GBBD Summer at Last!

Until this past Monday, 10th June, the weather here in central Lazio as not been its usual sunny and warm self.  Then as the forecasters promised Tuesday the temperature has noticeably risen; the air feels warmer and the afternoon wind from the sea began to blow. Actually just a few moments ago when I was taking photographs there was a mini-whirlwind; I looked around and thought the sky was full of strange birds but instead it was hay that had just been cut from the field behind the house, moments later it passed through the garden lifting dropped petals high into the air, sorry I didn’t manage to get a clear image. 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.

GBBD – Roses Again

It hardly seems possible that we have reached the middle of the month of October already!  Again it is Garden Bloggers Bloomday hosted by Carol at May Dreams Garden.  If you have some time to spare why not visit to see what is blooming in Gardens all over the world.  I always try to look at one new garden each month but there are so many that sadly it is impossible for me to read them all.  But I do very much enjoy reading about the gardens I follow on a regular basis.  I feel as if I know these gardens but there is always something blooming that surprises and delights me.

In My Hesperides Garden most of the roses are blooming again.  Not all as profusely as in May but enough to perfume the garden and make me forget that it is nearly winter.

I am still surprised that 2 months ago many plants were deep in summer dormancy – i.e. they looked dead and now have put on new foliage and are flowering.

Click on the image below to see all the flowers blooming in the garden for GBBD October.

Blue butterflies are still enjoying the Perovskia

GBBD Rain Drops on Roses…..

Actually not just on roses but on everything.  For the last two nights it has rained and for a couple of hours during the day yesterday and most of the day today – I am very happy!

So when I went outside to take my photos for bloomday it was under the protection of an umbrella.  It wasn’t raining too hard and it was so god to see and feel the rain; the umbrella was more to keep the camera dry.  Today it is windy which isn’t so good, I want rain, soft and gentle to soak right into the soil.  Temperatures yesterday and today haven’t risen above 20° C.  It almost feels like winter, but it is so nice to feel cool; to go to bed and pull the sheet around me rather than throw it off in an attempt to be cool.

Next week the temperatures are set to rise again, but only during the day, at night it will be cool.  Even during the day it should just be pleasantly warm to work outside.

All the blooms this month have raindrops on their petals, for some this makes them even more beautiful.

Gaura are always beautiful with drops of rain on their stems

New foliage and new blooms on Rosa Clair Matin

Caryopteris is very reliable at summer’s end, even after the hot summer we’ve had this year it is flowering beautifully

To see what else is flowering in My Hesperides Garden in mid September, please click on the image below.

To enjoy what’s flowering in gardens around the world, some just entering spring and others beginning to look autumnal, visit Carol at May Dreams Garden,

May Feast – Rosa Rhapsody in Blue

Described as: Rhapsody In Blue has fragrant, shiny purple flowers that fade to slate blue the closest thing yet to a blue rose. A healthy, robust grower that will make a tall, bushy shrub that repeats well. 4.5 ft x 3 ft.

When choosing roses to buy there are several criteria that help me make my decision.  Firstly a rose should be deliciously perfumed; a rose without fragrance is like a wedding without the bride.   It should be a beautiful colour (this really goes without saying); thirdly and this may seem strange, it is essential that the bloom is beautiful in bud, as it opens and in full flower, but also essential is how it dies!  Rhapsody in Blue is almost more beautiful as it ages and turns a delightful fading grey-mauve.

I have 3 planted together in the left hand border; they were planted in May 2007.  I have pruned them quite hard to produce very bushy plants but I will allow them to grow taller now they are strongly established.

The left hand border looking from the Mulberry tree

Again from under the mulberry tree with R. Rhapsody in Blue in the background

Mid way through its flowering life

Some blooms are marked with white

Combining with a similar coloued aquiligea and blue grass

Here on 25th April

It is one of my favourite roses.

End of Month View, April 2012 – Growth!

The end of April is like the end of May or even end of June in the UK.  Everything is coming into flower, every day when I walk around the garden I am surprised by some bloom I didn’t even see the bud of the previous day.

The tulips are no more – I’ll be writing a follow up post as to what happened to the rest of the tulips I was expecting to flower.

So this past week has been a week of firsts!  First roses, first irises, first strawberries, first hot still days with butterflies sipping the nectar of thyme flowers.

I have French Lavender planted at the base of most of the pillars around the terrace; it hasn’t really looked very happy and I have been pondering whether I should remove it and plant with something else; but I hadn’t thought of anything else so it was a pleasant surprise to see that this year it is looking lovely, sprawling out to give solidity to the pillar roses climbing above, another first.

