Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Speak Of May

"I thought that spring must last forevermore

For I was young and loved,

and it was May."
~ Vera Brittain, May Morning

Oh why does my Prunus triloba ‘Multiplex’ (double flowering plum) have to bloom its head off this year, of all years? For the last two Mays we’ve been here it has put out a half dozen blooms at best. A sweet but paltry offering, and rather fleeting. Worse yet, it was planted by the previous owners up against the driveway, so that whenever we get out of the vehicle we get caught up in it. I have pruned that side of it as naturally looking as possible and have succeeded at keeping it at bay – for now. I was firm that it was coming out this year. So why is every centimetre of it covered in buds this year? Why does it look so beguiling that even my toddler is enchanted with it, touching the buds each time he goes by? Maybe if I take a course in pruning I can keep it off the driveway and keep it balanced looking. In the meantime, the next week or two promises a blush of enchantment that will not, I repeat, will not, influence or woo me in any way. Not at all. I mean, who likes pink frothy spring blooms anyway? Just in case, though, tell me there's a way to prune this charmer and keep it looking balanced. I mean, my job as resident gardener of this forgotten garden is all about making things work, right?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Little Side Project

Yes, I've got a little something on the side. ;-)

It's the path between the house and fence as you enter through the garden gate. On the left is the fence (that we put in two years ago) so all plantings on that side will be in northfacing shade. The right side is the house with a man door from the garage and a very ugly white cement block chimney that narrows the path for a few feet. Last year, when we had the landscapers come in to tear up sidewalks, remove gravel and bring in topsoil and sod, we cleared the cement paving stone sidewalk out of there, took out the monoculture of lily of the valley (a plant that needs room to grow, not a tight space like this) that competed with the neighbour's goutweed that was going rogue across borders. We put in topsoil, compost, bark mulch and a half dozen Woolly Thyme. After that, we moved on to begin planning how we would address some of the other spaces.

[photos taken before giant snow fall of May 4]

This year I am adding additional plantings to this area to give it a welcoming woodland feel to suit its dappled light location. I have realized that the shady parts aren't as shady as I originally thought and the sunny, not quite as sunny. The woolly thyme we planted last year made it through the winter with no dieback and looks very happy. To add to the thyme, I needed to go shopping. Yes! My first of the year actual shopping adventure at a garden centre. Tres fun! First, I picked up another half dozen Woolly Thyme to add along the centre of the path. It really does hold up well to foot - and wheelbarrow - traffic.

Then I got a few little groundcovers rated for moderate foot traffic for off to the sides.

And some adorable little sweeties for closer to the fence and house

And, finally, some Aquilegia "Biedermeirer' for height.

It was the 50th birthday celebration at the garden centre so part of the goodie bag for everyone was a 'Tumbler' tomato plant. My little son is going to love this!

And, finally, for another project area I got this Clematis macropetala 'Lagoon'. It is hardy with a double flowered blue bell-shaped flower. However, now I am thinking of putting on the white brick south facing chimney. Does anyone have any experience with this clematis? I appreciate any info you may have.

Now, just as soon as the 'Great snowstorm' of May melts away, I will get to dig in and plant!