I’m glad several of you voted for the view from the terrace as the view for me to show on Fridays during summer. When I looked back through all my photographs to show how it began and progressed to this point I found very few images. Now why is that? Maybe because it is the view I see from the sitting room window or because it is here that we usually sit for an aperitivo so I am so familiar with the view that I never photograph it. Or is it because it isn’t as pleasing as it could be; there are images of the setting sun; this is one of the best places to enjoy the amazing colours that fill the sky.
I laid out the shape of the beds here in December 2008. I have to admit I didn’t have a firm vision of what I wanted to achieve with the border that forms the right of the view I am showing apart from hiding the drive from the terrace and giving some privacy from the drive when we are on the terrace. Boringly named the Upper Drive Border (only so I know where I’ve put things); this border edges the top of the drive all the area above the cypress (where I stand to take the image of the slope on Thursday) turns at 90° to edge the path by the terrace and then another path runs between it and the Large Island.
There is an irrigation pipe visible in this image but I decided that all of this area should be drought tolerant plants and so it has never been connected.
Calamagrostis angustifolia ‘Karl Foerster’ isn’t as drought tolerant as the books would have you believe and so these were moved to the Back border when it became obvious that they would survive here.
By Spring 2012 the shrubs were beginning to fill out and make their presence felt, including a couple of Cistus, Phlomis and an Eleagnus.
The new view therefore includes the right hand edge of the Large Island and most of the Upper Drive Border and looks out over the olives to the fields (and sadly some new construction) beyond.
As the weeks progress I’ll give some detailed information about the plants but here is the view today 23rd May 2014.
This is the most outward looking view in the garden; the other boundaries have hedges to protect from the cold winds. In summer the hot wind from the sea blows in towards the garden but the view is too good to want to lose it even thought is can be like the blast from a furnace.
I would be very pleased to have your comments about this rarely shown view.
Oh Christina – how lovely to see how this view developed over the years, but My! How scarey is all that blank soil in the early photos! You may not have thought you had a ‘firm vision’ but but there was certainly enough for it to come together in not many years. You must be well pleased with the result, and I look forward to seeing more pictures on future Fridays. I am extremely struck by those pink Californian poppies – did you grow them from seed, and do they self seed?
Thanks for your very positive comments, Cathy. I want to add some more uprights to the bed to frame the views I want and obscure those I don’t. The pink poppies are easy from sees, I just sprinkled on the ground, I’ve never had much success just doing that with seeds in the past. I’ve seen them for sale in the UK, but mine were bought for me in the US by a friend so I think of her when I see all the Californian poppies. There are also some lovely darker orange that came from a mix I don’t remember the name of Christina
I so enjoyed reading this Christina and really like seeing more of your lovely garden. I like the image to of you sitting for an aperitivo, with a wonderful view to enjoy. Your pillar rose looks very pretty, is it scented?
The rose is delicately scented and flowers for a long period.
It is lovely to see how you developed this bed Christina – what a transformation in just a few years! I am looking forward to seeing more and learning about the plants that survive well in this location.
If plants survive in this bed they are very drought tolerant as they are also subject to the hot wind from the west in summer.
So interesting to see the progression of the planting. I have never laid a gravel path – I always have fears that it would end up in the surrounding garden. Yours looks lovely and adds lots of interest. Does the gravel stay in place? I have been looking at Cistus here but they are very boring. Yours look like the type that has silky, slightly crinkly pink petals and long yellow stamens. Are they a type that need a mild climate? Amelia
The gravel in on top of landscape fabric so it isn’t very think, it moves a little into the beds where there is no edging. As the path slopes quite a lot I had to put edging stones, originally I used tuffo rocks from the garden but they break down over time so now it is crazy paving on its edge that was lifted from around the house when we built the terrace. The Cistus would grow where you are with good drainage.
