Today in the Garden 1st March 2019

Yesterday when I was in the greenhouse I glanced out and was horrified to see that the Cypress by the gate was billowing with smoke; I thought someone must have set the tree on fire – but no as I looked at all the Cypresses they all looked as if smoke was blowing away from them.  Then, of course, I realised that it wasn’t smoke but the fine dust-like pollen!  I pity anyone with an allergy, the pollen is so fine it filled the air and there would be no way of avoiding inhaling the pollen.  Stranger still was the fact that the day seemed to be completely still (after days of strong wind), yet the pollen didn’t stream off the trees constantly but in gusts.

Today was cloudy but not cold; ideal for taking some photographs showing the advance of spring.

Anemone coronaria ‘Sylphide’

More Anemones are opening their buds around the garden; I have sown the seed I saved last year; I want to be able to have them all around the garden and have enough to pick for a vase.

Anemone coronaria

Anemone coronaria ‘The Bride’

The white Anemones remain with short stems; they are the most prolific Anemone in the garden but grow with consistently short stems – very annoying.

The formal beds looking towards the left hand border

You can see Anemone coronaria ‘The Bride’ on the left and Euphorbia rigida peeping out between evergreen shrubs giving a shot of early colour all around the garden.

Euphorbia rigida

Rosemary

Rosemary has been flowering since the autumn but there seem to be even more flowers at the moment.

deep purple crocus

Hyacinth ‘Miss Saigon’

Hyacinths have been in the ground for several years now, I planted more last autumn too.  They reliably return each year giving a punch of strong colour just when we need it most.

Hyacinth from a mixed pack of blues

Grevillia rosmarinifolia, another plant that has been flowering for most of February.  This Grevillia is very hardy, I would like to try some of the other varieties but I rarely see them in nurseries here.

Top of drive border

You can tell it is winter by the patch of bright green in the field beyond the garden, it would be golden or brown in summer.

Lonicera fragrantissima

I think there are more blooms on the wonderful fragrant Lonicera than I’ve ever seen before.  Maybe due in part to more rain last summer.

Lonicera fragrantissima

So much perfume from such tiny flowers.

Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’

Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ are blooming all around the garden at the moment; I love them.  This variety returns well each year but other varieties are less sure.  After seeing the wonderful selection of varieties Chloris at The Blooming Garden has, I hope to try some different ones next year.

I hope the good gardening weather continues everywhere.  Readers in the UK might like to contemplate that their temperatures this past week have been between 5 to 15 degrees higher than here in central Italy where last weekend we had a icy winds from the north.  Even yesterday, which was a glorious day our temperatures didn’t rise above 18°C.

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

In a vase on Monday – Spring offerings

After a week of heavy frosts I wasn’t sure what there would be to pick for A vase on Monday, when Cathy at Rambling in the Garden challenges us to fill a vase with flowers from our gardens or surroundings.  By repotting some Iris reticulata from the greenhouse and picking from the garden I was able to fill three, miniature, zinc buckets. Continue reading

In a vase on Monday – variations on a theme

Monday has come around again and it is time to find material from the garden to put in a vase to join with Cathy’s, Rambling in the Garden meme.  Mondays have become slightly more difficult for me as I now teach on Monday afternoons and often spend the morning checking my preparations and presentation.

Today I awoke to bright sunshine and as yesterday had been beautifully warm I was half expecting it to be warm again today; but only half thinking that as I had heard the wind blowing hard during the night.  In fact today may have been the coldest during the day so far this year; 4°C was the high today!  Already, as it gets dark the temperature is dipping below freezing. Continue reading

In a vase on Monday – Grey or silver?

The weather for the last week has been horrible!  Cold, windy freezing at night and grey or hailing during the day.  This morning when I looked out of the window there was blue sky and sunshine.  It was surprising therefore when I discovered that 5 miles away in Viterbo it had snowed; and it had snowed enough to stop the buses running early in the morning and that the traffic had been chaos.

