Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 Cloverleaf Garden Tour

The garden shed seems like a secret hideaway in the garden.
The colour and layout invite  you to stay and unwind. Note the variations in colour without the use of flowers.
What a wonderful tour!  This year's Cloverleaf Garden Tour was well planned to provide two areas of concentration.  The Munden Park area was walkable, many people like to park once and walk to visit the gardens.
My favourite garden was #2 belonging to Al and Judy Hirsh in Gordon Woods. .  It is obviously a labour of love they  have spent may hours enjoying and creating. It's a shade garden and makes extensive use of hostas. But Judy has an eye for colour and paints with the plants they way an artist uses colour to create a picture.  Next to the blue leaves of a Big Daddy hosta  the chartreuse sedge, Japanese Forest grass waves and flows providing an eye catching hit of colour that draws your eye to the corner where it is nestled.
Hakonechloa macra - All gold Japanese Forest grass, provides  an  eyecatching focus. 

Judy artfully places large planters of annuals to relieve the green and to thrill you with a new colour in unexpected places.  Containers were grouped on the deck and in groups throughout the garden.
Plants carefully chosed to complement the container colour.

Interesting arrangement on the deck make you stop and appreciate the beauty. 

Her skill in filling containers is apparent and brightens green corners. 


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Yellow Time in the garden

King's buttercup - lysimachia

Yellow evening primose with king's buttercup in the background
This time of year the primrose bloom and take over the colour scheme in my garden.  Hardly anyone has King's buttercup in their garden anymore, but I like the old fashioned bloom. Yellow can really brighten a dark corner and I have many in my shady garden.
But yellow isn't the only colour and I planted gold flame spirea bushes and roses to fill the colour gap in June.
Frobel's spirea adds pink to the seaon
Sweet william in the front garden, the only trouble with buying items at a club garden sale is you seldom know the colour. 

A Canadian Explorer Rose  - the first year.
Carefree rose with sage spires
Bonica rose

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Drat those red beetles!

I thought I had almost picked off and squashed every red lily beetle in my front garden - but no! I went out the other day and the stem of the lily was one black slimy tree of blobs on my tiger lily.  In spite of my huge distaste, I picked off every egg case, ugh!  Then I put some coffee grounds around the bottom of the plant. It seems to have stayed the invasion for the time being. Most people just end up pulling their lilies out in frustration. I read about a person who picked off 600 slugs in his garden in an effort to rid his property of them, and he didn't end up diminishing the population in any real way!  So I guess I will not eradicate the red lily beetle from my intervention.  They are obviously flying in from all those gardens where people pulled out their lilies.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Clematis - Ramona. I think this is the 5th year for this plant.
Wow! are the clematis ever beautiful this year.  We were cursing all the rain, but this is the best display my clematis has ever shown. So finally I didn't break the vine or pull it out when I was weeding.  I had another one growing beside it which was pink with magenta stripes, but I broke it or 'weeded' it.  It did have 3 blooms for a week.
 I have a white clematis, which hasn't open yet and it is covered in blooms too. The roses in everyone's garden are covered in buds.  I think this very English like weather is responsible!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rhodo recovery

At least it bloomed!
 I thought I was going to lose this rhodo last year, but it did come back.  I followed advice from a couple of people, one who told me to take the rocks away form around the base of the plant. the roots are delicate and don't like pressure.  Another member of the Garden Club gave me some aluminium sulfate to put around the base of the plant and it made a huge difference. I'm amazed it bloomed.  The buds held on all winter and I did doubt they would open, but actually it was quite lovely.  The blooms have almost dropped now, but I'm happy.

Size when I bought it. And it was covered in buds!
A year later - smaller, has lost almost all its leaves, but is starting  to look healthy.

I was relieved to see that the Rhododendrons at the Brueckner Garden had the same mysterious brown leaves as my plant suffered from.  They encouraged me to wait out whatever it was/  I clipped out the branches as the leaves withered and turned brown and new shoots come in nicely green. I hope it stays healthy this summer and blooms next year. 

Perennial Geraniums

I found out today the reason why the hardy geranium is called the cranesbill. Apparently the when the seed head ripens and explodes it resembles the open beak of the crane's bill. 

I hope this isn't Johnson's Blue geranium.  I do like the colour and the size right now is perfect, so I hope it stays small and doesn't sprawl like Johnson's Blue, or it will have to be moved.
My favourite geranium - sanguenium

My favourite geranium is sanguineum. It is low bushy, and the leaves turn bronze in autumn. But best of all it blooms almost all summer with magenta flowers. It benefits from a good clipping after the first flush of bloom to make it compact again and to reset bloom.  I received it from my Mother-in-law, who got it from Victoria, B.C.'s Butchart Gardens!  Now that's history!
One grows this geranium for the colour of the leaves.  The flowers are pale lavendar and don't bloom for long.
I have Hocus Pocus. It has dark purple leaves and pale lavender flowers. But you grow it for the foliage. It is not easy to grow well and once it likes a spot, I don't suggest you move it.  I had to move one out of necessity and happily it likes the new location better. It's in more shade, but the plant isn't as straggly any more.

