Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The beauty of exchanging plants

Last winter I was shocked to read in a well-known gardening magazine an article which advised people against accepting garden plants from friends and neighbours! The argument was that some might be weedy, which is, of course, true. My first thought was that such an article must have been sponsored by some nursery association. Exchanging plants and seeds between neighbours and friends has been the basis of gardening for ages. The plants you get from other gardeners or in a plant exchange offer a great many advantages, even if you have to keep an eye open for possible problems.

Arenaria montana
Sandwort (grown from a seed exchange)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What is in Bloom in Victoria B.C.

These pictures were all taken on Thursday afternoon, January 23rd in Victoria, British Columbia. I was not able to identify all of the plants. Perhaps you can help me put a name to some of them. Most were growing in front yards, on private property so I was not able to do any of what photographers call "gardening" (remove spent blooms or dead leaves). 

Chaenomeles sp.
Chaenomeles sp.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On the Inconstant Lupines

We used to have a nice drift of Russell lupines as you can see from the photo below. "Used to" is the operative phrase. There are still a few lingerers here and there, but, on the whole, the lupines have disappeared. Here is the story of how we grew them in the first place, how they seemingly failed to grow, eventually prospered and then suddenly vanished.

Russell Lupine naturalized at Roche Fleurie

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Allotments in Victoria

I had the opportunity to visit some allotment gardens here in Victoria, B.C. They looked beautiful in the morning sun, even if a few of them were just then under water.  There had been rain recently, and the little stream that winds its way through the garden was flooded. Here are a few pictures.

Allotment gardens, Victoria, C.B.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Black and White Approach

Plant associations (that is: which plant to put next to which) are always difficult. They are complex because you have to take into account colour as well as time, since colours change with each season when flowers bloom and fade. And you also have to take into account shape, which is more subtle and more permanent. Like many aspects of gardening, plant associations are also a question of taste and consequently the results of your efforts will be judged differently depending on the experience and taste of the viewer.
We all have different ways of deciding which plants we will grow together, but one approach I find very useful is what I call the Black and White approach.

Bonsai grown on a millstone at the Jardins de Métis
Bonsai on a millstone at the Jardins de Métis

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Look at 2013 (2)

Here are a last few collages as farewell to 2013. On the left is a lace cap hydrangea. These used to be too tender for our climate, but much hardier varieties have been developed these last few years. Upper right is Chrysanthemum rubellum Clara Curtis, also a very hardy plant that can be relied on to come back every year. At the bottom are old-fashioned peonies cultivars.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Look at 2013 (1)

Having read in Christina's post about a free software to make collages, I decided I would try it with some pictures taken in the garden last year, as a kind of farewell to 2013. I thought I would spread them over two posts. Here is the first ones.

Hypericum calycinum, Agapanthus and Gentian

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Finnerty Gardens

This is another beautiful public garden in Victoria, British Columbia. It is, in fact, an arboretum on the campus of the University of Victoria. Spring would be a better time to see it, given that it includes what is probably the best collection of rhododendrons and azaleas in Canada. However, as with other gardens, it is actually easier to appreciate its design when viewed in winter.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

"La porte est close sur le jardin fané"
Best wishes to all of you for a happy, healthy and successful 2014!