Thursday, 20 September 2012

The last official day of summer bought the sudden arrival of a gang of swallows; wheeling and screaming over the pool and olive trees. At first their darting shadows alarmed me as I cut the lawn, then melancholy set in as I realised what it signified. They’re gorging all the insects they can for their long flight over the Mediterranean to warmer winter climes.

On the ground there are real signs of the changing seasons too. First one, then two, then dozens of orchids revealed themselves. Autumn Lady’s Tresses - probably the last* orchid of the year, a demure little thing barely six inches high with spirals of greeny-white flowers. Subtle. Possibly too subtle to be of much interest to anyone but the confirmed plant geek...

However, there’s still plenty of colour in the garden. The sages - salvias - are really coming into the fore at the moment on the Arena (the new garden created in response to a huge oak tree felled by snow in February. Pictures here

I’ve planted a couple of dozen varieties of this amazingly varied genus. There are over 900 species of almost every colour under the rainbow. And they Just Keep On Flowering. How glad I am..

Salvia 'Wendy's Wish' and Stipa tenuissima.

More images on flickr 

*although the wild flora here has been full of surprises for me, not least the strange and sinister 4ft spikes of the dark purple saprophytic orchid Violet Limodore (sounds like a Victorian detective heroine or a drag queen) Limodorum abortivum that appeared overnight in the forest above the garden in May.

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