Falling in love again….

It has been ages since I posted anything that wasn’t either ‘In a vase on Monday’,  my ‘Tuesday View’ or about foliage for Garden bloggers’ Foliage day. There is a reason for the lack of posts – during the long hot period of drought the garden wants to sleep much as it would do in a northern winter, but to me the period of rest is less tranquil than sleeping under a blanket of snow; the plants fight to survive, the dormancy a forced shutdown that leaves even many drought tolerant plants looking dreadful and herbaceous plants and deciduous trees look as if they are slowly cooking.Living with my philosophy  of sustainable gardening isn’t easy.

This year was worse than other years; a wet May and June gave false hope that it would be good for the plants.  This wasn’t the case, the wet conditions encouraged everything to put on far too much unsustainable growth that was soon browned to a crisp in the months that followed.

The September rain helped the garden immediately but not my lack of enthusiasm.  Only now when I see the walnuts almost leafless and have to admit that winter is coming am I slowly beginning to enjoy walking around the garden to see what is growing and flowering.

The weather this week has been very mixed; warm at the beginning of the week, a couple of days of heavy rain and another couple with gale force winds – not easy for the garden or for me.

It seems that there are flowers from all the seasons this week, everywhere I turn I see something new emerging including, just now, an Anemone coronaria ‘Mr Fokker’.

Monty Don (BBC Gardener’s World) said as autumn began that he considered it the beginning of the growing season rather than the end; that might be because he suffers from depression and it helps him to be positive or it could be true – now is the time that plants set seed to begin their life cycle all over again, it is now that we plant bulbs to fill spring with colour; so with that thought that we are at the beginning and not the end here are a few images of my garden today and yesterday.

Tuesday View

Tuesday View

Rosa 'Clair Matin'

Rosa ‘Clair Matin’

Rosa 'Queen of Sweden'

Rosa ‘Queen of Sweden’

Rosa 'Molineux' is more apricot than yellow in autumn

Rosa ‘Molineux’ is more apricot than yellow in autumn

Rosa mutabilis

Rosa mutabilis

Rosa mutabilis shows its full colour range in the cooler weather in summer the blooms become deep cerise almost immediately.

Salvia

Salvia, one of several planted last autumn that had been grown from cuttings

Pennisetum villosum

Pennisetum villosum

A lavender that wants to flower all year

A lavender that wants to flower all year

Salvia

Salvia

Salvia

Salvia

Iris unginuicularis

Iris unginuicularis

This should continue to flower all through the winter

Hermerocallis 'Happy Returns' living up to its name

Hermerocallis ‘Happy Returns’ living up to its name

Rosemary is pleasing the bees

Rosemary is pleasing the bees

Plumbago

Plumbago

Salvia Indigo Spires

Salvia Indigo Spires

Dianthus

Dianthus

Ornamental Marjoram

Ornamental Marjoram

Saffron crocus

Saffron crocus

Saffron crocus

Saffron crocus

As I write the wind is still blowing a gale but the sun is shining; I wish you a good gardening weekend, either to complete the autumn clear-up, plant bulbs or just generally enjoy your garden. Christina

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42 thoughts on “Falling in love again….

  1. If you hadn’t have explained (so eloquently) how the autumn weather revives plants where you live, I’d never have guessed that these images weren’t taken much earlier in the year. The quality of light you’ve captured is beautiful.

    • You should have seen it two days ago, when it rained solidly ALL day, I call days like that English days. But yesterday and today with a strong NE wind clearing the air it is very bright.

  2. Well, nature is certainly on its own schedule in my neck of the woods. Still no rain and temps are headed back into the 80s next week. I’m glad to hear you have had some relief and the plants, and you, are perking up.

  3. You show such dedication as a gardener especially with the challenging climate and these images show that the effort is well worth it. I guess like any of us with the gardening bug you now know what works and what doesn’t and then you simply wait and look forward to each season. Sorry ‘simply wait’ is not appropriate since no doubt you are endlessly tweaking and weeding and lifting and dividing, cutting back and moving stuff on. Great results though.

    • ‘Simply wait’ is actually more accurate because the one thing I know for sure is that it is pointless to plant anything other than in autumn. All plants need the warm (ish) autumn and wet winter to establish roots if they are going to have any chance of surviving the following summer. The cut flower and vegetable beds are different because they are irrigated with porous hose usually from June through to mid-September. Actually I almost think that without the cut flowers I would want to give up; it is hard to see plants suffering and turning brown just when I want to be out in the garden enjoying it or looking at it from the shade of the terrace – that was one reason for my choice of plants for the area I replanted last autumn.

  4. So much colour. I’m glad your flowers have returned. I can always cope with the winter much better when there’s been an Indian summer here. Enjoy your weekend x

    • I suppose most autumns are what I’d describe as an Indian summer here, it is actually one of the nicest seasons, the excessive rain (but I shouldn’t complain) has been usual this year. In fact the whole year has been unusual!

  5. I identified 100% with your perception of the impact that drought and high summertime temperatures have on the garden, Christina. Our horrific start-of-summer heatwave caused damage that the garden has yet to recover from, although I am pleased to report that the lemon tree at the bottom of our slope is now recovering. I envy you the rain you’ve received this fall, especially when your photos show the bump it’s given your garden. We had a strong prediction of rain for last night and this morning but the storm system appears to have passed us by – again. I’m holding out hope for another system scheduled to pass through on Sunday. Best wishes for a wonderful weekend!

