27 Jun 2011

Bring on the Fireworks!

DSC_0861DSC_0901DSC_0865 DSC_0879 DSC_0206 DSC_0027 DSC_0235 DSC_0463 DSC_0257 DSC_0285 DSC_0318 DSC_0319 With July just around the corner, I decided to skip ahead to remind myself of what I have to look forward to in the second half of the gardening year! Bring on the fireworks!

25 Jun 2011

A Shift In Positioning!


Two years ago I could only gaze in rapt adoration at the wonderful large, palmate foliage of Diphylleia cymosa as it unanimously held centre court literally and figuratively in the centre of the Shaded Walk. Last year, after dividing it to share with S, a wonderful gardener from Elora, I noticed that I was tripping over it as I tried to navigate the near impossible to traverse pathway. [ Remembering my philosophy that if there’s room to step, there is room for another three plants!] I made a conscious effort to keep an eye where I was going and to try and step as lightly as possible when I simply had to maneuver my way past. This year I finally came to the conclusion that it needed to be moved! It is far to beautiful a plant to risk my pontoon sized shoes damaging the shoots before the foliage is able to unfurl.

I removed a sickly looking Cornus pumila from the right side of the Walk [though my heart and soul were in mourning, it had steadily deteriorated this past two years, and this Spring it was little more than a brittle stem. No signs of life!] and found myself with a bare spot. In my eyes that is akin to winning a lottery. I was amazed how many weeks the ‘gaping hole’ remained unfilled. I had a kazillion ideas as to what I would replace it with. In the end, I decided this would be the perfect spot for Mr. D! His bold foliage will provide the perfect foil for one of my most auspiciously positioned Meconopsis grandis plants – shelter from the hot scorching sun, with plenty of room to spread his love and attain the height he is known for! So now, I can almost traipse gaily along the Shaded Walk…… almost! I’m in the clear until I come across a rather statuesque Thalictrum ‘Elin’ that threatens to match my own height! Where do these damnable obstacles come from? That my dearheart is a perfect example of a rhetorical question! Where do they come from indeed!

22 Jun 2011

The Happy Surprises of 2011, Thus Far!


June is almost behind us, and for the most part I am gladdened. I found it a trying month! As a Gemini, I find it near impossible to concentrate on anything longer than it takes me to blink, and this past month I feel as though I have been blinking incessantly! I languished from the heat – man, when it was HOT is was near suffocating! – and felt as though I was growing webs between my fingers and toes! Of course the garden provided the one solace for me – it absolutely flourished for what I refer to as the first half of the season!

DSC_0602A few of my ‘children’ decided it was the year to reward their patient steward with a bloom or two! I have been waiting four years, four long and sometimes torturous years for Glaucidium palmatum to decide whether she was ever going to bloom. Irony of ironies, I came this close to missing the knee dropping show, and what a spectacular engagement it was!

DSC_0577  DSC_0588 May 19th was the day that I found two freshly fallen stars in the Rare and Unusual Border! I’d invested a pretty penny the Spring before in order to have Erythronium in the garden – even though all of the ordered beauties were supposed to be pink – and could only gasp in astonishment to see that they’d safely overwintered! Some things in life are truly priceless!

DSC_0589 I was all but certain, and feeling slightly crestfallen to boot to think that I’d accidentally troweled through the darling and diminutive Anemonella thalictroides ‘Cameo’ – a superlative double flowering species that always brought a smile to my face. Imagine my delight to discover this solitary seedling approximately 1m from where the original plant resided.

Last year I’d installed the stunning Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ – renowned for its bluish purple cones that appeared on young specimens [within the first five to ten years supposedly…..] Imagine the absolute thrill of being able to watch the ever so subtle metamorphosis first hand!


