Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Good Cheer in the Garden

Well, we are off this coming weekend on holidays for a bit so I wanted to leave you with best wishes for your gardens and a glimpse of my cheeriest plant.

This Dicentra 'Candy Hearts' (Fern-leaf Bleedingheart) is a just a shot of good cheer in my garden. It is another one of my plants that has made it through the upheavals of our landscaping endeavours and yet it is thriving.

I just love its neverending offerings of cheerful, candy-coloured blooms. We tucked it into a woodsy spot by a cedar and, although the spot can be a bit dry, it has rich soil and dappled light, so with a little additional water it may continue to bloom into autumn.

Happy gardening, and here's hoping August brings you the sunshine, rain, heat or cooling breeze that your garden needs to make everything just right!

"When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky” ~ Buddha

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sweet Reminder

It’s nice to find a plant that brings back childhood memories. My mom used to keep one of these over the winter in our livingroom bay window. In the summer she would put it out on the front step. She called it a “Parlour Maple” and hers was a pinkish-coral colour. I always thought it was so pretty.

So I was delighted to see this Abutilon ‘Chinese Lantern’ White and recognize it as the same plant. This one is grown on a graft, standard style, as a patio plant and so I have it in a pot by my back door.

The bees love it and it gets a lovely hint of blush around the edges. It makes me wish my mom was around to see some of the choices in plants out there today. She would be amazed.

I think she would more amazed to find out how much I have fallen in love with gardening.

Thanks, Mom, for passing that gift on.

It's just a trial friendship, really

It all started eight years ago when I was walking with Hubby in the gorgeous Victoria BC when we were still newlyweds. I spied a silvery lavender rose in someone’s fenced front yard and felt my breathe intake sharply. I was dazzled. Hubby finally pried me away from their gate, but the rose haunted me ever since.

A few weeks ago at the nursery I saw the hybrid tea, the Rosa 'Sterling Silver'. My heart raced, “This might be it!” it cried out. So in a blur I found myself carrying it out to the car.

Of course, we have had the strangest summer, with storms threatening us on a regular basis, but little actual rain (excepting the odd wild storm). That all means that a week after I got this rose, my first ever hybrid tea, and planted it in an urn with some moss and trailing plants - determined I wouldn’t get attached to it and would treat it as an annual!- it got powdery mildew – which I am still battling. But still, it was elegant with long arching canes and clusters of beautifully formed promising buds.

So I babied it, moving it around to find the very sunniest spot in the garden and plucking off any leaves that looked even a little limp.

And now it has gone and bloomed on me. When I was so trying not to like it very much. Darn you Miss Sterling Silver, I already have a two-year-old son and two cats to pamper – nevermind a Hubby who needs care and feeding as well. You will have to earn your keep you know. And I don’t expect to see you next year. That is, unless of course, you want to come back…then, um, maybe we could work something out…

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Two Flowers that said Thank You

A project I have been working on at work came to fruition on Friday. It involved five months of negotiations with six partners with varying agendas.

It took all the professionalism I had to steer this one through. Sometimes, I couldn’t sleep at night, worrying that it would fall apart.

After a few scary bumps late in the road it came together. All the important people were pleased.

I was exhausted in my office yesterday afternoon. Almost in a daze.

My boss slipped out and came back with this floral arrangement to say “thank you”.

It was so thoughtful. And I think the flowers are sweet, too.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

"And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"

That thrilling line from Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” is the most festive declaration ever and it is my credo for my long-awaited reward for revamping a neglected garden – the chance to plant anew.

Remember my darling Heuchera ‘Plum Royale’ that I bought before I had a garden, then froze it, then saved it? Well, it is safely tucked in the ground and has some new neighbours.

Yes, we laboured over selecting trees and shrubs for this bed – and there are more decisions yet to be made there. However, I have started planting one skinny, tapering end of the bed that I know will not be having any more major structural plant material additions.

So I put my little darling, the plant I promised a garden to, in a spot I can see out my kitchen window beside a selection that Hubby picked out. His plant choice was the Athyrium Otophorum (Eared Lady Fern). The tag says it is a “smaller, more compact fern with dramatic foliage…wine red fiddleheads…fronds unfurl to silvery blue-green, accented with maroon-purple stems.”

Sounds dramatic, hey? Well, it wasn’t really. When Hubby showed it to me at the nursery in the midday sun; quite frankly, it looked rather washed out and a tad sickly in colour.

What a difference the shade makes. Particularly the dappled evening light. It pops!

So we have a gorgeous plummy plant with shiny pewter highlights on the leaves and a glowing frond dancer.

Watching over them in the background is the lovely Astible x arendsii ‘Bridal Veil’.

I think my new little garden is starting to grow!

If, like me, you enjoy seeing a gorgeous example of just how beautiful an addition to your garden the Heuchera can be, check out the very talented Northern Shade's post here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

To Beckon You into the Garden

We planted some Foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea 'Foxy') along the side of the house leading from the front of the house to the garden gate. It is a sheltered, south-facing location in dappled light from a neighbour’s nearby spruce tree.

This was another neglected garden site, with just a lonely cedar; probably a Thuja occidentalis ‘Holmstrup’, and the ubiquitous gravel that was everywhere. There was a narrow concrete sidewalk very close to the house that was bordered in rubber edging at sharp right angles which scraped my ankles more than once as I turned the corner. We took out all that gravel, concrete and rubber, trimmed the cedar and gave it a good soaking and feeding, amended the soil with generous helpings of compost and peat moss and then added a thick layer of bark mulch.

We are going to say good-bye to the right angles there and make a curvy walkway lined in stones and woodland plants, and probably a hydrangea or two, to guide visitors to our garden.

The ‘Foxy’ foxglove is a biennial that actually blooms the first season. This foxglove is hardy to USDA Zone 4a so whether it will set seedlings here will be seen next year. It really brightens up this spot and the bees are scrambling over each other to get to it. Of course, I also hear the fairie folk rather like it as well.