GBFD – Spring foliage

Welcome to GBFD, a day to celebrate the foliage backbone of the garden.

After a glorious sunny, spring-like day on Friday today is grey with a cold wind; so not a day to enjoy being in the garden at all.  I think that in spring we are all looking for signs of the new season especially flowers so it is easy to forget that spring also brings all the new foliage on trees, emerging perennials and the special promise we get from the foliage of bulbs appearing. Continue reading

The Slope on Thursday – There is change today!

There is a change in the weather and in the appearance of the slope this week.

It isn’t so much that the day time temperatures are higher, although it is slightly warmer, but at night the temperatures are not dropping so much. I have noticed some plants are telling me they need a little irrigation, the moisture in the soil is diminishing and without addition water non drought tolerant plants would begin to shrivel. Continue reading

It’s Not Pink, it’s Magenta

I promised a while ago to show you what other things are in the area now known in my head as the Magenta Zone!  Pink sounds too girly for such a strong, vibrant colour.

Here is a description I found of a newly purchased Geranium ‘Tiny Monster’ “From Rolf Offenthal at Germany’s Countess Helen Von Stein’s Nursery comes an excellent new geranium hybrid (Geranium sanguineum x Geranium psilostemon). Each plant makes a 10″ tall x 3′ wide mound of cut-leaf green foliage, topped all summer with 1″+ lavender flowers (why are the people who describe plants colour blind? – it’s clearly not lavender colour in any images let alone in life!). Unlike straight Geranium sanguineum clones which it resembles, Geranium ‘Tiny Monster’ is sterile, so more flowers will result along with no unexpected little ones appearing and begging for support.”

Geranium ‘Tiny Monster’

Geranium ‘Tiny Monster’

I bought two well grown pots which I was able to divide into 9 small plants to spread under the Arbutus tree.  I don’t usually irrigate this area so I will have to wait to see how much water it requires.

salvia, a cutting from a friend's garden (unknown name)

salvia, a cutting from a friend’s garden (unknown name)

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Cistus

Cistus

The Cistus is actually not quite in the Magenta zone but I might extend the planting to reach it or I have some cuttings from it I took last year and I will plant it in the ‘zone’.

Lychnis coronaria

Lychnis coronaria

Looking along the path towards the rose

Looking along the path towards the rose

Rosa L D Braithwaite is slightly redder than the true magenta colour I have been aiming for but having moved it once I will allow it to stay.  I don’t have a good image for it at the moment, I’ll post about it again when I write about all the roses.

Achillea millefolium ‘Cassis’

Achillea millefolium ‘Cassis’

Achillea millefolium ‘Cassis’ is a lovely colour this self-seeded last year and so far seems to have come true.

Do you have a colour themed area in your garden? A classic Sissinghurst White Garden?

GBBD – May Profusion

I usually try to post every bloom there is in the garden for GBBD (for my own record of what is flowering if nothing else), but I’m beaten today!  There are just too many flowers and to be truthful even though I love every single bloom it is the overall effect of the garden that is giving me the most joy.

I will try to post about more of the flowers individually during the next month. Cistus, Eschscholzia californica (and not just orange), Roses, Iris – all deserve their own post.

Thanks to Carol for hosting.  You might want to peek over the garden wall at some blooms in other gardens so do visit Carol at MayDreamsgarden.

So here (grab a cup of tea maybe) is My Hesperides Garden on GBBD in May.  I hope your gardens are giving you as much pleasure as mine is to me, happy bloom day.

Rosa mutabilis on the wall that divides the vegetable garden from the drive

Rosa mutabilis on the wall that divides the vegetable garden from the drive

Large Island

Large Island

Iris Kent Pride with white blotched with brown Cistus

Iris Kent Pride with white blotched with brown Cistus

Philadelpus scenting the garden

Philadelpus scenting the garden

Iris Before the Storm with Eschscholzia californica

Iris Before the Storm with Eschscholzia californica

The slope

The slope

This cistus is one I took as a cutting

This cistus is one I took as a cutting

The slope

The slope

The slope

The slope

Eschscholzia californica, on the slope

Eschscholzia californica, on the slope

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Buddleia alternifolia, I am tryijng to train as a weeping tree

Buddleia alternifolia, I am tryijng to train as a weeping tree

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The pillars on the west facing side of the terrace with Rosa Clair Matin

The pillars on the west facing side of the terrace with Rosa Clair Martin

My favourite rose

My favourite rose

Rosa Romosa, South facing Terrace

Rosa Rimosa, South facing Terrace

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Large Island

Large Island

Large Island

Large Island

Large Island

Large Island

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Large Island

Large Island

Large Island looking towards the formal beds

Large Island looking towards the formal beds

Large Island

Large Island

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Looking along the back border from under the fig

Looking along the back border from under the fig

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Looking from under Mulberry along the back bed

Looking from under Mulberry along the back bed

Left Hand Border

Left Hand Border

Under Mulberry

Under Mulberry

Left Hand Border

Left Hand Border

Left Hand Border

Left Hand Border

Left hand border

Left hand border

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Rosa Stanwell's perpetual, Triangular rose bed

Rosa Stanwell’s perpetual, Triangular rose bed

Sambucus with lovely dark foliage, Triangular rose bed

Sambucus with lovely dark foliage, Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

The quality of the images isn’t as good as usual as today was very sunny but rain is forecast for tomorrow so I needed to get them today.

