GBBD – Still Feels Like Spring

Well, mostly anyway!  The weather since the last BloomDay has been good for the garden; rain and warm sun.  Most plants have been tricked into believing that it is spring rather than the beginning of winter.

Rosa Sally Holmes is flowering more than at any time during the year

There has been a lot of rain in the last weekend; many of you will have seen images of Venice and maybe of road collapsing and swallowing a car in Tuscany.  For more about the rain click here.

There is some autumn colour, the walnuts have lost their leaves, the pomegranate foliage is butter yellow and all the Miscanthus are looking beautiful but other plants are enjoying a second spring and I’m enjoying it too; in a small way it makes up for the torrid summer.

Glorious yellow of the pomegranate

Ceanothus has a few flowers the blue of the blooms matching the blue Italian sky.

Ceanothus repans

One Cistus has one flower (yes, I know that one flower proves nothing it is an anomaly).  The moist ground has really prompted the roses into flower, there are more, even, than in October.  During the early days of November I was surprised and delighted to see that the ends of all the branches of the Philadelphus had flowers, they only persisted for a week or so, so can’t be included in Bloomday for November but they deserve a mention.

Solanum jasminoides Album is covered in blooms and will probably continue to be until some really cold weather arrives.  All the different varieties of Salvia are flowering profusely, I think I under-value them because I find it hard to get good images of them.

This post is late, yesterday I wasn’t feeling great so didn’t go into the garden to photograph the blooms, today it is very windy and the bright morning sun has made some of the colours a little strange.  You can see most of what’s blooming in My Hesperides Garden by clicking on the image below.

Rosa Rhapsody in Blue

Thank you to Carol at Maydreams Garden for hosting this interesting meme, take some time to visit some of the other gardens joining in this month to see what’s blooming around the world.

I’ve been reading some wonderful posts about autumn foliage colour, please feel free to link to Garden Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd of each month – I think November may be the most colourful so far!

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GBBD – Roses Again

It hardly seems possible that we have reached the middle of the month of October already!  Again it is Garden Bloggers Bloomday hosted by Carol at May Dreams Garden.  If you have some time to spare why not visit to see what is blooming in Gardens all over the world.  I always try to look at one new garden each month but there are so many that sadly it is impossible for me to read them all.  But I do very much enjoy reading about the gardens I follow on a regular basis.  I feel as if I know these gardens but there is always something blooming that surprises and delights me.

In My Hesperides Garden most of the roses are blooming again.  Not all as profusely as in May but enough to perfume the garden and make me forget that it is nearly winter.

I am still surprised that 2 months ago many plants were deep in summer dormancy – i.e. they looked dead and now have put on new foliage and are flowering.

Click on the image below to see all the flowers blooming in the garden for GBBD October.

Blue butterflies are still enjoying the Perovskia

GBBD Rain Drops on Roses…..

Actually not just on roses but on everything.  For the last two nights it has rained and for a couple of hours during the day yesterday and most of the day today – I am very happy!

So when I went outside to take my photos for bloomday it was under the protection of an umbrella.  It wasn’t raining too hard and it was so god to see and feel the rain; the umbrella was more to keep the camera dry.  Today it is windy which isn’t so good, I want rain, soft and gentle to soak right into the soil.  Temperatures yesterday and today haven’t risen above 20° C.  It almost feels like winter, but it is so nice to feel cool; to go to bed and pull the sheet around me rather than throw it off in an attempt to be cool.

Next week the temperatures are set to rise again, but only during the day, at night it will be cool.  Even during the day it should just be pleasantly warm to work outside.

All the blooms this month have raindrops on their petals, for some this makes them even more beautiful.

Gaura are always beautiful with drops of rain on their stems

New foliage and new blooms on Rosa Clair Matin

Caryopteris is very reliable at summer’s end, even after the hot summer we’ve had this year it is flowering beautifully

To see what else is flowering in My Hesperides Garden in mid September, please click on the image below.

To enjoy what’s flowering in gardens around the world, some just entering spring and others beginning to look autumnal, visit Carol at May Dreams Garden,

GBBD – A feast for the eyes

As the name of the host of this meme, May Dreams, implies almost everything flowers in May.

I realized at the beginning of the month that if I waited until Bloomday to write about all that was happening in the garden, the post would be too long to be enjoyable reading for anyone.  I have therefore been writing a post every day to highlight all the fleeting (and not) joys of the Blooms of May.

