Monday, June 20, 2016

Along the Shores of Lake Huron

I have had previous posts about the wild flowers along Lake Huron, but usually showing flowers that bloom later in the season.

Here are photos of some of the most attractive plants that were in bloom a few days ago. Because of the abundance of extreme habitats, our area has a high number of rare species and is considered one of the more botanically significant parts of Ontario.

Iris versicolor which is usually found in ditches


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Rock Garden Plants


We do not have a rock garden per se. However, having been part of various rock garden societies for many years, we have accumulated some rock garden plants (and killed many  more). Here are some of the smaller plants that have bloomed for us this spring. Many of them were grown from seed.

Semiaquilegia ecalcarata




Sunday, June 12, 2016

Plant Portrait - Chrysanthemum argenteum

This plant has nothing to do with what we think of as chrysanthemum.  It is rather one of those plants whose great virtue is to go unnoticed most of the time. You don't see it, but you do not miss all its neighbours, which are made more prominent by the supporting role  this unassuming foliage plant provides.

You will notice that it looks a fair bit like the ubiquitous "Dusty Miller" (Senecio cineraria). Both are grown for their foliage, their insignificant blooms being ignored or removed. However, contrary to Dusty Miller, the main advantage of Chrysanthemum argenteum, is that it is perennial!

Tanacetum argenteum through Allium karataviense
Chrysanthemum argenteum through Allium karataviense



Sunday, June 5, 2016

An Abandoned Garden

Having visited a very interesting nursery (Fiddlehead Nursery in Kimberly, Ontario, which specializes in rare perennial vegetables) we were driving back on a rural road, when we saw a sign for a nature reserve with a water falls. We stopped to look at it and were pleased to discover that an unadvertised premium came with the water falls: an abandoned garden.

I do not know how long it has been abandoned, but some of the plants have had time to run amuck. The most spectacular was Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) which covered a few acres and was a sight to see. You can just imagine the heady perfume such a lot of blooms produce.  I had not realized Dame's Rocket could be so invasive.

Like William Kent, Dame's Rocket leaped the fence, and saw that all nature was a garden


Monday, May 30, 2016

Dividing Primroses

There are many types of primroses from the simple cowslip to those with specific growing conditions, such as the "candelabra" that need constant moisture, or the auricula, another thing altogether.

I grow some of these, but this post is about the more "common" plants belonging to the  genus Primula.

Primula are deceptive as they give the impression of being rather sturdy plants, but they are not.

In Old Fashioned Flowers  Sacheverall Sitwell says:  "There could be no greater mistake than to imagine they are capable of looking after themselves."

Here is how I take care of the primulas pictured below. I entitled this post "Dividing Primroses" because the big job is to divide them in spring.

A assembly of primulas



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Love in the Garden

According to Tennyson, "In the spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love".  It is not just young men, there are also the birds, of course.  But what is most noticeable in this garden is snakes. Why each spring they choose the garden for the pursuit of love, I am not quite sure. I expect they like the warmth of the stones bordering the rill.

Anyhow, at this time of the year, one morning, like this morning, you take your first walk in  the garden, and they are all here ready for snake love fest.



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Forest floor


Spring is the time for spectacular display in under story plants. Britain has its magnificent blue bells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), and our southern neighbours have Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica).

In Ontario (as well as in Québec and all the northern states that have a climate similar to ours) the best known display is provided by Trillium grandiflorum.

Unfortunately Trillium grandiflorum is a favorite food of the white tail deer. The plant can be rather rare if there are many deer around.

Below is a sample of the millions of trilliums growing in the woodlot of my friend Gwynne.


Trillium grandiflorum



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Warm blankets

Two weeks or so ago I was complaining about rabbits, now my beef is with squirrels.

More specifically, the cheeky one you see below. He, or more likely she, has decided to make a nest in an old bird house just outside the garden.

That is not a problem, what is a problem though is what she has decided to line up this nest with.



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Apple Tree Grafting

I wrote a post of grafting apple trees in 2014, and I thought I would revisit the topic hoping that some of you might have answers to a question I have.

Most of my graftings are done on a volunteer apple tree. There are lots of "wild" apple trees on the property and when the garden was made, one of these trees ended up in the middle of a bed.

We decided to keep it, although the apples were tough and not very tasty. I thought I would graft nicer varieties on it.

The oft grafted apple tree

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Mr McGregor Morning

Our garden is rabbit proof.  So you will understand that it was a shock, first thing this morning, to encounter Peter (or perhaps it was his sister, Flopsy) leisurely hopping through the garden sampling this and that.

There were even two rabbits, one off the two not at all afraid of me.

They are actually snowshoe hares, and as you can see, Flopsy still has a lot of her white winter coat, but the summer brown is on its way.