Welcome to Garden Bloggers Foliage Day, the place to share all the things you love (or even hate) about the foliage in your garden. To join in just leave a link to and from this post; whether you want to share all the beautiful foliage in your garden, or would like to highlight one plant, or tell us about how you use foliage in your garden; you are most welcome
As some of you have said that you can’t really picture the area (and I know just how you feel when I read other blogs) I took some photographs from an upstairs bedroom window.
As you can see progress is being made in removing the lavender and Perovskia and turning them into mulch. The green in the foreground is Wisteria on top of the pergola that surrounds the house on three sides.
The dark green mass behind the shaped olive is a huge Bay outside the gate at a much lower level than the garden. The mountains in the distance aren’t visible from the garden; they are hidden by the line of trees and Bamboo.
The field has turned green after a couple of days of rain, it is incredible how quickly it changes from straw yellow to vivid green. You are looking at the small island (with Stipa gigantea at its edge); the circular rose bed with a Feijoa in the centre); and behind the Upper Slope Path border (bit of a mouthful, I need to rename almost all the beds!
I have been drawing some of my ideas to scale; it is the only way to be sure that I’m not imagining the space to be larger than it is.
The area behind the semi-circle will be filled with spheres and cubes of clipped evergreens (obviously not box!), including a clipped Quercus ilex as bushes and a tree. Behind this a more enclosed space using either Trachelospermum jasminoides or bay as a hedge. Possibly with ‘windows’ eventually cut to allow glimpses through into this area and allow some light in.
I will move the swing seat I have to here for a different view and to temp me out from the terrace to use more of the garden. I do feel that the garden as it was became a route through with little opportunity to stop. What the planting will be in this space which is 4 metres deep will be is, as yet, undecided. It could be irrigated which would allow more options so I will probably lay a connecting pipe from the pillars (which are rarely watered).
I love the shape of the Mulberry trunk so I want to be able to see that from the kitchen window, if possible.
I could remove the foliage of the Wisteria on the pillars and perhaps plant something more colourful for the summer but I rather like the shaggy look the wisteria gives and I love seeing its flowers on the pillars in spring, but Trachelospermum could be planted to clothe the pillars giving an evergreen mass.
One conclusion I have come to, is that in the hot dry summers here I really don’t want to be looking at plants that are stressed, so the main plantings that are visible from the house will become evergreen and ever-silver with texture and form being the most important features. Flowering plants which successfully flower in spring and very early summer will have their places but not where they will detract from the beauty of everything else in high summer. I believe that it is essential in this garden to designate different areas to different seasons.
Over the last couple of years I have begun to appreciate more and more how important planting for the conditions really is; having begun my gardening in the Southern England where almost anything is possible and where even Mediterranean plants can look better than in the Mediterranean, I believed when I started this garden that I could create a drought tolerant garden that had flowers throughout the seasons by choosing the right plants. I have come to the conclusion now that is not possible. Almost all plants that are drought tolerant and will survive the winter cold (because I’m not in a true Mediterranean climate) are usually dormant in summer; winter flowers can also be difficult because it isn’t cold enough.
Here are some images that have informed my ideas for the garden:
I love the different volumes and forms and the colour variation between the each plant (albeit green) is inspiring.
Now you know where I got the idea of the three cypresses to hide the unwanted view of new houses.
This wonderful tapestry of strong shapes is how I envisage the areas beyond the semi-circle of gravel.
I have already started to prune the one olive that is in the ornamental part of the garden, I am considering more; although I think these look totally unnatural because of the bright green grass beneath them, unless it is spring rather than summer.
The images are from Mediterranean Landscape Design – Vernacular Contemporary by Louisa Jones.
Let me finish by sharing how this is beginning to work in other parts of the garden.
My cypresses are in need of a prune, in another couple of weeks it will be cool enough to do it.
Sorry, another rather long post. I look forward to reading yours whther it is long or short!