GBFD – Silver and Purple

When it is hot and it is very HOT, the light shimmers and plants with silver or grey foliage look their very best.

The combination of silver and purple always looks great together; sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ seems to love the heat and its colour is better than ever.

Sedum 'Purple Emperor'

Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ loves the heat

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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

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – June – Blast Furnace Days

I was away from the garden for a long weekend in Prague, visiting friends who were teaching there for a month; a great city for a break with masses to see especially if you like Art Nuevo and music – ah the music!

But I digress.  Before I went away we had more than a week of strong winds with temperatures about average or a little below the norm for this time of year.  On the day we left the direction of the wind must have changed bringing scorching temperatures of up 38 or 39° C, with wind as well on the first day.  So in four days the garden looks totally different.  Actually it looks as if someone went crazy it with a blow torch!

I hadn’t begun the automatic irrigation because every morning there had been evidence of quite heavy dew, so I felt the plants should cope.  I should have realised that the wind was already drying them out and that they needed a little help.  The automatic irrigation is now on; I’ll post about the different types of irrigation tubes I use and what I think are the pros and cons of each kind soon.

We are now entering the period when there are less blooms, only the toughest of plants flower when its this hot.  So I am now relying on foliage and form to give life to the garden.  Shiny, glinting silvers sparkle in the shimmering heat.  Even very tough, drought tolerant plants like Cistus don’t look their best; their leaves shrivel a little to help prevent water loss.  The garden has lost that feeling of lush plenty and is looking parched and lean.  Not my favourite time.

View of the Large Island with mounds of various silver-leaved plants

You can see in the above that my Cordyline is not happy, it really doesn’t like the heat; its days are numbered.

I showed this plant in spring, when it was wet so you could see how felt-like hairs on the leaf surface protect it from the strong rays of the sun.

Artimesia ponticum

Without these silver-leaved plants the garden would be very sad in summer.

Looking almost blue in the shade earlier this morning

Even the plant’s flower stems and flowers are covered in in tiny hairs for protection

Festuca glauca sparkles in the heat

These leaves look like machine embroidery lace

Euphorbia rigida

Euphorbia rigida’s new foliage is lifting itself clear of its spent flowering stems.  The seed pods were popping for weeks, I expect to find many new seedlings in autumn, time now to clear away the debris.

Euphorbia myrsinites is doing the same, its seedlings are already emerging in the gravel paths

More work to be done, did I really say in an earlier post that there wasn’t much to do in June and July in the garden?

Metallic leaves of Convolvulus cneorum have tough leaves for their protection

The loveliest thing happening in the garden is all the bees and butterflies that fill the space with fluttering wings and various levels or buzzing.  But even here there are things to shock.  Looking at the lavender hedge of the formal beds and taking as many photos as I could I saw this, at first I could quite believe what I was seeing.

Was the bee really being attacked?

I really think it has trapped the bee and is eating it! What could it be?

I checked in my ‘Complete Mediterranean Wildlife’ book and found that it is an Assassin Bug, Rhinocoris iracundus.

I hope you will join in GBFD and tell us what foliage is looking great in your garden at the moment.  To link in just leave a comment with a link to your post; I look forward to reading them.  I’ll read and comment on all GBFD posts, thank you for joining in.

My thoughts – Pollinators in the Garden

When I walk around the garden one pleasure that is difficult to share via this blog is the SOUND in the garden.  Bees of all kind buzzing and flying from flower to flower and by default pollinating the plants will the air with sound!  Sometimes I am aware that the garden is positively noisy!

I notice that different plants attract different pollinators.  Entomology is a skilled science and I will leave the difficult job of identification to the experts as I am certainly  not an expert in this field.

Thyme attracts what I think I recognise as honey bees; I’ve thought hard about actually having a hive but I think I would find it difficult, I don’t like the thought of being stung plus perhaps more importantly I don’t think we would ever use the amount of honey a hive is likely to produce.

Another view

Convolvulus cneorum also attracts honey bees.

Teucrium attract larger bees, but they were too fast for me today and all the images were blurred.  I’ll try again on a less windy day when they might be more static.

A tiny solitary bee on Euphorbia

Not a bee, but looks like its collecting pollen

They definantely like Euphorbia

Definately more fly-like than bee-like

Completely black, this looks quite evil! Not quite in focus, sorry

All the T. Satin Pink had one of these in their centres today.  At first glance they look like bees but I’m pretty sure they’re not.  When the roses begin to flower this is the pest that eats into the centre of the flowers, destroying them, the tulips may have even killed them as they weren’t really moving.  When they appear on the roses I go around and pick them out (wearing gloves as I’m a bit squeamish) and squash them to stop them reproducing and getting out of control as they don’t appear to have a natural predator.

On warm days this week there have also been lots of butterflies but I have failed to get good images of them.  This is from earlier in the week.

A Painted Lady?

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.