The garden this week – changable weather

In Monday’s post I mentioned that the weather forecast was for rain but that it was a lovely sunny morning. Continue reading

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I love the days it feels like spring!

Last Wednesday was a glorious day and yesterday (Tuesday) and today are the same; but the days in between were horrendous.  Strong cold winds and three days of continuous rain spoilt the weekend and Monday; it really hard to believe on a day like today that it can be so different! Continue reading

May feast – Rosa Clair Matin

Described as:  Floribunda with 4-11 petals, pale pink with more intense nuances, created in France in 1960 by Marie-Louise Meilland.  Grows up to 3.5 m in height as a climber, but cultivable also as shrub.

Darker pink buds with pale pink slightly peachy coloured flowers.

5 Rosa Clair Matin were planted on the west facing pillars in October 2008.  This is a very generous rose, producing blooms for much of the summer and very well into autumn.

Looking south along pillars on west side of house

Buds began to appear in April but the real first flush of flowers began during the second week of May.

Hard to believe but the image below is the same pillar in March, when Clematis Armandii was the star of the show.

I didn’t show the clematis very much in March but it was spectacular.

 

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – Spring

A month ago the garden was emerging from the snow and I was happy to report temperatures rising to 10° C.  Now that we are officially in spring the temperatures are rising to just on 20° C – that’s a rise of 10° in one month!

I have been away from the garden for a few days and on my return was amazed to see so much difference! Clematis Armandii had two flowers open last Wednesday, today it is covered in flowers, spreading their honey, scent in the warm air.  Many more Muscari are attracting bees and other pollinators and reassuringly flowering even in their congested clumps.

Clematis Armandii

But I’m not here to write about flowers, this is GBFD after all!  Before I left Rosa mutabilis was looking a little bare; I’d pruned after the snow and in doing so had cut away a lot of the stems still carrying leaves revealing bare stems!  Today when I looked out of the window all the bushes were covered in new foliage making the bushes look very impressive.

Rosa mutabilis, new foliage, maybe there will be flowers before the end of the month

I may have pruned some of the emerging flower buds (last year there were flowers during March) but it will be worth it to maintain the full bushy shape.

The Lavender hedges have been pruned and look very sharp!  I love how they look at this point, they grow so fast here that I think they would benefit from being pruned 3 times a year, sometimes I only manage once; the clippings make excellent mulch as the leaves contain a chemical which inhibits the growth of seedlings hopefully including weed seeds!

Formal beds with newly clipped Lavender

Having only just cut down last year’s dead foliage it is wonderful to see all the new growth.  Euphorbia in its various varieties is the star of the show at the moment, either its foliage or vibrant bracts.

Large island bed, looking south

Euphorbia with silver leaved plants

Large island looking towards drive

Small island looking towards large island and drive

Through all the new ground cover foliage a large number of tulips are pushing up, this is gratifying as none were planted new in autumn 2011 so all are from previous years.

Between the Box balls masses of tulips are returning

I can’t resist sharing this Swallowtail butterfly drying its wings in the sun after emerging from its chrysalis.

What foliage is taking the starring role in your garden this spring?  It might be a foliage plant that has been giving good structure all through the winter or the newly emerging leaves of a plant you grow primarily for its flowers, I look forward to seeing and reading about your gardens now spring (or of course autumn in the southern hemisphere) is here.

Spring is springing

Last week for GBBD there were quite a few flowers in the garden but apart from Arabis nothing was actually bursting with flower.  Even the Muscari that were all up somehow looked like they weren’t sure if they really wanted to be out yet, as these still look at the back of the house which in shade for a lot of the day during winter, are now standing tall.

Muscari in the shade, still very small

These in the triangular rose bed are much taller, I pruned back a pale pink Penstemon to be able to see them better.

Those under the olives I thought would be invisible because we haven’t cut the grass yet have grown taller than the grass.  I love these bulbs under the olives and would like to plant other things but because of the danger of fire we have to cut the wild flowers and grass back before summer so other things tend to get lost – I even love all the bright yellow dandelion type weeds.

There are more daffodils, but not as many as I would like

Clematis armandii had some flowers a week ago but is now completed cover.ed by starry white blooms so that you can hardly see the foliage. This is the view from the sitting room window.

Clematis armandii

I used to grow this in England but it was always ravaged by snails who seemed to think its stem and leaves were caviar.

The greenhouse is here and was erected amazingly efficiently in just 4 hours, almost more quickly than the time it took to build the foundations.  I think it looks like its always been here, the way it sits between the olives.

I have already planted 4 tomatoes (pacchino) and some lettuces – they all doubled in size during the 3 days I was away.  I also transplanted 3 of the tomatoes into pots from their modules so that hopefully they will be larger established plants by the time I can plant them outside towards the middle/end of next month.   I have also sown seeds; some basil, parsley, courgettes (all old seed so may not grow) and Swiss Chard Bright Lights (I can’t buy these here as plug plants so I buy the seed in the UK when I’m there); they should grow well here as normal green chard is very popular.

The very first seeds I sowed were Knautia Macedonia sent to me by Janet at Plantalicious.

Strawberry bed

I planted 30 strawberry plants (bare rooted) on 9th March; you can hardly see them in the photo as they were quite small.  Now the leaves are growing well and they stand above the nasty black plastic.

Where you can see the black irrigation pipes I’ve now sown some dwarf beans.