May 2nd 2016 – In a vase on Monday

Cathy at Rambling in the garden has some very special flowers to share with us all today so even if you can’t join with a vase of your own today do follow the links to her post.  Yesterday we were kindly invited to lunch with a friend; strange as it seems so late in the year,  yesterday was Easter for those of the Orthodox faith; it therefore seemed appropriate to take her a hand-tied bouquet.  I intended using Sweet William and Dianthus but these just didn’t provide the look I wanted so I continued picking other stems to create a light spring time bouquet. Continue reading

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GBFD – There may be masses of blooms but the Foliage is what holds it all together

The title of this month’s GBFD post says it all really.  When I went into the garden to photograph foliage this morning I thought it might be difficult this month to take images that didn’t feature flowers rather than foliage.  But then as I walked around I was reminded why I had wanted to start GBFD; Foliage is EVERYTHING in a garden.  In some seasons it might be all there is, but when it is spring and the garden shouts with colour and tells me it is truly spring it is the foliage that makes the blooms sing in a harmonious way.

The garden is full of colour, maybe more colour than at any other time of year; yet without the foliage the garden would be nothing!

The structure of the formal garden works all year.  Now supporting the white tulips in the front two beds

The structure of the formal garden works all year. Now supporting the white tulips in the front two beds

Structure, form and shades of green are enough to create a beautiful garden

Structure, form and shades of green are enough to create a beautiful garden

Box needing to be pruned give a slightly wild feel

Box needing to be pruned give a slightly wild feel; the pale green new foliage is too lovely for me to want to remove it

The slope is green in a different way; Stipa tenuissima waves in the wind

The slope is green in a different way; Stipa tenuissima waves in the wind

Silver foliage is a strong part of my Mediterranean garden, the bright spring light makes the silver leaves shimmer and also make a wonderful contrast to Tulip Negrita.

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Various Artemisia and other silver foliage plants

Various Artemisia and other silver foliage plants

Sedum Purple Emperor glows against a santolina

Sedum Purple Emperor glows against a santolina

The purple and almost jade foliage of the Sedum is stunning when it is new

The purple and almost jade foliage of the Sedum is stunning when it is new

Sedum Matrona has pink edges to its leaves which at present are an attraction to many snails

Sedum Matrona has pink edges to its leaves which at present are an attraction to many snails

Festuca glauca highlights the deep purple of Heuchera 'Obsidion'

Festuca glauca highlights the deep purple of Heuchera ‘Obsidion’

The bright spring light bleaches the true deep colour of the Heuchera

The bright spring light bleaches the true deep colour of the Heuchera

Heuchera 'Patty's Plum'

Heuchera ‘Patty’s Plum’

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Remember sometimes to turn your images into tones of grey to help you understand the forms and texture that your plants are creating.

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Some large round leaves would be a good addition here.

I think the form of the foliage here, works well with strappy Iris in the foreground, with Cotinus, santolina and Phlomis.

I think the form of the foliage here, works well with strappy Iris in the foreground, with Cotinus, santolina and Phlomis and a tall stand of Cerinthe in the background.

New foliage on a Mahonia

New foliage on a Mahonia

There is of course the pattern and colour you enjoy only when getting close.

A lot of new foliage is pink or red and not green

A lot of new foliage is pink or red and not green.  I think this is just amazing

and the foliage of wild lupin is a wonderful patter

and the foliage of wild lupin is a wonderful pattern

Nandina's new foliage is as colourful as any flower

Nandina domestica’s new foliage is as colourful as any flower

Hedges are very important for the form and texture they provide in the garden, the back of my garden Has Photinia, giving orangey-red new foliage which emphasises the colour of Tulips Brown Sugar and gives a good background to the rest of the garden always.

The large tree on the left is a White Mulberry

The large tree on the left is a White Mulberry

Please feel free to use GBFD in your own way; to maybe highlight one plant that is making an impact this month in your garden or to show the combinations that work for you.  Please post and add a link to your comment.  I really look forward to seeing what is happening in other gardens.  I hope you are enjoying spring as much as I am.

GBBD March – spring begins

Not in the sense that we have spring weather, no, it is cold, it is wet and the winds have been gale force; there has been some sun but mostly March has definitely come in like a lion…..

But despite this, blooms have opened, some bulbs are already finished, Crocus have been shredded by the whipping wind and Iris reticulate, although lasting longer than other years are now putting on foliage rather than flowering.

The best blooms are still the Anemone sylphide, close to them the other bulbs I chose for their similar fuchsia pink colour are showing their buds.  Hyacinth Miss Saigon, another bulb I’ve never grown before will be open in a few days and Barcelona, Persian Pearl or Antraciet Tulips are showing colour in their buds.  I don’t know which tulip this is because I planted all three here hoping for a continuation of intense colour, I’ll know when it is fully open I hope.

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide, no apologies for showing these again!

