Thursday, September 18, 2014

It's Almost Autumn

The grass is soaking wet in the morning.  Beds that were full of colour are oozing green from their leaves.  Seed heads have replaced flowers.  We are well and truly almost done for the year.  And, it continues to be a year of surprises.  I was absolutely delighted to discover that this Hibiscus liked the cold fierce winter.  A number of years ago, I'd collected some seed from a bed that was being pulled apart outside an attraction in Nashville.  The germination was pretty good and for a couple of years I had plants - sadly, an especially cold and icy winter did them in.  This past winter was worse, but it was exceptionality snowy - so a reminder to myself when I'm doing time with the shovel that this is a good thing for my plants (and my waist line).

Hydrangeas have been fabulous.  This is a fairly new planting and look how well they've done.

Another morning walk-home-garden.  Blues, pinks and purples really are so beautiful together.

Now this is a plant that I generally kill in pretty short order every season.  Not only did this Loblaw trial plant called 'Petticoat Blue Star' survive - it thrived.  Stunning large blossoms all summer.

The blossoms of Hosta plantaginea really do trumpet the end of summer.

Without the bedding Impatiens to lean on, many of the Town of Oakville display beds have been given over to begonias.  The plant developers have done a great job improving both the plant and flower size.

We seem to have had more sunny days this fall than we had all summer.  I'm trying to absorb as much Vitamin D as I can before the season ends.

Here's a photo of 'Petticoat Blue Star' with Rex Begonia 'Shadow King Cool White'.  Considering how hard this pot has been whacked in rain-storms, I'm pleased with how it has stood up.

If you really squint you can make out Toronto way in the distance.

47 days until the Ash is removed.  Mr. Red Tail Hawk is going to have to find a new perch - much to the delight of other creatures he's been terrorizing.

Just wanted to give you an idea of how close it is to the house and why we're going to need a crane to remove it.

Makes me sad every time I look at it.

And on a completely different topic - a reminder to myself:  1.  It isn't always the fault of technology 2.  Computers don't just fail on their own, and 3.  Software isn't always to blame.  

I was having trouble with my internet yesterday.  I called Cogeco and found out that there were outages in several cities.  I assumed my problem was related to their overall problem.  When it didn't clear up, I called to find out what gives.  A very nice man told me to reconnect everything and connect it up again.  Don't know why that always makes me a bit grumpy, but it does.  Anyway when I spun the box around to reconnect it, look what I found.  Yes, those are teeth marks care of our little cat Hercules, who will now be completely banned from Kevin's office.  No, I didn't tell the nice man on the phone.  Anyone ever heard of a chew stick for cats?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Wrap Up & September Begins

Bit of a hodgepodge this evening.  It's so hard to believe that it's September.  We almost got to the end of summer without any 30C+ weather.  And without all the hot weather to whinge about, well I'm finding it difficult to transition to the next season.  The leaves are starting to change.  Oh my.  And sadly the 100+ year old Ash that is on the way out in November due to the Emerald Ash Borer is not showing any yellow colour - the leaves have simply turned brown and are falling.  

The annual grasses are not quite as big, but certainly just as attractive.

It has been a stellar year for Sedum  of all things.  This patch looks like Broccoli in the witness protection program.

Excellent year for phlox - no mildew - much bigger and beefier than other years.

Other years I've cut this down - but not this summer - looks like it's playing Twister.

Hydrangea 'Limelight' in the centre.  Normally Eupatorium 'Gateway' (pink to the left) would be equal in height - although I think I prefer it this year.

Not being as tall, it's had to lean on some of its neighbours.

OK.  Downtown Oakville.  Morning walk.  Silly dog.  Had I had my brains working, I would have taken a combination shot of the owner with the dog - they both had the same colour fur/hair.  I kid you not.

Pretty pinks with blue.

Three pots here.  One dog.  But just look at the growth.  Really pleased with how well they've done.

I had lost quite a few perennials from this bed.  You really would be hard pressed to say where they would have been, everything else has done so well with the rain and cooler weather.

One of my end-of-the-summer flowers.

