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
No, sadly I don’t have any tulips flowering but I have been busy planting my tulips in the garden and in pots in the greenhouse. Continue reading
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
More tulips are flowering but these daily posts aren’t just about individual plants and flowers, there’s plenty of eye candy for flower lovers out there; I want you to get to know the garden so that when you do see an individual plant you can place where it is in the garden in your minds eye. Continue reading
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ceanothus repans certainly copes in these conditions and gives a lovely dark green mound at the corner of the drive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can see in the above that my Cordyline is not happy, it really doesn’t like the heat; its days are numbered.
Without these silver-leaved plants the garden would be very sad in summer.
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.
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.
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.