Sunday, June 29, 2014

Road Side Flowers - late June

The garden is in an area designed as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Because this part of Ontario was always, and still is, sparsely populated, with hardly any industry and no intensive farming, the flora and fauna are particularly rich.

The following pictures were all taken on roadsides, on June 24.

Wood lily

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Short Stay in Paradise

The garden proper is supposed to be completely rabbit proof. No rabbit has managed to break in for a few years. However the gate is sometimes open for a while, and a hare (the only kind of rabbit we have around here - they turn white in winter not to be noticed on the snow) will sneak in and is quickly chased out.

Last week however, we noticed that not only one of them had been locked in, but he had become familiar enough with the garden to find hiding places and the moment you tried to chase him off towards and open door, he disappeared. He was not interested in leaving. He had a wonderful week or two. No predator could get to him, there were lots of young vegetables. Fortunately for us, his favorite meal is not lettuce, but the clover and grass growing on the small lawn (although he was developing a taste for Swiss Chard).

Like all holidays, it ended too early this morning when, like an illegal immigrant, he was escorted to the border, that is outside the garden fence. He did not seem to be afraid of humans, being used to seeing us plodding around. He knows we are quite slow. You can see he is not slow when you look at is hind leg.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dianthus Aplenty

There are lots of dianthus at Roche Fleurie, both species and cultivated varieties. We like them very much and, perhaps more to the point, they like the garden with its basic well-drained soil.

From a botanical point of view, there are many species and cultivars of dianthus, but for a gardener's purposes, there are basically three kinds:  the pinks, the Maiden pinks and the Sweet Williams. Carnations are, of course, dianthus, but they really are grown as cut flowers and are not adapted to growing as a border plant.

Most dianthus bloom in late spring, roughly at the same time as peonies, but for a longer period. Dianthus are not only attractive, but also very fragrant, very hardy (some survive in zone 2) and low maintenance plants.

Assortment of pinks

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The opulence of June

June is an opulent month in the sense that it is rich and lavish in all it has to offer, especially in blooms. My first example is the Pink Lady Slipper, an orchid that can hold its own with any tropical ones. This is the queen (reginae), the Showy Lady Slipper (Cypripedium reginae). Ours is a rather darker pink than is usual.

Showy Lady Slipper

Monday, June 16, 2014

Reluctant invaders

My favourite nursery is Grange Hollow, a business run by a mother and daughter team. Not only do they have nice plants, but they are very friendly and always have time to answer questions and give advice. The nursery setting, an old farmstead, is beautiful. Two summers ago I was looking at Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) growing on the nursery property. They had it for sale, but they warned me it might be invasive. As you know, most nurseries will never tell you that a plant is invasive. They will sell you goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) as a low maintenance ground cover, without telling you that you will probably never be able to get rid of it or that it is likely to take over your whole garden in a matter of weeks.

Blue Star Creeper

Thursday, June 12, 2014

After the rain

There was bright sunshine and no rain for over two weeks, but yesterday and part of today we got hours of gentle rain. All foliage is suddenly plump and greener, and the weeds have doubled in size overnight. Here are a few pictures of the hiatus between the spring rush and the early summer.

The antique wheelbarrow - a gift from Elizabeth

Monday, June 9, 2014

One rare and a few not so rare

Sunday morning, I went, with my friend Elizabeth, to a conservation area, about 10 minutes from here, to see the annual display of a very rare daisy. Its common name is lakeside daisy (Tetraneuris herbacea) as it is found only in a few small colonies around the Great Lakes in Ontario, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. It grows on a very thin layer of soil, directly on the alvar (limestone plain). Here is what it looks like.

Lakeside Daisy

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pavement Gardening 3

Last Spring I did 2 posts about plants that grow between the limestone rocks that pave the paths in the garden. These are mostly rock garden plants or some slightly bigger plants used to edge the paths. The following are new rock garden plants that are blooming for the first time this year, or that were not included last year.  The first one is perhaps the prettiest, the Mount Atlas daisy (Anacyclus pyrethrum). The inside of the petals is white but the back is red. I grew it from seed and it is supposed to be hardy to zone 6 but seems quite happy in this zone 5 garden. Apparently it is not long-lived but self seeds.

Mount Atlas daisy

Monday, June 2, 2014

What is in bloom in blue?

A few blue flowers are open just now at Roche Fleurie, more if you stretch blue to include bluish purple. Blue is a very flexible colour that mixes well with most others.

Mertensia virginica - Virginia Bluebells