CASA NOVA PLANT LIST
Here is a list of some of the plants we have used in the garden at Casa Nova. There’s an emphasis on scented plants: old roses, irises, peonies, clematis, a variety of herbaceous plants and ornamental grasses and a wide range of culinary herbs. We allow the local wildflowers to mingle with our planting. I’ve added a note of where the plant is in the garden at Casa Nova and links to a photo of it in situ here (where I have one - I’ll add more photos to my album of “mugshots” as time goes on). I plan to add observations on what does well in the climate here in Italy and what does not. Many of the plants listed have been brought from England (nurseries noted below), as often the range available locally is more restricted: however, I am researching and will add details of Italian nurseries whose stock extends to similar types of plants.
Most of the roses are old roses, sourced from Peter Beales and David Austin in England, and brought here as bare root plants in bulging suitcases over successive autumns. Latterly, we’ve added a number of David Austin’s English roses. The plant details in the list are culled from their respective websites, with thanks.
(Sempervirens Rambler, 1826, Jacques) Like Japanese cherry, 10-15 ft, myrrh, non-repeating. In apple tree by steps to pool.
(Wichurana Rambler, 1900, Barbier) Creamy yellow, glossy leaves, some repeating. Above carpark
(Wichurana Rambler, 1921, Barbier) Coral, 25ft, bushy, non-repeating. In small apple tree by chicken shed.
(Climber, 1990) Pink old rose style flower, sport of New Dawn, repeating. Brought back from Czechoslovakia by Mr.Dick Balfour. 10ft. Repeating. By acacia in bank above Garden House lawn.
(Multiflora Hybrid, Rambler, 1961) White, single, 25 ft, rampant, non-repeating. At foot of maple at end of terrace above house.
Cecile Brunner clg
(Climbing, 1894, Hosp.) Perfect pink miniature tea rose, non-repeating (unlike the bush form). In apple tree by steps to pool.
(Climbing, 1842, Trouillard) Bright yellow climber, 10ft, repeating. West wall. Flowers tend to wither on the plant rather than drop.
Crimson Glory Clg
(Climbing Hybrid Tea, 1935, Jackson and Perkins) Red aging to purple, short climber (12 ft), some repeating.
By kitchen door. Good scent. Prone to fading and balling in strong sun - so looks magnificent in May but by July is looking broiled - would have been better planted in shade!
Desprez a Fleurs Jaunes
(Noisette, 1926, Desprez) Peachy yellow climber, 20 ft, repeats. Corner of west wall.
Etoile de Hollande Clg
(Climbing Hybrid Tea, 1919, Verschuren) Crimson climber, 18 ft, carries on late.
On wall of locale tecnico. Rather loose, formless flowers.
Felicite et Perpetue
(Sempervirens Rambler, 1827, Jacques) Creamy white, 10ft. At foot of cherry behind Garden House.
Ghislaine de Feligonde
(Multiflora Rambler, 1916, Turbat) Orange/yellow flowers fading to cream/buff, 10ft, repeating.
Middle strut of pergola. Very vigorous and healthy; and in truth would have been better suited for smothering a building rather than training up a beam. Flowers in different stages create attractive mix of colour. Almost thornless.
Gloire de Dijon
(Noisette, 1853, Jacotot) Buff yellow climber, repeats. One by apple tree on way to pool below Garden House, another on pergola in front of main house.
(Floribunda, 1968, Cant) White climber with a tinge of yellow, 10 ft, repeats. By plum tree above electricity counters.
Lady Hillingdon Clg
(Climbing Tea Rose, 1917, Hicks) Apricot tea rose, not fully hardy.
On corner of house between kitchen doors. Not very vigorous. Flowers have weak necks. Is being elbowed out by a species rose (probably Paul’s Himalayan musk) which I planted nearby by mistake and which has sprung up from roots left in situ after I moved it.
(Wichurana Rambler, 1903, Barbier) Pink/copper, 25 ft, non-repeating. Edge of lawn at far end.
Mme Alfred Carriere
(Noisette, 1879, Schwartz) Creamy white climber, stiff growth, vigorous, repeats. Corner of locale tecnico.
(Climber, 1930, Dreer) Pearly pink climber, 10 ft, repeats. At foot of acacia on bank above Garden House lawn.
Paul's Himalayan Musk
(Moschata, 1916, Paul) A very rampant climber. Sea-green leaves. Clusters of many small soft pink flowers. Fragrant. 25 ft. Non-repeating. [Think this is the one that has taken very readily from cuttings, including from some stray roots left at East corner of house: numerous progeny awaiting planting out.]
