Friday, October 31, 2014


In September I visited the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and aside from all the usual reasons to go, including a raised path through the trees, gorgeous sculptures & fountains and of course loads and loads of plants, there were also hundreds of "scarecrows" created by local groups throughout the gardens.

I have selected my favourites for you to enjoy on Halloween, ranked from least-scary to most-scary, so be prepared, you may want to turn up the lights as you near the end.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - digging up the monet garden

 In order to have foundation work done in our basement, the Old Sun Garden and the back of the Monet Garden outside our living room windows have been completely dug up.
August 13
The back of the Monet was not stellar looking by any stretch yet, yet it had been set on its path and I was not planning on adding much else to the Monarda, Anchusa azurea 'Loddon Royalist' Ostrich Ferns, Tree Lilies, New England Asters and Foxglove.

Oct. 15-30
Originally I wanted as much colour in this garden as possible, I was tired of the shade gardens I had in Ontario and wanted to have more sun and new options - what I have come to realize is that wanting something does not make it so. It is time for a new look at old favourites, time to  revive my appreciation for shades of green and embrace, rather than fight, the Monet Garden's shady character.

I am going to raise up the height of the back bed by bringing in a few more inches of quality soil and then expanding the patch of Ostrich Ferns so they stretch across the entire front wall.  A mix of purple Astilbe and Calla Lilies will help fill the space, should the callas survive their first winter in our basement.  The Tree Lilies were cut back but not dug out and so should return and spring forth from amongst the ferns.

The Monarda and Foxglove have been permanently moved forward into the new part of the Monet Garden while both the Asters and Anchusa have made their way to the Sun Garden now that I have become more flexible with my colour design.

I have six purple tree lilies to add to the garden, do you think they would work well interspersed amongst the Iris toward the front, creating the opportunity for visitors to pass through a 'forest' of sweet smelling lilies, or mixed with the existing tall lilies towards the back, building on an already successful choice?

I would love to know your thoughts.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - digging up the old sun garden

In order to have foundation work done in our basement, the Old Sun Garden outside our living room window has been completely dug up.

July 27, Old Sun Garden
I very much like where I have ended up with this particular bed, and I can see an even better version of it now that I have the chance to rebuild. The optimized bed will have half the Heliopsis, a taller grass with bigger seed heads than the Panic Grass I added earlier this year (now transplanted to the Sun Garden), the few New England Asters struggling in the Monet Garden and of course the all important combination of Liatris and Sea Holly (more of the former than the latter). 

October 15-30, Old Sun Garden
 Many of the plants I plan on leaving where I have transplanted them, only the LiatrisNew England Aster and Sea Holly wait patiently on a tarp in the garage. I will not be putting the full garden back together this fall, instead improving the soil and taking my time to carefully plan this bed's evolution.

These Heliopsis have been placed further under the large Spruce tree in hopes of turning the border that I introduced last year into much more of a patch.  Let us hope they get enough light under here. 

Heliopsis and Lamium groundcover (from the Monet Garden) are helping to make the space between my gardens feel less like a driveway and more like somewhere we could host a dinner party. There was enough material to plant on both sides of the cedars, though it remains to be seen if they will get enough sun here as well.

I am willing to take these gambles with sunlight because I learned last year how prolifically the Heliopsis self seeds and how properly spaced seedlings quickly grew to the same heights as more well established clumps, so I am not worried about replenishing them no matter how big a hit they take.

Wish me luck as I take full advantage of this "opportunity".

Sharing with Tuesday Garden Party, Garden Tuesday, Our World Tuesday, 
Outdoor Wednesday

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


 Since starting a plethora of bi-coloured Rudbeckia from seed two years ago I have fallen in love with these long-blooming, vibrant, stalwarts of the Sun Garden.    It takes more than one frost to put these beauties down.

Upon looking at these Gaillardia I am immediately struck by how much it looks like they have been sugared and are ready to eat for dessert...unfortunately they are not amongst the edibles in my gardens.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


I recently went to Atlanta for a work conference and spent the afternoon at their botanical gardens.

Having seen photos of 'plant sculptures' before I was generally not impressed.  Too unnatural I thought. 

Seeing them in person changed my mind however and now I find that they add charming whimsy to the garden.

 Who does not love orangutans?

 This grand sculpture/fountain combination was spectacularly impressive.

I liked the understated feeling of this massive fountain which was situated in the middle of a woodland, set quite a distance from the paths.

The horticulturalists created many different environments including this semi-shaded stream bed.

 The grasses in the foreground have a lovely spray effect and convey a sense of volume without 'blocking the view', so to speak.

I am 6'1" and these yellow beauties had to have been at least 8' tall. 

Colour-blocking with some late-season Asters. 
Simple and effective.

I highly recommend making the trip to the Atlanta Botanical gardens if you ever have the opportunity.


Monday, October 06, 2014


I certainly never thought of Forget-Me-Nots as a plant that bloomed throughout the summer, but the ones I transplanted from a friend's cottage landscape where they were growing wild certainly have.

It is well past the spring blooming period I expect to find them in, so you can imagine my surprise and delight to see these delicate beauties making an appearance to brighten up my end of season garden.

Out of season blooms can be some of the most magical, catching one unawares and reminding us that nature is never fully predictable.