Tuesday, 23 April 2013

First Plantings 10

From In A Tuscan Garden, published anonymously 1902
The first of the five oblong beds, being the most sheltered, contains the more delicate teas; the second, just below it, has teas and tea hybrids; below that again, bed number three contains hybrid perpetuals in dark reds and crimsons.  Unless these last are picked in the early morning, they become discoloured after a very few hours of hot sunshine.  The fourth bed contains moss roses of many shades, from pure white to deep crimson; these are pegged down so as to entirely cover the bed.   This is by far the best way of growing the moss rose here, very few gardens have these, and I find they are always much appreciated.  The fifth bed is planted chiefly with pale pink and white tea, and tea hybrids; this is the bed with the wire fence (now completely covered with Gloire Lorraine and Kaiserin Augusta Victoria roses) which closes this division of the garden, and screens off a large brick pit I had made below the wall of the stanzone, on that side, in which our carnations are housed in cold weather. All these rose-beds are edged with small rough stones among which violets have been planted, forming a thick green border, and giving thousands of flowers for many months of the year, immediately within them are various narcissus and jonquils, and the beds themselves are carpeted between the roses with pansies, sown in the autumn, and planted out in December.  This autumn, finding that we had some yellow parrot tulips to spare, I planted them, with the purple Lord Beaconsfield pansies, in the first rose-bed, and hope for a good display in April.
The upper bed of these seven I kept for early double tulips.  At the back of it against the low wall, was a hedge of  “Cedrina” (sweet lemon-plant), and tall poles were inserted here, in order to fix wires, and carry them from one to the other, and then, across the court-yard, to the roof of the house. These are covered with roses, Fortune’s Yellow, and Camelliana (the Italian name for the old white Lamarque), and Saffrano.  The two last are the best winter flowering roses of the country.  Fortune’s Yellow is the earliest to flower, and in April this fence is a sheet of pink and gold. The only drawback to this rose is, that it does not bloom again in the autumn; but with so many that have a second flowering, that does not so much matter.  Wherever there was a tree-trunk, or a pole available, it was clothed with honeysuckle or climbing roses, and our newest plantings have been of wisteria, which we now have on either side of the west  borders, so as to form a pergola over the two rose hedges.
It must be understood that all this planting had to de done by degrees.   For several years I had very little to spend on the garden, and had to go adagio. In gardening, as in everything else in life, one has to buy one’s experience, and it is easy to see afterwards how much better many things might have been done. But, as regards the general laying out of the ground, I don’t know that I could alter or improve much, if at all, on the present distribution.  The ground is by no means ideal, but one has to do the best possible with the material at hand. If I could cut out the undergrowth of the old shrubbery, here and there, we might have lovely sowings of poppies, delphiniums, larkspurs, lupins, and such-like things, in true English fashion. But one must take the goods the gods provide, and to have the full liberty of all the beautiful park and garden and podere, out of which we get infinitely more enjoyment than their proprietor does, in addition to our own flower-patches, is a piece of good fortune for which we are duly thankful.

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