it’s lovely to see the progression of this area Christina, unlike Cathy I swoon at the blank canvas, how I wish, did you have a lot of clearing to do to get the blank canvas? I know you grow plants from seed and cuttings, did you grow the plants yourself in the initial planting? sorry the questions but to me these things reflect on how a garden develops, and one more is the grave a seedbed? I see grave talked about and used but in my garden it’s become the path from hell as everything seeds in it, it’s worse than bare soil,
Christina, I love how from even the early planting there are a variety of shapes and textures, the softness of the grasses contrast with the small shrubs and the beautiful tall lilies and gladiolus, I like citsus when I see it in hot dry climates, the small grey leaves and bright flowers which show up well in bright sunlight, perhaps the west view had not been photographed so much as it has not been an area you have been concentrating on for your blog, now you are changing this, thanks for sharing, Frances
Almost all the ‘garden’ was just grass, like a couch grass and convolvulus combined so it needed to be cleared carefully. Just leaving a tiny piece of root would mean it could easily grow back. I bought the initial shrubs but the Stipa tenuissima has always seeded around the garden from the initial few plants I purchases so they tend to be the first filler plant I use, I love the way it moves in the wind and is green in winter. See my comment in response to Janet about the gravel. I fear that one reason I haven’t photographed this view much before is that it doesn’t change enough!
Such a fascinating post Christina, I loved seeing how the borders have evolved over the years, as you have added layers of interest and the shrubs have matured. I’ve found it all very helpful, not least in reminding me that it has taken a few years and lots of patience for your vision to become reality, and that the reality is still evolving as you do.
How do you find the landscaping fabric on the paths? I’ve been veering away from using it as I tend to find weeds move in anyway, but it does reduce the depth of gravel required.
I removed all the perennial weeds and roots from beds and paths before laying the fabric. I hate wading through deep gravel. Of course some things will seed into it but it is very easy to pull them out because they tend to be on the surface of the fabric.
Lovely to see a new view Christina and the progress over the years is amazing, nice to know that you use the hosepipe method of shaping your beds too !You certainly have a beautiful view from your terrace, I’m not surprised you wanted to preserve it and not block it out.
When I design flat spaces I do it on paper but on a slope it is actually much easier to do it with a hose! Also curves on paper look very different in reality.
I love that view you have Christina, and it is interesting to see how you started off the border. I shall enjoy following this through the seasons. I think the view beyond the garden is so much a part of it too. 😀
Yes, you’re correct, Cathy, because of the wind break planted around the rest of the garden this IS the view and I always wanted it to be borrowed landscape.
That’s a great view that you have from your terrace. It’s really interesting to see how the plants have developed and filled the border over the years. Do you have plans for what you’ll plant to replace the stipa at the front of the bed?
I don’t have any fixed ideas about the changes that need to be made, I intend observing it over the next few months. I wouldn’t plant anything until autumn so there is time.
I do love that viewpoint! The views across the open countryside are fantastic – you’re right not to block them with boundaries. A good series of photos there. They really show how that part of the garden has evolved. I will enjoy seeing it over the coming weeks!
Great post on the evolution of your border! It really helps you understand how dramatically things have changed and how you got there. Also, I’m generally not crazy about pink, but that California poppy is wonderful!
The ‘Thai Silk’ group has darker pinks almost purples too. In the US you can probably buy all the colours separately.
It’s very instructive to see how your developed this view over time. I love Gladiolus but Gladiolus nana ‘The Bride’ is new to me–very lovely, sure to look nice in a vase. susie
I like the smaller flowers of this gladiolus, I am growing some of the large ones too this year but they can be hard to place in the garden or in an arrangement.
Christina, I love how you have shown the same view over time and explained its development. I love the view from your terrace. Your winter image demonstrates that it has excellent bones!
Thanks Debbie, I think it might need some more structure, that is one of the reasons I’m glad this view was chosen.
Oh Christina what a beautiful view from this point of your garden….and how beautiful it has grown in….