A Garden Stroll in June

verbascum blattaria alba, rosa Ghislaine de Feligonde, oenothera Sunset Boulevard.

verbascum blattaria alba, rosa Ghislaine de Feligonde, oenothera Sunset Boulevard.

The weather has been very fussy and on the chilly/rainy side but the garden is doing its job no matter what and apparently we’re going to have a nice taste of summer for this weekend. Today I came to work without a jacket for the first time this year: normally I’d come in shorts!

Sally Holmes

Sally Holmes

Ok I tried to disguise this post as a generic one but it is actually just another post about roses, I’m sorry guys, I have a lot of roses and they are all behaving very well this year, the chilly weather is helping to extend the blooming period, although I forecast mildew and blackspot ahead…

Sally Holmes is another hybrid musk, bred by an English who named the rose after his wife, I believe. It’s almost thornless and it has a real perpetual blooming throughout the whole season, flowers are simple but very big and the plant is very healthy and it grows pretty large.

Rosa Mundi

Rosa Mundi

Rosa Gallica Versicolor has a lot of names but I actually prefer its short name Rosa Mundi. It is a variegated sport of the plain rosa gallica officinalis and I guess this is maybe the oldest variegated rose ever, already known before 1581. The plant in totally identical to rosa gallica officinalis except for the flower colour, so it’s short, bushy and thorny. Scent is very good.

Rosa Mundi

Rosa Mundi

Since rosa Mundi is very short (less than 1 mt) I used it under a much taller Zéphirine Drouhin which is trained up a power pole together with Bobbie James, this latter flowering for the first time this year but hopefully growing into some very tall plant. I like this combination because the taller roses echo the color pattern of the small one. I just hope the final effect won’t become a giant marsh mellow… or maybe I do…

Bobbie James and Zéphirine Drouhin

Bobbie James and Zéphirine Drouhin

Jason@Gardeninacity recently made me think I’ve planted some summer pots about a moth ago. They’re grouped against the wall, under the pergola and just on the left of the kitchen door. The whole thing started with the need of having some fresh herbs to pick while I’m cooking (so I don’t burn things while picking some herbs…), basil in particular but also allium tuberosum (which tastes like chives but more on the garlic side) and a good sage that apparently doesn’t like to overwinter in my heavy soil. I also bought a couple of chili peppers and one month ago I could not resist to a small crabapple ‘Evereste’ in full bloom. Then I disguised all with fillers to ‘merge’ the pots: a purple leaved ipomea batatas, a white flowered bidens and a couple of silver helicrysum: one petiolare and one italicum. On the background there are a big clump of white flowered milkweed, I think the variety is ‘Ballerina’, which is very happy about this rainy weather apparently. Looking forward to seeing it in bloom.

POTSWell at the end the basil plants have all dead (because of the rain) and I guess the chili peppers are waiting for some heat to start growing so actually you can’t see everything in the picture…

I believe that milkweed (asclepias) won’t be host for any Monarch caterpillar here in Italy but I like the plant anyway. Indeed, some butterfly I haven’t seen yet this year is the swallowtail, my garden is usually a magnet for them but I guess I just need to wait a little longer and feed the babies: I think they are as fascinating as the butterfly itself.

Swallowtail caterpillar with curled head, trying to look sweet

Swallowtail caterpillar with curled head, trying to look sweet

I finally managed to tidy up the crabapple bed, I decided this will be the name of the strip that divides the Grass garden from the Rose garden. It has roses planted, tall grasses and the crabapples, obviously.

I like the different kind of greens and greys and purples and patterns of the leaves and the roses too, that you already have seen in close ups in previous posts.

crabapple bed

crabapple bed

Thanks to the dull sky I’ve been able to snap a proper picture of one to my favorite roses in the crabapple bed: rosa gallica splendens. The color is a rich crimson, the rose is double flowered, once blooming and sets big beautiful pear shaped hips in fall. The scent is intense and taste like spicy fruits.

