Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sneak Peak of the Toronto Botanical Garden Through the Garden Gate

40 garden communicators got a sneak peak of this year's Through the Garden Gate tour.  We got to see 7 of the 18 beautiful gardens that will be featured June 11th and 12th in The Kingsway.  This charitable event, in support of the Toronto Botanical Gardens, is in its 29th year and continues to be one of my favourites.  Everyone who participates puts on their very best:    There are gardens designed by Toronto's best landscape architects and tended by staff.  There are collector's gardens with cool plants and excellent labelling.  There's marvellous artwork.  There are gardens that may have been designed and built by professionals, but now are taken care of by owners.  There are even gardens where they've installed a whole new lawn.  How's that for hospitality?  I'd say that puts us right up there with The Queen.

So here's a taster of what you'll see on the tour:

Isn't this a fun idea!

Count the garden communicators on their devices, 1, 2, 3......

Old-fashioned and wonderfully perfumed containers.

Truly the secret to a beautiful container in Toronto - a watering system:

Small yard, nicely done.

A very pleasant front yard.

A back yard - this was the garage - it is set up for fun and entertainment.

It's very unusual to have a house so far set back in this 'hood.  It is right on the back lot line.

And John and Kathy Chris' collector's garden:

I had never seen one of these in the flesh.  Isn't it pretty?

Sara Katz (on the bike) & Terrence Eta (below) - garden star and tour leader - talked about Petals and Pedals.  Yet another way you can enjoy this great tour.

Just to let you know - this was merely for the camera - if you participate - you will be riding along side Terrence, not being transported by him!

And then, my favourite category, "If my husband loved me, and he robbed a bank, this is the garden I might have."  The zowie-wowie gardens:

This play area hangs over the Humber River Valley:

The rock garden seen from below - quite magnificent:

And another garden down the street using the Humber River Valley as a backdrop:

Same garden, more elegance....

A very cool pool:

And, then it was all over for the day.

One last look, and a thought - wouldn't this be the best place for a croquet party!

I was so lucky to have the chance to visit these fine gardens - and you can be to, if you decide to meet me "Through the Garden Gate" June 11th & 12th 2016!  Hope to see you then.  #TTGG16

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wildflower Wednesday in the Land of Ice and Snow

Ah yes, spring!  Where the robins wear toques* and skates.  (*A tight knit hat that skiers wear. Canadian pronunciation rhymes with "look".  Say it with me:  "Look, that robin is wearing a toque!") This is a shot of my bird bath this a.m.  

But in spite of the very slow spring and the foolish cold, there are enough bits of life in both my garden and on the Cherry Hill Trail of the Royal Botanical Gardens to warrant participation in Gail's most excellent Wild Flower Wednesday.

Carex grayi blooming under and through the leaves in a section of garden I've yet to tackle.  So many of the Carex family stay green over the winter.  This particular one has very cool seed heads produced mid-summer.

Sanguinaria canadensis Bloodroot one of the first of my spring ephemerals to bloom.

Podophyllum peltatum  or Mayapple - one of the coolest looking natives.  It definitely needs room to spread, but in the perfect spot, it's fun to see how it progresses and shape-shifts.

Trillium grandiflorum, our provincial flower.  Hopefully I'll see some blossoms this weekend when it warms up a bit.

Dicentra culcullaria and not-yet-in bloom Mertensia virginica. 

Asarum canadense just waiting for warmth.  Notice how so many of the woodlanders' leaves look like capes.

And the most valuable Prunerus vertus 'Garant'....will let you know how they work after an unintended stay in the garden for a couple of nights.

Now to the flowers on the trail.  As you can see, they're not obvious yet:

If you walk too quickly, you'll sail by these little treasures.  Look at the closest tree - draw a line toward you between 5 and 6 and you'll find....

Anemone hepatica

In damper sections there are these pretty yellow flowers:

The early stages of Symplocarpus foetidus Skunk Cabbage.

One of many.

In addition to the flowers and beginning of spring, there were little snakes looking for warmth.

And bandits sleeping off the night before.

So I'll leave you with one of the last pictures from the trail, and a little tease of what's to come in the months ahead:

when the flowers and greenery will be everywhere!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

It Has Been a Very Silly Month

We have had more snow this month than we did in January and February.  I know, more than next to nothing isn't much.  But enough already.  I'm tired of building snowmen.

On our morning walk two Sundays ago, heard this hideous honking racket.  Looking up I found these two bad-boys, honking up a storm, looking for action.

For the folks who live below, I can't imagine they're getting much sleep these days.

Back at home, the Hamamelis is earning its stars:

Last Saturday we had an ice and snow squall.  Coming back from Aurora after dinner, the road signs were completely blanked out from the sticky mess.  But in the dark you could see how magical the trees looked.  It was a little disappointing that the wind picked up overnight and knocked the white off - but you can see, still very pretty.

The Hydrangea looking lovely frosted.  

Couldn't have staged this one if I'd tried.

Clematis seeds at their cuddly-buddly best.  This is one of the few vines that is showing new buds.

More snow, and yet the Hamamelis still looks great!

It's at times like this when I'm glad, I didn't get around to doing an early spring-cutback.

Bart looking none-too-impressed with the weather or his outfit.

You really have to be wise when you look for things that are very early.  Who knew the question you had to ask was, "Will it grow tall enough so I can still see it after it snows?"

Ice, snow and bits of colour.

It may be snowy, it may be cold, but the Lake is still beautiful.

And beneath the bits of snow, you can see in spots that some greening-up action is going on.

But then we got another dump of snow.  Found Mr. Robin out in the garden.  Used my telephoto to capture him.  Well, almost.

Too high, better a little lower.  Thank goodness I'm not licensed to carry a weapon.

Third time's the charm.  A good breath hold, press down with right hand lightly, press up with left to steady the camera and Bob's your uncle.  One confounded robin wondering what on earth is going on.

So from my snowy world to yours....hope it's warming up in your garden, and that April shakes its silliness very, very soon.

p.s.  Just because I can - here are the latest photographs of the only performing plant in my garden: