I learned today it’s LUtea, not luTEa, as I’ve been saying for a couple years now… che figura di merda! This thornless beauty, one of my favourites, was a gift from my rose specialist, Claudio Baldazzi.
Narcissus ‘Mount Hood’ blooming in the Galeazza Garden
For my friend Claudio Baldazzi, who gave me these fantastic daffodils a few years ago - maybe in March of 2009? At any rate, there’s a very short story here:
He said he had loads of Mount Hood daffodils at his family’s place near Carpi (Modena) and I immediately asked for some. He was reluctant, repeating what we’ve all heard before: they should only be moved in the autumn. I said Bullshit! I dig them up and move them around when they’re flowering so I can see what they will look like in their new location - they might suffer a bit, but they definitely survive!
I was out of the castle a few days later - I don’t remember where - maybe grocery shopping or in Bologna or Ferrara, and when I got back to the castle there was a big box of these beautiful almost white blooms, waiting for me at the castle gates. 100 or so bulbs, freshly dug up. So big and lush!
And here they are today: kind of him to believe me and dig them up, and kind of them to forgive us our cruelty!
Morning Glory and Himalayan Balsam, Galeazza Garden
I got the morning glory seeds from Regent’s park in London, the Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) from Claudio Baldazzi. Both have done their own thing this year - I did no sowing or coaxing up supports of any kind.
More about Himalayan Balsam and how it has invaded much of the Northern Hemisphere:
I once had a problem identifying the problem of a sickly rose that was here in the Galeazza Garden, so when Claudio “Rose Man” Baldazzi came for a visit this past winter I asked him what he thought the problem might be. He not only knew what the problem was (now I forget) but he even knew what kind of rose it was just by the shape of its thorns.
At the time I was astounded by his knowledge of plants, and then I learned it’s not so incredible, really - its just a question of experience. In the same way that he can tell roses from their thorns, I would love to one day identify pumpkins by their leaves, and beans by their flowers. I’m already getting there - it’s just a question of remembering! Fortunately these photos will help - as will the limited number of pumpkins that I’m attempting to grow this year: only five!
These big round leaves are from a plant which makes big round pumpkins (not sure this is a rule you can normally follow, but in this case it works). The large leaves in the photo are of Cucurbita Maxima, the “Big Max” pumpkin. Seeds from LIDL. Not really a huge pumpkin, but heavy enough to be tricky to carry long distances without dropping - and never by the stem… oh, and a deep dark reddish orange, which is cool. Edible, yes, and good for a Jack-o-lantern, too!
Nearly everyone knows this invasive, shade loving and sweet-smelling woodland flower. This striped leaf version is a bit more unusual - even here I only have a couple leaves so far - a gift from Claudio Baldazzi. Spread, LOV, spread!
Rosa ‘Constance Spry’… at least that’s the name Claudio ‘Rose Man’ Baldazzi put on a tag near this rose, and I’ll just take his word for it… I kept this pink lady in a big pot in the back garden until I saw the first flowers because I didn’t know what colour it would be. If it gets big enough it could cover the lower part of an ugly wall in the back courtyard, but if it stays small I’ll leave a canary creeper and morning glories do their thing. The purple morning glories grow up over anything, even 8-10 metres tall.
Rosa ‘Sally Holmes’ - White, simple, and sweetly scented. In September of last year Claudio Baldazzi (Rose Man) and I walked all over the castle property and placed pots of several different roses on the ground in the positions where I was to plant them. Claudio kindly gave me his suggestions, knowing the exact size and behaviour of each. “This should be trained up a south-facing wall, but will need some serious support and regular pruning… This could live in a really big pot for a few more years… This would look great growing through the fence by the entry, but give it lots of space - no- pull it back even more, about three feet… You should try growing this up a tree - if it gets enough sun and water it will absolutely take off” and so on.. My only idea (thinking only about colour - how amateur gardener of me) was that we put no yellow or red in the front garden. I now have one red rose - a double velvet ‘Tuscany Superb.’ Claudio knew I didn’t really want any reds, but insisted on just one. At any rate, the lovely lady in this photo was forgotten in a flower pot in an overgrown area of the garden. As soon as she was out of my sight she was out of my mind. Today when she opened her first bud ever, I saw it from a distance and said outloud to myself “Oh my God, Look at you! You are a true beauty.”