It being Monday it is time to join Cathy at Rambling in the garden for the weekly challenge of finding something from the garden to put in a vase.  Frankly I thought it would be more dried material this week, the garden has been bleak under the dark skies.  But of course the sun makes all the difference and I decided to search hard for some living material that might be a bit different to the usual evergreens I have been using. Continue reading

The slope on 6th February

Sorry about there not being a post last week but really the weather was impossible!  We have had rain every day since last Wednesday, today so far is sunny but several other mornings have been relatively fine followed by rain in the afternoons, evenings and during the nights.  Last Friday there was so much rain in our area that there was a derailment on the main train line from Viterbo to Rome; only yesterday were trains running again.  In lots of places there have been landslides and water is pouring off the field into the ditches; fortunately there is now grass growing on the fields so that so there has been no erosion as we have seen when it rains heavily in autumn. Continue reading

Euphorbia rigida – Plant of the moment

This afternoon, unlike the weekend, is sunny but not actually all that warm.  The weekend was icy cold with rain and wind and Monday morning I awoke to what looked like frost but was either frozen ice crystals or strangely transparent hail.

Euphorbia rigida

Euphorbia rigida

The first Euphorbia to open its inflorescence is E. rigida.  I really don’t understand the name of this variety because of all the Euphorbias I’ve seen this one sprawls the most!  But I like it for its strange habit and the colour it adds to the garden so early in the season.

E. rigida

E. rigida

In my post for GBBD (Garden bloggers Bloom day) it wasn’t showing the characteristic orange true flowers, now it is fully open and showing its cheerful colour to the world.

A closer look

A closer look

The true flower is orange

The true flower is orange

GBBD – Few but very Precious

The few flowers there are in the garden at the moment at very precious to me as a sign that spring is on the way.

Teucrium fruticosa flowers continuously from November through to April so though the flowers are small, they are profuse so they add a blue haze for many months.

Teucrium fruticosa

Teucrium fruticosa

Euphorbia rigida is the first to show signs of the acid yellow inflorescence that proclaims spring is here!

Euphorbia rigida

Euphorbia rigida

First pink colouration appears as the ‘buds’ swell, then they open to reveal bright, acid yellow/green.

Euphorbia rigida

Euphorbia rigida

These small Irises are one of my favourites, they don’t last very long and it can be easy to miss seeing them at all, but they don’t cost very much so I’m prepared to indulge myself.

Iris Purple Gem

Iris Purple Gem

Iris Purple Gem

Iris Purple Gem

Next

Lonicera fragrantissima

Lonicera fragrantissima

Lonicera fragrantissima has the very best perfume of any plant I know! It doesn’t flower for as long a period here as it does in the UK, it needs some cold to trigger the flowers.

Viburnum tinus is mostly tight pink buds with just a few open to revel the white flower inside.  This is another plant that does not flower for such a long period as in the UK where it flowers for maybe 6 months of the year.  My plant has not fully recovered from the burning winds during the summer and a couple of large stems still seem to be dead.  I’ll prune them out later in spring if there really is no chance from them recovering.

Buds of Viburnum tinus

Buds of Viburnum tinus

Opening buds of Viburnum tinus

Opening buds of Viburnum tinus

Arabis

Arabis

Arabis, grown from seed is full of tightly closed buds, but a few are braving the cold nights.

A surprise is that one Phlomis sufuiticosa has buds that are nearly open, while another plant, perhaps a metre away, doesn’t even have any buds yet!

Phlomis

Phlomis

I planted these yellow Crocus Ancyrensis last autumn, I love their sunny colour.

Yellow Crocus Ancyrensis

Yellow Crocus Ancyrensis

Rosemary continues to attract bees to its masses of blue flowers.

Rosemary

Rosemary

But best of all are the dazzling flowers of Anemone Sylphide; I’ve never manages to grow these before and they are one of my favourite cut flowers too so now I’ve had some success I’ll plant lots more next year!

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Not only are the colours stunning but the flowers last a long time, I showed the buds just before they opened for last GBBD and this is one of the flowers that was a bud then – I am impressed because we’ve had frosts many of the nights and heavy rain and terrifyingly strong winds and still the flowers are beautiful. Others I planted under the Mulberry tree are slower to flower but that will only extend the season further.

A very happy Bloomday to all gardeners everywhere. Thanks to Carol for hosting.