29 Dec 2014

Twenty Fourteen: The Gardening Year That Was

In these, the waning nights of twenty fourteen, its always nice to think back on the gardening year that was, a year that got off to a sinisterly icy start, thanks to an ice storm that struck on the twenty second of December, bringing with it a trail of destruction that left many Ontario gardeners fearful for their treasured plants! The picture above shows the skeletal outline of what was Cercis canadensis 'Greswan' - one of three major fatalities that was endured here at Teza's Garden. A beloved Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Rotfuchs' and a Vitis reparia that grew along the side of the garage were the remaining casualties, which compared to other local residents who lost trees in the dozens, seemed rather insignificant, but for a diehard gardener, any loss cuts deeply. Of course we also persevere and move forward!

It was perhaps the most talked about, most hyped, and most visible annual of the year, thanks by and large to it's having set gardener's tongues a wagging at Chelsea Garden Show the previous spring. Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' is a hybrid between the hardy perennial Digitalis, and the tropical annual Isoplexis. The resulting new cultivar is nothing less than stunning, but for some gardeners, parting with in excess of twelve bucks for what was essentially an annual was somewhat less than appealing. You can see how I felt about it nonetheless! Wink! Wink!

The genus Acer is s-l-o-w-l-y working its magic on me! Difficult when presented with the postage stamp sized property that I call home, but I will always find the space for anything that induces a hortgasm, and this lovely fellow did just that! Acer pseudoplatanus 'Eskimo Sunset' is a diminutive sized tree with stunning variegation to its leaves. The almost marbled veining on the surface is trumped later in the season by the wine infused colouration that saturates the reversal! I can hardly wait to see what next year brings!

Deinanthe caerulea is one of my most favourite woodland gems! My camera seems to have a slight horticrush on it as well! This year it grew large enough for me to take a few choice divisions that I added to the woodland display garden at work, where I hope to be able to offer it for sale at some point down the road. I am sure it will have the same effect on my clientele as it did on me the first time I laid eyes on it!

My garden friend Darren Heimbecker who is the mastermind/plantsman behind Whistling Gardens, a botanical garden/arboretum/nursery near Brantford, Ontario put me on to this gorgeous wine infused species of Albizia! Of course it is not exactly recommended as being hardy here in Z5, but after first stumbling across this stunner [Albizia julibrissen 'Summer Chocolate'] in Chicago four years ago, I knew that one day I would have one of my own. It overwinters in one of our greenhouses at work, and this past summer stopped traffic dead!

I do have two of the native species Cercis on my property, and this one, located between my and the neighboring house went ballistic this year! It was protected from the damaging ice, and as the season progressed it sent a staggering amount of new lateral growth. Its heart shaped foliage is a must for anyone seeking different textural patterns for their garden!

Gardening friend/writer Jodi DeLong waxed poetic about this diminutive darling in a recent year end post, and I could only smile and agree, happy that she too is able to enjoy its beauty! Anemonopsis macrophylla is without a doubt my favourite of all woodland plants that grow here at Teza's Garden. I first read about it in Daniel Hinkley's gardening Holy Grail, 'The Explorer's Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials,' and was thrilled to locate it at Lost Horizons, Ontario's penultimate woodland plant nursery located in Acton, Ontario. Each consecutive season brings forth more stems, and more dainty, floating two toned flowers!

 When it came to gardening books, of which I tend to be somewhat of a snob [Who? You?] I thoroughly enjoyed the combined efforts of HRH The Prince of Wales, and Bunny Guinness - 'Highgrove: A Garden Celebrated.' I remember when he and the late Diana, Princess of Wales moved into Highgrove. All of these years later, he has transformed the property into a most resplendid gardener's oasis. Many of his favourites are instantly recognizable, and his personal preface to each section is proof that he does not take gardening lightly.

 I grow the plant in the lower right hand photo of this book: Corydalis 'Wildside Blue' which comes directly, via a favourite plantsman, from Keith Wiley's very own garden nursery. Wiley is a reknowned plantsman in the UK, and his garden, 'Wildside' is an exercise in what a woodland garden should and can be. I am most anxious for this latest book to arrive at my local bookseller [any day now!] and will post a comprehensive review once I have devoured it!

And there you have it, twenty fourteen - its perks and perils. Already I am trolling the web for new and exciting plant material to test and bring into the nursery for our next exciting gardening season. Who else has a year end review that they would like to share?

1 comment:

Anna said...

I hope that 2015 treats you and your plants kindly :) xxx