Bright Colours in a Grey Day

Last Sunday it was a very springy day with grey clouds coming and going, some little rain and an overall dull light. That upset me because I wanted so badly to see the gravel garden done but I only managed to cover a little more than a half with the gravel, then it started raining again and I had to give up. I have plenty of jobs started and left halfway inside the house, so I took the chance to carry out with some of those boring jobs. I had the second coat of paint in the guest room done now and I’m rather happy with it, even though the first coat is much more enjoyable because you have the idea of doing more with less…

Blue: iris Pallida - Magenta: rosa chinensis Sanguinea - Yellow: rosa Ormiston Roy

Blue: iris Pallida – Magenta: rosa chinensis Sanguinea – Yellow: rosa Ormiston Roy

A large display of primary colours was there in the garden, every single flower clearly outlined by the green of the surrounding foliage, it almost made me feel like painting something different than a wall!

As Single Cherry continues to produce new spicy scented blooms and rosa chinensis Odorata is literally covered in flowers, new roses are blooming everyday now and every one is a surprise!

Zéphirine Drouhin

Zéphirine Drouhin

Zéphirine Drouhin is a large Bourbon rose, said to be very incline to mildew, rust, black spot and whatever disgrace could happen to a rose, indeed mine is always very healthy, with a main flowering time in spring and some reliable scattered flowers during all the remaining season, until fall. New foliage is a deep purple, a colour that perfectly matches the flowers of clematis Niobe, that I’m in fact planning to plant together again (as I used to have in my previous garden). This perfect match doesn’t come out from my little head, I saw it ages ago in a book, maybe the book about roses written by Roger Phillips and Martin Rix (of which I don’t know the original title).

rosa Maigold

rosa Maigold

This rather recent hybrid spinosissima has a very odd and mutable colour: Maigold changes from deep salmon to peach to pale yellow while fading. I was skeptic about this rose colour but at the end I decided to grow it anyway just because it was an hybrid spinosissima (which is apparently – one of – my new obsession-s). I kind of alienated her from the Rose Garden because I didn’t know how this colour would have blend with the others (I’ve done the same with some Austin roses too), so she’s now growing in the middle of nowhere with a big clump of iris pseudacorus behind: I have to admit I like this plant although I don’t regret my choices, and I need to keep an eye on her.

Same old Single Cherry

Same old Single Cherry

Rosa Rival de Paestum

Rosa Rival de Paestum

Another new entry is Rival de Paestum, another Tea/China. I used to dislike china roses because of their weak neck and the tired petals and their overall shabby look: now I love them for the same reasons. I change my mind but I always have my good reasons to defend my point of view… I should have been a lawyer!

rosa chinensis Odorata

rosa chinensis Odorata

I don’t know where all these tiny flowered forget-me-nots jumped out from, because I surely never sowed them, I’m not a forget-me-not kind of guy and this image is too sweet and romantic (in the very sticky and sugary meaning of the word) for my taste but how could I eradicate one of them with all those other little blue eyes looking at me? I hope they’re going to find their natural death soon anyway.

rosa Marguerite Hilling - rosa Omar Khayyám - allium unifolium

rosa Marguerite Hilling – rosa Omar Khayyám – allium unifolium

Marguerite Hilling is a reblooming hybrid moyesii, with very wide light scented pearl pink flowers. The plant is growing strongly and I like the ferny foliage, very similar to those of rosa Moyesii but bigger. Omar Khayyám is a beautiful damask rose, his strongly scented flowers are opening now. Of this rose I like the sage green foliage, the strength in his rather short prickly stems  and the very up pointing buds along with his strong damask perfume. A very elegant rose.

pale yellow salvia navajo - tulipa turkestanica seed pods - unknown red salvia with infiltrated forget-me-nots

pale yellow salvia navajo – tulipa turkestanica seed pods – unknown red salvia with infiltrated forget-me-nots