Kevin and I got to the Exhibition - this was one of the sand sculptures:

Took a selfie just as we were leaving.  Not so good.

A gentleman was giggling watching us in our endeavours to capture ourselves and offered to take our picture.....

The Lake has been a lot less stinky this year - hopefully cleaner.  Certainly clearer with less pesticides and herbicides being used.  Even saw several groups swimming.  Keep those teeth together.

Another end-of season flower.

Our morning progress being followed by neighbourhood dog Sisi.

Kevin and I got away for our anniversary - 34 years - to the Keefer Mansion Inn in Thorold.  Great new chef - delicious meals and wonderful service - very relaxing.  And while you sit at lunch if you look off in the distance you can see the ships passing and taking the step up (or down) 40 feet in the seventh lock between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie in the Welland canal - built to avoid Niagara Falls.

Back to our morning walk by the hospital that will be coming down next year.   Will really miss Jacques' great gardens that he's put together over the years.

This was a hanging basket that I took apart and shoved into this pot at the beginning of the summer.  It's been a welcome delight.

The showy Rex begonias are starting to send out blossoms - another sign that summer is coming to an end.

The best year ever for Hemerocallis:

And for Rose of Sharon - Blue Chiffon.

Some of Jacques' planters at the hospital.

and a few neighbourhood homes & gardens to finish off from my walk this a.m.

An English style garden:

They face the Lake - love all the yellow.

Over the last 5 years or so several different landscapers/designers have had their way with this property - this is the latest and certainly the most colourful.

So as you can see, summer is certainly coming to an end - but with a little bit of luck the gardening season will continue well into the next couple of months.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday from the Wilds of Stony Lake

Kevin, Bart and I took a vacation to Stony Lake, Ontario two weeks ago visiting my girlfriend Joanne at her home and cottage.  The time away from Oakville was great.  The weather - well, it was consistent with the rest of the summer.   It was cool - one morning 8C.  And, it was wet.  Fortunately the cottage was heated and there's lots to do in the towns of the Kawarthas during the day.

The family property consists of a lovely beach and acres of woodland to explore.  While it wasn't beach weather, there was no reason for not being able to mine the woods for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday.  So with umbrella in hand and dogs to help, off I went.

Here is a woodland sunflower -  Helianthus divaricatus.  There's nothing like a bit of yellow to brighten a dark shaded space.

Often I find flowers I don't know the name of, but have seen before - this was a brand new discovery for me.

You can see just how tall it is based on my friend Mickey.

I was careful not to show too much interest in any one plant, lest he yank it up by the roots and spit it out at my feet.

After much digging on the net, I've discovered that it is a Prenanthes alba or Rattlesnake Root.  The leaves are highly variable - some smooth - others lobed.   The heights differ as well - from about 1/2 a meter to close to 2.

You can just barely see the beginning of Fall Asters at Mickey's feet - and if I may point out - lots of Poison Ivy.

Just a little too close to the Prunella vulgaris - one more second pause with my camera, and he'll make sure we don't leave without it.

Too late for these blossoms, but what pretty Thalictrum leaves.

 You can see little dots of Helianthus colonizing the open area.

There were a few trees that had started to turn red.  I don't even want to go there just yet, seems we've hardly had summer, but you can see the ferns are starting to change to yellow.

And one more shot of my cottage buddy Mickey.  

Some very sad news.  I couldn't believe this, but this morning just as I was loading the photos into my blog, I heard from Joanne.  Her dear old Mickey had died.  He'd had seizures for a while.  Apparently last evening was a tough one and she had planned to get him to the vet this morning as soon as she could, but he passed away.  Joanne has buried him with dogs Sam, Brandy, Kelsey, Eli and Rocky the cat.  He was such a social guy, no doubt he'll enjoy keeping his old pals company.  

As my Kevin said, "He lived in paradise.  He was one lucky dog."  We'll all miss his happy-go-lucky nature and his ability to fix you with those eyes so you'd swear he knew exactly what you were thinking.  May his next journey be as wonderful as his time on earth.