GBBD There are blooms today!

The middle of November already, where has 2013 gone?  With such a gentle autumn with rain and sun and mild temperatures day and night there are still plenty of blooms in the garden.  Yes, there are the usual suspects, the plants that flower reliably for most of the year and they are not appreciated any less by me for that reason, they deserve their inclusion in GBBD as much as any prima donnas who excite with their rare presence.  I‘m joining Carol at May Dreams where gardeners from all over the world share what’s flowering today in their gardens. Continue reading

GBBD – May Profusion

I usually try to post every bloom there is in the garden for GBBD (for my own record of what is flowering if nothing else), but I’m beaten today!  There are just too many flowers and to be truthful even though I love every single bloom it is the overall effect of the garden that is giving me the most joy.

I will try to post about more of the flowers individually during the next month. Cistus, Eschscholzia californica (and not just orange), Roses, Iris – all deserve their own post.

Thanks to Carol for hosting.  You might want to peek over the garden wall at some blooms in other gardens so do visit Carol at MayDreamsgarden.

So here (grab a cup of tea maybe) is My Hesperides Garden on GBBD in May.  I hope your gardens are giving you as much pleasure as mine is to me, happy bloom day.

Rosa mutabilis on the wall that divides the vegetable garden from the drive

Rosa mutabilis on the wall that divides the vegetable garden from the drive

Large Island

Large Island

Iris Kent Pride with white blotched with brown Cistus

Iris Kent Pride with white blotched with brown Cistus

Philadelpus scenting the garden

Philadelpus scenting the garden

Iris Before the Storm with Eschscholzia californica

Iris Before the Storm with Eschscholzia californica

The slope

The slope

This cistus is one I took as a cutting

This cistus is one I took as a cutting

The slope

The slope

The slope

The slope

Eschscholzia californica, on the slope

Eschscholzia californica, on the slope

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Buddleia alternifolia, I am tryijng to train as a weeping tree

Buddleia alternifolia, I am tryijng to train as a weeping tree

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The pillars on the west facing side of the terrace with Rosa Clair Matin

The pillars on the west facing side of the terrace with Rosa Clair Martin

My favourite rose

My favourite rose

Rosa Romosa, South facing Terrace

Rosa Rimosa, South facing Terrace

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Large Island

Large Island

Large Island

Large Island

Large Island

Large Island

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Large Island

Large Island

Large Island looking towards the formal beds

Large Island looking towards the formal beds

Large Island

Large Island

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Looking along the back border from under the fig

Looking along the back border from under the fig

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Looking from under Mulberry along the back bed

Looking from under Mulberry along the back bed

Left Hand Border

Left Hand Border

Under Mulberry

Under Mulberry

Left Hand Border

Left Hand Border

Left Hand Border

Left Hand Border

Left hand border

Left hand border

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Rosa Stanwell's perpetual, Triangular rose bed

Rosa Stanwell’s perpetual, Triangular rose bed

Sambucus with lovely dark foliage, Triangular rose bed

Sambucus with lovely dark foliage, Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

Triangular rose bed

The quality of the images isn’t as good as usual as today was very sunny but rain is forecast for tomorrow so I needed to get them today.

End of Month View – There is Colour Again

Incredibly it is the end of September already.  Where do the months go?  It’s the time to join Helen the Patient Gardener for the EMV.

My Hesperides Garden is almost back to normal; there is colour again, there is GREEN again.  September has been the coolest I can remember since we moved to Italy in 2003; after such an unbearably hot summer it has been such a welcome relief.  There has been rain, we need more but the plants have appreciated what has fallen and have shown their gratitude by bursting into new growth and in some cases into flower.

Colours are different in autumn light, sunrise and sunsets are beautiful and on the duller days subtle colours that would have appeared faded in strong summer light have looked bright.

There is perfume in the garden again too; the subtle fragrance of Rosa mutabilis is the first thing I notice when I step out of the door.

Rosa mutabilis

Rosa mutabilis is so generous, apart from the hottest months in flowers most of the year.  When there weather is cooler there are more apricot coloured blooms, staying that colour longer than when it is very got so providing more variations of colour at any one time.  The two links above are to different posts.

More powerful is the intoxicating accents of Elaeagnus x ebbingei coming from insignificant but exquisitely scented flowers.  I’m told the fruits eventually produced in April are edible, delicious even, if I remember I’ll try them next year and report back.

Lots of the flowers are blue; Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’, Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’ and Perovskia are all clear pure blues.

Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’, loved by the bees

There are also lots of pinks, they almost seem out of place at this time of year.

Tubaglia, these were divided in spring so didn’t flower much this year but are putting on a welcome show now.