    • Thanks Kris, I knew you would know just what it is like. When I read your posts, I feel almost guilty about the amount of rain we’ve had this autumn – I would send some to you if I could.

  6. I’m so pleased that your garden is coming back to life, the same as your enthusiasm for your garden. The weather has a lot to answer for, we plant for the conditions that we have and for the weather that we usually have, but nature always has the last laugh!
    You have so many beautiful flowers, far more than I have – enjoy!

  7. I do think of my garden year beginning in autumn with the March lilies … altho mine are still sulking after being moved from Porterville. Hope for flowers again next March.
    We don’t have the same, hold your breath and look the other way, summer garden weather here. But I remember it, do I ever!!

  8. Oh I am so glad you you are feeling this way again – it seems a long time since the enthusiasm of the changes you had been making in the garden. Hopefully you are nearly over your viral infection too?

  9. Hi Christina. Glad to hear you can enjoy the garden again at last. You now have a pleasant season ahead of you despite the shorter days. I notice how much the weather affects my moods more and more as I get older. Do you think you will ever return to the UK and garden there again?

  10. Great to see those colours. Here without a frost, and with no wind or rain for a long period, we have serenity, and autumn gold and reds, that are gradually dying down. I love that image of preparation for Spring too.

  11. What a relief to finally have a return of decent weather. I think I would much rather a harsh winter than endless, relentless heat and drought. When I lived in Texas that was the case, but then a nice mild winter was our reward.
    I’m looking forward to seeing growth return. All your recent plantings should really begin to settle in and show off next year!

    • Yes, I know what you mean about summer versus summer dormancy. As someone who grew up in the U.K. where winter was the rest time and summer gardening time I find it very hard to accept the summer drought. I love the mild Winters here especially the higher levels of light but looking at suffering drought stricken plants is never fun.

  12. It is lovely to see everything popping up in the garden and this is such a happy post. I found this summer a bit stressful wondering if the plants would come through but I should have had more faith in them. Amelia

  13. Christina glad I by rain: here are much needed. Your garden lives a wonderful explosion of life and bloom. I love that it has reconciled with him and enjoyment. All flowers are beautiful. I love the sage, rosemary, all varieties of roses. Villosum Pennnisetum seems hanging feathers: it is divine. The Iris unginuicularis is very nice and blooms all winter: it is magnificent. All photos are beautiful and have a special light. I hope he has recovered from his virus. Greetings from Margarita.

    • Without water Salvia stops flowering hence the pleasure now of the many salvias flowering now. Rosemary is always a winter flowering plant in the Mediterranean climate, but the needle-like foliage continues to look good through summer.

  14. Christina, I can identify so much with this post! I spent all summer waiting for cooler fall weather, and now I am spending fall waiting for rain and shaking my head at our endless summer. (I admit our night temps are pleasant and humidity is much lower, but day temps are still summer high. We are setting all sorts of records.) I love the mediterranean gray/blue/ green colors in your garden. But I know the frustration of trying to keep things alive. Best wishes!

  15. Sorry to hear you’ve had a viral infecction Christina – but I hope you are perking up as much as the garden is now? I’ve found the change to crisping summer heat difficult to learn to work around. And my temperatures will be nowhere near as intense as yours are! Your cool greys always impress me so much. I’m struggling to find plants that do as well on our heavy clay soil. Even rosemary is a challenge here! I’ve found some artemesias are ok – as is santolina – and am beginning to understand that grasses work well too. Enjoy your lovely autumn garden!

    • Clay soil usually helps. I designed a garden where there was no summer irrigation at all (the people are only occasional visitors) but the soil is clay and I find that the garden usually looks much better than mine. Roses do especially well. Deciduous plants seem to do much worse than evergreens so I would think about those for the structural design and then just fill in with experimental herbaceous plants.

  16. I have just been reading about the latest earthquake in Italy. I hope nobody is hurt this time, how frightening it must be.
    Your garden does not look like an autumn garden with so much colour and so many plants looking good. Roas mutabilis is a gem, yours never seems to be out of bloom. I have another Rosa chinensis called Bengal Beauty. It is gorgeous and would do well in your climate.
    I hope you are better now, take care Christina..

  17. Glad to hear you are safe after the latest earthquake. I once spent a very enjoyable winter holiday in Norcia so it has some personal resonance for me.
    As for nature and its schedule, I am always impressed by finding the new buds after the autumn leaves fall from trees, so isnt it just a continuous cycle?

    • Yes it is but the difference here is those buds open in autumn! Norcia is a beautiful city and a great place to spend time. This latest quake was very scary so I really hope we’re looking at secondary quakes rather than a build up.

  18. So you did feel the quake? How frightening. Thought of you two, of course.

    Interesting photo of Pennisetum villosum. Seeing your beautiful Saffron crocus is a delight. I planted some a couple year ago but come to think of it, didn’t see them this year.

  19. Christina, I wish I could, like Monty Don, see Autumn as the beginning of the growing season. What a good idea. But with our Canadian winters lasting 5 to 6 months, it’s hard to stay optimistic!

    • Yes, I can see that; your climate doesn’t lend itself to a beginning in autumn. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have winter last 5 or 6 months; I find the drought hard but that doesn’t usually last more than 2 months, that’s a big difference.

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