DSC_0601  DSC_0621  This was finally the year that I dug deep so that I could add two more long sought and lusted from afar specimens as well. It was L, at his sublime plant nursery Lost Horizons, that first introduced me to Acer campestre ‘Carnival’ – that beguilingly demure and diminutive variegated ‘hedge maple’ – the exact one that stirred more interest [ ‘It’s so beautiful, I’ve never seen one before!] and controversy than one could ever imagine!  [ What do you mean you don’t have any for sale??? Can I dig up some of that one?] I knew he was going to cost me, and when all was said and done, he has become the shining beacon of the Shaded Walk!

Larix decidua ‘Horstmann’s Recurva’ caught my eye last winter while perusing the web for new and exciting cultivars that I was tracking down as possible new inventory selections. I have always been enamored with the genus, and when I discovered that this one was more ‘twisted’ than ‘Diana’ – I knew we were a match made in heaven!


  I was finally able to replace my yellow flowering Roscoea cautleoides ‘Kew Beauty’ and add another of the species that surprised me with its totally uncharacteristic bloom shape. Not that I was disappointed…… just pleasantly surprised to say the least!

DSC_0594DSC_0640 Shhhh! He might hear you! This is also the year that I’m managing [fingers and other appendages crossed please!] to keep three Meconopsis plants alive and relatively [knock wood please!] healthy as well. Two M. grandis, and one M. betonicifolia!

DSC_0600And leave it to my horti-hero Daniel Hinkley to introduce perhaps the most electric blue of the genus Corydalis! It was added to the garden the first week of May and knock wood, it continues to bloom its fool head off!

Of course I know I am forgetting something, but this pretty much sums up the 2011 Season of Surprises! Has your garden been equally rewarding? Do tell!

20 Jun 2011

Father’s Day in Teza’s Garden


The ‘kids’ and I have been reacquainting ourselves with one another this past week. Seems like I have an ever so brief moment to nod on the way out the door in the morning, and I admit to being diligent to doing a quick walkabout when I get home nine or so odd hours later…. As Sunday was Father’s Day I had absolutely no excuse! And as usual, the children rewarded me ten fold with their undeniable beauty!

I was rather severe with the secateurs last fall where Deutzia x Magicien was concerned, but it would appear that he hasn’t held any grudges. The branches are smothered in wonderful pink buds that are this very evening beginning to open! I had a wonderful conversation with a client yesterday, choosing a few new staple shrubs for her property, and as I reached for the pot containing a blooming ‘Magicien’ she asked me if I carried D. gracilus ‘Chardonnay Pearls.’ I explained that ‘Magicien’ was worth a thousand Pearls in my eyes. She was ‘tickled pink’ and took two! Three down, two to go!

DSC_0583 Roscoe P. Coltraine [ did I just age myself people?] better known as Roscoea cautleoides ‘Kew Beauty’ continues to bloom, letting me know that even though I hastened its emergence and bloom, its more than happy to reward me with its orchid- like beauty for close to a month straight!

DSC_0588 Both yellow flowering Aconitum remain amongst my favourites within the genus, with Aconitum lycoctanum blooming almost a month earlier than A. kyrlovii. I love their ‘smurf cap’ shaped whipped buttery yellow flowers on tall spires atop fabulously large palmate foliage. One of the most requested plants when people visit the garden. I haven’t the heart to disturb either clump, knowing that they have long tap roots and resent disturbance or movement.

DSC_0605 This secluded section of the Shaded Walk has been renamed ‘Viper’s Alley’ for no other reason than two of my favourite Arisaema species have settled in and are reproducing at an alarming rate. The bold trifoliate foliage of Arisaema triphyllum seems to be supporting the dazzling whorled leaflet of Arisaema consanguinium. While A. triphyllum has finished ‘blooming’ for the season, I noticed that there is a ‘cobra’ lurking just beneath the starburst foliage. Stay tuned for his unveiling!

