phormium

I planted a 1000 of these allium in a stream that winds its way through the other plants in the large island.

Much of the garden is dominated by blue and silver.  Both the lavender and the Perovskia are flowering earlier this year, already I can only push through the bee-covered flowers of the lavender to walk along the paths that a month ago were wide enough for two people to walk along together.

Yellow roses on the pergola are flowering again to give the contrast in colour I wanted and that last year didn’t happen, I must keep feeding and dead-heading them so they’ll continue all summer.

Fromal beds now in full bloom

The gift of wind-blown seed is a joy (not always of course as all the weeds in the garden are also brought in by the wind).  Last year the field to the west of the garden (and the direction the wind blows from in summer) was full of Verbascum Thapsus which looks very much like the Verbascum you will know from gardens called Verbascum olympicum; it has cleverly seeded itself just into the edge of the drive as well as into the slope.  When I drove up the drive the other night the headlights picked up their amazing forms looking like some kind of Triffid.

Visitors to the garden who haven’t seen it for a year are amazed at the growth rate of many of the plants – I am myself amazed at just how quickly the garden has filled out.  I started digging the first border (Left hand border) in 2007 and the islands were planted in autumn 2009 so it is still a very ‘new’ and I am so happy that it is starting already to feel mature.

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

June GBBD

The hot weather of the last two months has continued but we have had some rain; mostly as showers that occur in the late afternoon.  I have a least been able to turn the irrigation off for several days.  Almost all the images of the flowers blooming today have rain drops on their petals as you’ll see from the slide show.

The garden feels much more like mid or high summer than June.  Lavender is flowering and is overflowing onto the pathways, meaning that when I walk through the garden I brush against it releasing the heady perfume. Many of the roses have finished their first flowering; some are already showing signs of being ready to start again.  R. x odorato ‘Mutabilis’ is flowering again as is R. Stanwell Perpetual, R. Sophie’s Perpetual.  R. Queen of Sweden already had new shoots growing below each previous bloom and even some buds; even before I had dead-headed it.  R. ‘Clair Matin’ on the pillars also has lots of new growth with buds, there have always been some flowers from when it started to flower in early May.  Pierre di Ronsard is situated on a north facing pillar and so this is the first flowers.  William Shakespeare is still being generous with new flowers opening.

R. William Shakespeare

I have been tying in the long waving shoots of the Wisteria which also has lots of secondary flowers. These Lilies are flowering for the third year in these pots, without any extra food or change of soil – that’s great value.  Their growth is stronger too after the first year and don’t now need staking as they did when first planted.

Regal Lillies

Self-sown Verbascum are very impressive; all are taller than when they grow in the fields around the house, this one is about 2.3 m tall!

I planted some ornamental Verbascum as I realised last year when I saw all the wild ones around that they would be happy and perform well.  In spring I sowed a very old packet of V. Phoenician Hybrids, they need potting on so they will be good size plants for planting out in autumn.

Teucrium hyrcanicum is new for me this year and I am enjoying its kitten tail flowers very much.  They contrast well with Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’ and another paler yellow Hemerocallis.  I also like their strong form against the softer form of Nepeta.

I planted a stream of Allium sphaerocephalon through the large island last autumn and they are now opening from green tight heads to deep crimson drum sticks.

There are others in the garden flowering for a second year and also others that have self-seeded.   As you will see from the slide show when you click on the image below there are several starry white flowers, they are: Jasminum officinale, Trachelospermum, and Solanum jasminoides ‘Album’

Upper drive border

Today is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day when gardeners from all over the world post about what is blooming in their gardens; why not visit Carol at May Dreams Garden who hosts this meme.  So whether its early summer or early winter with you have a great GBBD.

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

Yesterday’s Harvest

The time is beginning when it takes longer to harvest crops than it does to do other jobs in the garden.  I think this is a fact often over-looked by us gardeners.  It is a joy but it can also become just another chore; you have to do it too otherwise plants won’t carry on flowering and producing more, especially zucchini (courgettes) cucumbers and beans.

330 g raspberries

about 150 g black currants, and that's nearly all of them - not good

There were 3 figs, I ate one direct from the tree!

We need to eat beans every day this week, there are so many to pick

there are some zucchini every day now.

Tomatoes and basil for a salad

All the above took about 35 minutes to pick.

There weren’t any cucumbers yesterday but on Sunday I picked seven!

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

Views from my windows

I haven’t been posting as much as I would like, but it is either actually get things done or write about doing them!

After several weeks of hot sunny weather yesterday afternoon we finally had a couple of hours of rain.  The first hour was extremely heavy, monsoon-like battering down the plants, the second hour was just what every gardener wants – steady but not damaging rain that really penetrates the soil.  Given that the temperature in the morning was about 27 ° C of even a little higher the result is that you can almost see the plants growing now.  Today is humid, hot and there was another shower, although not really enough to do more than wet the surface.

I would like to share with you the views from my windows, this will give you an idea of which bed I’m talking about in future posts and as some of the windows are quite high it is a bit like looking at a plan of the garden.  I am slowly trying to write details of each bed which will appear in Borders and areas within the garden, this will help me see the progress and changes that have occurred and remind me of all the plants in each bed.  I actually took these photographs a month ago and a lot has already changed, the roses flowered, were wonderful and have now more of less finished their first flowering; they have been dead headed and I need to feed them so they will flower again.  The only rose that is still looking amazing is R. Sally Holmes.

Upper Drive border and part of Large Island

Above you can see the drive, with to the right of the picture the olives with just grass and wild flowers under them.  The upper drive bed joins the Slope (you can’t see that from the windows but you can see progress there on my End of Month Views) and continues, wrapping around the Large Island, The Circular Rose Bed and the Small Island eventually becoming the Back Border which in turn joins the Left Hand Border.

A closer view of the Upper Drive Border

Part of the Large Island

I laid out the island shapes using hose pipe to help decide on the most pleasing shapes – this did involve a lot of going up and down my very steep stairs so quite a healthy exercise.

Above: The circular rose bed, with a small section of the Large Island (foreground, right) with the edge of the Upper Slope and a small piece of the Back border.

The Formal Garden

It is now becoming difficult to walk between the lavender hedges of the formal garden as they have grown so much and are about to flower.

Here is the Left Hand Border (in April 2010)

Rosa mutabilis hedge separates the vegetable garden from the drive and the back of the house

And finally the vegetable garden.

I hope that this helps to understand the layout of the garden.  The property is 3,000 square metres including the house, the olives and a portion outside the fence which I will be writing about in future end of month views.



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