Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Since it was getting close to fall a few weeks ago I thought I would do some harvesting.  
Of wild plants of course...

Okay, so I never need an excuse, fall or not, but there are so many wild Asters growing at the side of the road on the way to the cottage that I just had to stop and harvest a bunch.
The same kind of Asters I planted last fall at the Ontario cottage.

They create a soft mauve wash as per above and when grouped even more densely, they have an even greater impact.
I planted them around the base of this birch right beside the deck and outdoor shower where they will be sure to be seen next year.

If there is any doubt if it is proper to be taking these plants from the wild, picture this: last week the entire expanse where I had gathered the plants had been mowed down and looked just like a grassy field.
No more gentle wash of mauve swaying in the breeze.
Planting plants in full bloom is not recommended, but honestly I find it hard to avoid because a) one must think of it in advance (while it is much easier to be distracted by flowers in bloom), and b) one must recognize them without their flowers.

Next year I will try and remember.
If I put it in my calendar now my phone should remind me in 11 months...

Sharing with Blooming Tuesday, Tuesday Garden Party, Garden Tuesday, Outdoor Wednesday, Nature Notes

Monday, September 24, 2012


Okay, so these are not from my own garden, but I love this shot of dried chilies I took once while in Mexico.


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Saturday, September 22, 2012


 I just love the term "volunteer" to describe plants that have shown up unexpectedly in the garden, it has such a great ring to it.

I took these pics last Spring of a volunteer Iris that appeared in my front garden in Toronto.
One lone Iris.

For all the damage the squirrels there did and all the bulbs they ate, at least they appeared to have left me something in return.

Thanks squirrel, wherever you are.


Monday, September 17, 2012

MACRO MONDAY - coneflower & bee

The camera on my Windows Phone is really great, but one place it could be better is macro work.  
I am going to be getting an iPhone 5 so let's hope I can get an app that will help with the macro, or maybe even another lens...  

We will see.

These shots were taken in July before we left Toronto.

They are just so ever out-of-focus.

But the bee does not mind.  Much like the honey badger.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I have gone and bought a lot of plants again. 

$231 worth to be exact, from the Friends of Gardens Manitoba annual fall perennial sale, and man does money go far in this sale.

Here is a quick list of what I got for my cash.  It is a lot!
I have most of it planted in my parents' garden - in their pots still - for over wintering.
2" pots were 2 for $3, what a bargain!

2" pots

 Bag of Blue & Purple Iris x2
Big Blue Hosta x2

You can bet I will be back each fall and also be at their Mother's Day sale in May.the great deals

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Earlier I wrote about the plants I bought for my new house, even though I had initially thought I might wait to fully understand the environment before buying anything.  

Yeah right.

So what does one do with plants they buy but cannot plant in their own garden?  
They certainly can't stay in the box.

I planted them - still in the pots - in my parents' garden where I will overwinter them and then transplant them again in the spring.  
These maps will be key to understanding what is coming up in the spring, both to ensure I have all of mine and so I don't dig up any of the hostas that aren't mine.

The Friends of Gardens Manitoba is having its Fall Perennial sale this Saturday.  Instead of going to the cottage we will stay in the city Friday just so I can check it out.

I may need to make more guest room in the beds.

Sharing with Fertilizer Friday.

INSPIRATION STRIKES - hosta fountain

There are times when I am working in the garden when things just come together. 
When I am on a roll.  
When I am feeling particularly creative and inspired.

Last night was one of those times.

You can judge if you think what I did s inspiring or not, but it felt that way.
Oh, and if you are willing to give feedback, let me know what you think the Allium should go when we get to that part.

The Hostas and Peonies in my parents back yard garden are grouped closely together, but not in any particular pattern - yet close to one.
The large peony in the centre is almost fully surrounded by the variegated hostas.

And wouldn't you know it, there happens to be a spare matching hosta elsewhere in the same garden!
So I decided to encircle the peony and mimic the shape of a garden fountain.
Can you see the potential?
In order to do that I had to remove the Daisies in the red circle and the Allium in the blue circle. I am going to group the daisies in the garden on the west side of the backyard.  
(Grouping like-plants to increase their impact is one of my favourite tricks for making your garden have more impact without spending a dime.)
But I am not sure of the Allium, and they remain planted in a box for now, I picture them around the hostas, and a bit in and out of them as well - or around the trunk of the Oak tree.

In the purple circle is the 'extra' hosta from the other side of the peony.  All by itself.  Lonely.
Behind that  in the blue and red circles we have daylilies, and while they repeat elsewhere in the garden which is important, these two in particular  feel a bit lost to me there.