Pierre de Ronsard
(Modern Climber, 1988) Also known as Eden Rose 88. Fully double old fashioned type flowers of creamy-white and lavender-pink. Dark green foliage. Vigorous. 8 ft. repeats. Seems to have died: replace.
White/cream vigorous 20ft rambler for climbing into trees, sherbet fragrance, non-repeating. At foot of oak by car park.
(Climbing Tea Rose, 1850, Robert) creamy white, quartered flowers, short climber, repeats. One by apple tree on way to pool below Garden House, another on pergola in front of main house.
Souvenir du Docteur Jamain (x2)
(Climbing Hybrid Perpetual, 1865, Lacharme) Crimson/deep red, 10ft climber, hybrid perpetual, site away from sun as will scorch, deep scent, repeating.
One by locale tecnico; the other by old apple tree at West corner of Garden House. Lovely scent. Definitely needs protection of shade.
(Alba, 1500) "Jacobite Rose","White Rose of York". Similar to “Great Maiden's Blush”, but white with creamy tinted centre. Very fragrant. Lead-green leaves. Good autumn fruit. 16th Century. Bush about 5ft x 6ft. Good in woods. One above bank by car park, another below car park.
(Gallica, 1845) Flesh pink, 3 ft, non-repeating. In bank above Garden House lawn next to herbaceous clematis.
Boule de Neige
(Bourbon, 1867) A fine shrub with glossy foliage bearing full flowers of pure white with a strong fragrance. Creamy white, slender, 5ft, repeats if winter pruned.
On bank by study. Managed to break it off at root whilst weeding (termites had munched through): replace!
(Hybrid Musk, 1939) A vigorous plant bearing large trusses of apricot yellow to buff-yellow flowers. These are of medium size and semi-double. Fragrant. Flowering from mid-summer onwards. Buff apricot. Edge of lawn, near house.
(Damask, 1750) Clusters of semi-double, pink flowers with a heady perfume. Attractive grey foliage. Soft pink, fades, 5 ft, non-repeating. Middle of bank by study.
Charles de Mills
(Gallica, date uncertain) Unique colouring, combining a mixture of purples and deep reds. Very double. Interesting mid-green foliage. Non repeating. 4 x 3 ft. By olive tree above bench.
Comte de Chambord
(Portland, 1860) A vigorous, erect bush bearing very fragrant pinkish-lilac, full, flat flowers, borne continuously. Deep pink/lilac, 3ft, repeating. Bank by study, to left and right.
(Hybrid Musk, 1925) Apricot/pink, 5ft, hybrid musk, repeating (better in autumn) bronzy foliage. Edge of lawn.
Duchesse de Montebello
(Gallica, 1829) The fragrant, fully double flowers are a soft, powdery pink, produced on a tidy, upright plant with good grey green foliage. Soft pink, 4 ft, non-repeating. Disappeared: replace.
(Scottish, Pimpinellifolia) Yellow, non-repeating. At top of bank by pergola next to new pool.
(Hybrid Musk, 1928) A useful shrub with silverpink to salmon flowers. One of the more vigorous of the Musks. Silver pink, 5ft, repeating. Edge of lawn.
(Alba, 1834) A beautiful, compact shrub with flat, reflexing flowers of soft pink. Highly scented with healthy, grey foliage. Palest pink, 4 ft, non repeating (flowers can fail to open if roots too dry). Back of iris border.
Ferdinand Pichard (Hybrid Perpetual)
One of the most attractive of the striped varieties. Double, pink and crimson flowers freely produced amid luscious foliage. 5 x 4ft. Repeats. Back of iris border by steps to Locale tecnico.
Honorine de Brabant
(Bourbon, 1881, Garçon) Huge madder-crimson and fragrant, cup-shaped flowers; the petals turning back at the edges in the most attractive manner. Heavy, rather open growth and large leaves. It will also climb. 5 ft. x 4 ft. Died: replace.
(Gallica, 1821) Warm pink, shapely shrub, 4ft, Centifolia, rich fragrance. Disappeared: replace.
Mme Pierre Oger
(Bourbon, 1878) Very pale silvery pink. Translucent cupped flowers have the form of small water lilies. A beautiful, scented rose on a bush of medium vigour. Creamy blush, narrow growth, 5ft, shelter from sun/rain, will repeat if winter pruned. On bank by study.
(Floribunda, 1978) White floribunda bush 3ft. Highly scented.
One in bank by study, others either side of steps to pool. Bought for the scent but disappointing as a plant. Lacks vigour, forms a leggy bare shrub and very prone to blackspot.
(Modern Shrub, 1927) Creamy single, shrub, 8 x 8, remove old wood once established. On bank below car park.
(Hybrid Musk, 1924) Semi-double, creamy pink paling to white flowers with a good fragrance. Pale pink, 5 ft shrub, hybrid musk, repeats.
