Welcome to GBFD where I celebrate the job that foliage does in our gardens. I believe that foliage is just as (maybe more) important than flowers.
In an earlier post I showed you the inspiration for this part of the garden, it has already inspired some of the design in other parts of the garden.
This month I’d like to introduce you to some of the new evergreens I’ve being planted in the new beds created where ‘the formal garden’ used to be; now re-named the Evergreen borders.
Quercus suber The Cork oak
Quercus suber is slow-growing and long-lived, some individuals surviving to 250 years of age. Cork oak landscapes are mosaics of forest habitats, comprising cork, holm and deciduous oak species, stone and maritime pines, wild olive trees, maquis (a type of Mediterranean shrubland), and pasture.
I will have to prune to tree to keep it from growing too large, but its slow growth rate means that this shouldn’t be a problem.
Cork oak bark has been harvested for thousands of years, and with good reason. The Romans discovered that it would float and used it for buoys in fishing nets, as well as for making sandals. Today it is most commonly known for its use in wine bottle corks.
Pistacia lentiscus is a shrub or dioecious tree, with separate male and female plants, evergreen from 1 to 5 m high, with a strong smell of resin growing in dry and rocky areas of the Mediterranean. It resists heavy frosts and grows on all types of soils, and can grow well in limestone areas and even in salty or saline environments, making it more abundant near the sea.
The leaves are alternate, leathery, and compound paripinnate (no terminal leaflet) with five or six pairs of deep-green leaflets. It presents very small flowers, the male with five stamens the female trifid style. The fruit is a drupe, first red and then black when ripe, about 4 mm in diameter
The aromatic, resin, also known as mastic, is harvested as a spice from the cultivated mastic trees grown in the south of the Greek island of Chios, where it is also known by the name “Chios tears”. Originally liquid it is hardened, when the weather turns cold, into drops or patties of hard, brittle, translucent resin. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum.
As a spice, it continues to be used in Greece to flavour spirits and liquors (such as Chios’s native drinks of Mastichato and mastica), chewing gum, and a number of cakes, pastries and desserts. Sometimes it is even used in making cheese. Mastic resin is a key ingredient in Turkish ice cream and Turkish puddings, giving those confections their unusual texture and bright whiteness. In Lebanon and Egypt, the spice is used to flavour many dishes, ranging from soups to meats to desserts, while in Morocco, smoke from the resin is used to flavour water. In Turkey, mastic is used as a flavour of Turkish delight. Recently, a mastic-flavoured fizzy drink has also been launched, called “Mast”.
Mastic resin is a key ingredient in Greek festival breads, for example, the sweet bread tsoureki and the traditional New Year’s vasilopita. Furthermore, mastic is also essential to Myron, the holy oil used by the Orthodox Churches.
As well as its culinary uses, mastic continues to be used for its gum and medicinal properties. The resin is used as a primary ingredient in the production of cosmetics such as toothpaste, lotions for the hair and skin, and perfumes.
With thanks to Wikipedia for the above information.
The evergreen Buck thorn is a large shrub or small tree, it copes well with drought and is cold hardy. Can be clipped (which is what will happen to mine) and will form quick cover in a woodland situation.
I wrote about the mature specimen in the garden last week. I also planted a new specimen tree in the upper Drive border last winter which is positioned to hide houses from the view west. I’ve planted four mini ‘lollipops’ around the central path; again these will be pruned to maintain a manageable size. You can read more about this beautiful Mediterranean native here.
Quercus ilex, Holm Oak, Holly Oak
I have planted two trees and two large shrubs, all will be clipped. Quercus ilex is THE evergreen tree in my area, commonly known as ‘Lecce’. It is a very slow growing, long lived oak. Actually it isn’t all that slow slowing, I planted medium sized shrubs at the top of the slope to form a shelter belt from the summer wind and they are now very large shrubs. It is the tree seen in the parkland of some of the famous historic gardens in the area; at Villa Lante, just a few kilometres away there are examples that date to when the formal garden was planted there in 1555.
The mushroom you can see in the background is a Death cap, I’ve no idea how it arrived in the garden but I’m afraid to touch it!
To finish here the only deciduous tree in the garden that gives some orange autumn colour, I’ll write more about the new deciduous trees I’ve planted in the new woodland walk next time.
What autumn (or spring) colour do you have in your garden? Is there some beautiful foliage you’d like to share? To join in please just leave a link to and from this post, I look forward to reading your posts. Christina