Posts Tagged ‘foliage’

Orchard sandwich

October 18, 2016 Leave a comment
Contrasting foliage in the orchard

Contrasting foliage in the orchard

This is another sandwich of sorts, seen from the window.

In the foreground is the almond tree with green leaves on its upper twigs. The blue string represents my (unsuccessful) attempt to encourage one of its branches to bend lower.

Behind it is the persimmon tree, with flaming foliage.

Behind that is a fig tree which, in contrast, has turned yellow.

The orchard, with its random mix of types of fruit tree, is especially interesting at this time of year.


December 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Looking through a gold frame

Clive and I often watch tv programmes about independent gold miners operating on sea beds or remote mountains. Their labour, if successful, yields a mass of gold flakes and nuggets.

The gold particles from those enterprises look just like the foliage around us at the moment: same irregular shapes, same shades of colour, same mix of dark and pale.

Looking out of a window surrounded by leaves is like looking through the gold frame of a painting.

The only question is: are we looking in or looking out?

Last one standing

December 12, 2015 Leave a comment
Autumn leaves on a cherry tree

Autumn leaves on a cherry tree

The cherry tree in the foreground of the photo has had a successful year. I wasn’t there to see it, mind – I was in France – but I heard that it produced a quantity of good-sized cherries.

Durone di Cesena cherries are delicious. I’m sure the birds were glad of them.

As if reluctant to finish its splendid season, the tree is now the last one to let go of its leaves.

Even the apple trees, which fall without turning colour, have sparser foliage.

Sometimes cherry tree branches are weighted or tied down to make them grow closer to the ground and therefore more accessible. This tree doesn’t seem to need anyone to do that; it’s developing low-hung boughs all by itself.


May 15, 2013 Leave a comment
Gabions covered in white roses

Gabions covered in white roses

Gabions are an Italian invention – the word means large cages – but when we asked for these to be erected, none of our Italian workforce recognised the name.

These gabions are holding back a very tall bank which we cut into in order to make a turning place in what was otherwise a 300 metre blind single-track drive.

The mesh cages were filled ‘in situ’ with rocks, some of which we bought, and others of which we ‘lifted’ from the environs.

The structure wasn’t the most beautiful thing to start with, but we planned to get climbing plants growing up it straight away.

The main problem with the site is that the water table is very high at certain times of year: dig and your hole instantly floods.

Lavender doesn’t flourish there, probably for that reason. Sweet peas are quite happy, though.

We had a very small wisteria which we nicknamed ‘the stick’; it grew a little bit and then died.

Roses so small they don't show up in the other photo

Roses so small they don’t show up in the other photo

The red rose chugs along.

The white rose is a different story. When we bought it, we were told to ‘stand back’ after planting it or it would knock us over, it grows so fast.

After 5 years it ‘owns’ the gabions, reaching right to the top. It doesn’t need pruning, and it attaches  to the mesh all by itself.

It blooms only once a year, but its foliage is always fresh and green.

A favourite piece of jewellery

December 26, 2012 Leave a comment
Millefiori pendant

Millefiori pendant

This is a lovely pendant to wear in the dark of the year when the trees are bare.

It’s made of millefiori beads – tiny thin sections of glass rods with different colour and patterns – trapped inside aquamarine glass so that the light shines through.

No tree in nature could have such variety in its blossoms and foliage as this one, but then it’s a dream tree, a fairy-tale tree.

I  bought it in Florence, choosing it with immense care from among similar pendants, knowing that in its precise detail it would be unique.

Fragrance of carnations

October 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Hard to see but highly perfumed

I’m not a great one for attractive foliage in a garden: it’s flowers that I like.

But Clive won over on one point when we were making the garden, and we planted a few bushes of a kind I’ve just discovered is called Variegated Silverberry.

There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re evergreen, easy on the eye, and don’t have prickles or anything like that.

What I keep forgetting is that at this time of year they have flowers – small white flowers hidden underneath the leaves.

Nothing there so far to make them less boring, but they also have an unbelievably strong fragrance of carnations.

You look around, wondering wherever it might be coming from, and then you realise.

Evidence of fire

September 12, 2012 4 comments

Burnt forest near Spoleto on the way to Terni

On the way to Joules’ oncological vet in Terni, we had to pass through heavily-wooded countryside just South of Spoleto.

It was clear there had been a particularly vicious forest fire on both sides of the road.

In some places, the only trees spared were those right in the very bottom of the valley, next to the dry river bed.

But it was amazing and heartening to see tiny patches of green foliage which either survived the fire or are now beginning to creep back.