Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I bought this Shishigashira Japanese Maple with the promise that the Fall colour was outstanding.  I have waited 3 years for this little tree to change colour and finally I can say I am glad.  The colour is spectacular. It is a limey green all summer, and then in late Fall it shows its colours.  The leaf is yellow with red and orange tones.  It grows to 200 cm by 200 cm.  So it is not a big tree. Perfect for the spot I have it, because I have a Crimson Queen Japanese Maple close by.  It has already shed its leaves, but the Fall red colour was very deep and vivid.  I saw one in someone else's garden with black mulch around it and the combination was very striking.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Christmas Urns: Balls and Bows

Great colour if it works with your house, but red is still the all time favourite!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall Urns

Carefully selected, your fall container can transition to a winter container with a little thought.

No one seems tired of of birch logs yet.  They are still a going concern in containers Spring, Summer Winter and Fall in this area.  I sometimes wonder and worry about all the birches cut down for the branches.  Maybe it will spawn an industry of 'birch tree farms' in addition to the Christmas tree farms. Most of these Fall containers can easily transition to winter containers with the addition of some ornaments and bows.  The nice thing about evergreens it that they last for a very long time. So if you are interested in  having a container done for your entrance or balcony, email

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Colour!

The Handyman proudly displays the flag year round.  You've got to admit the light shining on the trees is magnificent.

The view out my kitchen window, gladdens my heart each day, even in rainy weather. 

I love the colour of hostas in Fall. (I also love birdhouses!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Silver Lace Vine

The silver lace vine is a wonderful addition to the Fall garden.  I love this vine now and hate it all summer as it winds its invasive tendrils over my deck. The birds love it too.  As the migrating visitors come to our bird feeder they also spend some time nestled in the vine. So put up with its tangled intrusive ways in the summer for its beauty now.

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's overrrrrr!

Cherokee Sunset dogwood in it's second year. 

Grasses. Demonstrating a "Farrah Fawcett" exuberance!

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Variegata’.  I moved this 3x before I found a spot it liked!

Chinese lanterns.  I once gave some of these away and my friend still hasn't forgiven me for their invasive nature!
Well, there is little left to appreciate in the garden.  But it still has a few treasures to reveal. The trees are about to put on a spectacular show and the garden is exiting with a few charms and tricks. My trick with the Chinese lanterns is to pick off some of the leaves to reveal the wonderful lanterns. I bought some hydrangeas and a nest spruce to add to the front.  Plant, plant, divide - that's my Fall mantra!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Toronto Island garden walk

The best view of the CN Tower!
Whimsy and charm characterize these gardens. 
Unique twigs are the pillars holding up the porch canopy.
A group of people I am in a garden club with, went for a quick Ferry ride across Lake Ontario to Ward's Island.  Laurie planned on walking along the roads and viewing people's front gardens, then stop at the Rectory for Lunch.  5 yum rating - the food was great, reasonably priced and the setting was all a gardener could hope for! It was a beautiful day and perfect for a walk by the lake.  The gardens on Toronto Island are old fashioned, by that I mean the owners allow them to grow, weeds and all.  They don't get too concerned about maintenance and allow the quirkiness and charm of the setting to play an important role.  If a weed flowers or has a nice structure it is allowed to stay. The sandy soil must be a challenge, so what grows is appreciated. The gardens reveal the artistic nature of the owners. Door colours pop and unexpected sculptures in the garden intrigue you. Someone might plant an old oil tank and decorate it with river glass.  Carrying garbage away from these islands is not easy and in the hands of these islanders, any object can become beautiful.  Sophie has some pics of beautiful annuals she is going to send.  I will post them when I get them
Colour and drama come from the pots on the windowsill. 

The cottage doors have unexpected hits of colour.

What are these?
Winding gates and arbors entice you and make you want to wander in. 

Amazing what you can carry over piece by piece on the ferry.

The owners here seem to all have an artist's eye.

The gardens have an untended charm.

The houses are individual and eclectic.