Yellow roses are forming arches up and over the pillara and beams that form the pergola

Rosa mutabilis is forming a real hedge for the first time and is full of flower.

I planted a banksia rose three years ago; it has struggled as it was planted into very poor soil (more or less into solid tuffo) with no irrigation but this year for the first time it has filled out and is covered in a profusion of pale yellow blooms.

Some planting combinations that I planned last year, and moved plants around in the autumn are now producing the effects I hoped for.

I planted more Gladioli bizantinus near a prostrate Ceonothus, I like the clashing combination of colours.

I moved Irises last autumn, Kent Pride to be close to the new growth of Nandino; I moved some Iris Jane Phillips near to Rosa Molineux and some to nearby the Ceonothus/Gladioli combination shown above.  After I wrote the post I was admonished by a friend who said that I was transplanting the Irises far too late and that it should be done in July; I am new to Iris growing so knew that I would just have to wait and see – all the irises I transplanted have thick buds or are already opening their fascinating flowers to reveal their ‘beards’.  I don’t think my friend was wrong, just that in Italy the growing season continues much longer into autumn (especially last autumn when it was warm until Christmas) so there was plenty of time for the tubers to settle and grow.  Most plants will die if transplanted in July, which is when I apparently should have moved them; probably Iris could be moved then because their tubers hold all the moisture they need for the summer anyway.

Iris Jane Phillips

Ceonothus and Thyme growing satisfyingly together, a more subtle combination

Thyme also combines with Cistus' more vibrant tones

Iris Jane Phillips with pink Cistus and the pink new leaves of Mahonia

All the above combinations are to be found at the top of the drive border; this year this is filling out so that the shrubs are beginning to grow into each other, pushing out some of the more transient perennials.

Some combinations are happy accidents; the above cistus was newly planted last autumn, I very much like how it reflects the colour of Iris ‘Kent Pride’ next to it.

Iris 'Kent Pride'

It will be better still when the cistus grows and produces more flowers.

Many roses are flowering already but I’ll save those for another day,  There seem to be more buds than usual on the roses which could be due to the cold spell in the winter or that they are now more established.

R. Sophie's perpetual

Looking across the upper drive border out to the surrounding countryside

I’m joining Helen the Patient Gardener for her End of the Month View, do visit her to see what is happening in other gardens at the end of the April 2012.

2012.02.29 End of Month View – Pruning and new life

At the end of last month nothing was happening in the garden or with me.  In fact I was feeling down – illogically really because winter has been very short, intense but short.  This week we’ve had warm sunny days and also days when the wind is so cold and so strong it was bending the trees in half.

The snow has all melted and with the warm sun much is growing; I found that Iris unguicularis has flowered for the first time – I know that they don’t like being disturbed but I had hoped for flowers last year – so far there is one bloom, I hope there will be more.  They are planted under  Rosa mutabilis and I would really like to move them to a better position but it would be sad to lose the flowers for another couple of years.

I love this Iris unguicularis, despite its horrible name

Under the snow I found an Achillia blooming, but the cold wind has burnt the flowers now.

Tulips are emerging from the soil, I am so happy as I held to my resolve and I didn’t buy or plant any bulbs last autumn.  I long for their bright hues and beautiful forms to fill the garden with colour and announce that it really is spring!

When I read the Alberto at Altroverde was cutting back his grasses I thought he was being a little premature; last year I did mine towards the end of March.  But I thought I should check and almost all the grasses including the Miscanthus (that I consider to come into leaf late) had fresh green leaves emerging from the base; the wind and snow had burnt some a little but not enough to do permanent damage.  So another job to be completed ASAP.

On Sunday I decided the time had come to remove some of the Gaura that smothered the roses in the circular rose bed.  The roses are planted in four groups of three and Gaura had germinated close in around the roses to the extent that last autumn it seemed that the lower growing Sophie’s perpetual was almost completed buried.  From the original 12 Gaura plants that had been planted between the groups I removed about 36 plants that had grown since 2009.  I had already removed many, very many seedlings from this bed and used them on the slope and in client’s gardens.  I don’t really understand why they self-seed so much better in this bed than anywhere else; it could be because this bed has irrigation for the roses.  So the question was, what to do with all these plants, the compost heap seemed an impossible choice, I love the butterfly blooms of the Gaura floating amongst plants for so much of summer and into autumn.

September 2011, where are the roses in the rose bed? UNDER the Gaura!

