The welcome to the New Year in Italy has involved snow, wind and freezing temperatures; not really auspicious for a vase of flowers picked from the garden to join with Cathy at Rambling in the garden. Continue reading
The weather for the last week has been horrible! Cold, windy freezing at night and grey or hailing during the day. This morning when I looked out of the window there was blue sky and sunshine. It was surprising therefore when I discovered that 5 miles away in Viterbo it had snowed; and it had snowed enough to stop the buses running early in the morning and that the traffic had been chaos.
It being Monday it is time to join Cathy at Rambling in the garden for the weekly challenge of finding something from the garden to put in a vase. Frankly I thought it would be more dried material this week, the garden has been bleak under the dark skies. But of course the sun makes all the difference and I decided to search hard for some living material that might be a bit different to the usual evergreens I have been using. Continue reading
Another month has passed and it’s time again to join Helen the Patient Gardener for the end of month view; thanks for hosting again Helen
On Sunday last we had a little rain, enough to wet the ground. Night-time temperatures have dropped a little; being able to sleep at night has made me feel a little better.
If the cooler nights continue, but already last night was warmer than Sunday night, the plants will benefit from some dew. Lower temperatures are also promised for next week (I have everything crossed!).
The August issue of my Italian gardening magazine communicates that there hasn’t been a June and July together this hot and this dry since records began (and now there is a scorching August to add into the statistics); local friends, who are assiduous at keeping records of max. and min. temperatures and measuring rainfall, tell me that there has been no measurable rain since May 28th! Again this morning we had a 15 minute shower – not enough to do much good but, for me psychologically good as it brings a promise that we will get some proper rain soon.
The extreme conditions are making me reassess my thoughts on what drought really is. I’m sure this sounds silly – a drought is a drought is a drought. But actually it isn’t just about there being no rain; we rarely get any rain here from July through to the end of August. What has made the difference this year is the higher temperatures, just a few degrees higher every day and less obviously higher night time temperatures, giving plants less time to recover. Then there have been even more strong winds this year; this morning’s shower wet the ground but then the wind grew stronger and everything was dry again within half an hour (at the most). As I write the wind is blowing continuously, I can hear it in the chimney; I’m listening to the leaves of the wisteria rustling. This desiccation by the wind is not to be underestimated.
I’m looking with reawakened interest at the plants that are really thriving, not just surviving; I will use more of them as structural plants so that when this hot summer is repeated in the future there will be more plants that I don’t have to worry about. I mentioned some in my post about foliage; the good ones are rosemary, Ceanothus, Teucrium, Myrtle and Euphorbia, although a couple of plants have died but they were probably a bit old.
Cistus and Pholmis sufruticosa are alive but their foliage has curled to protect itself so that don’t look wonderful.
Then there were the surprises – plants I would have bet good money that they would be OK; Festuca glauca is a plant I’ve always considered very, drought tolerant but several have died and there is such a build-up of dead thatch on others that they either need replacing or digging up and dividing, discarding the dead stems and hoping that they will reform into their usual round shape.
There is a very obvious truth behind all the above. If I want a garden full of flowers in July and August all I have to do is use masses of water! I don’t want, or indeed feel it is right, to irrigate the whole garden so I must rethink some areas so that I am not forced to go around with a hose early morning or late at night trying to keep plants alive. Where the irrigation is, the plants survive on the amount I give them, they won’t flower in a very hot year like this one has proved to be but they will persist to flower another year and I think I have to be content with that.
Sorry some of the images are a little fuzzy; the wind was blowing!
I have been away three weeks from My Hesperides Garden – more about my trip to the US in future posts as I was very inspired by the native vegetation and the way some National Park sites used native planting.
An apology to my blogging friends that I haven’t had time to leave comments on my favourite blogs while I’ve been away, I did manage to read and enjoy some but internet access wasn’t always available to me. A very Happy New Year to you all and I’m looking forward to seeing all your gardens in 2012
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived home; I’d heard there had been cold weather and lots of snow in the north of Italy and thought it likely that even in mid-Italy the weather would have been much colder than we I left. But although there had been a couple of colder days and certainly much colder nights the garden still has flowers and even the fennel in the vegetable garden is still edible, just, which is a sure sign there wasn’t a heavy ground frost where it is planted.
Most of the flowers on winter flowering shrubs are relatively small but often with an intense perfume to attract the few pollinating insects that are flying.
More surprising are the confused Achillea ‘Summerwine’,
and Abutilon, especially remembering that the Abutilon was knocked back to the ground by the cold temperatures of last winter.
The buds I showed last month on the Nandino haven’t opened yet but do look very attractive with the berries from last spring’s flowers and the winter red foliage.
R, ‘Stanwell Perpetual’ has also flowered almost continuously since October
To visit gardens where it really is summer visit Carol at Maydreams Garden to find Bloomday posts from around the world.
Thank you Carol for hosting this meme that we all enjoy so much, have a very happy gardening year in 2012, I look forward to reading about your garden and your ideas this coming year.
Carol at Maydreamsgarden hosts this brilliant meme that shows what is in bloom in gardens around the world on the 15th of the month. When you’ve finished looking at what’s flowering in my Hesperides Garden do visit Carol to see other seasons, other flowers and other ideas; why not join in? It is fun to see how some plants are present everywhere and others only appear in one or two places.
For me it helps me know which plants flower together and exactly how long they flower for. This is so helpful when deciding if a plant is worth the space it is allocated. As water is at such a premium here it also helps to know what effect the weather is having on flowering etc. So while I find GBBD really interesting I try to always join in because it is good discipline for me.
When I wrote August’s GBBD we hadn’t had the usual hot summer weather – the temperatures changed on 16th August! Two weeks or scorching temperatures 38° C plus during the day and the night-time temps, only falling by about 10°C followed. The usual September rain hasn’t arrived, morning and evenings are cooler again (25 – 27°C) but during the days it is very hot and humid. The humidity does mean there is a little moisture in the air that the plants can make use of, but I have only moved plants I know won’t suffer without water for a while. Sowing seeds should be good as the soil in their trays warms up quickly; Some Hemerocallis I planted straight from the seed pod have germinated, I don’t know how true to the parent they will be, but it will be interesting to find out.
All four types of rose in the above bed (William Shakespeare, Tradescant, Queen of Sweden and Sophie’s Perpetual) have been flowering more or less all summer. They have irrigation three times a week. The amount of water is a key issue. The irrigations tube to one of the pillars around the terrace was broken for a week or so which meant that that pillar’s rose was receiving much more water then I intended. But that is the only one of the Yellow roses to flower during August and into September so it proves to me that if I want all my roses to flower more I have to give them more water or accept that they will flower in spring, with maybe a second flush and then no more until the autumn rains arrive.
The cooler weather does mean that R. Mutabilis has all colours of flowers together in high summer all are crimson.
As you’ll see if you click on the image below to see a slideshow of everything in flower there are a few surprises. The prostrate rosemary has flowers (normally this is during winter) and although there are some flowers on the Asters they aren’t at all in full bloom yet; maybe they will be for October’s GBBD. Have a great day wherever you are.
Look carefully at the Californian poppy, I think a yellow spider is eating a fly, I didn’t even notice it when I took the photo.
If you would like to join me on the 22nd October I’ll be posting about Foliage in the garden, a new meme I hope you’ll join in.