21 Jun 2012

Summer Solstice


On this the day of the Summer Solstice, where better a spot to spend the cooler morning hours than with the ‘kids.’ Went out for dinner last night with a co-worker who is headed off to council at camp, and was referred to as her Father by the waitress! Sweet Jesus, these kids, they’re coming out of the woodwork I tell you!

DSC_0001 I knew I would be tackling this! Every year I tell myself that the wild Vitis rhat grows along the east side of the garage has to go – to be replaced with something far more refined, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Petiolaris’ or the likes, and yet I worry that until whatever it is that I replace this mass of green tenticles with, that wall is going to not only look bare, but it is also going to make for a nasty backdrop to the Rare and Unusual Border that lay at it’s feet! I wee bit of a dilemma wouldn’t you say? I added Clematis ‘Stolwijk’s Purple’ at the base of the woody trunk in hopes that it will take hold and clamor through the skeleton, but its delicate fabulously chartreuse foliage will get lost amongst those bold Vitis leaves – leaves I might add that find themselves chewed near Holy by the end of July, making for an even more embarrassing situation when fellow gardeners ask if they can come for a visit! What to do? What to do? No. Seriously, this is not a rhetorical question, I need help! Morning sun from 7-11 and then cast in shade for the remainder of the day!

DSC_0005 What do you think of our new two toned siding? Indeed, I too gasped in horror when I saw this photo! In actuality my house, the one on the right is an even deeper plum colour than what this photo shows. I have included this because I have had a difficult time describing just how narrow a space it is where I have created the Shaded Walk! Long and narrow isn’t the most advantageous description!

DSC_0009 The last of the delightful Arisaema have finished blooming for yet another season, leaving in their wake the equally entrancing foliage that is such an important element for a woodland garden. Our native, A.triphyllum is more than happy in this location, and seems to dwarf almost everything around it! This year was no different. Its stalk and trifoliate foliage were so heavy that it actually bent towards the ground, making it difficult to appreciate its wonderful spathe. The starbust, whorled foliage pattern of A. ciliatum var. liubaense remains a perennial delight for me!

DSC_0016DSC_0017It’s all in the way you hold your head!’ is the most common response I hear when explaining the difference between the two species of Kirengeshoma that grow along the Shaded Walk! K. koreana which is seen in the first photo has a definite more upright habit, slightly larger foliage cast with a delightful pewter dusting early on, and most notably, its flowers remain more upright on the stems when they bloom much earlier than its kissing cousin K. palmata. [seen in lower photo.]

DSC_0030There are no less than eight delightful flower spikes on Acanthus hungaricus this year! Last year there were three! I love this plant to death and many visitors have commented to the fact that it grows in near full shade and still manages to look lush, full, AND provide me with its distinctively spiny flowers! Apparently they feel that it too must be equally enamored of me to continue to thrive in an area that is not conductive to its natural habitat – the hot, sunny, gravelly slopes along the Mediterranean roadsides!


Words alone do not do justice where ‘Carny’ is concerned. It only took four years for me to find him, but in that and the ensuing years that have passed, he is without a doubt within the Top 5 essential woodland plants that I cultivate. Every year there is visible new growth, especially in the case of ever expanding lateral branches that are now mingling most pleasingly with the neighboring plants!

DSC_0029   And shall we leave this wonderful shaded sanctuary and venture forth into the scalding sunlight? Ignore the sizzling sound and the smoke coming from my ears…. we shady characters tend to stick to our comfort zones, and leave only kicking and screaming!

DSC_0034 DSC_0035 DSC_0037 Gentiana lagodochiana var. ‘Select’ seems to be blooming earlier this year than in previous. He is one of those ‘down on all fours’ type of guys…… no wait, that’s not what I meant. You have to be down on all fours in order to fully appreciate his beauty! See what a slip of the tongue….. lets just mosey on shall we! Sweet Jesus!


My beloved Cornus alternifolia ‘Golden Shadows’ is really coming into itself this year! I was worried in past years that his scorched foliage was a sign that he wasn’t happy but this year he is taller than me and shows no signs of being unhappy. Now Miss Grace on the other hand! That’s Cotinus ‘Grace’ by the way….. she had a ‘hair’ appointment that went slightly awry! I was shocked at how brittle her hair [branches] was when I wielded my trusty secateurs! Snap, crackle, pop….. Sweet Jesus Girl, have you never heard of a good conditioner?

 DSC_0057 DSC_0058 They look like fuzzy pink paint brushes don’t they? I love Trifolium repans, a delightful clover relative – one that doesn’t run willy nilly in the garden!

DSC_0065 My one and only complaint with Deutzia x ‘Magicien’ is that its bloom time is so god forsaken short. For weeks on end its tightly closed flower buds dangle in sweet anticipation, and then overnight hundreds of gorgeous flowers pop open! Within two weeks they have spent their beauty and lay scattered on the ground! But really, I’m not complaining!

DSC_0071 Yes, for me it grows  more like a mid sized shrub than a perennial, but I cannot be without the smashing variegated foliage and red petioles of Persicaria [Fallopia japonica] compactum ‘Variegatum.’

And lastly, before retreating back into the coolness of the basement where I must work on a new radio show format,[more information pending in the coming week!] here is another on the Top 5 woodland garden additions added last Thanksgiving weekend! Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Matthaie Broom’ is sublime in every possible way! He sure amps up a space that used to be home to an ‘Annabelle!’ No offence. He’s just a lot more rare and unusual, and you know how I get excited when those two words are uttered in my presence!

And now to the catacombs!

DSC_0073 DSC_0072

1 comment:

Barbarapc said...

I think it's time for a new name for the shaded walk, only magical little creatures could creep through without touching something wonderful. I've been looking for A. hungaricus - Larry Hodgson recommends it - grows it in his Zone 3 garden in Quebec - was it a Lost Horizon purchase? And what is Carny? Never seen anything like it. How very, very cool.