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

Barcelona, Persian Pearl or Antraciet Tulip?

Barcelona, Persian Pearl or Antraciet Tulip?

The plum is now flowering with the promise of small sweet yellow plums later in summer.

Plum blossom

Plum blossom

The rest of the blooms are those you would expect in March with one exception, Rosa rimossa on the south-facing pillars has two flowers, one has already been almost destroyed by wind by the other is more tucked away so will hopefully bloom for a little longer.

Rosa rimosa three days ago

Rosa rimosa three days ago

and now after the wind

and now after the wind

R. rimosa, another bud opening

R. rimosa, another bud opening

Ceanothus repans continues to flower out of its usual late spring season, the plant is dying back in the middle and I fear it will die, they are capricious shrubs that often die for no apparent reason, I will replace it if it does die, I am trying cuttings but they are slow to put down roots.

Ceanothus repans

Ceanothus repans

Cerinthe is late flowering this year but there are masses of self-seeded plants in the large island making quite a statement.

Cerinthe

Cerinthe

Cerinthe's purple bell flowers

Cerinthe’s purple bell flowers

Viburnum tinus still not fully open, it really is a short season here

Viburnum tinus still not fully open, it really is a short season here

Periwinkle grows in the hedges

Periwinkle grows in the hedges

Violas have been flowering all winter in large pots which will some be displaying tulips

Violas have been flowering all winter in large pots which will some be displaying tulips

Euphorbia rigida is still putting on a great show

Euphorbia rigida is still putting on a great show
Euphorbia mysernites is adding colour around the garden

Euphorbia mysernites is adding colour around the garden

A few Verbena are flowering in sunny spots

A few Verbena are flowering in sunny spots

Prostrate Rosemary is doing a great job of forming a strean of blue on the slope

Prostrate Rosemary is doing a great job of forming a strean of blue on the slope

20130313_9999_10There’s lots more flowers to come.

Lonicera fragrantissima is at its best now, sweetly perfuming the air by the drive

Lonicera fragrantissima is at its best now, sweetly perfuming the air by the drive

Teucrium is reliable for flowering all winter

Teucrium is reliable for flowering all winter

Clumps of Muscari are beginning to bloom

Clumps of Muscari are beginning to bloom

where-as Eleagnus is coming to an end

Where-as Eleagnus is coming to an end

Oestiospmum also have a few blooms

Osteospmum also have a few blooms

Thank you Carol at MayDreams for hosting GBBD; visit to see what gardeners around the world have flowering in March.  Happy GBBD to everyone.

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 Bright light and new growth

I am late this month posting.  The images were taken on the 14th but I’ve not had time to write anything until now.

I am fascinated by what triggers plants into growth and flower.  I have been visiting the UK and have been enjoying all the daffodils.  This is a plant that needs cold weather to trigger flowering; I planted a huge bag of mixed daffodils by the side of the drive a few years ago; the following week we had a lot of rain and I fear many of the bulbs must have rolled down the slope under the loose covering of soil or just turned over.  The first year following planting there was a respectable amount of flowers but by no means the number that had been planted, the following year there were less this year at this moment there is one bloom, so not the drifts I dreamed of!

After the snow had melted I was surprised at just how many plants where ready to begin to emerge from the soil.  Where before the snow there was no evidence of tulip bulbs, now the leaves are pushing strongly up giving me hope of a colourful display to come.  The usual suspects of Rosemary and Teucrium have been flowering for a while, before the snow fell they were already putting on their blue display.

close-up of flower, huge Rosemary bush by greenhouse

Teucrium fruticosa, one of the very first shribs to come into flower, as early as January sometimes

The slope has grown a lot since March last year and the streams of prostrate Rosemary and Muscari are really producing the effect I had hoped for when planning the planting.

Viburnum tinus, Cerinthe, Muscari are the obvious stars of the garden this month, early Convolvulus cneorum and a silver-leaved Buddleia have attracted pollinators into the garden that I would have thought would only be attracted by more perfumed flowers at this time of year.

click on the image below to see what’s flowering in My Hesperides Garden in mid-March.

This is my only daffodil flowering at the moment - so not the drifts I would love

A belated thank you to Carol at MayDreams garden for hosting this inspiring meme.  If you haven’t visited yet why not click over to see links to gardens from all over the world.

Hopefully you will be able to join me this month for Gardener Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd of this month.  I’m hoping for some autumn colour from the southern hemisphere.

GBFD Emerging from the snow

For a couple of weeks there hasn’t been much foliage visible in My Hesperides Garden; snow buried everything but now green is emerging from white and colour returns to the garden.

Prostrate rosemary, even more prostrate than usual

Snow can damage evergreen plants; pushing down the branches; the box were splayed open.  I wanted to brush the snow away and take the weight off the stems but the branches were also very brittle in the freezing temperatures and I didn’t want it to be me to cause the damage.