Edge of lawn. Fantastic display in May. Mass of frilly cream and white on arching branches - very wedding dress!
Pale yellow, 10 ft, early (mid May).
Foot of steps to locale tecnico. Took 3 years to find its feet but now growing away well. Attractive bristly red thorns and ferny leaves, which is just as well as the flowering moment is so brief.
(Gallica, 1100) ‘Rosa gallica versicolour’. Semi-double blooms, large with splashes of pink and white on a crimson background. 3ft bush. Non-repeating. On bank above steps to kitchen terrace.
(Pimpinellifolia, 1838) A prickly, arching shrub which blooms all summer with an array of medium-sized blush pink to white flowers. Double and very fragrant. Soft pink, 4ft mound, repeating. One on bank above steps to kitchen terrace, another in bank behind pergola by new pool.
(Gallica, 1848) Maroon crimson, 4 ft, will sucker if on own roots, Gallica, non-repeating. Below vine pergola in front of main house. Here in Italy is coming out a rather harsh mauve whereas in London is sumptuous dark velvety red: either that or has been mislabelled. Move.
Variegata de Bologna
(Bourbon, 1909) White striped with red, 5 ft (or 10ft against a wall), Bourbon, doesn’t repeat, susceptible to blackspot. Should be in old orto awaiting final position but seems to have disappeared. Replace.
Purple red, 4ft spread, repeating.
Edge of lawn. Has hardly spread in three years. Suffers in summer heat.
Dainty pink, 10 ft spread, non-repeating. Above carpark. (check if survived)
Pure white, 10ft spread, non-repeating. Semi-wild bank above path at west end of house. (check if survived)
Deep pink, 6 ft spread, some repeating. Semi-wild bank above path at west end of house. (check if survived)
Double white, 6ft spread. Above carpark.
Pink bells, 3 x 7ft spread, non-repeating. In bank below bench and in border. May get too big for these locations – move to upper side of bank above border.
Yellow Dagmar Hastrup
Yellow, spreading Rugosa, 4ft spread, repeating.
By fence above new pool. These have not enjoyed being moved a second time.
English roses already in position:
Lemon/white, 4.5ft (or 8ft as climber), myrrh. In corner bed above new pool.
Comtes de Champagne
Rich yellow cups fading to pale, low spreading growth, good repeating. On edge of bank in front of main terrace. Flowers are best seen from below.
Cream/apricot, 4ft, tea. As hedge above new pool.
The Generous Gardener
Creamy pink porcelain, 5ft, good repeating. In border beside lawn.
Porcelain pink, 4ft, excellent repeating, myrrh. In border beside lawn. Somewhat less vigorous than The Generous Gardener and flowers less cupped in shape but otherwise very similar.
Rich yellow, 4ft, good repeating. In corner bed above new pool.
White, bushy, 3ft, repeats well. In group to side of steps to locale tecnico.
Strong clear yellow, 4ft, good repeating, tea. By side of pergola by new pool.
Bright crimson, 3.5ft, light ffragrance. In bank above new pool.
Apricot porcelain, 3ft (front of border), excellent repeating.
In group at beginning of path to locale tecnico, close to main terrace. Very vigorous indeed. Excellent in every way: strong attractive growth, healthy foliage, lovely scent, abundant and beautifully formed flowers. Seems to do well in the climate here, which is not true of all David Austin roses.
A Shropshire Lad Clg.
(David Austin.) Peachy pink, tea rose fragrance. On pergola in front of main house.
St Swithun Clg
(David Austin.) Soft pink, myrrh fragrance. On pergola in front of main house.
Teasing Georgia Clg
Peachy yellow climber. Three by side of decking of Garden House pool. These have taken a couple of years to get going.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles clg
Red climber. 2 by fence to upper orto. 2 either side of arch to upper orto. Frilly and long-lasting flowers whose colour sings out across the garden.
Boundary hedge by old house. Flowers tend to ball up if lacking water. In very tough position (planted in holes excavated with a pickaxe in builder’s rubble) and growth has been very slow to start with. Time will tell whether it will ever manage to make the lush, scented hedge I had hoped for.
William Morris Clg
(David Austin.) Apricot pink, tea rose fragrance. On pergola in front of main house.
Crimson/purple, 3 ft, old rose fragrance. In bank above lawn of Garden House. Colour a near perfect match for Peony Red King.
