Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – Planting

Welcome to September Garden bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) where I invite you to share your thoughts about foliage, whether a single plant that catches your eye this month or a plant that you grow primarily for flowers but that rewards you for the rest of the year with beautiful foliage or this is a good place to record how your foliage looks on a monthly basis.  However you decide to use the meme you are very welcome, just link to and from this post. 

I promised more about the development of the garden.  I have just re-read last month’s post (here, if you didn’t see it) and I am surprised by just how much has been done.  All the structural plants are now in the ground and it remains to fill in with more of my cuttings etc. to fill the space before the forms of the plants grow together to form the tapestry I want.

A month ago I was in the middle of removing all the lavender and Perovskia; they have now all gone except for a token couple of lavender plants that I have left partly as a source of cuttings for some new plants and partly to have something that isn’t tiny in the garden.

The three new areas are now called “The woodland walk” a bit grandiose but I hope this will become a lovely cool shady area of mostly deciduous trees so that the spring bulbs that were planted here before should continue to create the colourful ‘spring walk’ of its previous existence.

Woodland walk, I'm still working on the position of the path, I want it to wind through the space so you don't know how long the path is.

Woodland walk, I’m still working on the position of the path, I want it to wind through the space so you don’t know how long the path is.

In the centre is a “Secret Garden” surrounded by hedges of Trachelospermum jasminoides, I have put in the pipe for irrigation – I decided to link to the ‘circular rose garden’ line as this bed will change anyway in future.  This gives the opportunity to plant with flowers for summer that will need considerable water to achieve but it isn’t too large a space so I think it will add to my enjoyment of the garden in the summer months when nothing flowers without water.  I don’t intend choosing plants that need huge amounts of water just enough to keep them going.  Some of the plants will probably be perennials that I’ll use for cut flowers, leaving the cuttings beds in the vegetable area for annuals.  I do not expect to begin planting in this area just yet; the paths still need to be put in place. I have already planted a Zizyphus vulgaris (Giuggiolo), an antique fruit tree producing small fruits that look a little like a date, it is supposed to bring good luck! and a Cercis siliqustrum (Judus tree).

I still need to add the posts and wires to support the Trachelospermum

I still need to add the posts and wires to support the Trachelospermum

Looking into the Secret Garden from the RHS path, it will take a while to fill in bit this is the recommended distance of planting, I may decide to plant more as I'm impatient for this to be a separate area.

Looking into the Secret Garden from the RHS path, it will take a while to fill in bit this is the recommended distance of planting, I may decide to plant more as I’m impatient for this to be a separate area.

Eventually the hedge will look like this

Eventually the hedge will look like this

Trachelospermum jasminoides planted around the gas tank

Trachelospermum jasminoides planted around the gas tank.

It will be wonderful when it is covered with small starry white flowers with an amazingly intense perfume.

The areas in front of the gravel semi-circle, either side of the path leading into the “Secret Garden” are planted with evergreens and ever-silvers which will eventually knit together to form a tapestry of forms, large and small.  I think these will be called the “Sphere Borders”.

From an upstairs window this is the long path from the RHS of the terrace in the background is the existing Walnut

From an upstairs window this is the long path from the RHS of the terrace in the background is the existing Walnut

You can clearly see how the soil is raised around the plants to contain water, these will need to remain for 2 years for the large trees to ensure they establish well.

You can clearly see how the soil is raised around the plants to contain water, these will need to remain for 2 years for the large trees to ensure they establish well.

In the spaces I’ve planted Iris and Sedum to add interest while the shrubs grow; Teucrium plants are very small as they are year old cuttings, they will take a while to form the spheres I want but will grow better in situ rather than leaving them in their pots.

The LHS with the morning light shining into the camera lens

The LHS with the morning light shining into the camera lens

The huge pile of mulch from the lavender and Perovskia is sadly in the wrong place and will have to be moved, I'm trying to spread as much of it as possible first.

The huge pile of mulch from the lavender and Perovskia is sadly in the wrong place and will have to be moved, I’m trying to spread as much of it as possible before that happens.

Quercus suber (Cork Oak) planted on the new edge of the large Island

Quercus suber (Cork Oak) planted on the new edge of the large Island

I have planted 2 Quercus ilex (Holly Oak or Holme Oak) and a Quercus suber (cork oak); these could, given enough time grow into huge trees but the Quercus ilex will be kept pruned into manageable lollipop spheres and the cork oak is so slow growing I’ll allow it to spread a little before pruning.  It was a special feeling planting an oak.

I’ll write more about my choice of plants within the next week or so.

Have a great week and I look forward to reading your foliage posts, Christina


72 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – Planting

    • The evergreens are native here and not too expensive, perennials by compassion cost a huge amount. Thanks for joining GBFD again this month, I’ll read your post with interest.

