Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Creeps in Slowly

The ground is continuing to thaw. Not quite as cementy underfoot when I take my morning peak and poke to see what might be coming up. And this morning, the air smelled like things were starting to grow.
My repairman George returned to do more tests on the dead ovens. This time he brought tools that were more closely associated with the task he had come to perform. No hangers with bendy bits, but another electronic control panel. He is now more certain than he was before as to what part he needs to order. As a side note, he isn't really my personal repairman, but, I've just started to feel a sort of kinship knowing that he'll probably be back several times before I can make those brownies I crave so badly.

Less moss on the newer seedlings - seems as if it was a temperature problem - too cold in the basement. However, the germination still isn't quite where I want it, so I'll move stuff about today. Thinking I'll take some of the tropical bulbs off the heating cable and replace them with seeding pots.
Continuing on with my Favourite Plants for 2008 based on my photo record here is the best of the lovely month of June:

Favourite Plants for June 2008

Hydrangea heteromalla

This is the first hydrangea I ever grew from seed and in June of 2008 (believe I started it in 2002/3) it bloomed. I do have prettier hydrangeas, but this is a case of mother's pride. It has been a brave little plant having had to be moved 3 times from it's final pot. Recovered well each time and seems to be a hydrangea that doesn't need much water. Growing in fertile soil - sandy base. Looking forward to seeing what it does for me this year.

Calamintha grandiflora 'Variegata'

Have had this plant for 3 years. Originally from a Quebec nursery - carried it home on the train and stuck it in the shade, in the ground, in this pot. From time to time it sends out a dark green shoot that I'll yank off. It blooms beautifully for about a month, and then the rest of the time, it just has these nice spotty leaves. Not as vigorous as other mints that climb out of prison and do their worst all over the garden - a really good little 30cm (1') plant.

Pinellia tripartita

This is a plain vanilla pinellia (again from seed). Growing in dry shade, this little aroid originates from Asia. It took about 4 years for it to achieve this size. It is very slow to emerge in the spring. This is the first year it was photo-worthy.

Athyrium 'Ghost'

Dependable, blendable, memorable. A lovely shade-loving fern that handles dry sandy soil and looks lovely all summer long.

Thermopsis caroliniana

A biggish perennial (175cm 5+ feet), it dependably blooms and has no insect damage whatsoever. This year with the backdrop of the Persicaria polymorpha - I thought it looked quite handsome.

Clematis x durandii

Here is Clematis x durandii doing what it does best - mingling with a bushy plant - my Persicaria polymorpha. The internodes are very long on this clematis - so it looks very sparse between the party of its leaves and flowers and it's skinny stems. I had planned for it to be a vision of purple/blue with my lovely yellow Elizabeth magnolia - however, Liz fizzed in a matter of 3 years and so Durandii just scrambled along the ground and made friends with one of my all time favourite plants - Persicaria polymorpha (seeing how many times I can mention this plant in one post....think that's 3). C. durandii blooms for at least 6-8 weeks and requires nothing more than a friend to lean on.

Deutsia 'Chardonnay Pearls'

I am not a fan of Deutsia generally - there's that 48 hour period when I do love them when they are big and blousy and blooming. However, this all comes to an abrupt end and they become big and green and a giant waste of space. However, this Deutsia is chartreuse, and its little blossoms look like wee pearls before they open. It keeps its good leaf colour all summer long and has the manners to stay nice and small.

Japanese Tree Peonies

I know, the blossoms don't last long, but I don't care - they are beautiful. Heard Stephanie Cohen offer this advice, "Buy the most expensive one you can afford - because it will last longer than you do!" This $10.00 White Rose unnamed treasure enchants me every year. Chances are I would have had more blossoms sooner if I'd spent more money, but at the time $10.00 was all I had.

Hosta 'Pineapple Upside Down Cake'

A great piece of punctuation in the garden - love those pointy leaves. Slugs were bad last year, but this fine little specimen did just fine. It is a lovely front-of-bed hosta.

Anemone virginiana

Also called Thimbleweed because of its seedheads. A dainty - slightly overfertile - woodlander. Excels at dry shade.