English roses awaiting planting out in final positions:
Light pink, 3.5ft, old rose fragrance. In old orto awaiting final position
The Alnwick rose
Soft rich pink, 4ft, strong old rose fragrance. In old orto awaiting final position
Rose pink, 4ft, old rose. Tough. In old orto awaiting final position
Hyde Hall (x3)
Medium pink, 6-8ft, light fragrance. In old orto awaiting final position
Pale shell pink, 3.5 ft, fresh fragrance. In old orto awaiting final position.
A Shropshire Lad
Pink/yellow climber. In old orto awaiting final position
The clematis are from Thorncroft nursery, a clematis specialist whose stand I first saw at Chelsea more years ago than I can recall. A number didn’t survive the two year drought but others, especially the herbaceous ones, seem to be doing well here.
1: evergreen and early spring flowering. Remove weak and dead shoots at end of winter. Any necessary pruning can be done after flowering to allow time for new wood to ripen for next year’s flowers.
2: large flowered hybrids flowering first on old wood and then on the current year’s wood later in the season. Cut out weak/dead shoots in late winter (end Feb/March) and prune back remaining stems to fat buds.
3: varieties that flower on the current season’s growth. Can be cut back to almost ground level or lowest buds in Spring. Included in this group are the herbaceous clematis that die back each year.
Cherry pink, bronze foliage, 20ft plus, may-Jun code 1. Above palisade at back of house.
Non-clinging types suitable for underplanting with shrub roses or allowing to scramble through border. Includes Texensis group: climbers or scramblers and Integrifolia group: clump forming scramblers that are herbaceous and die back in winter, front of border plants or good for under shrub roses:
Deep pink bells, non-clinging, Integrifolia group, Jul-Sept, lovely with white/cream roses eg Swany, 7ft, code 3. In border by lawn.
Nodding purple bells, 6ft, semi-herbaceous, non-clinging, Integrifolia group, will scramble through shrubs/border. In border by lawn.
Sir Trevor Lawrence
Carmine tulip flowers, 10ft, Texensis group, can allow to scramble or will climb, Jul-Sept, code 3. In border by lawn.
Violet-blue flowers, twisted sepals, Integrifolia group, June-Sept, 4ft, code 3. At foot of shrub by locale tecnico.
Bells with deep pink narrow twisting tepals, Integrifolia group, June-Sept, 2ft, code 3. In bank by study.
White with mauve tips, excellent ground cover, July-Sept or Aug-Oct, 8ft, code 1 or 3. Above palisade behind house.
Climbing (some suitable for growing with roses, others better on tree or wall)
Shell pink, good in shade, 6ft, June-Sept, code 2. Below cherry tree above palisade behind house.
White, early blooms have pale green bar, 6ft, May-June, code 2. Corner by study (or did I replace with Marie Boisselot? Check)
Azure blue, showy, 14ft, Jul-Sept, code 2, can grow with climbing rose. On pergola, along with vine.
Purple-blue, May-June and Aug-Sept, 8ft, code 2. On central strut of pergola. [check]
Deep purple, July-Oct, 10ft, code 3. On old apple beside house.
Peonies and Irises
The peonies and irises are mostly bought mail order from Kelways, again brought to Italy as bare root (or in some cases, barely rooted) plants. They got separated from their names at the time of planting and I’ve been trying to figure out which is which ever since. Kelways website now seems to have a much reduced range. I have since discovered a specialist peony nursery in Lazio and plan to add to ours from there next year.
Semi-double deep crimson, mid to late, autumn colour. Corner of house by kitchen.
(Double, 1893, Felix Crousse) shell pink. By strut of pergola, near vine.
Bowl of Beauty
(Imperial, 1949, hoogendoorn) bright pink, with creamy yellow centre, mid to late. In bank by study. Probably also in border by lawn.
Kelway’s Scented Rose
Double, lilac and rose touched with silver, flowers on into July. Probably the pink peony under Crimson Glory, in bed between pergola and door to kitchen.
(Imperial, 1928, Kelway) cherry rose with silvery centre, early to very late, autumn colour. In bank by study.
Single, blood red with yellow centres. In border by lawn.
(Imperial, 1925, Doriat) deep carmine maroon, mid season, autumn colour. Location? Probably in border by lawn: check. Seems to have disappeared.
Double, rosy lavender with creamy pink centre, late, tall. In bank by study. Possibly also next to Gentle Hermione in border by lawn as I can’t think what else the unidentified peony there (pictured) could be.
Imperial, smoky red with purple/fawn centre, tall. In bank by study. Currently not sure where and wondering whether the pictured peony may be Orpen rather than Kelways Majestic!
(Tall, 1945, Whiting) Cornflower blue. Location? Check.
(Tall, 1966, Schreiner’s) deep purple. In long border by lawn. Wonderful deep colour and silky petals.
Cliffs of Dover
(Tall, 1952, Fay) milk white. In long border by lawn.
