Thursday, April 29, 2010

Guess who I met

Here are the results of the second container workshop.  We met at my sister-in-law's and 6 of us used the shelter of her garage on the cold blustery day to create the these lovely container gardens with perennial plants. We had a great conversation afterwards over coffee and scones and lovely home made biscotti, courtesy of Linda.  I am very proud of my pupils, you'll see they did an outstanding job.
The highlight of the day was meeting Sandra Beech, though!  Imagine my surprise to discover she was one of my attendees. A Juno award winning children singer, Sandra is well known to teachers. We all played her albums to our students and sometimes were lucky enough to have her perform at a concert in our schools.  She is a delight to meet.  Did you know her brothers are the Irish Rovers. I was able to purchase an autographed CD of her best of compilation.
See, you need to come to these workshops!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rhodos beginning to bloom!

The first rhododendron to bloom in the Spring is the PJM.  It is in gorgeous bloom in my front garden.  I was at a pruning workshop at the Riverwood Conservancy on Saturday and the speaker suggested that one should try small leaf rhododendrons, azaleas and only is successful with them try the large leaf rhododendrons.  I have had the PJM for over 15 years and it seems to love the spot in which it is located. But when I put a large leaf rhodo next to it, they just die, die, die!  I am going to try one more time.  The specimen I bought is just bursting with blooms ready to open.  I can't wait to see them open.
The azalea is also ready to open.  It's bare branches have the flower buds ready to open.  On this strange bush the leaves come after the blooms.   You can see the tulips in the background.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Trilliums in the forest

18 April 2010

There is nothing quite as Canadian as a forest floor covered with trilliums.  I took the Heritage Tour on Sunday with some friends. One of the tour stops was in Cawthra woods.  The trilliums were just beginning to bloom everywhere.
There were also dogtooth violets, and some bogs that the mallards took advantage of.

Spring urn workshop

20 April 2010

We had a beautiful day for the workshop.  We met in the back garden and created urns using spring perennials.  Each urn was as individual as the person attending.  They turned out beautifully and will only get better as the plants grow and fill in.  When June comes the plants can be taken out and put in the garden so an explosion of annuals can replace them. But these plants will do double duty - enjoyed in an urn and then in the garden for years to come.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Almost time to create your Urn

April 17, 2010

Here are some pictures of the urns on sale at Sheridan Nurseries to inspire you to create something beautiful for your own yard!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Okay the Forsythia is Blooming!

Okay, it's time to prune.  I kept urging you to wait, but the forsythia is out so it's time to get out and prune.  Look for deadwood first and prune that out.  Prune your roses, hydrangea, annabelle hydranges, clematis.  Shape evergreens.  The best way to keep the shape of an evergreen which is growing well,  is to watch for the new bright green growth and pinch out 2/3 of the growth to keep your plant contained.  Once evergreens are crowding each other out it is time for drastic measures.  Call in the professionals or fearlessly attack branches which are destroying the aesthetics of the bush.  Remember, when working with evergreens, removing dead branches affects the shape, so prune with that in mind.
My favourite spring bulb has to be scillia siberica.  It is rated to zone 4, so will grow almost anywhere. In terms of pulling its weight and spreading cheer in the garden, it just spreads and spreads, pops up early and covers the lawn and garden in thousands of bell shaped blue flowers. My gardening book says it "should be planted in the hundreds or thousands beneath spring flowering deciduous shrubs and trees, at the edge of a woodland or in rock gardens".

The only drawback is cleaning up the leaves when the plant dies back.  If your bulbs are naturalized in the lawn, the first pass with the lawnmower does it for you.  In the garden I just grab handfuls of leaves and throw them in the compost.  They will self seed. So if you want to spread them around just throw the seed pods in a new spot and next year you will be bless with more little blue flowers.
The trilliums are just about ready to open.  Don't you think everyone in Ontario should have at least one in their garden?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Creating A Spring Urn Garden

April 8, 2010
Here is a link to the Plant World web site.  They have a 'create an urn' link you might be interested in to get ideas for your own plantings:

Don't forget my urn workshop 20 April, 1 pm  Wèll use perennials to create an interesting urn-scape.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Red Lionfish

Red Lionfish
Red Lionfish,
originally uploaded by Claude@Munich.
We see a lot of these underwater. They range in color from light to a dark red. The red Lion fish has invaded the Caribbean. It must have come over in the hold of ships and it has adapted to conditons here and is breeding. While it is beautiful, it is eating all the fish fry in the Caribbean and decimating the local population of fish. It doesn't have any natural predators here as it would at home and conditions seem ideal for it. Bahamians are encouraged to catch and eat this fish. It is on the menu in restaurants and according to Sis it is delicious. In my twenties it was a dream of mine to travel to the Pacific and see one of these. I never thought I would be able to do that. And now it has come to me!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


originally uploaded by kamerakara.
Here is a manta ray.

Stingray @ Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay, Bahamas

We saw a peacock ray. Which has all sorts of spots on it's back. So enjoy this one.

Great Barrier Reef Australia underwater corals and fish (25 sec)

I found this on the internet and since I don't have a camera this time. Look at this instead. It is the Great Barrier Reef, but you get the idea of how thrilling it is underwater!