Hibiscus have put on a long show this year, I bought another pure white from a plant fair, they are valuable plants in the garden, coping with drought and flowering later in summer and into autumn

Asters are beginning to put on a show.

You can hardly see the foliage on this Aster.

But more about them another day.

I have been busily taking cutting of plants I want more of in the garden, especially those that are drought tolerant.

My bulb order arrived this week and I have begun planting; it takes a while as I need to tidy and clear the spaces first.  I am finding that the spread sheet I created when I made my order with the positions of each bulb listed is making planting more efficient.

Another scented plant that is a joy when I walk into the garden in the morning or evening is the Datura; its perfume is so alluring to the bees that often they can’t wait for the flower to open (just as it’s getting dark) and they bore a hole to reach the nectar.

Datura

Thanks Helen for hosting this meme, even if it is a reminder of how quickly the year is passing!

GBBD – August – Will it ever rain?

Yesterday the sky was overcast in the way I remember August days in England; the air felt thundery, rain had been forecast but I wasn’t very hopeful.

At around 5pm I could see black clouds on the horizon and hear the constant drum of thunder, I even saw some small flashes of lightning; I could see the dark shadow of rain actually falling between me and the horizon.  Would it rain here?  With my whole body I was willing it to rain – I almost imagined myself running outside and being soaked by large drops of water, f it running down my face, drenching my hair.

I can hear my English readers laughing, I know you’ve all had a wet, cold summer and I must sound like some crazed woman who should be taken quietly by the hand and put somewhere safe.  But to continue, a breeze picked up, the breeze felt cool – wonderful; IT MUST RAIN!  And, well, it did rain, a bit, maybe 15 minutes of good gentle rain that the ground sucked in, and my poor plants almost seemed to drink in, and then the sun came out again and it was warm and humid all over again and I felt let down, as if I’d been teased by this small taste of what could be if it rained for a day, 2 days, a week!

OK, so today is back to being hot! Humid and hot, my skin is prickling, today feels worse than before but the garden has had a little drink and there is the promise that summer is nearly over.  The 15th August is a holiday in Italy, the Assumption of the Madonna, a bit like August Bank Holiday in the UK.

There are some flowers in the garden, although apart from some Perovskia on the bank, some Hibiscus and a surprise, all the other flowers are where I irrigate.

Perovskia

Hibiscus – the flowers are smaller this year but it survives with minimum irrigation

The triangular rose bed is looking full of bloom, there is a reason for this; the irrigation pipe has broken several times so the bed has been soaked and the plants respond by blooming.

Rosa Scepter’d Isle

Half the line of Rosa mutabilis are flowering, the other half are not.  All are getting some water but the ones that are flourishing are also getting a small amount of run-off from the vegetable beds; just a little amount of water makes so much difference.

This year has been the hottest since we moved to Italy, nine years ago at the end of this month.  For gardening it has been challenging and I sincerely hope that it will be another 9 years before it is quite so hot again.  By next month I will know which plants have survived their test and which I will need to replace with something more drought tolerant.

Two of the Hibiscus were grown from cuttings taken by a friend and I would like more; I’ve noticed she has a white one with a purple blotch, now must be a good moment to take some cuttings of that.

I mentioned a surprise earlier; as I was walking around the garden this morning taking photographs my eye was caught by a plant covered in flowers, more flowers than leaves it seemed.  I’m certain that 2 days ago it wasn’t flowering; it is almost as if the rain has prompted it into life.  The bees love it, I’m happy because I know that it is a little tender and I had thought the freezing temperatures might have killed it this past winter.  What is it? A Westringier!

More flowers and leaves, if it flowers like this when its a larger plant it will be amazing. Westringier

Click on the image below to see all the flowers blooming in my Hesperides garden today.

Rosa Scepter’d Isle

Thanks to Carol at MayDreamsfor hosting, I’ll also link to Blogger Blüten hosted by Gesine@Seepferds Garten. Thanks to both for hosting this great meme.

GBBD April – Spring Green

We have had a week of grey days and rain, soft gentle rain so far but storms are predicted. Everything is green, even the silver plants look green as their hairs lie flat against the leaf and stop diffusing the light so they are green instead of silver.  Lavender, Perovskia plus the fresh new foliage of the box all add to the green-ness!

The Lavender and Perovskia are almost as green as the Box

Despite the warm winter most plants are slightly shier to bloom this spring, the freezing cold weather in February has obviously had its effect.  In the middle of the week when I walked around wondering what would be flowering for 2012’s April GBBD I believed there were far fewer blooms than last year; and it is true that some plants are just beginning to flower instead of being in full-bloom but today when I ventured out between the showers I found some tight buds had opened so that this April’s post is more similar to last years than I thought.  If you would like to compare with last year please click here.

