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.



Monday, April 18, 2016

What to keep and what not to keep

A week ago I was complaining about winter, forgetting that in our climate we normally go from winter to summer. A week ago there was a foot of snow, but the last 6 days or so have been sunny and warm, the swallows are back, so are the frogs and you can work outside in shirt sleeves.

Days that follow the final melting of snow are important weeding days. Because the ground is still wet and most plants are half comatose after the long winter, pulling a weed (or digging out a plant to move it) is much easier than it will be in just a few weeks. The weeding you take half an hour to do just after the winter, takes several hours at other times of the year.



Monday, April 11, 2016

An April to Remember

This was one of the mildest winters we have had for a few years. A week ago, many bulbs were up. Little did we know that winter had just been postponed to April.

I did a quick collage selecting a few views of the garden taken in previous years, trying to match them with current photos.

The first is perhaps the most telling as the picture of the left was taken on April 25th of a previous year and the one on the right on April 9th of this year.




Friday, April 8, 2016

Road flooded

Once again this year, the road is flooded. It is not because of the heavy rain we had last week, and it is not because of the snow (you will notice the snow - a few days ago it was all melted and spring bulbs were blooming or about to bloom, when winter decided to give us one more whack).




Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bounteous or Skimpy

Most plants reproduce and get bigger over time. Some increase very slowly, others increase faster. This post is about one of the latter.

I have  several medium size irises. Like all bearded irises, they make new shoots every year, and I divide them every three years or so.

However, not so with the purple one below which is twice as prolific as all the others I have.