Brightening my day today

As I wrote yesterday in my In a vase on Monday post yesterday, when I was walking around the garden looking for things to pick for a vase I was very surprised to find that the yellow Crocus were flowering; as there are so few flowers around at the moment they made my heart jump with pleasure. Continue reading

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April 7th 2016 Companions for tulips

You will be aware that I love tulips and luckily they grow well in my very free draining soil.  Tulips hate summer wet which is why in the UK it is usual to lift and store them for replanting the following autumn – that is a lot of work so when I lived in England I usually treated them as annuals and planted them in pots. Continue reading

The Slope on Thursday 13th March

The cold wind from the NNE has been blowing for more than a week, until yesterday that is, when suddenly after a cold windy beginning to the morning (an frost on the solar panel at 7 am) at about 11 am the wind dropped and it felt more like spring, and the forecast for the next week or so is more of the same!  During the day it feels like spring and each day there is something new to discover flowering. Continue reading

GBFD – Greens not Reds, Yellows or Oranges

Although we have reached the third week in October there are very few true signs of autumn in the garden; in the countryside and along main roads Pyracantha berries blaze in red and yellow, the grapes have mostly been harvested and we are about ready to harvest our olives so I am aware that winter approaches.  But somehow most of the garden plants are determined to put on new foliage to replace that lost during the drought so for the most part when I look at the garden it fills me with hope rather as it does in spring.

The Mulberry still has all its leaves and hasn’t changed colour at all.

In the evening light, Nandino has hints of orange

By the gate, agave and euphorbia both look fresh and not tired as in summer

Artemisia has put on lots of new foliage

Seeds of Californian poppy and Verbascum are germinating everywhere, yes there are also a few weeds too!

But the birds know it is autumn and each evening there are more and more getting ready to leave.

If you would like to join in Garden Bloggers Foliage Day all you need to do is leave a comment with the link to your post.  I look forward to reading all of them and seeing what the foliage is doing in your spring garden if you’re in the southern hemisphere or what shades of autumn colour is filling your garden if you’re situated in the northern hemisphere.

I came accross this post the other day and think it fits the bill. click here to see some amazing autumn colour.

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.