Continuing around the garden.

Continuing our walk around the garden I will also show you some close-ups of some of the Irises.  A word about names.  I only know the names of about a third of the Irises I have in the garden.  I bought some named varieties from Cayeux, and some named varieties were given or sold to me by friends (a problem here is that they had named some of their stock themselves for ease of knowing what was where in the garden but of course I don’t remember which are true names and which are their invention.  Several I’ve purchased from Italian nurseries call them ‘Pink’ or tall blue so not very helpful.  So I will only give names to those I am 100% sure of.  Sorry if this isn’t very helpful, but just enjoy them! Continue reading

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May feast – visitors to the garden

Scarce Swallowtail

Shield bugs mating on rosa Rhapsody in Blue

There are always a lot of this beasty

Wasps make their nests all over the garden

I used to be terrified of wasps but now, in the garden, I’m happy to see them – they eat aphids, here on Sedum, and butterfly eggs and cabbage white butterfly eggs and small caterpillars.  The sedums looked really sick, ants were milking the aphids until the wasps arrived to clean things up.

This green caterpillar’s days were numbered when I found it on a Heuchera bud.

The stripy bug again, this time on Allium

Sharing a meal; pollen seekers on thyme

Red Admiral

A pollen seeking fly? there were lots all on the same plant

And there are always lizards who don’t usually wait around to be photographed!

in the greenhouse

in the triangular rose bed

June GBBD

The hot weather of the last two months has continued but we have had some rain; mostly as showers that occur in the late afternoon.  I have a least been able to turn the irrigation off for several days.  Almost all the images of the flowers blooming today have rain drops on their petals as you’ll see from the slide show.

The garden feels much more like mid or high summer than June.  Lavender is flowering and is overflowing onto the pathways, meaning that when I walk through the garden I brush against it releasing the heady perfume. Many of the roses have finished their first flowering; some are already showing signs of being ready to start again.  R. x odorato ‘Mutabilis’ is flowering again as is R. Stanwell Perpetual, R. Sophie’s Perpetual.  R. Queen of Sweden already had new shoots growing below each previous bloom and even some buds; even before I had dead-headed it.  R. ‘Clair Matin’ on the pillars also has lots of new growth with buds, there have always been some flowers from when it started to flower in early May.  Pierre di Ronsard is situated on a north facing pillar and so this is the first flowers.  William Shakespeare is still being generous with new flowers opening.

R. William Shakespeare

I have been tying in the long waving shoots of the Wisteria which also has lots of secondary flowers. These Lilies are flowering for the third year in these pots, without any extra food or change of soil – that’s great value.  Their growth is stronger too after the first year and don’t now need staking as they did when first planted.

Regal Lillies

Self-sown Verbascum are very impressive; all are taller than when they grow in the fields around the house, this one is about 2.3 m tall!

I planted some ornamental Verbascum as I realised last year when I saw all the wild ones around that they would be happy and perform well.  In spring I sowed a very old packet of V. Phoenician Hybrids, they need potting on so they will be good size plants for planting out in autumn.

Teucrium hyrcanicum is new for me this year and I am enjoying its kitten tail flowers very much.  They contrast well with Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’ and another paler yellow Hemerocallis.  I also like their strong form against the softer form of Nepeta.

I planted a stream of Allium sphaerocephalon through the large island last autumn and they are now opening from green tight heads to deep crimson drum sticks.

There are others in the garden flowering for a second year and also others that have self-seeded.   As you will see from the slide show when you click on the image below there are several starry white flowers, they are: Jasminum officinale, Trachelospermum, and Solanum jasminoides ‘Album’

Upper drive border

Today is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day when gardeners from all over the world post about what is blooming in their gardens; why not visit Carol at May Dreams Garden who hosts this meme.  So whether its early summer or early winter with you have a great GBBD.

&©Copyright 2011 Christina. All rights reserved. Content created by Christina for My Hesperides Garden.

May, end of the Month Review

So much has flowered this month it has been impossible not to walk around the garden without finding another plant that has begun to flower.

Our hot dry weather has continued for the whole month; and even when I can see rain falling only a few kilometres away nothing has fallen on My Hesperides Garden!  The ground was already dry as this winter there was hardly any rain at all.  A year ago it was very different (then we’d had almost a whole year of rain except of course for July and August when it rarely rains in Lazio).

By the beginning of May all the tulips were finished, a very short show this year but enjoyable all the same.  Then in very quick succession Irises, Allium and then of course, May means roses.

a successful combination of Iris, Rosa rubifolia and Artemisia ponticum

Allium cristophii remains interesting for a long time

Rosa Gertude Jekyll looking and smelling wonderful

Last Monday I was a judge at an International Rose competition and I have to say that it made me realise how many bad roses enter into the market without having any additional value than the thousands that already exist.  We were judging roses that had been in commerce for less than 5 years and apart from perhaps one or at most two of those being evaluated I don’t think they merited inclusion ion any garden.  It certainly made me appreciate my own roses even more and made me happy with my choices.