White flowers in the garden, May

Although I don’t have a Sissinghurst-type white garden as part of my garden I do love white flowers.  They add pools of light in dark shady areas and are, for me, essential to have on the terrace or near it because they seem to be luminous in the evening as dust and then night arrives.

Here are the white flowers in the garden during the first week in May.

Iris 'Immortality', a lovely pure white

Iris ‘Immortality’, a lovely pure white

The above you’re seen in my post about Irises, but worth seeing again I feel.

Philadephus is filling the garden with its wonderful perfume

Philadephus is filling the garden with its wonderful perfume

Allium Karataviense

Allium Karataviense

Rosa Sally Holmes

Rosa Sally Holmes

Unknown name white Cistus

Unknown name white Cistus

Aquilegea vulgaris alba

Aquilegea vulgaris alba

Aquilegea vulgaris alba with Allium Roseum

Aquilegea vulgaris alba with Allium Roseum

Convolvulus cneorum

Convolvulus cneorum

cerastium tomentosum -  snow in summer

cerastium tomentosum – snow in summer

Cistus

Cistus

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal

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Photinia flowers, the bees love them

Photinia flowers, the bees love them

Allium Roseum are actually native here and people are surprised I bought them for the garden

Allium Roseum are actually native here and people are surprised I bought them for the garden

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!

EOMV – Scorching August

Another month has passed and it’s time again to join Helen the Patient Gardener for the end of month view; thanks for hosting again Helen

On Sunday last we had a little rain, enough to wet the ground.  Night-time temperatures have dropped a little; being able to sleep at night has made me feel a little better.

If the cooler nights continue, but already last night was warmer than Sunday night, the plants will benefit from some dew.  Lower temperatures are also promised for next week (I have everything crossed!).

The August issue of my Italian gardening magazine communicates that there hasn’t been a June and July together this hot and this dry since records began (and now there is a scorching August to add into the statistics); local friends, who are assiduous at keeping records of max. and min. temperatures and measuring rainfall, tell me that there has been no measurable rain since May 28th!  Again this morning we had a 15 minute shower – not enough to do much good but, for me psychologically good as it brings a promise that we will get some proper rain soon.

The extreme conditions are making me reassess my thoughts on what drought really is.  I’m sure this sounds silly – a drought is a drought is a drought.  But actually it isn’t just about there being no rain; we rarely get any rain here from July through to the end of August.  What has made the difference this year is the higher temperatures, just a few degrees higher every day and less obviously higher night time temperatures, giving plants less time to recover.  Then there have been even more strong winds this year; this morning’s shower wet the ground but then the wind grew stronger and everything was dry again within half an hour (at the most).  As I write the wind is blowing continuously, I can hear it in the chimney; I’m listening to the leaves of the wisteria rustling.  This desiccation by the wind is not to be underestimated.

I’m looking with reawakened interest at the plants that are really thriving, not just surviving; I will use more of them as structural plants so that when this hot summer is repeated in the future there will be more plants that I don’t have to worry about.  I mentioned some in my post about foliage; the good ones are rosemary, Ceanothus, Teucrium, Myrtle and Euphorbia, although a couple of plants have died but they were probably a bit old.

Teucrium, thrives in the heat, you can prune it – maybe I will replace the dead box with this, not as long lasting but tough!

Cistus and Pholmis sufruticosa are alive but their foliage has curled to protect itself so that don’t look wonderful.

Then there were the surprises – plants I would have bet good money that they would be OK; Festuca glauca is a plant I’ve always considered very, drought tolerant but several have died and there is such a build-up of dead thatch on others that they either need replacing or digging up and dividing, discarding the dead stems and hoping that they will reform into their usual round shape.

these three Festuca glauca look dead to me

the alive one at the back is just on the edge of where the irrigation drip hose reaches

Nepeta is tough, just a couple of soakings with the hose and it is regrowing! I intend taking cutting and using more of this around the garden, I love its colour.

Most of the Sedums are growing well, although some are smaller this year.

I will use sedums as fillers around other plants, they needn’t be near irrigation drip hoses, I already took a lot of cutting earlier in the year, I’ll take even more next year

With irrigation (3 hours per week) the grasses look great

These grasses, Miscanthus and Pennisetum are on the edge of the circular rose bed, they are just receiving water through the soil, there is no direct irrigation to them but the roses receive 1 hour per night 3 times per week.

Once the trumpet vine is established it shouldn’t need any irrigation

In my free-draining soil Gaura needs just a little water, the amount in the soil near the irrigated roses is enough, to flower for months. In some soils they need no water at all.

There is a very obvious truth behind all the above.  If I want a garden full of flowers in July and August all I have to do is use masses of water!  I don’t want, or indeed feel it is right, to irrigate the whole garden so I must rethink some areas so that I am not forced to go around with a hose early morning or late at night trying to keep plants alive.  Where the irrigation is, the plants survive on the amount I give them, they won’t flower in a very hot year like this one has proved to be but they will persist to flower another year and I think I have to be content with that.

This abutilon was more damaged by the cold winter than the heat of summer but it does receive some irrigation

The Echinacea I grew from seed seems happy with just a little water

This double Hibiscus is still quite small, it was a cutting taken by a friend. Once established it is very tough and will survive with very little water

Asters need more water. I need to concentrate them in one or two areas where I’m prepapred to irrigate 3 times a week.

Sorry some of the images are a little fuzzy; the wind was blowing!