21 May 2016

Pluto Sighting!!!!

I have always wanted to grow more Cypripedium, but after losing more than one of our native C.reginae, I was somewhat gun shy! And then I read about Frosch Cypripedium out of Germany, and decided that I would give it another go. I'm lucky enough to be close to Lost Horizons, the area's premiere woodland garden nursery, and knew that Larry stocked these hardier hybrid crosses. A trip last Fall netted me Cypripedium Phillip and Pluto.

I was so thrilled to see both had over wintered, and when each plant sent up between three and five eyes this Spring, I was elated! In the last three weeks, Pluto has continued to grow and swell with anticipation. When I arrived home from work tonight I noticed that one of his flowers was completely opened. The beauty of his sumptuous slipper brought me to my knees! I can hardly wait for the other two buds to open...... and then there is Phillip whose flower buds remain firmly enshrouded in his magnificent pleated foliage. The coming weeks are definitely going to be exciting around here!

9 May 2016

Spring Comes Out of Rehab!

Spring for most Ontario gardeners felt like a stint in rehab. I seriously think April was intoxicated for most of the month, and it is only now, the second week in May, that many of my treasured 'kids' have decided its worth doing more than giving me a quick peek before disappearing again!

Knitting took up most of the winter, and it continues to maintain a stranglehold on my free time, but having said such, work at the nursery has been stealthily intensifying, what with Mother's Day this past weekend, and the two four weekend just around the corner. I knew if I did not take the proper time to get out into the garden, it would be June and I would be kicking myself right royally!

I spent a rather exorbitant amount of money last Fall on the small memorial garden that resides beneath my Metasequoia 'Ogon.' I wanted more Meconopsis, and I had also fallen really hard for the genus Cypripedium. Anyone familiar with either or both will realize that if there are a pair of garden Divas lurking in the shade, these two would easily top the list. I went with 'Phillip' and 'Pluto' with the Cypripedium species, and I am thrilled to report that there will be at least five stems in each clump this year. I am so excited.  Forgive the nasty plastic garden fencing, but I do not want either of these pristine treasures to fall victim to a weed-whacker or lawn mower tire! Happened once before with the Meconopsis. Heartbreak!

Cypripedium 'Phillip'

 One of my favourite Asian Arisaema species is showing signs of having clumped substantially over the winter. I adore the deep purple near black spathe of A.thunbergii var. Urashima, which is also known as the 'Dominatrix' lily. Always a conversation piece in the border.

I adore Disporum, also known as 'fairy bells' and was stoked to see that my Disporum uniform [DHC970431] has tried its size over the relatively mild winter that we were graced with. I had transplanted some to the stock bed at the nursery and was worried that it would sulk, but instead it has given me enough to share with gardening friends! Yay~! And then there are my resident Epimedium. How does one not have a dozen of these delicate gems in their woodland gardens! Get with the picture people!

I literally had to do a double take when I noticed that my resident Cersis canadensis had flower buds this year! While I grow it more for the fantabulous heart shaped foliage, many folks love the pink flowers that can sometimes smother its branches...... as it is doing for me this year. Perhaps this is the sign I have been looking for that this will be a smashingly good year in the garden. Fingers crossed. We can hope!

17 Feb 2016

A Winter Sideline

As a Gemini, I tend to fly through life very much like a hummingbird, alighting here and there, willy nilly, resting only until something shiny catches my eye. I have only recently been reminded that, scatter-brained as I can sometimes be, I do not like having my daily routine upset in any way. Imagine my chagrin come December every year when business at the nursery slows until February! I thought long walks in the deliciously cold -30C, snowy weather would help to create a somewhat false sense of routine, my walking the trail as though going to work and all! Not so much. Winter still hasn't set in, and three weeks outside of March 1st, it doesn't look like we'll be seeing much of Jack Frost. What is a guy to do with himself?

Take up knitting of course! I learned how to roll a skein into a ball at about the same time that my Grandmother initiated me into the seductive world of gardening, and gradually I learned what would be considered the very basics. I can knit, purl, decrease and cast off. I never learned the four needle in-the-round, so have been somewhat limited to what I am comfortable with.

The world has come a long way in the last forty odd years when it comes to yarn! I learned on acrylic - that was Grandmother's stand-by for toques and mittens, and lets be honest, she would likely rap my knuckles with her plastic needles if she knew I spent close to $200 for thirteen skeins of yarn and two new pair of needles. But look at the colours!

Of course its been a while since I tried my hand at anything - I knit a scarf for my Mom five years ago, and it was at that time that I discovered the world of Noro yarns. Sweet baby Jesus is all I will say. With blends ranging from silk and cotton to mohair and wool, this ain't your Woolworth $2.99 skein. I am head over heels for their Silk Garden line, and now that I have a nearby enabler, I am sure I will be using my favourite yarn time and again. The top two photos are of a yarn that I found at a yarn outlet in Listowel. Its called Khaki Blues and is part of the Union line by Estelle. I have worn Merino wool socks before, but up until last week had never tried knitting with it. Truth be known I am a cotton guy myself, but I could not resist the colour schematic of this yarn. Oddly enough, it did not knit up as uniformly as these photos might suggest, leaving me on the fence as to whether I want to invest this kind money for a yarn that greatly varies from skein to skein. Live and learn. 

I am hoping to knit throughout the year and have enough product to sell it next Fall. I am doing a line of Faolan [Little Wolf] scarves: The Alpha [10ft], the Beta [7ft] and the Omega [5ft] - largely in response to my own personal frustration in locating a long enough, masculine enough scarf. The scarves will be knit in what is my favourite stitch, the basket weave, as pictured in all of these photographs and you will be able to choose the quality of the yarn. Its still in its infancy at the moment, and what with the garden season [work work work] ramping up, I will have to leave it to simmer for a few months as we get ready to open in April.

How do you deal with the winter months?