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This site will now be used primarily for updates to my garden plans and for occasional learnings that I just have to share.
After all, I will forever be a student in the garden.
Some landscaping requires longer term planning, in this particular case a two year move but three or more years before the desired look could be achieved.
Good thing perennial gardeners have patience.
Both a blue and pink Rose of Sharon graced our back yard in Toronto, and while they looked lovely apart, when the Dogwood in the back left corner passed, I bet that they would look even lovelier if I could get their pastel blooms mingling together.
That fall I started a sort of rejuvenation pruning and cut back the Rose of Sharon by one third, I let it grow in the same place for one year before cutting it back again by one third the following fall, then finally transplanting it.
The space left by the Rose of Sharon seen above was quickly filled in by transplanting some of the yellow Rudbeckias closer to the fence. I also pruned back the lower limbs of the Japanese Maple, letting more light to the understory.
They say that shrubs are the skeletons of the garden and if so, apparently I like mine 'bear bones'. To me it felt a bit cramped before, even though I like a full garden.
The Blue Rose of Sharon looked comfortable in its new home, however I moved away and will never be able to know for certain if it got enough light and intertwined with its pink sister.
Hopefully I did enough to help it along:
- I pruned back branches above it (from our neighbour's tree) quite extensively to give it more light,
- I pruned it substantially to lessen the overall foliage the roots would need to support post-transplant
- I used a root-stimulating fertilizer post-transplant and kept it well watered
Perhaps I will just have a peak over the fence next time I am visiting Toronto in the summer...
There is something rewarding about making use of the bounty from my yard, even the parts that others may think of as waste. Why pay with my taxes to have this taken away only to go out and buy a different type of mulch?
For the same reason I compost yard waste and burn the wood I prune in our outdoor chimney. It just makes sense.
Are there any other 'urban homesteaders' out there?
I am entering the third full summer at my new home in Winnipeg and what a difference it makes as a perennial gardener.
While I have been busy in the gardens (as always), I have been making minor adjustments compared to the work required in the previous two years establishing beds and experimenting with light and soil conditions.
In year one I added 3 Iris here as a test, then 10 more in year two and finally in year three I have the effect of the Herons wading through these purple German Iris.
Suzie enjoying the sun and the scent of blooming Jacob's Ladder which was initially struggling in the front yard but is happier this year after being transplanted to the sunnier back yard.
The Sedum in the rock garden is thicker and fuller and blooming like never before.
Mulch in the Sun Garden is clearly helping keep the weeds at bay; in the first two years I was growing too much from seed to use it but established plants allow for it.
There are 15 Peonies altogether, with only 5 of them blooming this year. Can you picture it 2-3 years from now? That is how I view it...
I have planted Daisies for the past two years but this is the first that there has been any blooming en masse. I am thrilled with the results and will likely end up adding more. Can one have too many daisies, is it even possible?
When I first planted the Monet Garden I thought there would be more sun than there is. Last year I moved out many of the sun lovers and this year I am finally and fully embracing its shady nature with the introduction of dozens of stately Ostrich Ferns.
There is however an interesting exception.
As apparent as the streak of sunlight cutting across the garden may appear in this photo, it has taken me two seasons to recognize what has been there all along.
Now that I have 'seen the light' (ha ha) and understand where more sun-loving plants can sit in my otherwise shady garden I have a fantastic opportunity to expand my plant selection and introduce something one would not expect to see thriving surrounded by shade plants.
Something like Echinops, which explains how mine have done so well, even though I have resigned myself to the fact that the Monet Garden is generally quite shady. Five or so have come back from last year and I am direct sowing others, using this 'slice of sunlight' as my map and my inspiration.
This is a wonderful example of the interplay between gardener and environment and how experience with a specific property reveals its idiosyncrasies and opportunities to optimize on a micro-level.
For example, last fall I moved Monarda into two different parts of the Monet Garden in order to see which would do better and I could quickly see that the Monarda in the 'slice of sunlight' was 2-3 times the size of the Monarda in the other part of the garden (which has since been moved into the slice).
I had been prepared to be satisfied with just the interesting foliage of these Iris but was pleasantly surprised to see them bloom last year. Now it all makes sense since they are in the 'slice of sunlight' and I will definitely add more now that I understand the reason behind their success.