They will not have been divided in years so I am going to break them up and use them to flesh out  around the hostas - in the red (and teal) circles.  
In the purple circle, another daylily clump is already partially covered and ready for a break up.
And finally, I discovered some very small, very unhealthy looking Iris.  You can just see them in the yellow circle.  I doubt they get enough sun here and will look for another spot for them as well.

Oh, and the hosta in teal?  It is getting moved to the opposite side of the yard to join a few others I planted last week to create some colour near the patio, under a large oak.


So I split the 'extra' hosta in two and even though the two newbies are drooping a bit from the effort,  I can see how it will all work together to create quite a centerpiece over time.  
Heck it may look great as early as next spring.  
I will report back.

Now on to the Allium, which I have split into 7.  They will have to get planted tomorrow.  
Will having them interspersed amongst the hostas put this over the top like I think it will (i.e. in a good way)? 
Or will it make it too cluttered?

I'd love your thoughts.

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Monday, September 10, 2012


As a born and bred Winnipegger I have to admit that I love a deal.

So when Groupon offered 50% off on up to $180 worth of plants at Sage Herb Gardens I had to get some. I even got my parents to buy some.
So what's the big deal?  You might be wondering why I should have tried to stop myself in the first place, after all, I am moving into a big new yard.

The trouble is a) I'm not moving until mid October and b) I subscribe to the idea of holding back from buying plants in the first year in order to really get to know your garden first - at least I try to. 

On the first point, I'll plant them (in their pots) in my parents garden and overwinter them there, then move them again in the spring.

And the second point?  About holding off when moving in? 
I can't help myself.  Life is too short not to take chances.

At least I won't be planting anything in the gardens that already exist.
(OK, so I already wrote about the bulbs that I bought as well, but bulbs don't count for that rule, do they?)

So I am going to plants all of these plants in a NEW garden.  I can see that the space outside of the living room bay window faces south.  I am going to bet that it is sunny, (though I have to admit there are major blue spruce and a house in that direction as well....) and I can't wait to find out for sure.  
I am willing to take the chance that they may not get as much sun as they need, but I've got a feeling from what I have seen this fall that it will be fine.

Not only have I decided that I will make the space a garden, but that I want my first sunny city garden to be made up of hot sunny colours. A celebration of yellows, bright oranges and reds and plenty of mixes in between.

So what did I buy?

Gaillardia "Arizon Sun" x 3 @ $10 
This bi-colour will look great at the front of the border.

And so will this one.  
Shall I intermix the Blanket Flower or keep them separate?

I didn't think these were good for zone 3 - though always wanted to try them.

I love these - I've been looking for non-standard coneflower for quite a while, but always found them monstrously expensive.
Echinacea "Secret Desire" x2 @ $15
Quite different in both form and colour than standard Purple Coneflower.

Rudbeckia laciniata "Goldquelle" x 3 @ $10
I always thought of Black-eyed-Susans when I thought Rudbeckia - who knew that there were ones that looked a bit like Marigolds?

I am quite pleased with my selections, especially since so many of them are a different from average varieties.
I can see them mixed with grasses, daisies, Black-eyed Susans, False Sunflower in an homage to the prairie of sorts.

Let me know what you think.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

WILT - The Bigger They Are...

You don't understand anything until you learn it more than one way. 
~Marvin Minsky

The bigger they are...the harder they are to transplant.

With the exception of the North and South Deck Gardens and the Lily garden where trees and rocks have been removed so that digging big holes was easy, digging holes in the forest floor is tough work.  So picking smaller ferns that need smaller holes is a better idea than digging up massive ferns that require massive holes and then not being able to properly plant them.

The ferns deserve more.
If you transplant a medium fern with little damage and properly buried roots it will grow strong soon enough.  If you take the biggest ferns but don't accommodate its full size, it can be like taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back.  
You may end up with the same sized plant 2 or 3 years later, so wouldn't it have been better for everyone, including the plant, to just start with the smaller one?

It can be tempting though to go for the biggest one you think you can manage, to get the most bang for your buck and have instant gratification.  
But if there is one thing us perennial gardeners need to have, it is patience.
And I need to remember that when I am in the trenches digging up suitable candidates for my garden.  
Think smaller and save us all from wasted effort.


What I Learned Today (WILT) is a recurring series of posts about those thing I tend to learn over and over, and seem destined to keep repeating.  They tend to be the basics.  The simple things that are not so simple.
Making a record of the error of my ways is designed to help me to kick the habit.
Time will tell.

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Saturday, September 01, 2012


Some more pics that I had transferred from slides recently.  Probably from 1995 or so.

This is the original of the set.

And here it is brightened up a bit and cropped slightly. 

And finally cropped very close. 

My favourite is the second shot.
Keeping some of the darker colour around the edge provides contrast that is lost in the final, closely cropped shot.

What do you think?


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