Monday, July 21, 2014

Mid Summer in My Garden (and my good friend's garden)

The weather has been excellent for flowers and for the recovery of so many of the plants damaged this winter.  We've had little tasters of oppressive heat - followed by days of cooler, bright weather.  The rain has come by the bucket, making the garden look verdant and full of colour.  So perhaps not the best year for tomatoes so far, but everything else is coming along well.

Work on the Eastern White is scheduled in a couple weeks - so hopefully I'll be able to get the furniture down onto the patio without fear of being clobbered by bits of dead tree.  As soon as that's complete, I'll arrange for the fence man to do the ice-storm repairs.  So by September, we should be all set and ready to roll for lovely dinners in the garden.

The garden is predominated by the colours of the Hemerocallis.  When they're blooming so beautifully, I'm tempted to visit the garden centres to see what else is out there.  Fortunately after a quick slap to the side of the head, I remember I truly have no room at the moment.  Especially since I'm going to have to completely dismember a bed and have find homes for every little plant before November when the Ash is removed.

One of the reasons I'm so tempted by the newer varieties is this lovely red spider I've featured in the past.  It has grown to a good size in quick order and unlike the older varieties, its leaves don't choke and fall.  One less gardener-clean-up headache.  I really don't like the puddles of dead that some of the other varieties produce.

In bright light:



On a cloudy day:




Mary Todd - a good beefy yellow.  (I forgive it the dead leaves because I like this colour so much.)


A pretty old spider collected from a property that was being given over to road development.


Kwanzo making nice with the Inula.  Other years this plant has been ravaged by little creatures that snack through the centre of the blossom....could it be that they are a casualty of this winter?  Or perhaps they've become a snack themselves?


If I lived in a mansion I'd paint one of the rooms this colour:



More happy Kwanzo.  If you like orange and doubles, and have room for a spreader, this is an excellent choice.  Dependable if you've got the room.


Last week my friend Peggy and I had coffee together.  There had been a ghastly accident on the QEW so Kevin sent me packing extra early so I'd be on time.  You cannot imagine the surprise on Peggy's face when she opened the door in her bathrobe.  Obviously I'd found the perfect alternate route and had no delays at all - which meant I could take my time and check out what was happening in her shady garden:


Lovely combinations of soft colours here - and a good reminder to folks to use things like Lamium from your garden in pots.  It's a good filler, and looks great with the Caladium and Begonia.


Shade gardens give you the perfect opportunity for leaf-mixing.



I think these two hosta look great together.


Nothing like a good bit of birch.


Peggy has a few more Japanese Beetles than I do.  I hope their stomachs were really sore after this big feed.


Back to my garden - the old establishing shot:





























The adorable Eucomis:




It's very rare for a hydrangea to stay blue for long - this is an Easter Grocery Store variety that is doing much better than some of the new named varieties I've planted.


It's a shame I've got it tucked in a  corner - maybe it will become part of the big move this fall?


Hydrangea in a pot - an old left-over-end-of-season from Loblaw - year three - doing really well.  I stick it in the garage over the winter and drag it out into position when the weather warms up.  So far, so good:



 This is in the front corner bed that will be torn apart - old-fashioned Hosta plantaginea:


Who says that plants don't communicate?  I'd say this flower ring is pretty clear...."get out here and split me up!!!!"


Bigger flowers on the H montana machrophylla this year:


Could this be a new butterfly egg?


More Hosta to space-fill.  One of the few to be eaten by insects.


I'm really pleased with this combination in my front porch pots.  Loblaw had a great selection of begonias - can't believe just how well they're doing:



What's that noise - it's a Japanese Beetle pleading for mercy, tapping its little feet on the milkweed leaf.   Too bad there was no one around to help....



The Town of Oakville is asking everyone to treat their trees with TreeAzin.  I had spoken to a scientist friend of mine who could not find any information on its toxicity on woodpeckers - my ash tree was full of them.  Also it is not to be used around water - it's toxic to fish.  We've got numerous underground streams being so close to Lake Ontario.  So my decision was not to treat.  Two independent arborists came to my house about the Ash removal and both said, "I hope you didn't put any of that crap on your trees - it doesn't work."

Throughout Oakville - many of the treated trees are dotted with green.


And, more and more often you can see, that the pesticide isn't working - look at the dead along the left and through the top of the tree.  Clear signs that the Emerald Ash Borer has won the day:



What I'd like to know is why the Town and the Chief Arborist are still pushing this product when it clearly doesn't work?