    • The water ‘vases’ are standard practice here so as not to waste water, all the water goes down into the roots and because they are deep you can add adequate water to penetrate not just remain on the surface.

    • The Trachelospermum may almost be too strong but it will be impressive. I am pleased with progress so far. Thanks for joining every month Pauline, your contributions are always appreciated.

  1. It’s looking wonderful, Christina, I really like the jasminoides hedges – so you have to provide them with a structure to climb through? I have one mature specimen against a but end of wall that has broken free of its moorings this year and am debating how to support it. Such a wonderful evergreen with great bonuses, I just love it.

    • The Trachelospermum is quite a strong, almost self supporting but it needs something to be tied into to begin growing well; I intend using posts with wires stretched between; around the gas tank there is wire netting but you can’t cut windows in that, I suppose I could use the netting everywhere except where the windows will be positioned, the draw back is that it will look ugly while it grows.

  2. I would love to plant an Oak Christina, I can imagine how special that felt. Your changes are really exciting and motivating. You have achieved so much. I grow a variegated Trachelospermum in front of my compost bins, where it performs a screening job very well and as you say the little white flowers are wonderfully scented. I’ve written a small post too, thank you for hosting.

    • I’ve always felt my gardens have been to small for an oak but them when I was looking at the clipped forms of the garden in France (La Louve) I decided that I could! Thanks so much for joining this month, interesting post.

    • Of course others will be interested Frances, why wouldn’t they be?! as I mentioned to Matt, native shrubs and trees are not as expensive as you would imagine, it is perennials and grasses that really cost a lot and you need more of those.

      • it is good as well as cheaper if you can buy local as then plants are more used to the climate, the trees in my post I planted the first year I was here were bought local, for a couple of years the local council had a small nursery in the college grounds sadly they closed it, perennials and grasses can be dear and take time if grown from seed, those mature grasses I bought this year look good immediately where as the self sown grasses only in their second year are still very small and it will be a few years before they are really seen, this has made me understand the price of plants better, however I am forever grateful for the seed grown plants, whether self sown or sown by me, I am trying to do more seed collecting, good luck with progress, Frances

        • I don’t know how the nurseries sell these trees and shrubs at the prices they do as they are very slow growing and obviously need watering every day when they are in pots. The Teucrium I’m growing from cuttings are tiny and will take a while before they form spheres and doughnuts, yet if I buy quite large plants they are only about 6 euros.

  3. I’m so happy to see how you’re creating this special dreamscape. You’ve completed an impressive amount of planting. I’m envious how you can envision it to look in 5 years. Oaks are wonderful trees for insects and birds, not to mention people! Glad you were able to include one in the plan. Also I love the idea of planting a good-luck tree. Happy planting!

    • Hi Susie, you’re right I do have a good imagination for how things will look at a future date, of course I can be disappointed if it doesn’t turn out quite as I expected, but it doesn’t often happen. Thanks for joining this month, it’s always interesting to see what you have found to share.

  4. Gosh, when you’re finished, would you like to come over and work in my garden? You get lots accomplished! It’s lovely and will be stunning as it matures. I was also fascinated (like Matt) that you could use such mature plants, but your explanation is interesting–that evergreens are reasonably priced, while perennials are expensive. It is very special to grow oaks.

    • I’ll give some examples of prices when I talk about the individual plants, but it us true, I spent a huge amount buying perennials and grasses when I first did the garden, these mature trees and shrubs cost a lot less.

  5. You have made huge progress this month Christina and we can really begin to see how it will come together. The trachelospermum screening is amazing! It is interesting to read about the relative price difference between perennials and trees – not something we would have expected. Do tell us more about your water supply sometime – whether Italy has reservoirs like the UK or collects it differently. And do you have to have a water meter? Is supply limited? Sorry, just interested! My foliage post is at
    Thanks for hosting.

    • All our water for the garden and for us is supplied by a 100 meter deep well. Our particular area isn’t short of water there are lots of underground springs including hot ones! Piped water is always metered and in theory it is illegal to water ornamentals with it. Because our area is volcanic all the water is very high in arsenic! We have a filter but the locals insist that it isn’t a problem! Thanks for joining GBFD this month Cathy, I’m iff to read your post now.

        • Yes they are! We have to pay for water that the local council have sent leaflets to say we shouldn’t drink, cook with or wash vegetables in the water that they supply. It wouldn’t happen in the UK! Most country properties have a well, at least for watering the garden even if they have piped water for their own use.

  6. Wow, it really is all coming together, fascinating to have followed the progression from initial thoughts to the beginnings of implementation, thank you so much for sharing so much of your thinking. I had to smile at your confession about your impatience, it is a trait I share, and it must be hard leaving those Trachelospermum spaced so far apart when you have such a clear vision in your head for how it should look!

    I’m glad your Spring walk is evolving into something larger, if I squint I can imagine weaving between trees and bulbs come Spring.