Echium russicum

A relative of our very common blue viper's bugloss. Bought one plant, and then ordered a seed package. I enjoy their twisting spirals and how they changed colour throughout the month. My soil is probably too fertile in this part of the garden - but here they'll stay as they are front and centre in my early a.m. coffee drinking window. Don't know how perennial they'll be for me, but now that I know how easy they are from seed, I know I'll be planting more to replace any that don't make it.


Cathy said...

Such a nice collection of plants, love the Japanese Anemone.

Frances said...

Hi Barbara, thanks for this display. I love looking at previous year's photos until the real thing comes along too. That echium is divine, and easy from seed you say? I have had better luck with seeds using the heat mat and lights and am ready to tackle more. This will go on the list for next year. The word verification is monster, I am not making this up.
I almost forgot, the bulbs are planted in pots and kept outdoors here during the winter along the wall. You might need to find a slightly warmer but still exposed to freezing spot. I have seen some people bury the pots in straw or hay in a cold frame.

simon tinks davis said...

Hi Barbara, Loved all the June flowers photos especially the Japanese tree peony..fabulous!!

Teza said...

June is wonderful in your garden and I am happy to see so many familiar plants in your garden:

Pinellia is bewitching - I have the purple version - the nephews call them Cobra heads

I too have a love/hate relationship with Deutzia, but fell hard for Miss Chardonnay Pearls.... chartreuse and white, a great colour combo for sure!

Hoping we both see warmer weather for the weekend and I have neglected my Audobon Graden Journal entry section for far too long! Have a great weekend!

Barbarapc said...

Cathy - hard to believe looking in the garden today - that all those little plants are there and waiting. Sun, warmer & rain - it won't be long til I see them again.
Frances, I'm hanging on my finger nails until the real deal comes along - thank goodness for the photos. Just half a day on the heating cables and the little pots seem to be coming along much better. I've got a spot for the pots under a porch - we used to use it for wood, but now that we're getting so much snow the door can't be opened in the winter - might work perfectly. Thanks for that.
Simon - it is wonderful - wish I had a garden that was large enough for more of them.
Teza, thanks for that. More of days like today, and we'll be back in action in the garden - can hardly wait!

JulenaJo said...

Barbara, thanks for visiting my blog and recommending Pickering Nurseries. It prompted me to come here and see your blog and I'm so glad I did. What stunning photos! We are so close and yet so far from having them in the garden again. After a taste of warmer weather we're to get another bit of snow this weekend. I hope the weatherman is wrong, wrong, wrong!

easygardener said...

Great photos - reminding you of what is to come after the great thaw!
Love the Athyrium.I've got the common one but Ghost looks very special.

Barbarapc said...

JulenaJo - thanks for your kind comments. Hope that the weatherman is indeed wrong, wrong, wrong - I think we've earned our spring by now.
E.G. It won't be long now & yes, if you can get your hands on 'Ghost' it has been wonderful right out of the pot 5 years ago, and continues to improve yearly.

Gail said...

Beautiful flower photos Barbara~~You grew a hydrangea from seed...I am bowled over! I can throw seed in the garden (and do) but never would I think to plant a shrub from seed....I hope it starts warming up soon for you. gail

Peggy said...

Having photos of the plants is handy to remind you of how the garden will look and how big/small something was and how colourful.You have a great summer to look forward to something we can all forget when faced with wind and rain and waterlogged earth!

Barbarapc said...

Gail, I'd seen a fragrant hydrangea outside Laval University's herbacetum - figured my only chance to have one was by starting one by seed - hydrangeas seem to be easier than many of the other shrubs I've tried. Got 5 to grow - and have 4 around the garden - it was very easy - and the critters seemed to stay away from them which was a miracle.
Peggy, and today, I'm going to start to look at my July photos - it's just to dreary to look out the window.

Kathleen said...

I found my way here from Faire Garden and am so glad. I adore that echium. I bought one last year but could only afford one. I should consider seeds too.

Veronica Sliva said...

Hi Barbara,
I loved your photo of Brugmansia. My second last blog post was on that very plant (see And yes, it's cold and we have snow on the ground in Whitby too.