The Slope on Thursday 24th October

Again I’m late!  Yesterday, Thursday it rained from 8.30 in the morning through until 5 in the afternoon; and not just rain, but thunder rattled around for most of that time by which time I had other commitments and couldn’t get outside to take any photographs, today I went outside at about 9 to take these images; amazingly the sun was shining and the day became positively hot (about 24°C).  The day of rain was a surprise as the weather had been exceptional; warm, sunny, and no wind since last Thursday.

Today we began harvesting the olives, T-shirts were the order of the day and I really needed sun block as well as sunglasses! Continue reading

The Slope on Tuesday 30th July

The weather is now very hot; high 30’s C during the day; last weekend it was close to 40°C in the shade! Despite all the rain and the water that must be stored deep in the ground the garden is shrivelling before my eyes.

P1100981

Weigela is looking very stressed

Weigela is looking very stressed

P1100979

The Perovskia is taller now, from the drive you can only just see over the top.

The Perovskia is taller now, from the drive you can only just see over the top.

Californian Poppy

Eschscholzia californica (Californian Poppy)

Californian poppies are flowering from new seedlings, the older plants are dry and need cutting to the ground; they will flower again in autumn.

One crop grows on the slope!  The fennel I showed with the Perovskia a couple of weeks ago is there for a purpose.  I collect and dry the flowers to add to roast potatoes, sausage risotto or dishes with Porcini (wild mushrooms).  I dry the cut flower heads on trays in an airy spot and then rub the dry flowers through a sieve and then into a jar.  You can buy them ready done in the local vegetable shops; but as they are very labour intensive to prepare they are very expensive (about €100 per kg). As there is a good crop this year I may prepare some in some pretty jars to give as little Christmas presents, it is always a much appreciated gift.

Fennel flowers ready to pick

Fennel flowers ready to pick

What is the weather doing in your part of the world?  Are you having rain or thunder storms, hail or wind or is it pleasantly warm or even too hot to bear.

The Slope – 2nd July

Since last Tuesday the weather has been a joy.  There were thunderstorms and some rain on Wednesday and Friday but the temperatures have been pleasant – warm but not too hot.  We’ve appreciated lots of delicious meals outside and it has also been nice to sit and read under the Wisteria.

To give a rounded view of The Slope I intend taking photographs at different times of day.  Today they were taken at 9 am.  The sun is already strong, the Quercus ilex throwing dark shadows. There are four large shrubs of this local evergreen oak planted at the top of the slope dividing the slope from the slope path, I chose them to protect the garden from the hot summer wind that comes from the direction of the sea, some 50 km away. Continue reading

This week’s view of the slope

I have decided to post some images of the slope every week.  It is the part of the garden that changes the most throughout the year.  This part of the garden has large naturalistic drifts of plants, some are wild plants that blow into the garden, like the Verbascum that are about to flower, others are plants that just self-seed and so they choose where to plant themselves. Continue reading

2012 End of Year review

A view of Lake Bolsena on a cold crisp January day

A view of Lake Bolsena at the end of a cold crisp January day

December has sped past as it always will, with the busy time running up to Christmas.  The garden has changed with the effects of frosty mornings, cold nights and more rain.  And so another year comes to an end!  Why is it that they flash by so quickly?  Soon it will be time to begin sowing seeds – the beginning of a new season.

As I did last year I thought I would share with you the images that I used as my screensavers through the year.  Sometimes I change the image almost as soon as I take a new batch of photos; other times a favourite image will stay for weeks.

I notice how often I use the formal beds at the front of the house; I think I find the formality restful; not all the images are of the garden, the surrounding countryside also figures often.

Seed heads and berries bring life to the garden

January Seed heads and berries bring life to the garden

In Febuary we had snow

In Febuary we had snow

February: We were snowed in for a few days but the views outside were lovely

February: We were snowed-in for a few days but the views outside were lovely

To me March is YELLOW

To me March is YELLOW

March, Euphorbia add acid colour

March, Euphorbia add acid colour

March, Californian Poppies open their sunny faces to the sun

March, Californian Poppies open their sunny faces to the sun

April brings Poppies that carpet the countryside, my favourite wild flower

April brings Poppies that carpet the countryside, my favourite wild flower. I smile every time I see them!

