The beginning of Summer
I know that when stipa tenuissima comes into flower is a sign: summer is beginning. As you probably remember the stipa bed in the grass garden has been stolen to the gravel yard, so the soil here is very rich but mostly made of gavel. There are plants that love growing in well drained soil, one of them is certainly stipa tenuissima. I like the contrast with a large, dark leaved perennial like the plantago. It is almost incredible how easily it withstands full sun and drought. This part of the garden, indeed, is never watered artificially. This helps me holding off stipa, plantago but also nepeta, gaura and some alcea by self seeding too much so the plants thrive but don’t take over the entire yard.
I love the way this plant captures light and emphasizes other plants. Tigre (the cat) loves stipa too. I discovered a little nest amongst the clumps, where she likes to have a nap during hot lazy afternoons.
Nepeta fassenii is oversize this year due to all the recent rain. Spikes are thinner and tend to flop, I need to cut it back and see what happens. Rosa Single Cherry lasted so long (3 full weeks!) for a single flowered rose and it is setting hips at last, hundreds. They’re supposed to turn very dark once ripened. I like the contrast with the ghost bramble behind (rubus thibetanus), yet it is worrying me a little this year producing some thick shoots even 1 mt far from the original plant… this is more a bramble than a ghost, I wonder if I’d need a Medium, a priest or a shovel!
In another part of the Grass garden bees are very busy around salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain’. Verticillata means that the spikes of flowers look like a ladder. I love ‘verticillata’ flowers! This salvia starts very early and last until the end of summer, then the dried seed heads remain until winter. I bought another salvia verticillata lately: ‘Smoldering torches’ which is supposed to reach 70-80cm in height but so far it is looking very very (very!) similar to ‘Purple rain’. Well I love this salvia and it is performing well in heavy soil with just a few drainage below, another taller one won’t be a disappointment! (Look at those bees, filling their furry boots with nectar! Slow down darlings you are fat enough!)
The yellow of phlomis tuberosa is a good counterpoint to the purple salvia. I’d like the taaaaaaall pink phlomis ‘Amazone’ but so far I only found very expensive yet small plants around so I never bought it. Indeed I found a very nice pink phlomis tuberosa at a good price, so I got 3 plants, they are starting to flower now in the Gravel garden, I’m going to take some pics as soon as they are in full flower because they really look good.
All the roses are now in full bloom, most of them have been planted last winter so they are very small plants but it’s impressive seeing them so covered in flowers! Above you can see rosa Celsiana in the foreground with the small flowered rosa chinensis Angel Wings and Zéphirine Drouhin in the background. The single white is rosa Sancta (aka rosa x Richardii) is an ancient cross of rosa gallica, often planted very close to churches or other places of worship, so it’s known as rosa Sancta (holy rose). The last rose is a rather recent hybr. gallica Lord Scarman, very scented and with a paler reverse of the petals that gives a brighter shade in the centre. I hope these roses are growing as fast as last year’s ones so next year I can take a bird’s view picture of the rose garden instead of close-ups.
Next Saturday it’s bank holiday here in Italy, so I’m going to have a long weekend (as I normally work on saturdays too) to spend weeding and tidying up the garden, finally summer is here and I caught up all the spring jobs: no more new plants to place for a while, no more plants to move and weeds are slowing down because of the drought now… I might take some time for myself, lay back and enjoy… Really?!