Monday, August 15, 2005


Not much to do in the garden but admire it.
Well, some weeding, some watering, some deadheading, I suppose.

Here are some of the flowers and green things growing.

Brother Cadfael rose. A David Austin, and one of my favorites. Big pink scented blossoms, and we've got it trained as a climber. It is one one side of an arbour we have in the garden; the other side, a couple of different clematis.

In the southmost border, against the north side of a fence, I've got a shade garden with Astilbe, bleeding heart, foxgloves, and a number of ferns. This is the Japanese painted fern. Quite blue, with a thin thread of red down the spine.

More flowers. I need to go check the label on this one! It was hiding underneath the delphiniums until I cut them back. Solomon's Seal?

My favorite new rose. Scentimental. Not as big a fragrance as I had hoped, but the roses are pretty.

This is the new growth on the Elder I planted in June. Nice, pale yellow leaves, contrasts well with the Sandcherry.

And here's an interesting bug I saw on my basil. Don't know who it is yet, but I'll find out.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Middle of summer. Need more flowers, I think

Went on a lovely trip this spring for three weeks with Sandy (pics at her website) instead of planting things like tender annuals. Now I'm noticing it.

Things to plant next spring that I'm missing this year:

  • salpiglossis

  • 4o'clock flowers

Both are annuals. I love the colors in salpiglossis, and love the fresh lemony scent of 4 o'clocks.

Ah well, next year.

This year, there's still weeding to be done, plants to smell, and flowers to take pictures of. Today I went in into the gardens and did all three. I just wish my lavender would bloom!

I missed lavender season in Provence (just a bit too early) and would like mine to flower.

In the front garden, we have roses, Japanese anemones, and phlox in bloom.

This is one of the smaller roses, a "patio rose" variety called 'Flame'.

The anemones are interesting: some have four petals, some have five. I have a plant of double blossoms, but that opens later in the season.

Both of the Japanese anemones I have are purple. I've seen some stunning white ones lately, and would like to add one to the back garden for late-autumn color. I might have to restrain it, though: I gather they can really run amok in the right circumstances.

In the back yard, the shade garden is doing well. Lots of ferns, the foxglove is blooming (sorry, out of camera range), the bleeding heart is blooming again, and the toad lily has flower buds. This is one section of the back garden, against the north side of a fence: also under a huge cottonwood tree and a few maple weed trees, so it's getting pretty shady here.

Close-up of the bleeding heart. I love the leaves: they remind me of a William Morris design.

One thing I've been trying to put into place from the courses I'm taking is the need for similarity and variety... so I've got similarities of color range this year (from whites through to purplish pinks) and I've got contrasts in leaf shape and color. I still need to work on it some more, although things are starting to get interesting. I added a golden elderberry bush, which is still showing lovely pale leaves in the middle of the summer.
It contrasts well with the sand cherry (deep burgundy leaves, and trained as a standard) and in years to come, the two berry trees (did I tell you I also got a Saskatoon berry shrub?) should grow in height to provide some needed vertical movement.

Among the other lovelies in the back yard this year are Echinacea purpurea (oh, how I love those bristly cones!)

I have a white echinacea -- I think. I hope it survived the winter. I see that I have one plant that looks a lot like the Echinacea purpurea, but it has tight little flower buds: maybe it's just a slow bloomer.

Also in flower in the back yard is a centaurea I bought last year... pure white (I think it's centaurea montana alba).

I've grown batchelor's buttons in the past (too long and leggy); also centaurea moschata (truly, my favorite... alas, also leggy, but what a wonderful smell!)

This one is compact and stays close to the ground... the eye just "happens" upon it when travelling from one plant to the next.

Another favorite in my back garden is Heuchera 'Marmalade' -- it's very pink and pale orange in the spring time, and seems to come out of winter with just a little bit of frost damage, like it continues to live underneath the ice -- the leaves provide wonderful color in those weeks before any bulbs are pushing their way up. By midsummer, the color mutes, but (if I recall correctly) gets vivid again in the fall. A wonderful plant for a shady area!

Also providing attraction is the seed heads of a Jackmanii clematis: they turn into tightly twirled tassels as the summer progresses. Right now, they're about half-way tied up and will get woolier looking as time goes on.

That's about all the news from these small gardens today.

Grow green!


Monday, July 11, 2005

OK, finally did it

Finally got the Scentimental rose and Elder berry planted this weekend. It was over 30 degrees out when I planted them (although I did wait for the garden to be in the shade) so I'll have to keep careful watch over them this week (no rain in the forecast until mid-week, when the tail end of the hurricane might pass through).

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Home again

Just back home from 3 weeks travelling in France and Italy. I was too early in Provence for the lavender (guess I'll have to go back there!) but the wild poppies were in bloom, and the air was fragrant with broom and its forsythia-colored flowers.

Back on the home front, all the spring bulbs finished while I was away: I completely missed the alliums. Pansies growing in the two urns by the front steps had enough time to get long and leggy, and the irises (both bearded and Siberian) -- which I also missed their blooms -- needed a haircut.

About the weeds: ugh. 3 weeks is enough time for weeds to go from "not there" to "taking over the garden." Spent many hours weeding yesterday, and got about half done.

Went to Humber Nurseries today to get some more plants. I gave away my Othello rose, Annabelle Hydrangea, and Weigela early in the spring: they just weren't flowering in the back yard. Picked up a Sutherland Golden Cutleaf Elder (beautiful pale chartreuse leaves, flowers in the summer, and has berries in the fall) and -- I couldn't resist it: a Scentimental rose. We'll see if it flowers.

Also got some vinca, hedera helix ivy, chartreuse sweet potato vines, and petunias, and repotted the two urns. Moved the leggy pansies into the front rose garden bed, and after they get established, I'll cut them back.

Oh -- the seeds I planted for the annual plant sale grew. I had no problems with damping off this time. I grew the seeds in peat pots with a sterile mix. Although some of them were a bit leggy due to less-than-optimal light, I was able to get about 50 plants to the sale.

Happy gardening!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

I can scarce remember...

How that summertime used to make me smile....
But I'm seeing finches, sparrows, and chickadees (and the occasional downy woodpecker) out back, so that's nice.

Soon I will start planting seeds: not just for me, but for a seed sale. ah, I shall have to take care that I don't end up with the usual seed wilt&die: I've been told that a dusting of cinnamon or a spritz or two of chamomile tea can help reduce the dreaded die-off after the plants get their first real leaves.

I'll let you know if it works!