Monday, September 27, 2010

Rattray Marsh, Mississauga

Meadows of goldenrod

purple asters
The Handyman and I took a walk in Rattray marsh to look for birds and fall colour.  As yet, the leaves have not  changed, but the Fall wild flowers are in full bloom, making meadows of goldenrod and jewelweed.  Goldenrod has achieved some status in recent years and has moved into urban gardens where it is appreciated for its height and Fall colour. The jewelweed clumps up in vast areas and attracts humming birds to sip nectar from their deep throats.  It clustered close to the paths, so was easy to spot. The purple and white asters contrast with the yellow goldenrod to paint the meadows with lovely contrasts.  The yellow warbler is supposed to live in those woods, and while we heard bird calls we did not recognize, we did not catch sight of any of them. Have they fled south already?
berries on dogwood

Do you know what this is


Cloverleaf Garden Tour, Sept. 25

charming garden shed


"Neon" Stonecrop
relaxing by the pond

hydrangeas add Fall colour and structure
Actea "White Pearl"
What a good idea to have a garden tour in the Fall!  While most of the tours are in the early summer, I have a deep curiousity to know what people's gardens will look like throughout the seasons.  In the Fall you have to rely on certain standbys for colour.  Of course you want a burning bush in your garden. The new dwarf varieties have magnificent colour. The provide the structure that is essential when planning a garden for 4 seasons.  Then another standby is stonecrop.  The new varietals have much more vibrant colour than the perennial favourite "Autumn Joy".  "Brilliant" and "Neon" are also wonderful to lead your eye into the garden.  A new dark purple leaf variety has sturdy stems and huge flower heads that contrast beautifully this time of year. Look for a stonecrop called "Chocolate Drop" in your nursery.
Hydrangeas of all sorts graced the garden tour and added colour and structure in the garden.  There are many varieties to choose from, large and small and some with cone shaped flowers that emerge white and fade to pink.
A formal setting
Everyone's favourite garden seemed to be the one on Oakwood.  Every spot in the garden was designed and accounted for. Boxwood and evergreens formed the planting backdrop of the garden, while a beautifully integrated formal design with slight Oriental accent provided a restful oasis for the homeowner.
Dark leaf bugbane with lime green lamium in the foreground
bugbane "white Pearl'
There was a wonderful variety of plant material and design styles on the tour.  And I think everyone found some aspect they would like to incorporate into their own garden. I'm noticing Actea (bugbane) this year.  For a plant with such a horrible name it s a truly majestic plant in the garden this time of year.  A central stem with many branches carries the flowers on individual stalks that hold a single flower.
"White Pearl" is 3 - 4 feet tall with white flowers against the purply stems.  I am going to find a spot for this one in my garden.
 The plant sale allowed people to pick up Rose of Sharon, stonecrop, rudbeckia and very many other plants for their own gardens. Thanks to the organizers.  The tour was very well done!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Riverwood Conservancy, Mississauga

A September walk in the Riverwood is a delight.  The trees are just hinting at the colours they will display in a few weeks.  The birds, squirrels and chipmunks are scurrying around hiding food for winter.  And the gardens are putting on a final show of blossom and colour. At the entrance to Chappell house a sculpture of hawks stands guard in front of a backdrop of sumac.  The tassels of the grasses sway in front of Chappell house and the Russian sage has captured the photographer on the right.  Just behind the grasses is the pond with a lotus blossom in full bloom. You can see the limey coloured pod in the centre of the flower that are harvested and sold in garden centres.
The beauty of walking in a public garden is the scope for large plants that may not fit in your own. This is true of the above beauty which is about 4 feet by 2 feet and towers over the retaining wall around this patio. I believe this is a cimicifuga or Bugbane 'White Pearl" it can grow up to 6 ft tall in southern Ontario.  The stalks are a wonderful lavender colour.  I think I want one!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sept. Garden Tour!

The Cloverleaf Walking Garden tour takes place on Saturday Sept. 25, 2010, rain or shine.  What a wonderful opportunity to see what you would like planted in your own Sept. Garden. There are 18 gardens on the tour, and a walking tour of the village of Port Credit is always enjoyable.  You can buy tickets at any of the gardens, or in advance.  Check out the website at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


One of the plants of Fall is the stonecrop "Autumn Joy" with reddish bronze flowers. Bees are thankful for it too. In the photo above, it has not revealed it's deep colour yet, but is just showing the first blush. But Autumn Joy seems to have fallen out of favour recently in people's gardens and more people seem to plant " Brilliant" with its pink blooms.  I like both plants. I like the contained structure of the plant itself all summer long, and then the hit of colour when it is most needed in the garden.
Like all succulents its plump green leaves seems to claim the three dimensional space around it, making other leaves look page thin.  It is best to keep this plant at a reasonable size, by dividing it in Spring.  Once it gets too full the stems fall over and you miss its structural beauty.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Sept flowers

There are some container plants that just last and geraniums are one of them.  This little beauty sat on the deck all summer and in spite of neglect and sporadic watering is looking strong and healthy.  Geraniums are one container plant that can stand a little dryness and heaven knows that it has been an exceedingly dry summer.  Once client told me that she have given up on watering container plants.  This last heat wave just took too much out of her and she didn't want to go outdoors merely to water wilted impatients.  She is writing down the names of plants that did well in containers this summer and will buy those next year.  Among her favourites were plants in her very large containers, where the soil provided some insulation from the heat, and heat loving gerber daisies which are native to South Africa.  I tried a sedum container this year and I didn't water it even once (mainly because I didn't think about it) and it has done very well.
Roses bloom again in September usually and they certainly are welcome.  This is a bonica shrub rose that is very hearty and disease resistant.  The Japanese beetles tried hard to eat it, but I inspected and crushed (and also used a spray, I must admit) and it has survived the torture.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


If you are the same generation as I am you will remember the song “Poke Sally Annie” The poor girl was so poor that she had to eat pokeweed salad. Pokeweed is a perennial plant that will grow to an amazing height in just 4 years under the right conditions.  Twice in the last two years, I have visited friends and seen this amazing plant.  Once I saw it at Theresa’s (she, of the pruners at the Border crossing)  I had never seen it before, and then to see it, in its huge abundance at another friend's was quite startling.  This large bush/plant comes into its own in the Fall when the racemes' deep purple berries contrast with the red stems.  It’s hard to believe it is a perennial. Birds love it and both owners claimed not to know how it arrived in their garden.  It must have come courtesy of a bird that ate the berries.  It occupied all of one corner in Theresa’s garden and  completely shielded the patio of another friend.   It was about 8 feet high and 7 feet across. I brought home some seedlings.  I think Theresa will be a recipient. 
Check out this web site for picture, because once again I was cameraless :

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September already!

I love this morning glory and I plant it every year.  The intense colour is just so arresting even from a distance.  It takes so long to bloom that the summer is almost over before it emerges in my garden.  I also plant other colours with bigger blooms, but this is my favourite.