Rosa Gallica Splendens

Rosa Gallica Splendens

Another rose that I love is Hebe’s Lip. It is a plain white, semi double cross between a damask rose and a rubiginosa rose (the one which has green apple scented leaves) but the particular thing of this rose is that when buds start to open they kind of get burned and when the rose’s fully opened this mark remains like a cherry-red rim all around the rose. Scent is sweet and strong, although this year the too often cloudy weather has resulted in less marked rims on the roses.

Hebe's Lip

Hebe’s Lip

PS: I’ve published a post about a rose seedling I consider very important to me a few days ago but I might have messed up something a couple of weeks before, so that I have the impression my followers didn’t get their notification about it. I don’t care about comments but please let me know if you’d like a cutting of that rose.


55 thoughts on “A Garden Stroll in June

  1. This is the perfection time for the gardens, and yours is looking glorious. I love the soft pink and simplicity of your rose Sally Holmes–it goes on my list. Sorry the basil died but I know you will be replacing it because who can do salads without basil? And pesto, and I know you won’t leave out the pine nuts like I do. Do you grow tomatoes? Must have basil for tomatoes and fresh mozarella…

    • One of the reasons why I really love summer is basil. Its fresh taste is incomparable. So yes, I’m definitely going to replace it but I’m a little disappointed because by now I should have been eating it, not planting!
      Excuse me but what’s the point of leaving out the pine nuts from the pesto? Ok, silly question to a woman belonging to a Country that put pineapple on pizza…
      I am growing a lot of tomatoes and although it’s been so chilly and although I haven’t stake them yet they already have baby green tomatoes attached! I bought 30 plants of tomatoes this year, I even bought a purple variety… Let’s see what happens…

  2. Your crabapple bed is looking fabulous Alberto and I like the rose Hebe’s Lip, that has such unusual markings.
    What fantastic markings the swallowtail caterpiller has, almost as beautiful as when he becomes a butterfly.
    My sage died over the winter, but mine was in a raised bed with special soil that it should have liked, oh well, just have to try again!

    • It is kind of disappointing having such a common plant dying on us, rather experienced gardeners, isn’t it? I tried planting sage in dry spots with well drained soil and the roots get full of ants during summer, I tried rich soil in the veggie garden and it died because of the wet winter… I am desperate. I decided to try it in a pot, although I suppose it will be a magnet for ants again but I’m starting to believe sage is likely to be treated as an annual in my garden.

    • Hello Doctor! Thank you. I love that rose too and I’m planning to make a very short hedge in the veggie garden with it and the plain gallica officinalis, just like monks did in the Middle Ages.

  3. Sally Holmes! You know I adore Sally Holmes, she is in my back garden. Bobbie James is nice also, it reminds me of Darlow’s Enigma, which I have growing on an arbor. Your containers look good, nice and full. And you are so lucky to have a swallowtail caterpillar, I grow dill, parsley, and fennel, but no caterpillars.

    • Jason, every white rose reminds you of Darlow’s Enigma… but that’s my fault, I so much like that kind of roses that I have several and, particularly in pictures, they all look very similar.
      I only grow purple fennel and it wasn’t intended for swallowtail caterpillars at the beginning but then they came and they are such a beautiful sight in the garden, so I don’t really get mad at them if they rip off all my fennel…

        • I’ve never heard that song but I trust your word! Looking forward to hear your comment about the next white semi double rose I’m going to post…. 😉

  4. I don’t mind that you tricked us into seeing your roses again. I like the Sally Holmes. I grow only a couple (pass-alongs of course) and don’t know much about roses in general, but I enjoy reading about yours–it’s obvious you’re passionate about them. The view of the crabapple bed is good–looks balanced and healthy.

    • Thank you Susie, I’m rather pleased with that bed too, also because it changes a lot from spring to fall: there are the crabapples in spring, followed by roses when the tall miscanthus are already creating a new layer over the crabapple trees… I’m glad I can somehow provide you with some useful infos about roses, maybe you’ll become a rosaholic one day… 😉

  5. Hi Alberto,

    Mmmmm, roses…. which to choose???
    Can I take them all?

    Very jealous of your swallowtail too. They’re a rare migrant here, never seen one although I did visit an RSPB centre that had one hanging around, just didn’t spot it.