(Intermediate, 1964, Brown) Violet/white plicata, prolonged flowering. In long border by lawn. Has broader purple edging than Rare Edition.
(Intermediate, 1955, Van Veen) shell pink. Location? Check. Seems to have disappeared.
(Intermediate, 1994, Bartlett) dove grey/ochre. By path to locale tecnico.
(Intermediate, 1994, Bartlett) mid blue. By path to locale tecnico.
(Intermediate, 1985, Taylor) cream with blue flush. By path to locale tecnico.
(Intermediate, 1980, Gatty; AM 1984) Violet/white plicata, early. Edge of bank in front of main terrace.
(Intermediate, 1991, Bartlett) blue/purple, prolonged flowering. Edge of bank in front of main terrace.
Again, many of these have been brought from England, as herbaceous borders are not a feature of Italian gardening, either as cuttings from our London garden or as mail-order plants and bulbs from Bloms or from Beth Chatto.
From Blom’s Bulbs:
Anemone japonica, September Charm Height 80cm / 32 inches. Charming soft rose pink blossoms produced in great profusion
Aster, pringlei Monte Cassino Height 80cm / 32 inches. Numerous sprays of white florets
Astrantia , Roma Umbels of tufty flowers well above rosettes of lobed foliage. They thrive in moist fertile and humus rich soil. Very popular for floral artwork and suitable for drying. Height 60cm / 24 inches. Light dusky pink bracts surround the numerous upright florets of a much deeper shade creating most attractive flower heads
Astrantia , Silver Glow Height 50cm / 20 inches. Delightful silvery white flowers with a delicate flush of palest pink. Flowers July to August
Catananche, caerulea major Height 70cm / 28 inches.A profusion of cornflower like blooms borne on wiry stems rising from tufts of grey green foliage. Requires well drained soil. Suitable for drying. Flowers July to September
Convallaria majalis, Doreen Lily of the Valley. Height 15cm / 6 inches. A special selection of the common strain which produces large bells on sturdy stems. Highly valued as a cut flower and enchanting when naturalized in the garden. Plant the crowns in a moist soil in a shady place with the roots spreading well downwards. They normally require a season to become established, thereafter they will flower more profusely each year. Flowers in May.
Crocosmia, Lucifer Height 90cm / 36 inches. Superb variety with large combs of brilliant flame red and very strong stems.
Dictamnus, albus Known as ‘Burning Bush’ as the oils around the plant can be ignited on a warm Summer evening. An easy grower with a neat habit. Flowers June to August.Height 75cm / 30 inches. Lovely spikes of pure white flowers
Echinops, ritro Veitch's Blue Height 80cm / 32 inches. Known as the ‘Globe Thistle’ it will thrive in even the poorest soil provided it is well drained. Artistic plant with its deeply cut foliage and rich blue flower heads borne on strong stems. Drought resistant. Flowers July to September.
Epimedium, grandiflorum Attractive semi evergreen plant making fine ground cover and producing sprays of attractive flowers. Flowers April to May.Height 30cm / 12 inches.Large spurred flowers well above the bronzed foliage are creamy white with shades of lilac
Epimedium, grandiflorum Sasaki Height 30cm / 12 inches.Lovely soft lilac pink flowers. A great beauty. Flowers April to May
Epimedium, peralchicum Frohnleiten Height 30cm / 12 inches.Charming sprays of soft yellow flowers. The foliage is marbled with red to bronze shades
Epimedium, Rubrum Height 30cm / 12 inches. Crimson buds open to creamy white flowers broadly edged Fuchsia pink.
Geranium,Brookside Large bright blue flowers and very neat habit. An improved Johnson’s Blue: a fine hybrid of G. pratense with handsome cut foliage and a profusion of pale-eyed mid-blue flowers throughout summer. 38-46 cm.
Geranium, cinereum Purple Pillow Height 20cm / 8 inches. Compact bushy mounds studded with deep wine purple flowers. A real beauty.
Geranium, sanguineum Striatum Height 20cm / 8 inches.One of the loveliest varieties producing masses of delicate pink flowers
Helleborus, sternii Blackthorn Strain Height 50cm / 20 inches.Soft pink buds open to greenish flowers flushed with light purple. Deep purple stems and grey green veined foliage. Flowers February to April
Leucanthemum, Becky These free flowering plants are formly known as Shasta Daisy. They are superb for the border lasting for many weeks and provide lovely cut flowers. Flowers June to September. Height 60cm / 24 inches. Superb border plant producing serenely beautiful large snow white flowers unceasingly until well into Autumn. Perfect habit.
