Welcome to GBFD, we I ask you to think about the foliage in your garden rather than the flowers; when I walked out into the garden late yesterday evening to take some images of foliage that was making an impact in the garden I thought that it would be impossible to take any wide angle shots because May is when everything flowers in my garden.
However I was wrong! The very hot beginning to May has meant that many plants have flowered and have now decided a rest is in order and have finished.
Last year all the Cistus flowered for what seemed like weeks and weeks, this year most have already finished, so I must conclude that this drought loving plant actually likes some cooler weather and rain to flower really well! This does explain why, when I visit a Mediterranean style or Dry garden in the UK, it usually looks more lush and flower-filled than is possible in the actual hot, dry climate that is Lazio.
So foliage really is the foundation of my garden, there are plants flowering, lots of them, but from many angles it is the foliage that is the backbone of the design.
Last month I wrote about my dilemma; what should I do with my poor box (Buxus sempervirens) that was being decimated by the Box moth caterpillars. Thank you all for your sympathy, suggestions and possible solutions to the problem.
Just after I wrote last month’s GBFD post I was in the UK for a few days, when I returned home the box were completely defoliated and the caterpillars were beginning to look for other food sources. I garden organically and the treatment I was offered by my local supplier was, in fact, a product that has been banned in Europe because it damages bees – the very last thing I wanted to do.
So my decision was to remove and burn all the box in the garden (I must change my header image as it no longer shows the essence of My Hesperides Garden. If I had been more vigilant earlier and possible found a treatment I would have been prepared to use, maybe the box could have remained; but I couldn’t bear to look at the skeletons that the box had become. There are many important historic gardens in my area and these depend on box, so part of my reasoning was that if everyone who wasn’t as careful to control this pest as they have to be removed their box perhaps the threat could be removed from gardens as historically important and as beautiful as Villa Lane, Palazzo Farnese at Caprarola or Castelo Ruspoli.
Let me show you the box so you can be more vigilant.
So my thoughts are now 1. Should I replace the box with something else – this is obviously the simplest choice, but the box had become quite mature and it would be a while before anything else had the same ‘presence’ in the garden; or 2. should I make the decision to change the whole of the formal garden; the lavender is already reaching the end of its life as a tightly clipped form, if I were to replace that it would have to be with a much slower growing variety that isn’t so easy to source here. The Perovskia has seeded and suckered and I had already begun to thin it with the intention of replacing some with Teucrium that would remain a more structural element during winter.
I think you will have perceived that my intention is to remove everything and create a NEW, different garden where the formal garden was. What with I haven’t finally decided but I’ll share my thought processes in another post. For now I should look at some foliage I am enjoying.
I really love the shiny leaves of the Fatsia and I’m thinking of adding more similar plants to the terrace which is now completely shaded by the wisteria from Mid-May through to October.
Probably my favourite foliage plant this month is actually the humble Stipa tenuissima, which is so easy going, self-seeding itself around the garden that I often overlook why I planted it in the first place, I love the way it moves in the breeze or strong wind, bring the garden to life.
I hope you will share some of the foliage that is giving you pleasure (or even concern) this month. Joining in is simple just link to and from this post, I look forward to reading your posts. Christina