    • I don’t know how diffuse they are in this part of Italy, although somehow I’ve created (without knowing) suitable for them to develop and stay: caterpillars have plenty of purple fennel to crunch and the ‘ladies’ adore verbena bonariensis and buddlejas, which my garden has in abundance.
      I wasn’t very mindful about wildlife before but lately I started to pay more attention and I started to feel the need to know more, to observe more and to be part of a nature that is strongly present around us. I guess this has changed my approach to gardening too…

  6. All your roses are fabulous Alberto, I need a new garden to be able to plant more. I especially like the crimson one! I wonder why? Christina

    • Because you are all into pinks now! 🙂
      I’ve put my eyes into the surrounding fields… I dream of conquest in the future… A garden is not enough.

  7. Alberto our weather is cool and wet and the basil is struggling as well as other veggies like pepers. But the roses love this weather and are full of buds and just starting to bloom….I am glad you postsed about your roses….such beauty. And I love that crabapple bed. Hoping for warmer weather for both of us.

    • When it stops raining it warms up very quickly to say it all, the problem is that it rains too often. Aubergines are waiting for some dry hot days too, I guess… Let’s see if a real summer will start…

  8. Your garden looks beautiful. Roses are not my favourite flowers but it is good to see them to advantage in a garden where someone loves them. I have been given a lot of roses and I sometimes feel guilty about not loving them enough.

    • I don’t think you need to feel guilty, if you don’t like them, you don’t like them. Indeed I have to admit I started looking differently to my bees at home, I want to get to know them more. I may post something specific and maybe I’m going to ask for your advice, if you don’t mind…

  9. Oh, your roses are just gorgeous! Everything looks so fresh and pretty in your garden. It’s so nice to have a good year for roses. I hope your weather continues to be good for them. It has gotten hot here, and dry, as usual.

    • I’m just a little worried on how the summer will evolve, I fear all this lushness will turn into mildew and blackspost as soon as the temperature arises… Anyway I’ve never had a year so good for roses, so far.

  10. Hi Alberto, the crabapple bed is looking great and your picture of the rosa gallica splendens is sublime. Rosa Mundi is usually first to bloom in our garden, this year the buds are only just starting to develop now, did I tell you that I purchased it on the very first week of its introduction.

  11. Hello Alberto, I’m glad you are enjoying the benefits of gardening in a cool climate. It has to be said that your garden looks wonderful on it. I do hope your roses don’t suffer from the after-effects. What’s all this fuss about sage? It grows perfectly happily with me, rain and all. Basil, on the other hand, is quite impossible, except under glass.

    • I can’t explain the sage thing either, it’s a very disappointing and shaming thing to reveal as a gardening blogger but yes: I can’t have a sage getting older than one year.
      As for the cool climate I love it, although all this rain had become quite annoying at last. Summer will be here any time now…

  12. Hello Alberto,
    Thank you for leaving me a comment and introducing me to your lovely blog. Your garden looks so beautiful and I love your collection of roses. I have never come across the hebe’s lip before. Ravenswing is the purple variety of the cow parsley. You can find it occasionally here unfortunately it is very popular with the slugs and snails in my garden too!
    Sarah x

    • Hi Sarah! I found your blog because I’m reading a book by Penelope Lively (‘A Stitch in Time’) set on the coast of Dorset and trying to gather some piece of information about the venue I came across your pretty garden.
      I’m glad Ravenswing is doomed by slugs, it hurts a little less not to have it! 🙂

  13. Lovely photos…it is always a pleasure to visit your gardens. We have had lots of gray skies and too much rain here in New England. I’m looking forward to sunshine and rose buds.

    • My grandma used to say ‘the weather didn’t get married to make whatever he wants’. I think she was right. seasons are kind of weird lately…

  14. Don’t fret about posting about Roses again…if they are looking good, you should enjoy them! I’ll cross my fingers that you don’t have too much mildew and black spot later 🙂 Sally Holmes is a classic…just love her!

    • I confess I sprayed the roses a little, just to prevent a plague. I normally don’t do it but I normally don’t have this kind of season…

  15. I enjoyed the tour of your garden! Sally Holmes, Rosa Mundi, and Hebe’s Lip are all fascinating. I would love to have all three in my garden, though I have never seen or heard of Hebe’s Lip. Something to search for!