They are one of the few consistently flowering plants in late July and August.  I have been considering adding another something to join the Perovskia in the formal beds.  The front two are under-planted with white tulips and Allium although I’m not sure how many will regrow this year, they were planted in 2008.  I was already thinking about transplanting some of the many dwarf hyacinths that are becoming overcrowded in other beds and under the olives.  So I decided to experiment with planting the Gaura into the back two beds.  I’m half way through planting one bed and I’ll use some of last year’s seedling plants to complete at least one bed.

This month I have pruned the Wisteria ‘Prolific’ on the pergola.  I made the decision to prune all the roses despite the fact that they had retained most of their leaves and were in no-way dormant, some including ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ even had new viable flower buds; like ‘Wellywoman’ despite wearing leather pruning gloves my wrists and the backs of my hands are covered in scratches!  All the Perovskia has also been pruned; again much earlier than I have pruned them before.

As soon as the sun shone Lonicera fragrantissima opened new buds, I have this shrub planted near where we park so when you get out of the car you are greeted with its delicious perfume.

small but deliciously perfumed Lonicera fragrantissima

The very best thing about February is that sunset is later and later each day; very noticeable on sunny days, it is now gone 6pm when the sun sinks below the horizon and at 5pm it feels like the middle of the day instead of dusk.  The disadvantage of being closer to the equator and having more light in winter is that in summer it is dark earlier than I am used to in Southern England, but it is a price worth paying.

Thank you Helen, the Patient Gardener for hosting this useful meme; if you would like to see what others have been doing in their gardens this month follow the link to see what’s happening around the world.

Brave flowers of January GBBD

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.

I was welcomed home by the perfume of Lonicera fragrantissima, which definitely lives up to its name.

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.

This Elaeagnus has been flowering since the end of September.

Rosemary has also been flowering for several months.

Groundcover Verbena is still doing a great job of covering the soil and stopping the weeds.

This is another groundcover plant I should be dividing to have many more of. I think they flower every month of the year.

Teucrium always flowers early in the year

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.

It is not so unusual to have roses flowering in December but by January they are normally ready to be pruned; I was very pleasantly surprised to find several roses putting on a show for me today.

Yellow rose on pillar on the terrace

R. Clair Matin, also on a pillar

R .Queen of Sweden

The China Rose, has flowered since October

R. Gertrude Jekyll

One of the many blooms, single during the winter, of R. Sally Holmes

R, ‘Stanwell Perpetual’ has also flowered almost continuously since October

A hopeful bud on R. Scepter’d Isle

Strangely this Buddleia seems happier in winter than in summer when I expected it to thrive!

Cerinthe are beginning to flower but are a little later than other years to be blooming profusely.

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.

December GBBD, there are still roses

I am finding it impossible to believe that it is time for December GBBD.  As you will see from the slideshow of what’s flowering today in My Hesperides Garden, the range of blooms would lead you to believe that is was late May.  So Carol at Maydreams who hosts this great meme would be happy in my garden today.  Please visit her to see what’s blooming around the world today; don’t forget it’s nearly midsummer in the southern hemisphere, so forget the winter blues and visit these summer gardens.

Rosa Clair Matin has been flowering profusely since May

Almost all the roses have some blooms, they had more before the rain on Monday but hey, it’s December.  Other plants I wouldn’t expect to see blooming now (would I really expect anything?) is Lavender, the Philadelphus, and the orange Abutilon – this seems to have more flowers than at any time during this year.

Philadelphus

Papery Abutilon adding some unseasonal orange to the garden

Looking back at last December, there were quite a lot of roses then too and one Lavender plant had flowers, but a different variety than the one flowering now.  But I also posted images of frost covered foliage in early December 2010 and we haven’t had any yet this year although snow is forecast for next Monday!  With this in mind I moved the pots of lemons, limes and oranges into the greenhouse which suddenly feels very small (what will I do when the citrus all grow?).  I picked the limes before moving them, they are losing their green colour, I think they are over ripe; I’m surprised there are 18 limes, I’m going to juice them freezing some juice for Thai recipes and I may drink the rest, I like lime juice.

I should have taken the photographs yesterday as it was a calm sunny day, but I like to be honest and take the photos on the day I’m actually writing the post and today was cloudy, dull and worse for the photographs it was very windy.  I apologise now that some images are not focused as well as they should be.  Please click on the image below to see everything that is blooming today.

View towards the circular bed

Despite the numerous flowers in the garden to be really honest what I’m enjoying most is the structure of the garden and the foliage; don’t forget to join me on 22nd December for GBFD (Garden Bloggers Foliage Day) – forget the presents, forget the Mince pies and the shopping, get out into the garden and see what foliage is performing for you.

If you’re new to GBFD you can hopefully be inspired to write a post yourself by viewing last month’s post here.