In a vase on Monday – First Dahlia!

I have been watching one of the new Dahlia plants; it had buds – never have I had a dahlia flower so early!  Would they be open in time to cut for my Monday vase, the popular meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the garden? What would I put with them? Continue reading

It’s Not Pink, it’s Magenta

I promised a while ago to show you what other things are in the area now known in my head as the Magenta Zone!  Pink sounds too girly for such a strong, vibrant colour.

Here is a description I found of a newly purchased Geranium ‘Tiny Monster’ “From Rolf Offenthal at Germany’s Countess Helen Von Stein’s Nursery comes an excellent new geranium hybrid (Geranium sanguineum x Geranium psilostemon). Each plant makes a 10″ tall x 3′ wide mound of cut-leaf green foliage, topped all summer with 1″+ lavender flowers (why are the people who describe plants colour blind? – it’s clearly not lavender colour in any images let alone in life!). Unlike straight Geranium sanguineum clones which it resembles, Geranium ‘Tiny Monster’ is sterile, so more flowers will result along with no unexpected little ones appearing and begging for support.”

Geranium ‘Tiny Monster’

Geranium ‘Tiny Monster’

I bought two well grown pots which I was able to divide into 9 small plants to spread under the Arbutus tree.  I don’t usually irrigate this area so I will have to wait to see how much water it requires.

salvia, a cutting from a friend's garden (unknown name)

salvia, a cutting from a friend’s garden (unknown name)

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The Cistus is actually not quite in the Magenta zone but I might extend the planting to reach it or I have some cuttings from it I took last year and I will plant it in the ‘zone’.

Lychnis coronaria

Lychnis coronaria

Looking along the path towards the rose

Looking along the path towards the rose

Rosa L D Braithwaite is slightly redder than the true magenta colour I have been aiming for but having moved it once I will allow it to stay.  I don’t have a good image for it at the moment, I’ll post about it again when I write about all the roses.

Achillea millefolium ‘Cassis’

Achillea millefolium ‘Cassis’

Achillea millefolium ‘Cassis’ is a lovely colour this self-seeded last year and so far seems to have come true.

Do you have a colour themed area in your garden? A classic Sissinghurst White Garden?

End of the Month View – May 2012

I’m joining Helen the Patient Gardener for this month’s review of what’s happening in the garden this month.

Here in Italy May is the month when everything flowers!  I remember the first time I saw a garden at this time of year I thought it looked fake (like at Chelsea flower show) with plants that would be flowering a month or so apart all flowering together.  This is lovely but it does mean that everything is also over very quickly.  Many plants go into summer hibernation if there is a drought and usually there is no rain from June until mid-August or even September.

For that reason I’ve been posting every day this month and even doing this there are many plants that haven’t appeared in a post.  For June I don’t intend posting everyday but will try for a couple of posts a week.

This month I’d like to share with you a small area I’m developing within the upper drive border.  Below is an image from above; the area starts at an Arbutus tree to the left and continues around to just in front of a holly bush.

Looking down from the attic window

Last autumn I decided to increase the variety plants with crimson flowers here.  In winter I moved Rosa L.D. Braithwaite which was quite small and seems to have moved satisfactorily and has flowered.  I purchased some Asters of different heights and forms and added those to the mix; I need an area that focuses on late summer- early autumn blooms.  I also moved a Penstemon that my friend Linda from Garden in the West gave me in the form of some cuttings she carefully carried from her garden when she visited 2 years ago.  The one that survived has made a good plant and is flowering freely now.  I will take some more cuttings so I can increase the clump size.

There’s still lots of bare earth but it will soon fill in.

Above: Rose L.D. Braithwait

A very hardy succulent type plant, which can become invasive, was also planted – I just broke off some pieces from those situated in the large island and planted them directly into the ground to form good ground cover.  Lychnis coronaria  is already scattered through the garden and I moved some of these to this border too, I like their small points of intense colour and the foliage is quite good too, even in winter.

and in close up

The above bright crimson salvia was a cutting taken from a friend’s plant, I love the colour.

Lychnis coronaria.

Achillea is also making a show, this will clump up quickly.

My intention is to plant some Barcelona tulips that I saw on Hillwards site, they look just the right colour, I also saw a smaller tulips of a similar colour on Julie’s post about her tulips  of again a very similar colour so hopefully the wow factor will last from early spring through summer and into autumn.

To finish here’s some views of the garden that are particularly lovely at the moment and some views of the slope that I have been showing in these end of month views up until now.

Looking accross the garden from the drive, the upper slope is to the right and the large island bed to the left, and you can just see the edge of the circular rose garden.

Looking accross the slope.

The upper drive border.

Below is the first humming bird hawk moth I’ve ever managed to photograph, there are usually lots in the garden but they move so fast, I’ve never had n image any where near in focus.