The yellow roses are just opening to complement the wisteria

Even the weather is not dissimilar to last year, so spring rain is not unusual … and thank goodness for that as the ground was very dry – we have had virtually no rain for a year except for the flood in September.  Temperatures are lower than they were a month ago we had a slight frost the other morning and tonight is forecast to dip to 3°C so I haven’t planted out my tomatoes just yet although they are getting tall and have flowers so I would like to get them into the ground.

It seems early for cistus but it was flowering last year at this time too.

....and this is a very early Thyme

R. mutablis

There are fat buds on many of the Bearded Irises so they won’t be long; all the roses are full of bud and hope for a good show, Rosa mutabilis is always the first to have a lot of bloom and this year is no exception, I do think this is such a good value rose.  It flowers for 9 months of the year and the foliage is a great colour and very healthy.

April is THE month for tulips!

Click on the image below to see all the blooms in My Hesperides Garden this April GBBD, and a very happy Bloom Day to all gardeners everywhere.

I’m linking to Carol at Maydreams who hosts this interesting meme.  Visit her to see what’s happening in other parts of the world at this special time of year- spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere.  From recent posts it seems much of the world is having rain – always good for the garden.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – Spring

A month ago the garden was emerging from the snow and I was happy to report temperatures rising to 10° C.  Now that we are officially in spring the temperatures are rising to just on 20° C – that’s a rise of 10° in one month!

I have been away from the garden for a few days and on my return was amazed to see so much difference! Clematis Armandii had two flowers open last Wednesday, today it is covered in flowers, spreading their honey, scent in the warm air.  Many more Muscari are attracting bees and other pollinators and reassuringly flowering even in their congested clumps.

Clematis Armandii

But I’m not here to write about flowers, this is GBFD after all!  Before I left Rosa mutabilis was looking a little bare; I’d pruned after the snow and in doing so had cut away a lot of the stems still carrying leaves revealing bare stems!  Today when I looked out of the window all the bushes were covered in new foliage making the bushes look very impressive.

Rosa mutabilis, new foliage, maybe there will be flowers before the end of the month

I may have pruned some of the emerging flower buds (last year there were flowers during March) but it will be worth it to maintain the full bushy shape.

The Lavender hedges have been pruned and look very sharp!  I love how they look at this point, they grow so fast here that I think they would benefit from being pruned 3 times a year, sometimes I only manage once; the clippings make excellent mulch as the leaves contain a chemical which inhibits the growth of seedlings hopefully including weed seeds!

Formal beds with newly clipped Lavender

Having only just cut down last year’s dead foliage it is wonderful to see all the new growth.  Euphorbia in its various varieties is the star of the show at the moment, either its foliage or vibrant bracts.

Large island bed, looking south

Euphorbia with silver leaved plants

Large island looking towards drive

Small island looking towards large island and drive

Through all the new ground cover foliage a large number of tulips are pushing up, this is gratifying as none were planted new in autumn 2011 so all are from previous years.

Between the Box balls masses of tulips are returning

I can’t resist sharing this Swallowtail butterfly drying its wings in the sun after emerging from its chrysalis.

What foliage is taking the starring role in your garden this spring?  It might be a foliage plant that has been giving good structure all through the winter or the newly emerging leaves of a plant you grow primarily for its flowers, I look forward to seeing and reading about your gardens now spring (or of course autumn in the southern hemisphere) is here.

GBBD October 2011

I am late with my account of what is flowering in my garden on the 15th October.  We have had such strong winds for the last 5 days it has been almost impossible to take any photos at all.  I waited until today hoping that the wind would drop and it has slightly but I’m afraid not all my blooms are here – many of the photos were just too out of focus to be shared.

With the cooler days there are more pale flowers on Rosa Mutabilis

Thank you Carol at May Dreams garden for hosting this meme; visit her to see blooms from around the world.

Since GBBD in September we have had some very strange weather here in Lazio.  On the night of 18th September we had thunder and lightning, sheet and fork , that lasted for most of the night; there wasn’t any rain for hours of the storm but in a two hour period we did have 30 cm of rain fall; yes! That’s not a mistake a foot of water in 2 hours! And then it continued to rain so that in all we must have had 40cm in one night.  It is said that London and Rome both have the same amount of rain in a year but in London it probably rains 280 days where as in Rome it all falls in less than 100 days.  So that when it does rain – it literally floods down!

In the lower part of the garden we have what was 2 thousand years ago an Etruscan tomb, converted and used as a stable for animals from who knows when until about 25 years ago – we use it as a store; it’s not very useful as it is so damp that wine bottles stored there lose their labels within a month – so we have had to find somewhere else to store our wine.  There is a step down into the store so that when it rained and washed most of the topsoil from the surrounding fields over the lane that is the only access to our house, water and mud flooded into the store leaving the mud and showing the depth of water and mud to have reached 60cm – I am only grateful that the garden wasn’t flooded or indeed washed away.

