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.

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GBBD May 2011

May is probably the month when there is the most in flower on any one given day, so again I’ll let you see everything via a slideshow, rather than filling this up with everything.  This week the weather has thrown itself at the garden.  From bright sun with a cold north east wind which blew fragile stems horizontal to 2 hot days that felt more like mid-July with temperatures reaching 30°C to today, windy, dull with rain for about 3 hours over lunch time when I’d been hoping that my guests could have lunch in the garden.

Rosa Scepter'd Isle with Allium Rosem and opening Gaura

The above image and the following close ups are all taken of what I rather boringly call the Triangular Rose Bed (I do need to take advice about how to name the borders in a more descriptive, interesting way).

Erigeron never fails to be full of flower

R. Conrad F Meyer

Above pale pink Penstemon began flowering this week and will hopefully now continue until the autumn.

R. Stanwell Perpetual

R. Scepter'd Isle, a very good repeating rose, the plants are still new and small (planted last spring) but are full of flower!

Looking at the above colours, perhaps I should call it the “Pink, Frilly Knickers Bed”; all pastel pinks with just a hint of dark lace edging supplied by the dark purple cut-lace foliage of Sambucus.

Nearby on 2 pillars is R. Pierre di Ronsard – this has been slow to establish but given its NE facing location and the terrible soil its planted in, I think it’s not doing too badly.  It continues the pastel hues.

As I mentioned in earlier posts about roses, here and here my roses are about two weeks early flowering, even Veichenblu is half out and last year wasn’t fully flowering until I came home after the Chelsea flower show.  Irises have such a short season but some seem to flower for longer than others (I need to learn more about how they all perform as they are perfect for the conditions here and I do also like their leaves and the strong verticals to add to the show.

The hazy blue of Nepeta behind the strong yellow of Hemerocallis Sol d’Or with spikes of purple salvia in the foreground and yellow Phlomis all under a Melia tree (I forgot to photograph the blossom on that); you may recognise that it was in amongst these Hemerocallis that Tulips are planted.  This proved a great combination as the Hemerocallis foliage started to really grow just when I needed to hide the ugly dying foliage of the tulips.  I had chosen tulips for planting here that would have toned in colour with the Hemerocallis had they flowered together.  It is a combination I’ll repeat in future years.

Walking around after my guests had gone photographing all that you see here I became even more aware of the fact that while I love many of the individual flowers either for their colour or perfume what really made me happy were the general views; seeing how the plants related to each other – their colours blending or contrasting, their foliage texture adding depth and the blurring of colours together not just in the images but also in reality because of the movement caused by the wind.  Please click on the image below to see all the flowers in My Hesperides Garden this May GBBD.

Happy GBBD to everyone and enjoy this very special time of year; visit Carol at Maydreams, AND IT IS MAY so she doesn’t have to dream any more, to nose around what’s flowering in other parts of the
world.  Thanks for hosting GBBD again, Carol and I hope this May is all you dreamt of during the long winter.

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Christina.
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My Hesperides Garden.