2012 End of Year review

A view of Lake Bolsena on a cold crisp January day

A view of Lake Bolsena at the end of a cold crisp January day

December has sped past as it always will, with the busy time running up to Christmas.  The garden has changed with the effects of frosty mornings, cold nights and more rain.  And so another year comes to an end!  Why is it that they flash by so quickly?  Soon it will be time to begin sowing seeds – the beginning of a new season.

As I did last year I thought I would share with you the images that I used as my screensavers through the year.  Sometimes I change the image almost as soon as I take a new batch of photos; other times a favourite image will stay for weeks.

I notice how often I use the formal beds at the front of the house; I think I find the formality restful; not all the images are of the garden, the surrounding countryside also figures often.

Seed heads and berries bring life to the garden

January Seed heads and berries bring life to the garden

In Febuary we had snow

In Febuary we had snow

February: We were snowed in for a few days but the views outside were lovely

February: We were snowed-in for a few days but the views outside were lovely

To me March is YELLOW

To me March is YELLOW

March, Euphorbia add acid colour

March, Euphorbia add acid colour

March, Californian Poppies open their sunny faces to the sun

March, Californian Poppies open their sunny faces to the sun

April brings Poppies that carpet the countryside, my favourite wild flower

April brings Poppies that carpet the countryside, my favourite wild flower. I smile every time I see them!

April brings new bright leaves to the trees and tulips

April also brings new bright leaves to the trees and tulips

April, tulips and Photinia and new growth on Rosa Westerland all have the same warm colour

April, tulips and Photinia and new growth on Rosa Westerland all have the same warm colour

April, before the storm

April, before the storm

April, looking accroess to the large island

April, looking accross to the large island

April, the slope was very colourful

April, the slope was very colourful

May, a profusion of Californian poppies

May, the slope with a profusion of Californian poppies

May, Rosa Rimaso

May, Rosa Rimosa on the perpola

May, Irises

May, Irises and Cistus with olives in the background

June, Penesetun villosa already doing a great job

June, Penesetun villosa already doing a great job

June, ever present butterflies on the lavender

June, ever present butterflies on the lavender

June, the formal beds

June, the formal beds

June, not just butterflies feel on the lavender

June, not just butterflies feel on the lavender

June, the surrounding fields are at their abundant best

June, the surrounding fields are at their abundant best

July, more butterflies, here the false swallowtail

July, more butterflies, here the false swallowtail

July, of course many bees visit too!

July, of course many bees visit too!

September, the formal beds crisply clipped

September, the formal beds crisply clipped

September, Asters are the stars of the show

September, Asters are the stars of the show

September, Penesetum villosa still reflecting the evening light

September, Penesetum villosa still reflecting the evening light

October, Aster 'Monte Casino with Knautia

October, Aster ‘Monte Casino with Knautia

October, wonderful sunsets areone of the joys of autumn

October, wonderful sunsets are one of the joys of autumn

October The Perovskia was late to show its beauty this year because of the drought

October The Perovskia was late to show its beauty this year because of the drought

November brings sudden storms and dramatic skies

November brings sudden storms and dramatic skies

November, Iris

November, Iris unguiclaris

November, Miscanthus

November, Miscanthus

November, more sunsets

November, more sunsets

November and the sky is on fire

November and the sky is on fire

December brought and early winter, with frost every morning for 10 days or so

December brought and early winter, with frost every morning for 10 days or so

December, the formal beds from above

December, the formal beds from above

December, frost on alreadysilver foliage

December, frost on already silver foliage

December the light turns the Euphorbia and Argave blue

December the light turns the Euphorbia and Argave blue

December, Garlic Chives, Allium tuberosum, Seedheads

December, Garlic Chives, Allium tuberosum, Seedheads

To each of you who regularly leave comments and I count very firmly as my gardening friends and to those who read quietly but leave on trace of their presence I wish you all a Very Happy Gardening New Year! Christina

GBBD August

Today is the day when Garden bloggers all over the world share what is flowering in their gardens.  To see what’s happening in other climates and even different seasons visit Carol at MayDreams.  She is our host for this fascinating view of what’s happening; thank you Carol.  It is also a holiday here in Italy, the last of summer and for some reason always makes me feel a bit sad – strange as usually the warm days continue until the end of October or even longer if we’re lucky.  Actually this year the hot weather is forecast to begin again this week so who knows what is going to happen.

How quickly another GBBD is upon us!  It seems only yesterday that I was posting for July.  This year has been very different in the garden.  April, May and June were unseasonably hot; but during July and August the temperatures have been significantly lower than most years AND there has been rain.  Very heavy rain during the first week of July and at the end and even August has also had some rain.  Maybe even more significant has been that the night-time temperatures have been about 10°C lower than the norm.  The garden has loved it.  There are far more flowers for this GBBD than last.  The garden is full of colour and texture.

I love al the textures woven together

I suppose I am slightly surprised that even the plants chosen for their drought tolerance are actually far happier with some rain and cooler weather.  I’m not sure why I should be so surprised; many of these plants also grow well in the UK with even more rain and lower temperatures.  Roses have flowered for much of July and some are continuing now as you can see in the slideshow.

Rosa Sally Holmes

Roses in flower now include: R. Westerland, R. Clair Matin, R. William Shakespeare, R. Tradescant, R. Queen of Sweden, R. Gertrude Jekyll, R. Sophie’s Perpetual, R. Molineux, R Rush, R. Mutabilis (this hasn’t been without flowers since April), R. Scepter’d Isle, R Stanwell Perpetual and the beautiful R. Sally Holmes whose flowers form a bouquet all on their own.

The formal beds of Perovskia have remained a cloud of blue; in the past they have lost their intensity of colour during August only to re-flower with the rains that usually come in September.

The blue haze of the Perovskia

.  The surrounding lavender was cut back at the end of July and is already sending out new growth.  I know is going to sound crazy but I actually prefer the lavender when it is pruned into a neat hedge than when it full of flower and bees.  I am considering removing the Lavender and putting in Myrtle but they are expensive so I would need to produce them myself from cuttings.  Knowing how slowly they grow this just might take too long!

All the grasses are looking lovely, I may have said it before but it remains true that I think I could be happy just gardening with grasses.

In the Small Island I added  two more Penisetum villosum to the one existing plant; last year this formed a very beautiful mound and I thought that three would make a good statement – I acted without knowing the this Penestum was obviously very happy in this particular spot and this year is huge almost filling the space I envisaged for three plants; I’m happy though because they have all been in flower for a while now and I love the soft bottlebrush heads especially in the evening light with the fading sun behind them.

Evening light catching Penestum villosa

I am amazed that the Abutilon that was dead to the ground from the cold winter (it had been a large bush of about 1.8 m by 1.8 m) has grown from the base and is now about 1.5 m high although of course not such a large spread yet but it is flowering!

Click here to see a slideshow of all that is flowering in my Hesperides Garden.

Happy GBBD to everyone who shares the blooms in their garden today.