You can read about Irises, Cistus, Rosa Rhapsody in Blue, Rosa Rimosa, Rosa Clair Martin, Californian poppies and Buddleia.  I will continue posting until the end of the month as new plants begin to bloom I have also discussed the role that some less showy plants have in my garden, the supporting cast.

On the 22nd I host Garden Bloggers Foliage Day; I hope you will join in with whatever foliage is looking beautiful in your garden this month. As autumn is here in the southern hemisphere I’m hoping for some inspiring images.

Here are a few general views of the garden to see how each individual plant fits into the overall view of the garden.  A garden is, after all, a continuum of fleeting images.  As I walk around the garden I try not to always follow the same path so I catch a different combination as I move around.

Part of Left Hand Border and under the Mulberry tree

Looking west accross the upper drive border

Looking accross the upper drive border to the Large Island and upper slope

Today, 14th May, is horribly windy; there’s no way I can photograph anything without it being blurred.  All the images on the slideshow are blooming today even if I photographed them another day.  There are actually far more things flowering than are on the slideshow.  Everything will be included somewhere in one of the daily May posts.

Click on the image below to see a slideshow of a few of the plants blooming today.

Looking down on the large island

Do visit Carol to read why May is her dream month and to read about what is blooming in gardens around the world.

2012.02.15 GBBD What a difference a year makes!

In 2011’s February Bloomday I was full of hope talking about spring being just around the corner with bulbs flowering and tulips shoots coming through. I boasted that I was ahead on work especially weeding and I remember enjoying seeing all the signs of life to come, well what a difference a year makes! My Hesperides garden is still covered in snow, now icy and hard. It thaws a little each day but it is difficult to imagine that very much is really growing. Luckily I used a lot of mulch in the last year so hopefully weeding won’t be too much of an issue.

As you may have seen in January’s GBBD post there were still many roses blooming and everything had new shoots, I was panicking about when I was going to prune the roses as they didn’t seem to be having a dormant period. Luckily I pruned the Wisteria on the pergola at the front of the house; the white ones on the side are still waiting. Many of the roses still have foliage, turned red to protect the plants; as soon as we have a few warmer days I will prune all the roses and move one that I want to add to the new planting I made in autumn. The garden needs the moisture that the melting snow will provide; we’ve had very little rain since the deluge in September. The ground water levels need to be high before the long drought of summer.

The crab apple gives some colour

The Nandino is cheerful

and hope from the buds on Viburnum tinus

The snow has high-lighted how many birds now live in the garden; when we moved here, there were few plants to help feed the birds during winter, now there are more hedges for the birds to nest in and many seeds and fruits for them to eat. In the snow I saw the impression of wing beats of the Little owl where it had taken some small bird or perhaps a mouse, I left a few pomegranates on the tree and the fruit has been pecked clean; although I’ve seen birds on the crab apples they don’t seem to be actually eating them as the tree is still full of tempting, cherry red fruit. I do see the birds clinging to the grasses and so I imagine that they eat grass seeds. I leave most seed-heads during the winter for their interesting forms and also to the birds. This is the first 15th of the month when there have been no flowers for a Bloomday post; so now I understand why Carol dreams of May! I’m dreaming too this month so if you want to see some terrific blooms from around the world visit Carol at Maydreamsgarden.  Carol has more blooms than me this month so this might her fell happier.

There was one lone flower, a very confused Santolina, my one 'bloom' this month

Don’t forget Garden Blogger’s Foliage day on the 22nd of each month; what’s looking good for you foliage wise?

GBBD August

Today is the day when Garden bloggers all over the world share what is flowering in their gardens.  To see what’s happening in other climates and even different seasons visit Carol at MayDreams.  She is our host for this fascinating view of what’s happening; thank you Carol.  It is also a holiday here in Italy, the last of summer and for some reason always makes me feel a bit sad – strange as usually the warm days continue until the end of October or even longer if we’re lucky.  Actually this year the hot weather is forecast to begin again this week so who knows what is going to happen.

How quickly another GBBD is upon us!  It seems only yesterday that I was posting for July.  This year has been very different in the garden.  April, May and June were unseasonably hot; but during July and August the temperatures have been significantly lower than most years AND there has been rain.  Very heavy rain during the first week of July and at the end and even August has also had some rain.  Maybe even more significant has been that the night-time temperatures have been about 10°C lower than the norm.  The garden has loved it.  There are far more flowers for this GBBD than last.  The garden is full of colour and texture.