All the salvia microphylla hybrids are already in flower and they are going to keep up the show until next fall. They’re such reliable plants I wish I could plant some more this year. They can flower and increase the plant volume at the same time, the only thing they give up a little is colour: in summer salvia Navajo is much paler, almost pinky white and the other crimson one becomes deep pink. I’ve planted a pale cream one called Vanilla which is in flower too. Tulipa turkestanica found its way to catch attention even after its flowering time: its alien shaped seed pods are very showy, I don’t recall any other tulip that can hold on for so long: keep playing your maracas a little longer, and then spread your seeds around for next year, little tulip!

sedum Matrona (left) with sedum Xenox (right)

sedum Matrona (left) with sedum Xenox (right)

Under the crab apple trees my sedum spot is so lush and green it makes you feel like chewing a little bit of the leaves! I may give these sedums a Chelsea chop and make some more cuttings, maybe in a more sunny position so Matrona would become more maroon and Xenon more purple!


30 thoughts on “Bright Colours in a Grey Day

  1. I like the new photo at the top of your blog; Little Cherry, I presume, very nice. Your garden is looking lovely with all the new roses.
    Your Rosa chinensis Odorata looks like a rose I have but call China Rose because I don’t know its proper name, it was a cutting from a friend. I’ll post a picture soon and you can tell me what you think. Good idea about the Chelsea chop for reproducing sedum, I may do the same. Christina

    • Hi Christina! I just need some courage to actually chop those sedums, I’m always a little scared about dividing or chopping fresh plants…
      Rosa chinensis Odorata is also referred as rosa indica. Post a picture of yours and I’ll try a guess!

  2. Wow…you garden has just EXPLODED with color lately…looks so amazing! I love how you changed your mind about the China Rose…I do that all the time…suddenly, I’ll find myself liking something I swore I hated just a year ago 😉 Love the seedheads of Tulipa turkestanica…I may have to find some of those this fall as well 🙂

  3. Beautiful colours, especially your iris in stunning blue! Your roses look really happy, ours are nowhere near flowering yet, just have to be patient. Hope you soon get your gravel finished in your gravel garden, the plants will appreciate it as well as you!

    • I know, gravel is a good thing for me to see as well as a good thing for the plants, because it keeps the soil moisture. The iris is a ‘plain’ iris pallida, very very diffuse here in Italy, especially in Tuscany because in the past they used its dried and powdered rhizomes as a fixative in perfumes.

  4. Hi Alberto,

    *purses lips and inhales loudly*
    What do you mean you don’t like forget-me-nots??!!!!

    Hahaha, they’re too sickly romantic and yet you have a massive collection of roses? 😉 Strange; but we like what we like and our tastes often change!

    I hope you manage to get your gravel finished soon and then we can see the results 🙂

    • Ok I need to be honest here. I really liked YOURS f-m-ns because they are a normal size and they aren’t sticky. You have the white ones as well as the blue and the pink/lilac ones… I have this sticky mist of really tiny flowered (maybe wild?) f-m-ns and then I don’t like the too honey couple they make with my rosa!
      I rather like them around the red salvia, where they form a more fresh and modern match.

      And about my roses… it’s a boy thing, ok?

  5. Lots going on at your place Alberto. Seems like your roses are unusual ones and so pretty! Too bad you don’t adequately appreciate forget-me-nots but they will come back every year anyway. I like the blue of the iris. I think sedums probably come from other planets and must be stopped– I have just one, very delicate and innocent looking–it came here undercover with another plant and is spreading like spilled milk.

    • LOL! You’re probably talking about small sized sedums, those are indeed rather weedy sometimes but I started appreciating them anyway. Sedum Matrona and Xenox are clump forming (not spreaders) and about 50-60 cm tall. They might come from a different planet….

      It’s not that I don’t like FMNs, it’s that I don’t like them forming a cloud around rosa Odorata, I find it a little too much.

