Tuesday, July 30, 2013


The most striking flowering plant we have blooming at the end of July is Crocosmia "Lucifer", which is a fiery red. There are many other cultivars of Crocosmia, mostly yellow and orange, but the majority are not as hardy as "Lucifer".

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lake Superior

We spent the last 4 days visiting friends on Lake Superior. Besides the impressive scenery we saw some interesting plants and one unusual garden. Here are some pictures.
Lake Superior

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Larkwhistle is one of the most famous gardens in Ontario, and it is here, on the Bruce Peninsula. It was created by the garden writer Patrick Lima and his partner John Scanlan. Every summer it is open to the public on Wednesdays and weekends. This is the garden's 38th year, but unfortunately it is also the last.

It is a garden that has inspired numerous gardeners, many of whom have made the trip up the peninsula once a year, sometimes from distant places, to admire the mixture of flowering plants, mostly perennials, and vegetables. If you are within driving distance, it is well worth a visit, especially since this is the last year it will be open.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Bit of Chaos

Summer is poppy time, and our garden includes lots of annual poppies. I like the informality they create by sprouting in all sorts of unexpected places. Just like forget-me-nots in the spring, poppies in summer create a bit of chaos. They soften all edges and bloom generously - too generously all the neat gardeners will say! But they are easy to remove and are difficult to control as the annual poppy is a plant that does not take to regimentation.

Common red poppies

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Update on Chipping Sparrows

One week ago I indicated that some Chipping sparrows had built a nest in the garden, in a spot where you have no choice but to walk right by it.

The mother produced four eggs and has been sitting most of the day for a week or so, taking a five or ten minute break every now and then, in order to feed herself and stretch her wings. This last weekend, the eggs hatched and now the babies seem to be doing well. Covered with fluffy down, they seem to sleep most of the time.

Chipping Sparrow chick

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The village

I have read various gardening blogs recently, that pointed out the fact that gardeners are always showing pictures of their gardens or of their plants, but rarely the context of the garden; that is to say they tend not to show the city, village or place where their gardens grow.
Roche Fleurie is in the middle of fields and forest, but there is a village where we shop and go regularly. I thought I would show you the village.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gooseberry Jam

Our gooseberries are not quite ripe but they are as big as they will get, and they have to be picked before the raccoons find them sweet enough. Besides, if you use them to make jam as I do, you get a tastier jam when the berries are rather tart.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Workhorse of a Rose

We grow several roses, and they are just about at their best right now. Some I like for their hardiness (in a Canadian climate, that matters a lot). Others like Celsiana have a perfume out of this world. Some do a job particularly well (see, on the left, how Dortmund covers an  arch or, on the right, Nearly Wild looks against a fence). This post is about one particular rose I almost discarded, but which turned out to be my very best.


Nearly Wild

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wild Strawberries

In our area, this has been an ideal strawberry year. South of us, I am told there was too much rain, and the berries tended to rot. Here, as you might have read in one of my previous posts, the garden produced a lot of strawberries, and it is not yet over. Inspired by reading about wild strawberries in other blogs, I thought I should check how our own in the field next to the house were doing. Just like we have of the cultivated ones, we seem to be having a bumper crop of wild strawberries.

Wild Strawberries

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Sparrow Settles in

A Chipping Sparrow has decided to make a nest in a spot in the garden where you cannot avoid walking right by.  On a arch covered with New Dawn roses that separates two parts of the garden, it has built a little cup, a bit more than a meter off the ground. I read that they are not particularly afraid of humans, and it seems so. Even when you walk right by, she stays on the nest and does not seem overly nervous.

The arch with the nest

Monday, July 1, 2013

Strawberry Warfare

The strawberries were beginning to ripen, and the raccoons were keeping as close an eye on them as I was myself, checking them every night (as footprints indicated). In an attempt to fool them, I stretched a light nylon net over the strawberry plants, stapled it to pieces of lumber all around the bed. Then on top of the net, I stapled some "row cover", the fleece-like fabric especially made for gardens. The idea of the row cover was to hide the berries from sight. I reasoned that perhaps if they did not see them, they would forget about them. It has worked much better than I expected.