Oxalis, triangularis Sunny Should be grown more widely as they produce attractive and long lasting plants. Possessing characteristic clover like leaves they make excellent plants for pots and pockets in the rockery. Excellent naturalizers. Flowers June to AugustHeight 10cm / 4 inches.Decorative purplish red foliage compliments the very soft lilac pink blossoms.
Perovskia, Little Spire Height 50cm / 20 inches. The branching stems are set with tiny flowers of silvery violet blue, silvery grey stems and foliage. Seen from some distance it gives the impression of a silvery lilac haze. Superb plant. Flowers June to September.
Polygonatum, multiflorum Variegatum (Variegated Solomon’s Seal Height 40cm / 16 inches.). The rich green leaves are edged creamy white whilst the tubular flowers of creamy white, spaced along arching stems, are tinged green at the mouth . A superb plant and excellent naturaliser. Flowers May to June
Salvia, nemerosa Maynight Height 50cm / 20 inches. Numerous spikes of rich violet blue. A long lasting, strong and very reliable plant. July-Sept
Scabiosa caucasia, Clive Greaves A very popular plant which thrives in limey well drained soil. Much valued for floral decoration. Regular cutting will ensure a continuous supply of flowers.Height 70cm / 28 inches.Lovely lavender blue flowers produced in great profusion. Flowers June to September
Scabiosa caucasia, Miss Willmott Height 70cm / 28 inches. Superb white form of the preceeding. Flowers June to September.
Sedum, Purple Emperor Fine border plants for late in the Summer and Autumn. They thrive in well drained soil and are much loved by Butterflies. Flowers August to October. Height 50cm / 20 inches. Shiny rich purple almost black foliage and branching stems with clusters of pale pink flowers with deep pink centres
Sedum, spectabile Stardust Height 50cm / 20 inches.When the pure white flowers are fully developed they almost hide the foliage
Species lily, speciosum album Height 90cm / 36 inches. Beautiful Lily with nicely recurving flowers of purest white throughout and conspicuous chocolate stamens. A grand garden variety and cut flower. Flowers August to September.
From Beth Chatto:
Acanthus mollis 'Hollard's Gold' x6 Forms a late winter – early spring feature, with lax leaves, less deeply cut to form broad, wavy-edged lobes in shades of yellow, conspicuous in shape and colour. Reverts to pale green in summer.
Achillea 'Credo' x3 Tall strong stems carry very large domed heads of clear yellow flowers, aging to cream, with side branches flowering simultaneously, forming a foam of yellow. Has handsome, grey, finely cut aromatic leaves. Among many good achilleas this plant is outstanding, and was selected by Ernst Pagels who has such an eye for a good plant. Average soil, sun, July-Aug. 120-135 cm
Achillea 'Lachsschönheit' x3 (Salmon Beauty). Flowers open coral-red, fade to soft-peach, both colours seen on plant at same time, very attractive. 76 cm.
Achillea 'Moonshine' x3 Similar to A. ‘Taygetea’, but larger, with beautiful feathery foliage of silver-grey. Branching stems, bright yellow flowers. Midsummer. 61 cm
Alchemilla mollis x3 Forms a mound of velvety rounded leaves. When their serrated edges are full of dew-drops each leaf looks like a beaded shawl. All June the long sprays of frothing lime green starry flowers are a delight. 46 cm.
Allium holandicum 'Purple Sensation' (aflatunense) ‘Purple Sensation’. Has larger heads of darker flowers, a rich rosy-mauve, dramatic above mounds of grey Ballota, Lavender or Ruta (Blue Rue). May-June. 122 cm
Bergenia 'Ballawley' x3 Largest of all; shining fresh green leaves all summer are bronzed and reddened by frost. Branching heads of rose-red flowers on tall stems in spring and a few in autumn. 61 cm.
Bergenia 'Wintermarchen' x3 A small-leafed Bergenia. Narrow pointed leaves slightly twisting to reveal both the polished surfaces and light carmine backs, some leaves brilliant scarlet. Red stems carry narrow heads of deep-rose flowers. 30 cm.
Carex comans 'Frosted Curls' x3 Soft bundles of pale-silvery-green thread-like leaves curl as they touch the ground, bunched like the end of a pony-tail. 30 cm.
Crocosmia crocosmiiflora 'Citronella' x3 Above sheaves of pale green leaves sprays of clear yellow flowers are produced in abundance. 60 cm
Crocosmia crocosmiiflora 'Colton Fishacre' x3 This is an improved version of C. ‘Solfatare’, being more vigorous, with copper-brown leaves and apricot-yellow flowers. 60 cm
Crocosmia 'Emberglow' Above fans of pleated leaves stand tall branching, dark-stained stems carrying quantities of glowing red flowers, the colour deepened by dark calyces. Spectacular in August. 1-1.2 m.
Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum' x3 More vigorous than E. x rubrum. The leaves combine delicate shades of bronze in early spring, ideal for picking. The delicate sulphur yellow flowers are borne on wiry stems, half buried among the leaves for protection. In autumn the green summer foliage again becomes marbled with bronze, remaining all winter. 30 cm.
Geranium 'Ann Folkard' x3 leaves are a delicious lemon-yellow, contrasting with the darker green of mature leaves. Scattered overall are rich magenta flowers, accented with dark eyes. Long extending stems trail a succession of leaves and flowers over neighbouring plants without harm. Trails 1 m plus in good soil.
Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' x3Forms low spreading cushions of smooth, green, divided leaves smothered in midsummer with white flowers tinted with pale-pink veins. Very good autumn colour. 30 cm.
Geranium macrorrhizum 'Album' x3 palest shell-pink flowers which contrast well with deep coral-coloured calyces and long protruding anthers and pistil. 38 cm.
Geranium magnificum x3 Strong clumps of handsome dark green foliage, which colours well in autumn. The flowers are rich violet-blue, heavily veined on 60 cm stalks in midsummer.
Geranium x oxonianum 'Claridge Druce' x3 An excellent ground-cover for large scale planting with lovely foliage and long succession of rich rose-pink flowers. For sun or part shade. 46 cm.
Geranium x oxonianium 'Wargrave Pink' x3 Similar to G. endressi but with flowers of salmon-pink. 38 cm.
Geranium phaeum x3 The Mourning Widow. Strong grower in shade, small flowers of sombre purple, silk-textured. Early summer. 76-91 cm
Geranium pratense 'Striatum' x3 A large weed-smothering plant with handsome cut-parasol leaves, and masses of single clear blue flowers striped white. Midsummer. 61 cm.
Geranium psilostemom x3 Superb foliage plant, forms a great clump of deeply cut leaves odd ones having brilliant autumn colour. Crowded in June with the brightest magenta-pink flowers, each with an indigo eye. Marvellous among shrubs or old roses. 91 cm
Geranium renardii x3 A particularly attractive plant. Forms low mounds of round sage green leaves, scallop-edged and quilted. The almost white flowers have a network of delicate purple veins in early summer. 23 cm.
Geranium Rozanne = 'Gerwat' x3 This unlovely name is the registered cultivar name of a dazzling new hardy geranium. It is better known as Rozanne’s Cranesbill, so I prefer to write Geranium ‘Rozanne’, named after Rozanne Waterer, who, with her husband, spotted it in their garden. It is a hybrid of G. himalayense and G. wallichianum ‘Buxton’s Variety’, producing large (5 cm across) intense violet-blue flowers lit with large white centres. In flower from May onwards, it takes a rest in late summer, but a trim then will check its sprawling habit and induce a fresh crop of blooms well into Oct-Nov. Planted at the border edge, in sun or part shade, it stops every passer-by. 50 cm
Geranium sanguineum var. striatum x3 Exquisitely pretty with pale pink flowers veined crimson. Sun, ordinary soil. 12 cm.
Hemerocallis 'Ali Sheldon' x3 For those seeking pale shades this is a must. It has palest yellow seeping from the centre into creamy-white, slightly frilled falls. 60 cm
Hemerocallis 'Gentle Shepherd' x3 One of the first and best attempts to create a white Daylily. This has beautiful, large, creamy-white flowers. 45 cm
Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus x6This lovely old species has been grown since the 16th century. Perfect lily-shaped flowers of clear light yellow are very sweetly scented, lovely in early summer among blue or pink cranesbills (geraniums). 76 cm.
Hemerocallis 'Light the Way' x3 Above tidy clumps of strong foliage are poised large wide-open flowers, up to 15cm across, very pale greenish-cream. Ravishing! 75cm
Hemerocallis 'Pink Sundae' x3 Softly ruffled pale apricot petals with a paler zone along the centre of each petal. Good impact on landscape. July-Aug. 91 cm.
Heuchera 'Chocolate Ruffles' x3 Produces a succession of leaves variously flushed in shades of tan and bronze on the surface, light beetroot purple on the reverse, while the deeply cut edges curl and ruffle to produce an attractive textured effect. 38 cm.
Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple' x3 Overlapping heart-shaped leaves with irregularly cut edges are dark bronze-red on the surface, light magenta-pink on reverse. Faint puckering between the veins accentuates the glistening texture. The flowers are equally beguiling. Masses of dark wiry stems carry feathery heads of tiny white flowers which expand into rosy-bronze seed pods, all stages to be seen for months, from summer to autumn. 46 cm.