The beautiful early foliage of Cerinthe is more obvious than its flowers

There are new leaves on the evergreen Eleagnus

The evergreen shrubs I planted are now beginning to give the structure I wanted to the planting.  In summer with herbaceous plants flowering they tend to fade into the background but in winter with, or without, the snow they add form, mass and height to the borders.  I like the solid form of this Eleagnus  – it has formed this shape naturally, I haven’t pruned it to make it solid.  If possible I choose plants that will grow into a beautiful shape naturally as I’m not keen on plants that have been pruned to death!

Today the 21st the sun is shining and the temperature has risen significantly, from hardly topping zero centigrade to today’s warm 10 or more in the sun degrees.

Euphorbia rigida is anything but rigid but coloured bracts are beginning to turn their faces to the sun and suddenly it feels that spring will be here soon.

Euphorbia rigida

Euphorbia misenites is growing already

Fresh new sedum foliage

There is new foliage emerging from under the dead stems of sedum, I will have to remove the old stems and I will lift and divide the plants that are very large to increase their numbers; I would like to mass-plant some Sedum onto the bank.

Libertii peligrins is at last bulking up

Green and glossy Acanthus leaves under the Mulberry

Now that the snow has nearly disappeared I have found some blooms that weren’t visible on GBBD but in February it isn’t the blooms that make the garden interesting or that tempt me outside on an icy morning it is the beauty of the foliage that attracts.  I admit that what pleases me most is that it is still light at 17.32 and will be for another half hour, and the beautifully marbled leaf of Huchera ‘Plum Pudding’

Huchera 'Plum Pudding'

What foliage is giving you pleasure at the moment?  Do leave a comment and link to your post on foliage this month.  It can be about just one plant or your whole garden, whatever you like.

Garden Bloggers Bloomday, March 2011

This month the garden is really coming back to life.  Not just individual flowers are blooming but areas of the garden are beginning to form ‘pictures’.

Large Island bed

Euphorbia myrsinites

Cerinthe

Euphorbia rigida

The first ‘stream’ to flower on the slope was prostrate rosemary

Prostrate Rosemary

and now the Muscari planted here are beginning to look as I imagined they would.

A stream of Muscari

Looking down from the top of the slope

Daffodils begin late here, I think that is because they need a period of cold to prompt them into growth and that doesn’t happen until December or January in this part of Italy.  In fact these tulips were open even before the daffodils!  They are the sign that spring really is here (this morning it was 10° at 6.30 whereas last week the temperature was hovering around zero at that time of the morning and for much of the morning.

Daffodils by the drive

There are a couple of surprise plants flowering all be it just a couple of flowers; this tiny, flowered Geranium began flowering last week – it is spreading very slowly under Rosa Tradescant, and a prostrate Ceonothus that I want to propagate to have as more excellent ground cover on the slope.

Ceaonothus repans

Another plant I didn’t expect to be flowering was this Buddleia Silver Anniversary

nor this little succulent bravely searched for the sun today with its tiny crimson petals

Viburnum tinus

Viburnum tinus is just beginning to open its tight pale pink buds – this is another plant that behaves entirely differently in Italy to the UK.  I always considered it a great value plant; flowering from October to spring, evergreen foliage always looking good and some nice black berries in summer if you’re lucky – here, though it flowers in March for about one month then the dead flowers and the foliage look horrendous for about 2 months and although it is evergreen it doesn’t exactly fill the heart with joy during the winter. Let me know how this plant grows in your garden in your part of the world.

Long flowering Lonicera fragrantissima is still perfuming the air right by the drive where it welcomes us home as we get out of the car.  I think it will be over by next month’s Bloomday, as it isn’t a beautiful plant during summer I will try to think of a suitable small scrambler to flower over it during the summer months, sadly not clematis as they need too much water – maybe some kind of annual would be interesting.

Lonicera fragrantissima

Clematis armandii began flowering with a few tentative blooms a couple of weeks, now many of the buds are open; last weekend in the high winds the tendrils looked like they were tenaciously hanging on for grim death to the supporting wires today they are happily opening more buds.

Periwinkle adds a blue note to the bottom of the bay hedge.

Arabis spreads its white flowers like a flurry of snow under the pomegranate towards Box balls.

Seed grown Arabis

Teucrium continues to bloom and grow.  This is a plant that does very well and is useful as it is lovely and airy if left to grow unchecked or will become a strong form if tightly pruned into a ball or I’ve  also seen it beautifully grown as a serpentine hedge (now where could I plant one of those?).

Teucrium fruticans

This morning the sun is slowly breaking through the cloud and I need to finish cutting back and tying in the Raspberries – yes, I know I’m very late doing this but better late than never.

Thanks as usual to Carol at Maydreams garden for hosting GBBD for March, take a look at what’s flowering in gardens all over the world by visting her.