April brings new bright leaves to the trees and tulips

April also brings new bright leaves to the trees and tulips

April, tulips and Photinia and new growth on Rosa Westerland all have the same warm colour

April, tulips and Photinia and new growth on Rosa Westerland all have the same warm colour

April, before the storm

April, before the storm

April, looking accroess to the large island

April, looking accross to the large island

April, the slope was very colourful

April, the slope was very colourful

May, a profusion of Californian poppies

May, the slope with a profusion of Californian poppies

May, Rosa Rimaso

May, Rosa Rimosa on the perpola

May, Irises

May, Irises and Cistus with olives in the background

June, Penesetun villosa already doing a great job

June, Penesetun villosa already doing a great job

June, ever present butterflies on the lavender

June, ever present butterflies on the lavender

June, the formal beds

June, the formal beds

June, not just butterflies feel on the lavender

June, not just butterflies feel on the lavender

June, the surrounding fields are at their abundant best

June, the surrounding fields are at their abundant best

July, more butterflies, here the false swallowtail

July, more butterflies, here the false swallowtail

July, of course many bees visit too!

July, of course many bees visit too!

September, the formal beds crisply clipped

September, the formal beds crisply clipped

September, Asters are the stars of the show

September, Asters are the stars of the show

September, Penesetum villosa still reflecting the evening light

September, Penesetum villosa still reflecting the evening light

October, Aster 'Monte Casino with Knautia

October, Aster ‘Monte Casino with Knautia

October, wonderful sunsets areone of the joys of autumn

October, wonderful sunsets are one of the joys of autumn

October The Perovskia was late to show its beauty this year because of the drought

October The Perovskia was late to show its beauty this year because of the drought

November brings sudden storms and dramatic skies

November brings sudden storms and dramatic skies

November, Iris

November, Iris unguiclaris

November, Miscanthus

November, Miscanthus

November, more sunsets

November, more sunsets

November and the sky is on fire

November and the sky is on fire

December brought and early winter, with frost every morning for 10 days or so

December brought and early winter, with frost every morning for 10 days or so

December, the formal beds from above

December, the formal beds from above

December, frost on alreadysilver foliage

December, frost on already silver foliage

December the light turns the Euphorbia and Argave blue

December the light turns the Euphorbia and Argave blue

December, Garlic Chives, Allium tuberosum, Seedheads

December, Garlic Chives, Allium tuberosum, Seedheads

To each of you who regularly leave comments and I count very firmly as my gardening friends and to those who read quietly but leave on trace of their presence I wish you all a Very Happy Gardening New Year! Christina

Just a Little Bit

Of rain that is!  Yes, just a little bit of rain and temperatures falling especially at night means things are happening in the garden.  Walking around (and I’m enjoying doing this again) and I see that just a small quantity of rain has spurred some seeds to germinate – yes of course weeds are germinating, it doesn’t take much for them to get going but also Cerinthe are pushing their first leaves up through the soil.  Usually I wait for them to grow a bit bigger than these are and then transplant to where I want them to grow.  They may be a little early as if we get a hot second half of the month they may still wither and die.  In other places Californian poppies are covering the ground in the most extraordinary way, if they all gow the garden will be a riot of colour; some might even flower this autumn.  Autumn crocus are also pushing up so I will get some saffron this year.

At present the Cerinthe are just 2 leaves pushing though the soil, but there are lots!

Their leaves are quite distinctive.

GBBD June – Looking for shade

Another GBBD has arrived; each seems to arrive so quickly now that there is so much activity in the garden.  Thanks to Carol at Maydreams for hosting this meme.  Pay her a visit to see what’s blooming in early summer or early winter (depending on which hemisphere) around the world today.

At last it’s hot, well today it is hot but the weather has been anything but consistent, rain, wind, cool nights, more wind and yet more wind that has been late May and up to now in June.  But the days are hot enough that when I want to sit outside during the day I am so grateful that the wisteria is filling out and the front terrace is in dappled shade.  A bonus is that the wisteria is flowering again profusely; I always think that the first flowers of spring are larger, but no, this year there are long racemes of delicately perfumed blooms hanging down under the canopy of shade giving foliage.

I tied in some of the new growth and pruned out tendriles that I didn’t want yesterday

The colours in the garden are heating-up; from pinks and purples to oranges, yellows and crimson.  I spoke about the gold of the small island a couple of days ago but gold and burnt orange aren’t restricted to that bed, they creep into the most surprising places, especially the Californian poppies which seed themselves charmingly into all the right places.

Just like the sun, yellow and gold!

The Salvia behind this is almost the same colour.

Tall, Hemerocallis

But there are so many blooms demanding my attention, click on the image below to see all the blooms in My Hesperides Garden today, they’re not all orange!

Looking accross the upper drive bed to the large island