End of the Month View – May 2012

I’m joining Helen the Patient Gardener for this month’s review of what’s happening in the garden this month.

Here in Italy May is the month when everything flowers!  I remember the first time I saw a garden at this time of year I thought it looked fake (like at Chelsea flower show) with plants that would be flowering a month or so apart all flowering together.  This is lovely but it does mean that everything is also over very quickly.  Many plants go into summer hibernation if there is a drought and usually there is no rain from June until mid-August or even September.

For that reason I’ve been posting every day this month and even doing this there are many plants that haven’t appeared in a post.  For June I don’t intend posting everyday but will try for a couple of posts a week.

This month I’d like to share with you a small area I’m developing within the upper drive border.  Below is an image from above; the area starts at an Arbutus tree to the left and continues around to just in front of a holly bush.

Looking down from the attic window

Last autumn I decided to increase the variety plants with crimson flowers here.  In winter I moved Rosa L.D. Braithwaite which was quite small and seems to have moved satisfactorily and has flowered.  I purchased some Asters of different heights and forms and added those to the mix; I need an area that focuses on late summer- early autumn blooms.  I also moved a Penstemon that my friend Linda from Garden in the West gave me in the form of some cuttings she carefully carried from her garden when she visited 2 years ago.  The one that survived has made a good plant and is flowering freely now.  I will take some more cuttings so I can increase the clump size.

There’s still lots of bare earth but it will soon fill in.

Above: Rose L.D. Braithwait

A very hardy succulent type plant, which can become invasive, was also planted – I just broke off some pieces from those situated in the large island and planted them directly into the ground to form good ground cover.  Lychnis coronaria  is already scattered through the garden and I moved some of these to this border too, I like their small points of intense colour and the foliage is quite good too, even in winter.

and in close up

The above bright crimson salvia was a cutting taken from a friend’s plant, I love the colour.

Lychnis coronaria.

Achillea is also making a show, this will clump up quickly.

My intention is to plant some Barcelona tulips that I saw on Hillwards site, they look just the right colour, I also saw a smaller tulips of a similar colour on Julie’s post about her tulips  of again a very similar colour so hopefully the wow factor will last from early spring through summer and into autumn.

To finish here’s some views of the garden that are particularly lovely at the moment and some views of the slope that I have been showing in these end of month views up until now.

Looking accross the garden from the drive, the upper slope is to the right and the large island bed to the left, and you can just see the edge of the circular rose garden.

Looking accross the slope.

The upper drive border.

Below is the first humming bird hawk moth I’ve ever managed to photograph, there are usually lots in the garden but they move so fast, I’ve never had n image any where near in focus.

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32 thoughts on “End of the Month View – May 2012

  1. Hi Christina,The plant is lychnis coronaria I think.I treasure the white one here- one of the few silver foliage plants happy here. Great that you have the penstemon. I loved walking round your beautiful garden in this post.

  2. I see what you mean about everything flowering at once, it looks stunning! I think your plant is Lychnis coronaria, lovely plant that even grows in my heavy clay, I know it shouldn’t, but it hasn’t read the book!!

    • Yes, that’s the one Pauline; I can never remember the name (I have a complete mental block about it). It’s very good that plants don’t read the books – makes our experiments more fun. Christina

  3. Your garden is really filling out now and it looks so bountiful if you can use that term for flowers. I see you now know the name of the plant, I too have a real block on the names of certain plants that it gets embarrasing to ask again.

    Thanks for joining in again this month

  4. You have such a variety of plants, Christina. I love lychnis, too. The pink is such a shocking colour. I’m jealous of of hummingbird moth photo. I spent hours in the garden last year, probably looking like a fool, chasing them around my garden trying to capture them on the camera with no real luck. Just a bunch of blurs, enough to prove to hubby that they had been in the garden but that’s it. They are just constantly on the go. I can see why you’re so chuffed with the photos. WW

    • I spend ages trying to photograph the butteflies etc. and I’m sure if anyone was watching they would be be laughing at my strange movements. Christina

  5. Picturesque Christina! Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) is a favorite in my garden, passed-along by a dear elderly cousin many years ago. It usually does “too” well and has done so this year, so I need to rein it back this week.

  6. Looking beautiful, Christina. Thanks for the link (although it looks a little broken) – they were Barcelona tulips that we grew this year too, such a beautiful colour, I hope they do really well for you. While those in pots bloomed in April, the stragglers that I popped in the ground at the end of February bloomed through May in the border, the last petals have just blown off in the last day or two.
    I love those rusty irises, and all the reds and purples you have. Your garden really looks like summer…
    S x

  7. Christina I see what you mean about your garden being in summer, it all looks wonderful, love the photo of the humming bird hawk moth, is the beautiful deep pink stary daisy the flower of the succulent plant they are very beautiful, Frances

  8. Hello Christina, oh… I do love to see and hear about your borders and see lots of photos with different angles. I love the plants you use and really do enjoy seeing the planting combinations you work with. You are developing a wonderful garden and the love you put into it is clear to see 😀

    Although, I knew you were adding grasses and other foliage plants to add interest and movement to your garden, I didn’t realise how important they would be when your summer flower power is concentrated during the month of May. I’m going to pop back later tonight to look through your daily May posts to see all that blooms together during this month in your part of Italy 😀

    • Hi Shirl, we must have been reading each others posts at the same time (incredible!). Grasses add so much to the garden all year round I would find it very hard without them. Christina

  9. Holy HOT PINK frenzy – just love it Christina! Beautiful! I think we call that succulent “ice plant” here in Central Texas????

    anyway, just beautiful pictures, and the addition of the bright pink tones looks amazing everywhere! Also, your grasses blow my mind! Have a great weekend. 🙂

  10. Hi Christina,This must be an exciting time of year with so many plants in flower before summer heat and drought sends everything into hibernation. I like all the touches of deep red, grey and light pink. Your garden overall has a soft feathery feel to it.

  11. Christina, I just finished reviewing all of your posts for May and really enjoyed the overview. I love your formal garden, but you seem to have so many wonderful spaces. You are a true plantswoman and a great designer, as well. The drive border looks fantastic.

  12. Well done on capturing the hummingbird hawk-moth, Christina. They’re fast little fellows aren’t they? I’ve only ever seen two or three and it’s always a treat for one to show up – especially as they will have migrated all the way up from your part of the world. Your garden, as ever, is looking beautiful. Sad that it will soon be over (for the summer drought) – no wonder you’re posting so frequently. D

  13. Your garden is looking lovely – you have a nice variety of trees too, great for providing contrast as well as structure. Your climbing Rose looks very impressive.

  14. I’ve just been catching up on all your May posts – why is there too much work at just the wrong time of year? – and your garden looks absolutely stunning…. wonderful, what abundance. Even if it is preparation for the drought!

    (The first shot here brought me up short, because those irises that you can see on the right look exactly the same as my main clumps, and I’ve no idea what they are. Do you happen to know, by any chance? They’re gorgeous…)

    • Sorry Kate, I can’t help with the name of that Iris, I was given to me my a friend who had already forgotten its name although he’s been very good remembering the names of most of the others I have. It is a lovely rich velvety colour. It might be Iris Bordeux, but when I was checking the colour there were several different colours shown so I am none the wiser! If I find out I’ll let you know. Christina

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