    My foliage post is up –

    • I’ve enjoyed the process as much as finishing this project, not that I have anywhere finished yet but the main planting is done and the rest is the mechanics, paths, moving gravel etc. Thanks for joining GBFD this month, it’s always good to see what foliage you have in your seaside garden.

  7. Wow, Christina, you’ve made terrific progress! I remember your comment on my blog about the Trachelospermum – in my garden the plant has been used mainly as a groundcover and, off-hand, I can’t recall seeing it used as a hedge locally but, based on the example you provided, the plant material clearly works well when used in that fashion. I was impressed to see you using water basins with your new plants. I’m planning to be methodical about doing this with my new plantings as well. I’m currently reading Olivier Filippi’s “The Dry Gardening Handbook” and studying his recommendations for planting a successful Mediterranean garden and I have you to thank for introducing me to Filippi last year.

    • It is interesting about the Trachelospermum, here it is always used as a wall shrub or climber or as a hedge but with support; I used it in a clients garden as a ground cover and it was thought very strange! Many climbers can be used as ground cover. I’m glad you’re enjoying Olivier Filippi’s book, I’m hoping to visit his garden and nursery next year.I think his second book about lawn replacements would be very useful to you but as far as I know it’s still only published in French!

  8. What a difference now! I really like the idea of a winding path and a secret garden and look forward to seeing the spring walk again next year. The trachelospermum will smell lovely when it flowers.

    • The new Trachelospermum are flowering now, a function of being in a pot; just a few pots so it isn’t overpowering. I wish I’d ordered a lot more bulbs as there is a lot of new planting possibilities for them!

  9. You have been busy Christina!! It is so exciting to make big changes to a garden and I am sure you are itching to have it finished and maturing. I love the idea of a secret garden and your new winter walk looks very promising – I am hoping to do more work on my winter walk this winter, so will be watching the progress of yours with interest.

  10. The progress you have made is wonderful already. It is so satisfying when the hard work really begins to pay off and the garden in the minds eye appears on the garden’s surface.. I love the idea of fillers too – I always over plant and have to thin down rather than sticking to proper spacings, but I think your way is better.

    • I also often over plant but with trees and what will be large shrubs it is definitely better to place them at their long term spacing and fill in with annuals and perennials. It means the garden looks quite full early on and you have the pleasure of flowers that may not be the long term aim.

  11. My goodness you have been working. I don’t dare plant here in summer as plants just don’t survive so I will be waiting until next year for my changes but that is OK. I am loving the Woodland Walk and the Secret Garden is going to be wonderful once it grows in.

    • This has all been planted since the beginning of September. Although the days are still very pleasantly warm, mornings and evenings are cool and there is dew on the ground in the morning. It is the ideal time to plant as the ground is still warm and with all the water I am giving the trees it is ideal conditions to promote root growth.

  12. Goodness, what a lot of work. But how exciting – I’ll look forward to seeing your plans maturing. Are you on metered water? We are, which is always at the back of mind when I’m watering for long hours! Dave

  13. Your progress is inspiring, I can’t wait to see things in another two or three years when the trees and shrubs begin to knit together. What a great thing to have all the blogumentation to keep track of it all and remember the early days!
    The woodland will be great but I love the secret garden. What a nice place to sit and be completely enclosed. I can see it already 🙂

  14. Crumbs Christine – you have been busy! Certainly ringing the changes – how exciting. The woody glade will be a major change from the parterre, but looks most promising. We are going the other direction in Southampton – in July we had two trees removed (a dead crab apple + an overgrown holly) and the garden look so much bigger. We return home early in October for another weekend tidying up the garden before the autumn, and to consider what to put in the holly ‘hole’.
    We visited Holland Park in London last weekend and were most impressed by the various gardens there – C by the dahlia garden (the first ever established in England) and me by the Kyoto garden (extended recently with the Fukushima Garden). Our guide Nick said that the Japanese consider it to be the best garden outside of Japan. Here’s a short article on it:

    Good luck with the new project! PS being a chemical engineer, I wouldn’t have put a hedge round the gas tank 😉 .

    • Hi, hoe lovely to hear from you. how sad that you had to remove the holly, they are such slow growers. Thanks for the link. A Dahlia garden is very transitory whereas the Japanese garden would be a long term planting. Dahlias are very easy though and are very generous with their flowers so you could try some.

  15. Fascinating to see what you have been doing Christina, it is going to be beautiful. I bet you are having fun, there is nothing like having a project in the garden. I should hate it if I ran out of space for new ideas. I love the idea of a woodland walk and a giardino segreto surrounded by a Trachelospermum hedge. Heavenly!

  16. Pingback: Breakthrough (#4) - rusty duck

  17. Gosh, you’ve been so busy, Christina, well done. Been busy too that’s why I’m late to the party but I’m really looking forward to seeing your new plans unfold. Always exciting to create a new garden area!

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