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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GBFD – Hotter Still!

This is my 200th post, I wish it were a more positive one – but it is giving you a true vision of how the heat is effecting My Hesperides Garden.

A week ago rain was forecast and I was just a little hopeful that the temperatures would begin to fall.  Mid-August is when often the weather breaks; but not this year!  This last week has been hotter than ever with news broadcasts recommending that the elderly stay indoors or visit air-conditioned shopping centres to keep cool!  More elderly people die in Italy during hot summers than in winter.  By eight in the morning it is almost too hot to stay in the garden and in the afternoon it is still really too hot to work even at six pm.  The plus side to this is obviously that we can have dinner outside and watching the sun going down and begin to breathe again.  This is an exceptionally hot year; records are being broken but I sincerely hope that the furnace that is August this year won’t be repeated for some years to come.

In the parts of the garden planted with drought tolerant plants I have been shocked to see plants suffering and possibly dying!  Just how many plants I’ll lose is difficult to tell just yet; maybe I won’t know until next spring the exact number of plants that have succumbed to the record temperatures and the lack of any real precipitation for many months.

I admit to being deceived earlier in the year April and May were not as hot as some other years although there was little rain.  I resolved not to begin irrigating until it was really necessary – MISTAKE!  Early June was also not excessively hot but the 15th June the temperatures suddenly rose and with the heat also came strong desiccating winds – worst scenario for a garden and worse still I was away in Prague that weekend.  When I returned and saw the garden on Tuesday morning I realised that the ground was already dried out and that many plants were struggling, the struggling has continued to now.

What plants have thrived in this heat and parched summer?  Not many have thrived!  Euphorbia myrsinites doesn’t mind how dry or hot it is, and most of my other Euphorbias are doing well too, especially E. rigida.

You can see how shrunken the foliage is on this Phomis fruticosa

I had imagined that all silver leaved plants would at least tolerate the heat but some look pretty sad.  Senecio maritima and S. cineraria aren’t dying but their foliage is curled to protect them even more from the sun’s rays, this is also true of Artemisia varieties.

Curled leaves even on a Senicio.

This usually beautiful spreading thyme seems to be 85% dead

Foliage of Solanum jasminoides also shows how leaves curl to protect itself from too much sun. It isn’t wasting energy by flowering either

Ceanothus repans certainly copes in these conditions and gives a lovely dark green mound at the corner of the drive.

Ceanothus repans looks good

Festuca glauca was another plant that I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about (it is a signature plant in my garden), but the larger plants are looking very untidy and with more dead thatch than I’ve ever seen in previous years.  I am hoping that if I lift and divide them the new plants will establish for next summer, I also have some small plants that were self-seedlings that can be planted as replacements for any that are truly dead.

Surprisingly Lonicera fragrantissima hasn’t lost any of its leaves, I have given it some water during the summer but only when a nearby crab apple is stressed and I water that.

Lonicera fragrantissima

Viburnum tinus is usually considered a tough plant for almost any conditions; it is the wind that has caused most damage to this shrub, the side that receives the afternoon wind from the west is completely scorched, and I doubt that the branches on this side will recover.

Viburnum tinus has been very damaged by the hot wind

Even the lavender hedge around the formal beds has patches that I’m hoping aren’t dead.  It has been pruned so that light and air can reach into the bushes; again this will be a wait and see scenario; it will be a huge problem if some plants have died completely leaving ugly gaps.

To finish a few other images (good and bad) of My Hesperides Garden today.

These box balls are likely to be my more expensive loss!

I love how prostrate rosemary clings to the wall. It thrives in the heat

I don’t think these Hemerocallis are dead but they are really suffering.

The large island is planted with drought tolerant plants but it doesn’t look great at the moment

Wisteria on the pillars is lush and full of flower, but it gets some irrigation as the roses planted close to them receive water, which even reaches the lavender hedge close to the terrace

All the images were taken at around 8.30 in the morning, you can see how strong the glare of the sun is, even at that time.

A Cotinus is happy, the purple leaved versions are less content

View accross the garden from the Large Island

I hope you will want to share some of your foliage on this Garden Bloggers Foliage day, just leave a comment with the link, thank you.  I’m looking forward to some lush foliage from the UK and spring offerings from the southern hemisphere.