What is it? I hope someone out there knows.

What is this plant?  It is a self seeding annul and is low growing .  I don't know how it arrived in my garden.  I like it, but ...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rhodos in Bloom

This weekend has to be a peak for the Brueckner Rhododendron Garden in Port Credit, Ontario. I was down last weekend, but this weekend they just seem to have exploded into every colour imaginable!  Here are a few choice pics!
Each part of the garden has a different aspect and focal point.

What a lovely grouping, one in bloom and one waiting to open.

How I wish this was my garden!

What a colour!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Poppies and Peonies

This beautiful red peony, just yesterday - hiding its core.

Bursting forth in all its glory. It looks pink from the front, but the back is the deep magenta red.
 I think this peony is call veitchii, but I am not sure.  It has bronze foliage as it emerges in Spring and then turns green. Only one or two flowers appear, but it is only about 3 years old in my garden.
Eye catching orange poppies.

 They only last a few days, but what a display!  These poppies bloom well before the other Oriental poppies and do not clump up.  It's a good thing, because few flowers can compete with the colour, but they look glorious among all the green. They don't have the basal blotch of the Oriental Poppies. After flowering the leaves die down and the stems pull out easily, just like tulip stems.  It's suggested to plant them among late flowering plants like rudbeckia to hide the hole left when they die back. But you do not control these poppies.  They appear where they will, your job is just to try to keep them in check!  They resist being moved, the tap root is very long, and only the young plants can be moved successfully. The first year the plant does not flower.
Doesn't this look like a Monet painting?
I tried to take a picture of my fish in the pond, but the reflections of the iris on the surface caused that striation. But I kind of like the effect. You can just see some gold fish and koi (added by Kaity and Geoff) the blue is the reflection of the sky and you can make our a small lily pad leaf. 

Lupins in the Garden

Tekapo in NZ, 2009, they know how to grow lupins!
 This area of NZ has masses of lupins in the Spring.  Apparently, people come from all over the Island to see them.They absolutely cover the fields in Tekapo, where they have the incredible blue waters of the glacial lakes, near Mount Cook. I will never forget the sight of all those lupin and that little stone church.  An English woman, homesick for England is said to have asked to have some seeds sent over. Just look at what one person can do to alter the landscape. Makes you think about invasive species, doesn't it?

New pink lupin in my garden. Gifts are best!

 Lupins remind me of two places - Prince Edward Island and New Zealand.  This time of year lupins grow in the ditches and fields of PEI and create a beautiful sight. The Handyman's parents came from PEI and we would travel back at the end of June and see the wonderful flowers.  Strangely his grandparents had none in front of their home.  So our legacy was to dig up lupins and put them in the ditch in front of their home.  I now have some of those purple lupins in my garden.  This pink one was a gift from someone whose father had prized them.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Raccoon in the noon day sun

Look carefully. A raccoon is sleeping in the centre of the tree. Photo by Dave Taylor

I was volunteering at Riverwood, as part of the stewardship program.  We were mulching  a trail when  someone noticed the raccoon curled up asleep in the tree. We told the resident photographer and he got this lovely shot.  (Dave Taylor has published wildlife books and is an excellent photographer). You can see the beautiful clear sky and the green of the trees, it was that first hot day of SApring, and I think we broke a heat record.  After all the rain we've been having, it was totally enervating to be outside and sweat was dripping from our bodies in rivulets.
It's hard work being a steward of the earth! We had a corporate group from PriceWaterhouseCooper. They were glad to get out of the office and help in the Conservancy. They mulched trails (about 6 cu. yards) planted wild flowers and pulled dreaded garlic mustard.  Garlic mustard is very invasive and will take over an area very quickly.  It changes the soil ph and prevents other plants from establishing, so it is very detrimental to a conservation area. It is important to replant with desired species right after pulling the garlic mustard or it reestablishes.
The more time you spend in Riverwood, the more you see and the deeper your appreciation for the place.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Commonly lovely

I saw a pair of barn swallows yesterday when I was walking down by the Port Credit Marina.  With the sun glinting on their feathers, they are a beautiful bird!  We got to witness the mating ritual (in its split second timing) as they flew around their nesting site by the concession stand.  The railings on the patio made good perches I guess. I've often seen their nests and even observed the fledglings being fed, but since they are usually in the shade when at the nest I never realized how blue their feathers were or the beautiful tan of their breast and throat. The long pointed wings and deeply forked tails were what caught my eye first.   At first I thought I was looking at an indigo bunting, which is on my wish list for a sighting.  But after I searched the bird books when I got home, I realized that they were sparrows.  I can't tell you how excited I was when I saw them, though! Which just goes to show that even being wrong can be a highlight of your day!