This past month is always hectic in the life of a horticulturalist, especially one who works at a busy garden centre and then does garden maintenance in his ‘downtime.’ This year has been no exception, what with the early start to the season, followed by dreadfully cold spells followed by soaring May temperatures with near drought-like conditions during the past three weeks. Its all been enough to send a less seasoned person running for the hills. Luckily I have a great support system in place – great friends and co-workers who look out for my best interests, as well as a garden that offers me the relaxing solace that helps to take the edge off of those stressful days. Although it was relatively laid back at work today, it was so rewarding to come home and spend some quality time with the ‘kids.’
No matter how many times I try and photograph ‘Dre’ I come away frustrated! I saw something totally different when I looked through the viewfinder! There is something eye catching about this photo, although it doesn’t come close to conveying the mesmerizing three dimensionality of the plant when viewed in person!
With Astilboides tabularis acting as a giant umbrella, I was surprised to see that Gentiana septemfida var. lagodochiana ‘Select’ is a few days from blooming! One of my favourites within a mesmerizing genus of cobalt to gentian blue, this one tends to hug the ground, where its large, trumpet shaped blooms look like sumptuous gems scattered willy nilly!
Sweet Jesus, is there a more striking blue in the garden at this very moment? [Excusing the fact that the two remaining buds on Meconopsis grandis have yet to open!] This dwarf Penstemon leaves me breathless with its beauty every year!
I introduced Nectaroscordum siculum var. ‘Bulgaricum’ to D’s gardens this year and can hardly wait to see her reaction! My favourite bulb, I love its delightful bell shaped flowers that are streaked on their insides!
Over the years Grace [Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’ that is!] has morphed from a mid sized shrub into a tree! This year I removed a secondary branch in order to complete the image. I love the rich shades of purple, wine, blue-grey that infuses its foliage throughout the season. At one time I dreamed of Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ residing here, at the entrance to the Shaded Walk, but I am content to settle for Miss Grace!
I’ve mentioned my recently rediscovered fascination with the genus Polygonatum – and here is another of my gems – Polygonatum falcatum ‘Silver Striped Selection.’ Slow to bulk, but a dramatic selection nonetheless, its delicate presence reminds me of the versatility within a given genus. Here are a few other examples that rank close to my heart from this amazing genus: [P.odoratum ‘Fireworks’; P.verticillatum; P.hybridum x ‘Betberg’]
Its always refreshing to stumble upon something that makes the heart race, and seeing four or five tall, gangly stems topped with the signature whorled foliage that can only belong to one plant, Arisaema consanguineum, was enough to bring an instant smile to my face. Arisaema is another genus that has long held a special place within my heart, and this year I added four wonderful species to the garden!
Pat, a wonderful gardening friend who shares my passion for the rare and unusual kindly gifted me with this seedling of Acanthus ‘Whitewater.’ I vividly remember hosting a seminar last Spring where I introduced this wonderful new variegated selection with dramatic white splashed spiny foliage and brilliant pink and white flower spikes. Of course, its another of those tender hearted beauties that captured my heart – hardy between Zone 7-10! Pat over-wintered hers with little drama, so I am determined to give it another shot! And is closing…..