Friday, April 21, 2017

Playing Catch Up

January/February/March - swoosh.  My life for the first three months of the year was:  Chronic migraine/cold, flu, dastardly cough/income tax preparation.  But now it's April, so say goodbye to the foolishness that was the first quarter.  My garden, the weather, and life all seem to be moving in concert -- Hooray for Spring!

I've borrowed other gardens for many of these shots.  Thank you to those gardeners who share their blossoms with the neighbours:

A beautiful patch of "Leaf Drops" a.k.a. Gallants nivalis

Who knew moss could be so beautiful?

"Rock Drops"

Winter aconite - Eranthis hyemalis.  My 10 bulbs are now down to 2.  The main difference is that this neighbour's bed is mulched and left alone - perhaps I need to move mine to an area of neglect rather than to a tended spot by the front door?

April in Oakville wouldn't be complete without a bit of snow.  There when we awoke, gone by 10:00 a.m.

Carmen has three of these wonderful Hellebores.  She and I both noticed that that different varieties really differed on performance this year.

I adore little bulbs....

Back to my own garden - pre-cleanup.   I leave the leaves in the back garden so that Bart can scoot around without completely destroying things.  I will clear out the worst of the scramble, but leave most of the needles and some of the leaves as this area has mainly woodlanders that seem to appreciate a bit of decay.

So nice when something you like starts to spread!

A grocery store primula pretending it likes it in my garden!  How's that for almost 2 blossoms.

OK.  I know, ghastly photo.  But I have very high hopes for this little woody Purple Pillar.  As you may know, in this part of the world Rose of Sharon is especially late to leaf out, but these stems are healthy with lots of buds -- well ahead of others I have in the garden.  Last year the flowers on this new tiny plant were exquisite, so I'm hopeful that all will be well and I will fall in love all over again with its flowers that look exactly like the tag.

I'm not sure what these little white flowers are, but they are pretty.

See what I mean about the Hellebores?  This one had always had done well - but this year it's awful.

And this one:  R.I.P.

Hercules is an inside cat, but every now and again, Kevin props him up next to something green and insists I take his picture.  I'm thinking he's thinking, "This is a travesty.  How do I blow this popsicle stand?"

My neighbour's beautiful magnolia.  Will be inhaling the perfume while I work on my garden today.

Forsythia - the opposite of subtle.

An old stand of tulips in the front garden.

Leucothoe really lovely - some years - for a short period of time.  This year is one of those years, that you think - this is really pretty, I should have more of this.

To the Mother Ship - the Royal Botanical Gardens - now that's a Forsythia!

Look how it turns my hair red!  The powers of this brassy bush:

There were a fair number of people on Easter Monday checking out the Rock Garden. The children were working on breaking their limbs in the unfilled waterways having a grand time.  Lots of people in chairs or with walkers.  So lovely for them and their families to be able to see a whole garden from the sloped pathways together.

The gardens are more daff heavy than tulip now.

This weekend should be great for the cherry trees.

Outside the parking lot there were a few old girls blooming away.

Aren't the blossoms lovely?

And that brings us up-to-date more or less.  So it's bye-bye from the RBG from us, and out into the garden for me!  And another hearty cheer:  "Hooray for Spring!"

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Between the Frozen Raindrops

We've gotten off very easily so far this winter.  While freezing rain is predicted, at the moment the eerie fingernail clatter of frozen pellets against the window has yet to start.  And, who knows, perhaps it won't.  January swished by with warm weather and lots of rain rather than snow.  The driving has been easy - no shovelling, car cleaning, or other winter irritants.  However, I will now exercise my Canadian right of weather-complaining and apologize in advance - it was unbelievably dark.  Very little sunshine and without the snow to reflect the existing light, awfully gloomy.

We got a dusting of snow this w/e - just look at the difference it makes.  What a great walk down to the Lake:

Just so you can see how easy winter has been so far - this photo was taken in November:

Same spot at the beginning of February:

I really had to go on a hunt to find something that looks a little cold and icy.

The second week of January marks one of the biggest trade shows in North America - Landscape Ontario's Congress 2017.  There are acres of trucks, and rocks, and fences, and everything to do with the landscape trade.  In years past, I've travelled hours to get there and home in horrific storms.  This year I travelled for close to an hour, but only because Stephanie Morris and I were happily gabbing away and completely missed several turns.

Got there just in the nick of time to make my GWA meeting and then met up with Stephanie to do the floor of the trade show.  In the New Products section, a little lawn-mowing robot (the little naughty kid in me always wants to pick them up and make a run for it when I see them at work in the neighbourhood):

A resin chair that looks like it already has a wee bit of mildew that I think takes the "make it looks just like real" a bit too far:

Paving products.  I'm always up for more grass.  Hopefully this sort of prefab product will make grassy lawn/drives a little more affordable.

They are getting better and better at wall mounted "containers":

I like the fact that the potted plants fit in so nicely,

and so easy to water - just unplug and fill as shown by this display at Sheridan Nurseries.

What gal wouldn't want a real utility vehicle?!  No doubt Stephanie will have this one on her wish list.

Here's something to look for this spring at your local nursery and Home Depot:

Medallion Plants has teamed with the Canadian Wildlife Federation to grow and sell a pollinator collection.  Each kit contains 4 plants that have alluring qualities for different types of wildlife....
Monarch:  Asclepias tuberosa x2, Salvia sp., Echinacea purpurea
Butterfly Kit:  Asclepias tuberosa x2, Coreopsis verticilata, Liatris spicata
Hummingbird Kit:  Agastache foeniculum, Aquilegia canadensis, Lobelia cardinalis, Penstemon
Bees Kit:  Gaillardia sp., Lavandula angustifolia, Monarda dydima, Perovskia atriplicifolia
Song Bird Kit:  Andropogon gerardii, Echinacea sp., Helianthus, Rudbeckia hirta

Each kit will be about $12-15 (including tax) with $1.00 directed to support the Canadian Wildlife Federation.  I like the fact that most of these plants should be perennial to us and that they've thought about providing plants that set seed for food.  The kits are brightly coloured with good instructions.  And, there's a website for more information.

All the usual suspects were there as well - look at the crush at Kubota:

How much Mary Kay do you have to sell to get one of these?

The following week was the IDS (International Design Show):

I want these for my next garden design.  The poor designer was horrified when I asked if they could be used outside, "They'd get dirty!!!!"  I think they'd be cool.  Disappearing during the day, and glowing in the garden at night.  Perhaps I can coax someone to make an outside model.

You can sort of see the wire that is inside the clear plastic product:

So much more creativity in interior products at the moment.

Even fancy too-cool-for-school designers can't resist crayoning.  Premier Paint's booth.  This is the man with the colouring devices:


With Canada Blooms just a month away, seed catalogues on my coffee table and a bit more light bookending my days, I'm starting to look forward to this upcoming gardening season.  I want to do something to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday - probably a couple of containers with red and white flowers.  What would be your choice for a good Canadian-red flower?