DSC_0664 …and NO, this isn’t a thistle on steroids! It so happens to be Morina longifolia, a delightful spiky leafed plant from the Himilaya and Afghanistan said to prefer sun, but quite happy in partial shade. It’s 1m spires of slightly fragrant white flowers which age to pink are absolutely delightful, but so far, I have only had foliage. Of course, this is the year of unexpected pleasant surprises and it does look as though there is a vertical growth…. so maybe I will be graced with this:

Morina_longifolia_P7060001 DSC_0667Everyone was on their best behavior, including the typically lackadaisical Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’ who has a habit of leaning on her siblings if given the chance. Even with an obelisk, she risks blooming somewhat horizontally again this year! One of the more obtuse of the children….. she must take after her Father!

  DSC_0599 DSC_0590 Feed us Papa, we’re growing children after all!

19 Jun 2011

A Day with the Children


Finally I can be proud of my Gillenia trifoliata which in the past proved to be a most difficult ‘child’ to photograph. I have been enthralled with the wonderful surprises that this garden season in particular has afforded me!

DSC_0590 Just when I was afraid that my Pinellia tripartita ‘Green Dragon’ was going to be a no show this year….. surprise! I especially love it’s Arisaema-esque spathes with wonderful tongues that it sends forth!

DSC_0593When it comes to the genus Primula, ‘vialii’ never fails to stop visitor’s dead in their tracks. Smashing isn’t she?

DSC_0595  While its cousin, Amsonia hubrechtii has been given the accolade of ‘Perennial of the Year,’ I still rather enjoy its cousin Amsonia ciliata, with its wonderful steel blue flowers atop foliage that easily reaches 1.5m every season.

DSC_0597Triosteum himalayanum is a wonderful plant with foliage that resembles the rotor blade of a plane. Nondescript brownish yellow flowers are followed by brilliant red fruit. Native to areas of the northwestern Yunnan province of China, this beguiling plant remains one of the crowning jewels of my garden.

DSC_0602Polygonatum falcatum ‘Silver Striped Selections’ remains a personal favourite within a genus that is mandatory for the shaded garden. Slow to clump and rather delicate in appearance, it remains a beacon for the true plantaholic!

DSC_0598  Consistent moisture and cooler than average temperatures have resulted in growth that can only be described as ‘burgeoning!’ Even Acanthus mollis, typically lethargic and somewhat scrawny in other years is making a crowning impression this year!

DSC_0596 DSC_0601 Have I told you lately how much I love Acer campestre ‘Carnival?’

DSC_0608 Another personal favourite remains Kirengeshoma koreana, with its pendulous waxy yellow bell shaped flowers that bloom in conjunction with the wonderful blue helmet shaped flowers of my fall flowering Aconitum species. While I grow both this one as well as K. palmatum, this one remains my personal favourite with its silvery infused foliage, and flowers that remain more upright in habit.

DSC_0618 Persicaria [Fallopia japonica] variegatum ‘Compactum’ is definitely not living up to it’s name this year, with stems that are close to 1m in height. I adore the heavily splashed foliage combined with the ruby petioles. Just don’t call it ‘knotweed’ if you please!

DSC_0622 Kolkwitzia amabalis ‘Maradco’ is one of my favourites, although three years later, it has yet to bloom like that of my wonderful gardening friend Christine. Patience is a virtue!

DSC_0629 Few, if any shrubs can rival the beauty of Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’ also known as the doublefile Viburnum. Unlike other members of the genus, it does not suffer the peril of the dreaded beetle that chews through it’s foliage in a matter of days!

DSC_0630 I have been worried over the performance of Cercidiphyllum japonica ‘Rotfuchs’ this season. While there has been a near endless supply of moisture, there have also been extended periods of severe heat and humidity. I am not keen to smell its legendary ‘cotton candy’ fragrance this early in the season….. it usually foretells the fact that the foliage is drying out! It has mind you, grown at least a foot over last year! Perhaps it is just a worrisome parent keeping an eye on one of the brood!

DSC_0660DSC_0661 DSC_0662 I will leave you with a view of the Rare and Unusual’s Border.