Eremurus cleopatra

For the first time some of the Eremurus I planted 2 years ago have flowered.  Either they liked the cold this winter or the lack of rain – I like them but think they are probably too fussy for me to purchase more, maybe they will spread by themselves, I hope so.

Now on to the slope, the part of the garden I usually concentrate on for the EoMR.  Here is the slope when I first planted Stipa, Gaura and Verbena bonarienis last November.

7th November 2010

The same view now.

Everything has grown much more than I could have hoped and it is looking how imagined it would look in a couple of years’ time.  The effect of a meadow or prairie is strong especially with Stipa tenuissima blowing in the wind.

at the beginning of the month

The Weigela was moved here a year ago. it seems to like it

Stipa on 4th May

I admit to sowing the poppy seed

Evening light on the slope

Poppies with a giant Verbascum that seeded itself here from the fields outside the garden

Stipa now - just look how much its grown!

As always there are some happy accidents, I found some loose bulbs at the bottom of the box and thought they were allium so added them to the ‘stream’ flowing down the slope but I was wrong they were Gladioli byzantinus  – I love the contrast in colour with the Cerinthe and large grey leaves of Verbascum.

The Gaura is also beginning to flower, a few plants didn’t survive ants mining under them, but there are enough and I have more I can add if necessary.

What do I need to do to improve the planting?  I’m very satisfied already and I don’t want to add too many different plant species to the mix.  I’ve already planted the cuttings of Solanum jasminoides album I took last autumn and they are growing, I’m longing for the mass of frothy white flowers that will flow from the top of the bank to the bottom in future years.  At the moment I think I need to just wait and see what happens.  The Cerinthe are looking well past their best, but I’ll leave them to set seed and hope they plant themselves in an interesting way; the same for the poppies, both Californian and European.  If the Stipa get s too big I’ll just pull it out and allow seedlings to grow where they choose.

Just to finish a couple of views across the garden and a rose that grows wonderfully in hot climates but doesn’t like damp, cool weather so isn’t often grown in the UK.  R. Sally Holmes, I have three in the garden that were cuttings from a friend 4 years ago.

R. Sally Holmes in the Left hand border

Isn't that just beautiful?

Evening light shines through the planting

Looking accross from the greenhouse

Thank you Helen at Patient Gardener for hosting the End of Month View this month.  Visit her to see what others are planning and doing in their gardens this month.

&©Copyright 2011
Christina.
All rights reserved.
Content created by Christina for
My Hesperides Garden.

End of the Month Review, February 2011

I will continue to show progress on the slope for the next few months so you can see how all the seedlings I transplanted last autumn are developing.

Stipa tenuissima on the bank is beginning to fill out

Gaura from 4 leaves to small clumps over the winter

I am surprised by just how much growth even the tiny Gaura seedlings have put on.  Last autumn I didn’t expect them to flower this year, now I’m hopeful there may be a few flowers from each plant, my fingers are crossed.  It is strange, I’ve had some Gaura plants in the Left Hand Border (I really must think of a better name for this area) for the last three years and have never found any seedlings.  Then in autumn 2009 I put 9 plants into the circular rose bed, they flowered for months covering the roses and everything else in the bed. When I was tidying up last autumn I found masses of seedlings growing over the whole bed.  I lifted and transplanted masses onto the slope.  Most were very small but I thought they would have more chance of establishing in this challenging situation while they were small – they have clumped up incredibly well so I’m really looking forward to seeing the whole slope covered with their butterfly flowers.  I have since potted up about another 100 small plants that I’d left in the rose bed to grow on a bit, I gave some to friends but there are still a lot I’ll need to find homes for.

Muscari beginning to form the 'stream'

You may remember me saying that my good friend Linda from the Garden in the West very kindly planted some bulbs for me when I was suffering from tendonitis and couldn’t do very much; the Muscari are beginning to flower creating the blue stream I had hoped for.  There is also a stream (perhaps more a river as the scale is different) of prostrate Rosemary which has been flowering for the last month or so.

In other places in the garden, where the Muscari have been planted for longer the clumps already look as if they need dividing.

Iris

At this time, I’m full of hope for good things to come – the ‘wild’ Iris I moved from the top of the Etruscan tomb (outside the fence but inside our property) are looking fine, I don’t know if they’ll flower this year or not.

In other parts of the garden Allium are pushing their spider leaves up through Euphorbia Myrsinites

Apricot flowers

I’m not so hopeful about the Apricot tree.  Its flowers continue to open even in the freezing winds and I have doubts about there being any apricots to harvest.  My hope is that the below zero temperatures are coming to an end and there are lots more buds on the tree, so I will have to be patient and wait and see.

Some flowers are turning brown probably frost damaged!

Maybe some of you heard Anne Swithingbank, on Gardeners Question time (Radio 4) describing combing her grasses to remove the previous years growth much as I described in a previous post about Stipa tenuissima.

As always thanks to Helen at Patient Gardener for hosting the End of the month reviews.  This was such a great idea, Helen, thank you.