Heuchera villosa 'Royal Red' x3 A striking foliage plant, low mounds of maple-shaped leaves, dark mahogany brown. 46 cm.
Macleaya 'Kelway's Coral Plume' x3 statuesque plant, either in isolation or in a bay among shrubs. A running rootstock throws up many tall strong stems which need no staking. Large, rounded, deeply indented leaves are grey-green above, grey-white beneath. Long branching plumes of small, pale, apricot buds, open to rich-cream, fluffy flowers. Late summer-autumn. 2 m.
Melica altissima 'Atropurpurea' x3 This non-invasive grass forms clumps of soft green foliage topped in midsummer with heads of soft chaffy flowers stained purple fading to pinkish-buff when dried. Ideal to put with dried annuals like Helipterum. Each tassel-like head looks as if the individual papery flowers were threaded then pushed to the tip of the wire-fine stems. 76 cm.
Melica uniflora albida x3 Quietly attractive. Above neat clumps of soft green foliage float sprays of pale little buds looking rather like tiny grains of rice, such a dainty effect planted among ferns, hostas, or the grey-leafed Dicentra ‘Langtrees’. 45-60 cm.
Miscanthus sacchariflorus x6 Magnificent feature grass for retentive soil or the waterside – perfect partner for Gunnera or ornamental Rheum. Not invasive, slowly increasing clumps send up, each year, bamboo-like canes hung with long fluttering ribbon-like leaves. Can be used in large gardens as summer windbreak or shading. Flowers only after hot summers. 3 m plus.
Miscanthus sinensis 'Ferne Osten' x3 This grass opens even darker plumes than M. ‘Malepartus’, but is shorter with leaves correspondingly narrower. Wonderful autumn colour, bright copper and dark red tints on leaves. 1.5 m.
Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light' x3 a column of stems clothed in very narrow arching leaves lit with silver central veins, creating overall a delicate hazy effect. 91-122 cm.
Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens x6 Is much shorter than the other Miscanthus. By late summer the upper surface of the leaves shows warm brown, enhanced by the shining central vein which is pink. Narrow pinkish-brown flower heads appear in October when the whole plant becomes suffused with shades of red, orange and buff. 122 cm.
Sisyrinchium stratium 'Aunt May' x3 Originated at Chevithorn, Tiverton, Devon. The iris-like leaves are boldly striped with creamy-yellow, making a perfect foil for blue flowers such as Veronica ‘Crater Lake Blue’. 46 cm.
Stachys byzantina 'Big Ears' x3 Has broader, bolder leaves than the type, not so heavily felted, so has a less ‘frosty’ appearance. A good hardwearing carpeting plant in poor sunny conditions. 30 cm.
Stachys byzantina 'Cotton Boll' x3
Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet' x3 This non-flowering form spends its energy creating carpets of velvet-textured, silver-grey ‘Lambs Ears’, ideal edging for a sunny border, or planted beneath roses. 12 cm.
Stipa calamagrostis x3 A handsome grass for dry soil. Graceful fountains of narrow green leaves are topped with large feathery plumes of soft buff. 91 cm.
Stipa gigantea 'Gold Fontaene' x3 Carries enormous spikes of golden-brown flower heads, lasting well into winter. Up to 2 m
Stipa tenuissima x6 Above soft flower heads. As mature heads fall outwards, new ones replace them retaining a beautiful transparent screen of flower-heads. 122-160 cm.
The nurseries that are strictly local to us tend to be good on shrubs and trees, especially fruit trees, but have a limited range of flowering plants. However, there are a number of specialist nurseries in nearby Tuscany, or further afield.
Margheriti: famous nursery close to Trasimeno. As well as huge range of trees and shrubs it has, unusually for this part of Italy, a good stock of old roses and some herbaceous plants.
Vivaio Guido Del’Innocenti: judging by their website (I’ve not yet bought from them) this nursery in Florence has a good range of irises, peonies and roses.
Il Giardino Delle Rose: judging by the website, this nursery near Florence has a wide range of old roses.
La Campanella: again, judging by the website this is an excellent source of old roses but as it’s near Padua, it can’t exactly be described as local.
I won’t attempt anything like a full listing of good gardens to visit: there are too many of them and too many others have already done that. However, if you’d like to see my abums of photos from Bomarzo and Villa Lante (both in Lazio) click on the links.
Here are some gardens which specialise in the plants I am particularly fond of and have planted at Casa Nova:
Iris collection, near Piazzale Michelangelo, in Florence, visitable only in May: for opening times and location see here. There is also a rose garden on the opposite side of Piazzale Michelangelo: information here. Collection of peonies, both herbaceous and tree peonies: Centro Botanico Moutan (Lazio). I’ll add others as I come across them.