Big tankers ply these waters.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Autumn Clematis

Autumn clematis 

Fragrant, lush, sweet smelling clematis.  Very hard to find in a nursery

Hibiscus, late to emerge in spring, but worth the wait.

Plant morning glories for beauty in the Fall.

A trellis supports the climbing vines.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cloverleaf Bus Tour 2012

First stop.  Gorilla gardening in the ditch!
July 7th, 2012 we went to the Jordan and Niagara regions.  We  visited a private garden in Jordan that was the culmination of a collector's life work.  What a garden, full of rare and unusual plants and an owner who was very knowledgeable!
Recognize anyone?

ruffled daylilies

Bear's breeches, our host, David Wootton in his fabulous garden.

Monkey Puzzle tree

Garden tour - Niagara on the Lake

Incredible pond

Roses bloom again

A new addition - morden shrub rose, called " Morden sunrise "
Roses are a recent addition to my garden.  I eschewed them as being too much trouble, but the Canadian roses developed by Agriculture Canada and very easy to grow. They add a wonderful flush of colour in June and again in Fall when you need a punch to invigorate the landscape. I have too much shade for florabundas or tea roses, but shrub roses grow well here.  The Morden series, developed in Morden, Manitoba are very hardy and disease resistant.  They bloom reliably and have long lasting flowering times. They are not as susceptible to black spot as other roses.

Rose of Sharon - my favourite one.

morning glories
Bonica rose

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fall Garden Colour

Black eyed susans the workhorse of the garden!
Even the seed heads will provide visual interest
There is a fine Irish mist falling in my garden and the forecast is for rain all day.  Hurrah!  I was away for the weekend and returned to parched beds of drooping leaves.  The rain is so welcome, since we have has such periods of drought this year.  I was visiting a friend in cottage area, and they have also have a drought.  It is sad to look out on a parched vista.  She was telling me about visiting Larkwhistle.  That is Patrick Lima's garden in Northern Ontario.  It is right at the tip of the Tobermory peninsula.  I have always wanted to visit and must admit that Patrick's book The Harrowsmith Perennial Garden, Flowers for Three Seasons, Firefly Books, 1987 was the inspiration for my garden.  I treated it like a bible when I was first planting in my garden.  His book is arranged by seasons with inspirational pictures by John Scanlan. I would take all his suggestions for a Spring garden before moving on to the next season.  In additon to his poetic and beguiling prose, his knowledge of plants is amazing. As the seasons changed I would consult his book to plug holes in my garden for colour and bloom.  My friend obviously found the same inspiration in his books and made her second visit to Larkwhistle this Spring.  She brought a 'mystery plant' from her garden  and received a plant in return! The plant just appeared in her garden, courtesy of a bird perhaps, and immediately grew and prospered, so it must be a North American native.  I still use Patrick's book when I want to find a plant to plug a blooming gap for a particular season.
Four little seedlings, now 4 1/2 ft high , transplanted in the Spring completely fill this area.
 I would have to admit that the workhorse of my Fall garden is the black-eyed susan  (Rudbeckia).  I have several different varieties, that bloom at different heights and which start their bloom at different times, but they are all in bloom now, and they help keep the garden interesting into the Fall.  Even the seed heads of the black-eyed susans have an important purpose in the garden.  Their structure adds to the Fall landscape and keeps things interesting. Once the petals fall, the dark brown pom-poms blowing in the breezes give a unique shape and texture to the season's changing vista. Patrick Lima includes them in the category he calls  'long distance flowers'.  And once you start gardeneing you realize how important long bloomers are.  He names phlox, sneezewort (helenium), heliopsis (false sunflower - a North American native),  rudbeckia, Echinacea (purple cone flower), Lysimachia (goose neck flower) and the new addition to my garden - cimicifuga racemose (black snakeroot) to the list of flowers you can count on for bloom throughout the hot August days into the Fall.
Get the book if you are serious about blooms for every season!  You will consider it a perennial bible, too.