  16. Your garden is just gorgeous! I love the idea of a giant rose covered pole that looks like a big marshmallow. So funny! You always have roses I’ve never heard of.

    • I am very fond of roses so I might have some particular variety, although very often roses are known under other names in the US, rather than Europe, equally right and accepted.

  17. Alberto I never tire of your rosy postings…that’s just you. The scent in your garden must be wonderful. Hopefully the weather improves for you.

  18. Ciao Alberto, le tue rose sono bellissime, anch’io sono un’appassionata. Il mio giardino ogni anno si arricchisce di nuove varietà ed avendo molto spazio ho intenzione di aggiungerne tante. Trovo inoltre che in un contesto di campagna come il mio le rose stiano benissimo. Guardando le tue foto mi sono innamorata delle galliche che ancora non ho e conosco nuove rose mai viste prima (ad esempio la lip di hebe). Per caso la rubiginosa da cui proviene è la rosa mosqueta?
    Anna Maria

    • Ciao Anna Maria! Grazie per i complimenti, che devo girare a te, anche il tuo giardino è bellissimo e mi pare che hai diverse rose anche tu! Mi devo ritagliare un po’ di tempo per leggere bene il tuo blog.
      Le galliche sono un gruppo molto vasto e antico, ti consiglio di provarne qualcuna, ti consiglio Tuscany e Splendens, ma anche la rosa Mundi e Officinalis sono interessanti.
      Hebe’s Lip (il nome è così: inglese) è una gran rosa, che consiglierei a chiunque per il profumo, le bacche e i fiori molto particolari. Proviene da un incrocio tra rubiginosa e una rosa damascena però è classificata in molti modi diversi.
      La definizione di ‘rosa mosqueta’ è stata data alle prime rose introdotte dai coloni in America latina e comprende in verità diverse rose specie, come la rubiginosa, la canina e la rosa moscatha, in genere è una definizione poco ‘botanica’ e più ‘folkloristica’, temo.

  19. ciao Alberto, vedo che il giardino cresce, matura e continua ad essere una meraviglia per gli occhi e lo spirito! vedo che ospita anche un pimpante ciuffo di Asclepias…sarà mica quello arrivato dalla lontana Romagna? se fosse lui, il nome corretto sarebbe ‘Ice Ballet’

  20. ah ma che figuraccia mi fa fare st’ Asclepias! però se non viene bene neppure da te allora significa che è proprio stronzetto (o stronzetta, non saprei); in questi casi c’è una sola cura: se si è molto pazienti lo si grazia per un’ altra stagione, altrimenti non resta che l’eliminazione immediata

    • Vuole tanta acqua. E io l’ho messa in vaso per seguirla meglio, ma con questa ondata di caldo mi ha abortito quasi tutti i boccioli, altrimenti avrebbe fiorito molto e le piante più che raddoppiate. Sono fiducioso per un trapianto vicino il laghetto appena avrò sistemato anche quello…

  21. dimenticavo: non credo che quest’anno riusciamo a venire, però la prossima volta che mi vedrai molto probabilmente avrò con me un piccolo drappello di amiche (3 per la precisione) che, come tutti, adorano il tuo giardino! spero che la cosa non ti disturbi, ma ormai avrai capito che un giardino come quello, una volte che lo si conosce, attira visitatori più che afidi sulle rose….

  22. Your garden looks lovely Alberto, even if you are not wearing your shorts. It seems that you are a fan of single roses too. The rose that tastes like spicy fruits sounds really tempting. Specialist delicatessens in the UK sell rose petal jam – it’s quite expensive.

    • Here they sell a distilled spirit called ‘rosolio’, bottled in some blown glass precious bottle and very expensive, they make it with rose petals and alcohol. Another of those things that once you taste it you wish you didn’t open that precious bottle.

    • It stays very short but it could be something to turn to self vantage. The garden we created has actually been taken over by weeds and drought, I must write some post about this thing but I need to pluck up the courage before…

  23. Where are you Alberto? Are you OK? Has shingles made you incapable of writing your blog? I miss you. Let me know you’re alive and well. You can email if you don’t want to reply here. Christina

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