And a bit of fun from my morning walks.  A very modern house and modern garden at its peak:


The only way this works is with an irrigation system.  What a wonderful luxury if you can afford it:


One of the pots from my back garden.  I really like it when you can no longer see the pot:


The Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' starting to colour:


This is the section of the garden that was construction-central last year - too many up/down shaped plants - but perfect for a long shot and condensed field of focus.


Last shot of the day - more fog on Lake Ontario.  Second occurrence in as many weeks which is very odd.....  The cool wet air is something I'd never expect mid-July in Southern Ontario.  It's almost as if someone has massaged the globe and used their thumb to push someone else's weather to our shores.  I've always liked surprises, but I find these weather changes a little unsettling.  I really do wonder what the next seasons will bring.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Lots to see in the Garden

I'm off to a new design job in a short while and thought it would be great to catch up.  

Kevin and I took a couple trips to the Royal Botanical Gardens.  I was horrified to see how ghastly the entrance to the rose gardens looked.  I know the staff have been hustling over at the Laking Gardens, but this is just so sad - look at these weeds!  Wonder if we might start a Members Weeding Day?


There was a bit of construction equipment around the Kippax wildflower garden.  Hopefully, it's all gone by now.  The beginnings of the art installations were found here and there:


Once inside the rose garden, there were some very pretty roses to see:



And over on the Cherry Hill Trail - we were sung through by the frogs:


My garden is looking really full.  The Persicaria polymorpha in the background is having its best year ever.  The Thermopsis is a little smaller though, perhaps having to grow through the elbows of the Pp.  And, the dreaded Japanese Beetles seem to have taken a real hit this winter (HOOOORAAAAAY).  Can't remember a summer where I haven't had to bring out the Japanese Beetle Bucket of Death.  This may be the first in 10!


An old perennial in my garden - Lysimachia 'Alexander'.  Found a small bit of it suffering in an overcrowded bed last year.  So much happier now.


Wish it were mine, but alas no.  From a lovely garden down by the lake.


On Canada Day July 1st, Kevin and I packed a picnic and headed back to the RBG to the newly polished Laking Garden.  Just wonderful and absolutely empty.


It was almost as if we had our own acreage.


Terrific.


It was just a perfect day.


Reading this post back to check for goofs and realize it's a real whiplash post - we're home again now.  This bed is about 70 feet long or so.  Can't believe it had taken me until July to finally get in and do the edging.  Cut out quite a bit of dead on the bushes.  And am seriously considering changing quite a bit.  Had a beautiful variegated Cornus alternafolia that was to anchor this bed.  It is no higher than my knee after five years.  I've had words with it.  We'll see if it picks up its socks.  You can see it valiantly waving its little leaves beside the lime-coloured Hosta.


Really dry shade in this section.  Should I win the lotto, I'll be adding irrigation.  Until then the plants just have to suffer.  Lost 3 Autumn Ferns (Dryopteris erythrosora).  Hardy perhaps, just not in my garden.


So many of the newer varieties of Hosta handle a bit of sun without blushing.  Will have to find some deep shade on the other side of the house for this sun-crisped plant.


Cute plant alert:  Ecomis 'Aloha Leia' from Garden Import.


So many of the ornamental grasses were killed this year.  Fortunately most of my Carex made it - which is a good thing given the number I've got planted.  (C. 'Ice Dance' on the left putting on its summer growth.)


Hmmmmmm, do you see what I see:


A client of mine lines to squish them when they're busy making more beetles - exclaiming, "Forever together!"

Such a lovely plant:  Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit'.  The buds go through a very queer colour change before they bloom, but once they start to open, everyone stops to check it out.


And the weather continues to be weird.  Such a strange time of year for fog.



And a day later....



Can't remember a year when the Hosta looked so good.


The orthodontist always makes a point of having a good-looking garden.


Teeth straightening buys a lot of pretty baskets - even in the parking lot.


My favourite Hemerocallis  - a red spider from the RBG sale.


Containers for mansions in case you ever need to put one together:


Symphyandra hoffmanii - highly recommended for dry shade, or sun, or just about anywhere.


Monarda 'Grand Mum' is blooming - hard hit from the cold winter - but seems to be coming back better than some of the taller varieties.


And rather than point out how others need to weed, perhaps I might get some of my own weeding done.  The spot where the hemlock came down.  (All neat and tidy again at 3:30 p.m. today!)



 Odd name but very pretty Coreopsis 'Permathread(TM) Red Satin from Loblaw.



 One more of my lily:


And one of the many creatures that have kept me company in the garden over the past few weeks:


Aren't their wings absolutely magical?