Monday, April 6, 2009

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Oh for goodness sakes. The weather networks are full of apocalyptic forecasts for snow in the Greater Toronto Area and parts east and west to get - almost 2cm of snow!!! Just 4 months ago we were regaling our fellow bloggers with our bravery in the face of beardsicles, frozen flesh and northern tires that would square off over night. What happened to our backbone? The poor folks in the middle of North America are contending with flooding that looks like they've sprouted the sixth Great Lake almost overnight, and we're whining about 2cm of snow? Which hasn't started yet, so I'll be able to rush to the grocery store to stock up on powdered milk and canned goods in case we're stuck in for the next couple of weeks.

However, the folks about 40 k north of us will be getting 25cm - for any time of the year, and especially just before Easter seems just too late in the season.

Yesterday I got out to do some a little spring cleaning - still a little on the early side - you should have seen the dents my knees were leaving in the soft, just barely thawed, lawn! However, it really cheered me to see all the stuff that had been blanketed by the snow sending up new little leaves and stems.

It won't be long until I can fill my blog with shots from my garden, but until then - here are more of my favourite plants for 2008:

Favourite Plants for July 2008

Pavlova Dark Blue Aster
Got these seeds from Veseys in 2007 - this was a volunteer from the previous year and I think it was better than the first crop. They call this variety a 'Tiger Paw' type. As you can see, it isn't really blue, but I wouldn't hold that against it. Grows about 40 cm (18") and blooms from July to the end of the summer.
Echinops ritro
It really is blue. It's fun to watch open. The little creatures like it. It gets just a little bigger every year. And, I like to take its photo.

Hibiscus 'Carolina Mixed'

I have 5 of these happy plants that I started from Aimers seed in 2006. The flowers are completely over-the-top ridiculous - the buds are big and rude looking - and the spent blossoms look like old hankies. They grow about a meter high and wide. They start very late in the season after everything else has started to grow.

Phlox 'David'

I've had David for about 10 years. And, just as advertised, there's been no disease, mildew - only big white scented blossoms.


This old girl was really smacked by hail in early July. Fortunately the buds were small so they weren't ripped apart the way the lovely variegated leaves were. The petals make me think of ladies dancing. The scent is magical. It is currently residing in the basement looking pathetic - no leaves and pruny looking stems. I've moved it in and out 4 times - fingers crossed for year 5.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'

This plant was beyond boring in years 1-3. Finally it's doing its lime-light thing and I'm smitten. Blooms on 1st and 2nd year wood. It is about 150 cm x 100 cm (5 x 3feet)


A native that takes quite a bit of shade and dry, this patch just gets better every year. The seed heads look great, but never have had a problem with self seeding. 125 cm x 125cm 4x4 ft.

Agastache 'Apache Sunset'

I'm busted, I'll grow anything the colour of Baby Aspirin. Grown from seed, these little 1ft high/wide plants have a lovely scent, bluish leaves and most importantly are a colour you don't commonly see in the garden.


This is herb equivalent of the cold Brussels Sprout/Lima Bean casserole - even the insects don't like it. But look at how cool the leaves are! These photos were taken after the hail storm - even the hail avoided it. I let it go to seed, am hopeful that it will come back next year in the same spot. It was a volunteer from a previous year's planting.


Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Still way too early for me to get out there and clean up. But I'm a procrastinator.

We're expecting the same snow you are tonight. At least it won't be here long. The cold, freezing rain for the rest of the week should flush it all away.

Outside In said...

We already got slammed with snow last night. But you have such beautiful flowers from last year and it will be
nice to see your garden photos for this year.

titania said...

Barbara, what is a little more snow! when you can look forward to all the beauties growing SOON. Your pictures are fantastic such selectable, pleasing plants. Even "Le peur" has not dampened your enthusiastic spirit and humour. I wish you a spring with lots of sunshine, gentle rain to let those beauties grow.

Glädjekällan said...

Here the Spring has arrived and I have cleand up the garden and my dear husband has taken away 7 wheelbarrows of compost.
Compost that I would love to take care of but we don't have room. We do have take care of the same amount.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Well, under the circumstances, you have a good point there! I do hope you don't get much though...and that spring comes to you very soon! Seeing your photos of your flowers tells me I will be visiting you more regularly now that bloom time is almost here! You have some gorgeous ones there and I'm sure you must have zillions I'll be looking out for all of your gorgeous posts to come! (Don't worry if your posts aren't all was just a figure of speech:-)_

Barbarapc said...

Jim - procratination is a good thing when the weather is like this. Just a dusting when we woke up, but windchill of -12. Looking forward to this w/e when we both should be getting some spring-like weather.
Cathy - I'm living by my light table and dreaming of flowers.
Titania - so true. This last blast of winter will make us especially greatful for all that spring brings.
G - so jealous of your composting riches - am starting a vegetable garden this year and will have to truck mine in to start - there really is nothing better.
Jan - thanks for stopping by - like nothing better than sharing photos and tales with visitors. This week is book-keeping and income tax pre-prep - you can't imagine how much I'm looking forward to the next few weeks of enjoying/working in and photographing my garden to share!

Gail said...

Hi Barbara! I love your beautiful flowers..I just brought home a veronicastrum from a wildflower fair! Good news about the growing conditions...I can give it dry shade! I am attempting to grow heavy clay soil might do it in! I love your summer flowers...keep 'em coming but I also want to know what is happening in the kitchen and oven situation...Or did I miss that!

There is plenty of whining and gnashing of teeth here in Middle Tennessee about the late frosts we are having! Our trees are leafed out and our flowers are blooming! Two years ago spring was wiped out and then we had a drought all summer. It was devastating and we are all nervous! Especially growers.

Barbarapc said...

Gail -
Thanks. Took mine 2 years to really catch on - then it was off to the races. My girlfriend Susan has hers in clay soil - I've got sand and think hers looks much beefier than mine and shows a bit more pink in the flowers. The agastaches can be a bit short-lived, but I'm always willing to try a new one. Hope you're lucky with yours.

Alas, we are still waiting for Everald who has ordered the part, given us his cell # and promises to call us by Wednesday. Kevin is on it. It really doesn't look like I'll be making hotcross buns this Easter.

Late frosts can cause such havoc not only to the early buds and leaves, but to the bugs as well - fingers crossed for you and everyone in the green industry! B.

Frances said...

Wahoo Barbara, so much to comment on here! I was thrilled to see Veronicastrum, newly planted this year after seeing it listed in Piet Oudolf's book. It is wonderful. Also the Echinops is so cool, that one died immediately here, too hot probably. David is great, it divides easily to make more of an impact with a mass planting too. But the line about the baby aspirin made me guffaw out loud. I love that color too, but never thought of that analogy! You are brilliant! :-)

Kim and Victoria said...

Very nice list! I'd love that aster also!

Barbarapc said...

Frances, Thought of doing cuttings with David, but not dividing - thanks for the suggestion! After reading any of Piet Oudolf's books, I always start dreaming of owning acreage and having fields and swaths of plants rather than onzies and threezies. My first Baby Aspirin plant was a biennial called Papaver triniifolium - pyramidal form and bloomed all season. Think Chiltern have seed.
Kim & Victoria - thanks - fingers crossed that it comes back again this year!