The Slope on Thursday 24th October

Again I’m late!  Yesterday, Thursday it rained from 8.30 in the morning through until 5 in the afternoon; and not just rain, but thunder rattled around for most of that time by which time I had other commitments and couldn’t get outside to take any photographs, today I went outside at about 9 to take these images; amazingly the sun was shining and the day became positively hot (about 24°C).  The day of rain was a surprise as the weather had been exceptional; warm, sunny, and no wind since last Thursday.

Today we began harvesting the olives, T-shirts were the order of the day and I really needed sun block as well as sunglasses! Continue reading

End of Month Review, August

The bee eaters have been flying low around the house as if to say goodbye until next year.  Normally they are high in the sky and although we know they are beautifully coloured, as we see flashes of iridescent blue and gold; we’ve never been able to see them so clearly before!

I don’t claim any credit for these photographs, my husband who is quite keen on bird watching took them.  I did try, but the birds flew so fast and only hovered in a tantalising way before diving off in unexpected directions.

On 15th August, GBBD I reported about the difference in the weather this year – cooler, more rain – on the 16th the weather changed completely!  The daytime temperatures rose from the mid to high twenties to the high thirties and I believe one day 40° C!  No rain, not even a little morning mist and the night-time temperatures were the same as the daytime ones a few days previously.  Only in the last couple of days have temperatures become more tolerable – I hate the heat!  Many of the trees I had planted in 2009 became very stressed; the persimmon lost all its fruit; the fig that has always been here lost half of its leaves and the September fruit, which had been growing and ripening well, is now dropping of the tree and although we are able to eat some, many the ants get first!

Miscanthus with fig tree (almost without leaves)

The sun sets earlier and one of the pleasures this brings is to see the grasses, most are flowering now, with their seed heads being lit from behind.  I am going to make a determined effort to collect some seed and try to grow more.  Many don’t need water and so would be great on the bank which is very steep and therefore always very dry; even some of the Gaura succumbed to the intense heat of the last couple of weeks.

Pennisetum villosum with Sedum Matrona in the small island bed

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' on the upper slope

Pennisetum 'Little Bunny'

The almost impossible to photograph Eragrostis spectabilis with in the background Pennisetum 'Karley Rose'

Some Miscanthus are already flowering and most are much more tolerant of drought once established than the books would have you believe.

Above is either Miscanthus ‘Gracillimus’ or M. Graziella, I moved it to the circular rose bed this spring as it grew less tall where it was before and I thought it would fit better here; luckily Rosa ‘Queen of Sweden’ is also growing taller than expected and so the Miscanthus forms a pleasing division between this rose and the shorter deep coloured ‘Tradescant’.

In this general view with the umbrella pine you can see how the seed heads and grasses combine with the flowers to create an overall ‘fullness’ in the garden.  I like the very solid forms of the Box cubes and bay that contrast so well with the airy grasses and ephemeral Gaura.

My plans for September are to divide and move some of the plants that have begun to outgrow their allotted spaces.  I’ll begin next week with Irises as they won’t mind even if it stays quite hot, then some Hemerocallis that were on the list last year and are very squashed where they are now.

Finally I’d like to introduce a new meme I’m starting about Foliage in the garden.  It can be foliage plants that don’t flower at all, foliage when the flowers have finished, grasses which I think count as both flowers and foliage, new growth that might be very different from the mature leaves and of course we are coming into autumn (at least in the northern hemisphere we are) so I hope for some fabulous autumn colour.  It will be the 22nd of each month.

If you would like to read more about what’s happening in other gardens all over the world visit Helen at The Patient Gardener.  Once again a big thank you to Helen for hosting this meme for us.

The bleached garden begins

Now is the time year that the colour in the garden fades and bleaches with the bright sun.  The best time for taking photographs is early morning for just before dusk, but that doesn’t give a true version of how the garden looks for most of the day.

Allium sphaerocephalon with Euphorbia rigida

Some plants continue to look attractive even in the strong light but others look almost grey!  Silver leaved plants sparkle, I have many different species and varieties and I enjoy the way they make the colours near them sing out.

Allium sphaerocephalon blends with many other plants and usually repeat flowers in the second and third years in my garden, it will even seed itself and flower quite quickly. Here it is with a Phormium I thought had died in the cold winter, it is now looking better than it did last year. I do like the way the allium grows from pale green through to deep purple and makes little exclamation marks of dense colour.

Allium sphaerocephalon with a similar coloured Phormium

I planted a 1000 of these allium in a stream that winds its way through the other plants in the large island.

Much of the garden is dominated by blue and silver.  Both the lavender and the Perovskia are flowering earlier this year, already I can only push through the bee-covered flowers of the lavender to walk along the paths that a month ago were wide enough for two people to walk along together.

Yellow roses on the pergola are flowering again to give the contrast in colour I wanted and that last year didn’t happen, I must keep feeding and dead-heading them so they’ll continue all summer.

Fromal beds now in full bloom

The gift of wind-blown seed is a joy (not always of course as all the weeds in the garden are also brought in by the wind).  Last year the field to the west of the garden (and the direction the wind blows from in summer) was full of Verbascum Thapsus which looks very much like the Verbascum you will know from gardens called Verbascum olympicum; it has cleverly seeded itself just into the edge of the drive as well as into the slope.  When I drove up the drive the other night the headlights picked up their amazing forms looking like some kind of Triffid.

Visitors to the garden who haven’t seen it for a year are amazed at the growth rate of many of the plants – I am myself amazed at just how quickly the garden has filled out.  I started digging the first border (Left hand border) in 2007 and the islands were planted in autumn 2009 so it is still a very ‘new’ and I am so happy that it is starting already to feel mature.

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Christina.
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My Hesperides Garden.