In a vase on Monday – Advent Crown 2018

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent (what happened to November, I have no idea, it seems only yesterday that it was the end of September) so of course today’s flowers must respect the tradition and so I’m sharing my Advent crown with you today. Continue reading

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Tuesday View – 26th July 2016

Cathy at Words and Herbs asks us to choose one view of our garden and show it each week.  It is a great exercise for learning how much (or little) a view changes during the seasons. Continue reading

GBFD – June sunshine and rain

Welcome to  GBFD, when I encourage you think about the effect foliage has on the overall design of your garden. You are welcome to write about any foliage, it can be a plant you have only for its foliage interest or better perhaps if you think about a plan that flowers for a limited time but its foliage is beautiful or interesting or makes an interesting form for a longer period.

The difference between May and June is hardly credible, I looked at last month’s post to remind myself of what I had shown, I don’t want to always share the same views or plants.  But even the same plant groupings look very different this month so there are some repetitions.  We have had massive amounts of rain in the last week, beginning last Saturday there have been thunder storms and heavy rain almost every day.  It seems that we will have a few days of hot sun but the rain is predicted to return on Thursday or Friday (but that’s a long way off in forecasting terms so who knows if it will rain again or not as we are approaching the time when the summer drought usually begins in earnest. Continue reading

GBFD – Silver and Purple

When it is hot and it is very HOT, the light shimmers and plants with silver or grey foliage look their very best.

The combination of silver and purple always looks great together; sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ seems to love the heat and its colour is better than ever.

Sedum 'Purple Emperor'

Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ loves the heat

Continue reading

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

GBFD – There may be masses of blooms but the Foliage is what holds it all together

The title of this month’s GBFD post says it all really.  When I went into the garden to photograph foliage this morning I thought it might be difficult this month to take images that didn’t feature flowers rather than foliage.  But then as I walked around I was reminded why I had wanted to start GBFD; Foliage is EVERYTHING in a garden.  In some seasons it might be all there is, but when it is spring and the garden shouts with colour and tells me it is truly spring it is the foliage that makes the blooms sing in a harmonious way.

The garden is full of colour, maybe more colour than at any other time of year; yet without the foliage the garden would be nothing!

The structure of the formal garden works all year.  Now supporting the white tulips in the front two beds

The structure of the formal garden works all year. Now supporting the white tulips in the front two beds

Structure, form and shades of green are enough to create a beautiful garden

Structure, form and shades of green are enough to create a beautiful garden

Box needing to be pruned give a slightly wild feel

Box needing to be pruned give a slightly wild feel; the pale green new foliage is too lovely for me to want to remove it

The slope is green in a different way; Stipa tenuissima waves in the wind

The slope is green in a different way; Stipa tenuissima waves in the wind

Silver foliage is a strong part of my Mediterranean garden, the bright spring light makes the silver leaves shimmer and also make a wonderful contrast to Tulip Negrita.

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Various Artemisia and other silver foliage plants

Various Artemisia and other silver foliage plants

Sedum Purple Emperor glows against a santolina

Sedum Purple Emperor glows against a santolina

The purple and almost jade foliage of the Sedum is stunning when it is new

The purple and almost jade foliage of the Sedum is stunning when it is new

Sedum Matrona has pink edges to its leaves which at present are an attraction to many snails

Sedum Matrona has pink edges to its leaves which at present are an attraction to many snails

Festuca glauca highlights the deep purple of Heuchera 'Obsidion'

Festuca glauca highlights the deep purple of Heuchera ‘Obsidion’

The bright spring light bleaches the true deep colour of the Heuchera

The bright spring light bleaches the true deep colour of the Heuchera

Heuchera 'Patty's Plum'

Heuchera ‘Patty’s Plum’

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Remember sometimes to turn your images into tones of grey to help you understand the forms and texture that your plants are creating.

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Some large round leaves would be a good addition here.

I think the form of the foliage here, works well with strappy Iris in the foreground, with Cotinus, santolina and Phlomis.

I think the form of the foliage here, works well with strappy Iris in the foreground, with Cotinus, santolina and Phlomis and a tall stand of Cerinthe in the background.

New foliage on a Mahonia

New foliage on a Mahonia

There is of course the pattern and colour you enjoy only when getting close.

A lot of new foliage is pink or red and not green

A lot of new foliage is pink or red and not green.  I think this is just amazing

and the foliage of wild lupin is a wonderful patter

and the foliage of wild lupin is a wonderful pattern

Nandina's new foliage is as colourful as any flower

Nandina domestica’s new foliage is as colourful as any flower

Hedges are very important for the form and texture they provide in the garden, the back of my garden Has Photinia, giving orangey-red new foliage which emphasises the colour of Tulips Brown Sugar and gives a good background to the rest of the garden always.

The large tree on the left is a White Mulberry

The large tree on the left is a White Mulberry

Please feel free to use GBFD in your own way; to maybe highlight one plant that is making an impact this month in your garden or to show the combinations that work for you.  Please post and add a link to your comment.  I really look forward to seeing what is happening in other gardens.  I hope you are enjoying spring as much as I am.

June – visitors to the garden

The gardens is full of butterflies and bees.  They love the Lavender (this is a good reason to keep it).

I have seen Swallowtail butterflies, a black and white butterfly that comes rarely to the garden that I never manage to photograph and there was a mucher larger humming bird hawk moth, again it was too quick for me.  Even the bees tempt me because they seem slow only to fly off as the press the shutter; I have numerous images of only sprigs of lavender when I hoped I was taking bees or butterflies drink necter.

This honey bee is feeding on Thyme, a variety that smells of camphor.

A small bumble bee on lavender

I usually cut the flowers off the santolina before they open as I don’t like their colour, but having left them this year, I find they are visited by numerous different insects, so perhaps I should always leave the flowers for them.

A waspish-looking hoverfly

The iridescent green of the fly reflects the acid yellow of the Santolina

Not just flies and bees like the Santolina.

A spider sets its web where it knows there will be many passing visitors which it can ensnare.

The spider is coloured like a wasp or bee.

You can see blue markings on the underside of the wing.

This moth? is on a tomato leaf, I hope it’s not going to cause problems

And these are from last month that didn’t find their way into a post.

Verbena bonariensis is another popular flower for bees and butterflies

But not all the visitors are harmless.  Rosa Molineux has been ravaged by one kind of insect that I’ve not noticed in the garden in other years.

Any ideas as to what they are?

They eat the petals almost completely!

So if you know what they are, what can I do about them (organically).

I can’t leave you with this horrible image, so here’s a swallowtail from last month.