Datura continue to fill the evening air with its wonderful perfume

Even the soil on the steep slope that I have been featuring in ‘The end of month view’ was held in place by the planting of stipa tenuissima and other plants; proving that bare soil is always a bad idea that leads to erosion.

Mud filled the ditch that takes our downpipe water had to be dug out; it also covered the area I’d been preparing to plant some trees, the weeds had been removed but the fields had just been reseeded with grass so now I have a beautiful crop of grass!

The rain was followed by beautiful days with sunshine and temperatures returning to those that we expect in August.  We have enjoyed some days at the beach; the hot weather continued until the beginning of this week when the wind turned and blew from the north bringing cold air, so much so that the bed has gone from having just a linen sheet to a nice warm duvet which has been snuggled under in a 10 day period.

The autumn work I wanted to do in the garden will have to be compressed into a couple of weeks – September the temperatures were too high to transplant anything other than tough Iris and Hermerocallis, and this week it has been so windy it was almost impossible to stand……

Miscanthus 'Morning Light' blowing in the wind earlier in the week

I’d be interested to know what you think the first flower is in the slideshow – I sprinkled several, very old packs of seeds by the side of the drive, I think this is from these but I don’t regognise what it is.

The rain combined with the hot sun means that most of the plants blooming in September are still blooming now with the addition of Asters which hadn’t really started last month.

If you click on the image below you can see some of what is blooming in My Hesperides Garden this mid October.

pathway by the back border

Don’t forget to join in GBFD (Garden Bloggers Foliage day) next Saturday the 22nd October.  I hope you’ll have some lovely autumn colour to share or of course, maybe it is spring where you are in which case you can cheer us northern hemisphere gardeners with images of the promise of spring!  Where ever you are I look forward to seeing how you use foliage in your garden.

Alliums and Roses

Sorry, I know I promised to post about Tulips combinations to hide their foliage but the roses are beginning to flower and are filling the garden with their perfume; I just have to share them with you.

I have to admit that in England, where every Italian thinks they must be perfect, I was never very successful with roses.  Here is different; they grow more quickly, have the long hot summer for their ‘wood’ to harden’ and dry summers that don’t encourage black spot or other fungal-type diseases.  They do begin to flower early, last year some began at the end of March.  This year it was mid-April when the first buds opened especially for GBBD.  Now Rosa mutabilis is full of colour and on still days gives off a delicious perfume.

R. mutabilis

They are forming a hedge between the drive where we park and the vegetable garden.

These images are the end of April.  Next into flower were R. Conrad F Meyer and R. Stanwell perpetual.  Both are in the Triangular Rose bed that links into the walled bed you can see above.

R. Conrad F Meyer

Stanwell perpetual opens pale pink but quickly fades to white. This is a very generous rose with masses of blooms over a long flowering season.

R. Molineux also opens early and last year (its first year) surprised me by how long it flowered.

Allium roseum, just opening

The first R. veichenblau, possibly my favourite rose

What is giving me most pleasure at the moment is R. Rimosa (known in the US as climbing Gold Badge and in the rest of the world as Climbing Gold Bunny) it is planted on 4 of the pillars at the front of the house along with Wisteria prolific, which I’m sure you saw in my earlier posts.  I choose this rose because at the nursery, when I saw it in mid-September it was flowering right from the base, and that is just what it is doing now, it has even grown taller than I imagined it would and it has linked up to form an arch of roses when I look out of the sitting room or kitchen windows.  This too is delicately perfumed.

Looking out at the sheep

Looking down from my bedroom window

Rosa Rimosa

When I planted this rose with the wisteria I did think they might flower together creating a good contrast, but usually the wisteria has more or less finished before the rose comes out.  It does make an interesting combination with the Perovskia when it re-flowers in autumn.

The old cliché of the roses around the door

Enough of the roses for now; A friend posted about her alliums this morning and I was surprised that hers, in North Devon, were at exactly the same stage as mine here in Lazio.

Allium Mount Everest in the small island bed

A solitary Allium Schubertii

The garden is the most full and colourful I’ve ever seen or even dreamed it could be!  (the downside might be that in autumn many plants will have outgrown their space and need to be moved) but at present I’m just enjoying the show.

The slope with Allium Purple Sensation and European and Californian poppies

You can see a wind sown Verbascum – I’ve never seen one with such large leaves – it will grow as big as the new tree next to it (Persimmon)

To finish and a reminder of the wildlife I love to see in the garden here is a lacewing and 2 blue butterflies doing what butterflies do!

A Daddy Long Legs feeds on a Euphorbia.

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Christina.
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My Hesperides Garden.