I love al the textures woven together

I suppose I am slightly surprised that even the plants chosen for their drought tolerance are actually far happier with some rain and cooler weather.  I’m not sure why I should be so surprised; many of these plants also grow well in the UK with even more rain and lower temperatures.  Roses have flowered for much of July and some are continuing now as you can see in the slideshow.

Rosa Sally Holmes

Roses in flower now include: R. Westerland, R. Clair Matin, R. William Shakespeare, R. Tradescant, R. Queen of Sweden, R. Gertrude Jekyll, R. Sophie’s Perpetual, R. Molineux, R Rush, R. Mutabilis (this hasn’t been without flowers since April), R. Scepter’d Isle, R Stanwell Perpetual and the beautiful R. Sally Holmes whose flowers form a bouquet all on their own.

The formal beds of Perovskia have remained a cloud of blue; in the past they have lost their intensity of colour during August only to re-flower with the rains that usually come in September.

The blue haze of the Perovskia

.  The surrounding lavender was cut back at the end of July and is already sending out new growth.  I know is going to sound crazy but I actually prefer the lavender when it is pruned into a neat hedge than when it full of flower and bees.  I am considering removing the Lavender and putting in Myrtle but they are expensive so I would need to produce them myself from cuttings.  Knowing how slowly they grow this just might take too long!

All the grasses are looking lovely, I may have said it before but it remains true that I think I could be happy just gardening with grasses.

In the Small Island I added  two more Penisetum villosum to the one existing plant; last year this formed a very beautiful mound and I thought that three would make a good statement – I acted without knowing the this Penestum was obviously very happy in this particular spot and this year is huge almost filling the space I envisaged for three plants; I’m happy though because they have all been in flower for a while now and I love the soft bottlebrush heads especially in the evening light with the fading sun behind them.

Evening light catching Penestum villosa

I am amazed that the Abutilon that was dead to the ground from the cold winter (it had been a large bush of about 1.8 m by 1.8 m) has grown from the base and is now about 1.5 m high although of course not such a large spread yet but it is flowering!

Click here to see a slideshow of all that is flowering in my Hesperides Garden.

Happy GBBD to everyone who shares the blooms in their garden today.

July GBBD

Sorry this is late, pressure of work and other commitments.  I took all the images on the 14th.

I am surprised by just how many plants are flowering this month.  Usually in July the garden is entering its summer dormant stage.  But this year it seems that just about everything is flowering.  I am very happy that all the roses are flowering for a second burst.  Some like Gertrude Jekyll only put on a second show during September and October last year, but this year they are nearly as full of blooms as they were in May.

R. Gertrude Jekyll

I have mentioned before that I am becoming more and more aware that it is the overall grouping of plants and the fullness of the borders that is pleasing me more than individual plants, however special they may be.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy seeing other bloggers special plants and proudly produced ‘difficult’ flowers; just that for my own garden and when I am designing for clients it is the overall effect I am aiming at.  I feel this is achieved by the correct choice of plants for a particular environment.  If this means I can’t grow some plants I really love, so be it.  A plant that is not happy where it is will never give of its best and will appear sad rather than giving the joy one hopes for.

View through the island beds

So I really enjoy seeing these plants vicariously on other bloggers posts of rarely in visits to other gardens.  I think in the UK gardeners are not so aware of this because in reality the climate is more accommodating than in the extremes we experience in Italy and of course other countries too.

In England the summers are never too hot for too long; and in winter never too cold for long periods and of course it does rain fairly regularly.  In Lazio there is always a 3 or sometimes even 4 month period with no rain at all with hot winds and daytime temperatures that hover around the low 30° C and only falling at night into the mid 20°s C.  I don’t believe in irrigating excessively and large areas of my garden are not irrigated at all.  I will water if I see a plant suffering and naturally new plants, especially if they are large specimens will need irrigation until they are established, but my aim is to select plants that will thrive in these conditions.  Where I do irrigate I do so by means of buried drip hose so that none of the water is lost to evaporation.  I also water for a long period but infrequently only once a week or every 10 days, this encourages the roots to grow deep to search out water that is deep down in the soil.  I also mulch and this definitely makes a big difference to the water retention of the soil.

Click on the image below to see all the flowers blooming in My Hesperides Garden today.

View from the back of the left hand border

Thank you to Carol at Maydreams for hosting GBBD for us all.  I will enjoy looking at many other posts to see what is flowering all over the world today.  Happy GBBD to everyone.