    • Once flowering roses must be planted in autumn or winter and get some frost to flower in the first year. The ones I planted in winter 2010 didn’t flowered in 2011, but those planted last winter are flowering now. Frost must be the trigger and I guess you had quite a lot of that!

  6. Looking great, Alberto – though I’m with Liz re the forget-me-nots. And don’t worry – they’ll be back next year in even greater numbers! Sounds like spring-time didn’t hang around for you much either! D

    • Spring here is not a season, it’s a week. Then we normally start experiencing summer (like today).
      If you just agree with Liz then read what I wrote to her! A man cannot expose his own thoughts here, can he? 🙂

    • Perky is a very soft word! I must take a picture of what they became in just a few sunny days! They are almost bigger than the rose but still with this soooooo tiny flowers! Which masterpiece are you talking about? That’s a big word, you know?!

  7. Hello Alberto, Maigold can’t be a very recent hybrid, because mine was planted when the house was built, and that was in 1962. My rose is certainly a climber – is yours? I think I might add Single Cherry to my scotch rose collection.

    • Hi Mr. K! Maigold was bred by Kordes in 1953. So she’s only 59 y.o. That age is rather young for an antique rose. Marigold could be a shrub or could be trained as a climber. Mine is so small she haven’t decided yet what to do as a grown-up but I hope she’ll be a shrub!

  8. Lots of stunning colour in your garden Alberto. Can I tell you (whisper it) that I’m not keen on forget me nots in the garden? I much prefer them in the wild. There are drifts of them growing along one of our river bank walks, which is lovely.

    • I love their blu, especially mixed with orange, crimson, red but I don’t like it with other pastel colours like shell pink. We could found the new ‘Forgive-me-not movement’, deal? 🙂

  9. Hi Alberto, wow the fabulous change in your garden in such a short space of time. What you have will not be seen here until July. My sister and niece were visiting your part of the world a couple of weeks ago and were captivated.. I hope you don’t mind my saying, the text on your blog is so very tiny.

    • Venice is a must see place, it’s a shame the historic part has been left falling apart lately but this is not my cause anyway.
      The garden exploded with foliage, blooms and everything thanks to a very warm march and a very rainy april. I didn’t expect roses planted only last november would have done so well and flourish!
      I’m sorry for the small sized font, I need to see if I can work out a bigger one but it’s kind of difficult with free themes I guess. If you are using a Mac you can use the ‘reader’ button on Safari nav bar and then you can increase the font size just clicking on the ‘ghost’ magnifier at the bottom. This works with every website!

  10. Alberto, I love how you organized the photos of your flowers. You managed to present them in a way that made them even more beautiful.

    • Hi Kevin! Thanks for your comment, I like the pictures organized like that too but it wasn’t my idea! See how Liz@Gwirrel’s garden post her pics and then there are other bloggers using this style, so I made it mine! 😉

  11. It’s a treat to view your blooms! I particularly love the Rosa Chinensis Odorata and the Rosa Rival de Paestum! I like the shabby look. For some reason, perfect, tightly formed roses don’t appeal as much to me. And lucky you that instead of weeds, forget-me-nots have seeded under your roses!

    • Well, this is right! At least I don’t have weeds under that rose but you should see those forget me nots now, the recent rain has them increased and they now look suffocating…

  12. ciao Alberto, splendide fioriture, com’è ovvio da te! però io vorrei vedere anche una visione d’insieme del tuo giardino….

    • Ciao Ross! tutto bene? Grazie dei complimenti e mi sorprende vedere che mi segui! 🙂 Metterò nei prossimi post qualche foto di più ampio respiro, purtroppo sono sempre indietro coi lavori e o in un angolo o nell’altro ci sono sempre erbacce!

  13. nessuno più di me può capirti! ma non sorprenderti se ti seguo silenziosamente: adoro il tuo modo di lavorare e i risultati che ottieni, lo sai. Presto ti manderò un mp su CdG, ciao e continua così, grazie : D

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