Thursday, July 21, 2016

High Summer

      It's rose season, and lots of the inmates are doing their best to cheer up the view. This is one of my climbers which hasn't bloomed for the last three years, but it is covered this year. The blooms are a simply glorious, deep, velvet-ty red. It is Henry Kelsey, one of the Explorer roses. I moved it from the rose mound a number of years ago, and I think it has finally ceased to sulk and has settled in to be a stunner. It is away back at the east side of the property so you have to go for a walk in order to see it. I often forget about it when I am doing photos and have to make a special trip. It's been blooming full belt since about the first week of July.
          The rosa gallica Tuscan Superb is doing a lot of blooming also, and it's a slightly deeper deep red, or slightly purplish red. (This photo does it no favours.) I wanted to be able to paint our house the colour of this rose, but I don't think paint comes
in colours this subtle.
     The rose Snowy Pavement has been great, both in blooming and in spreading itself about. This shot is of the one on the south side of the ring-around-the-rosey bed. Lovely subtle lilac shade and a terrific scent. I had pruned the original one on the rose mound last fall, and it is coming back well.
The rosa multiflora was NOT blooming for the wedding, but it bloomed very successfully since. I had pruned it very hard back in the fall and again in spring, and it took this as an excuse to become HUGE. I am leaving it alone for now, as the hips are a great addition to Christmas decorations, but I'll never again worry that I've been too harsh with it. It can take it very well. This shot is when it's in full bloom, and all that green on top is the next year's canes. It doesn't re-bloom (or at least not very much) on the old ones.

     In addition to admiring the roses I have been trying to get all of the plants I've collected or sown into the ground. It has been a challenge to say the very least. For example, I planted rose campion from seed, and they have been very successful in both germination and in surviving being pricked out. As a result I must have planted out 7 or 8 dozen of them. They are biennials, so I put them into the cutting bed of the vegetable garden, to grow on, to be placed in the flower garden next year. However, I have some rose campion planted out two years ago, blooming now, and I'm not sure if they will survive to bloom again next year. If they do I shall be over-run with rose campion. I may have to sell them or give them away.
      This week I've been developing "Primuland", a special area for my extensive primula collection (do you see what I did there?).  It's facing south and quite near the road, and, in summer, quite shady, except at mid-day. The weeping purple beech and the chamaecyparis were planted there a couple of years ago.
      I hope that before the trees leaf out the primulas will have a chance to bloom in the sunshine. I also put in a stephanandra, a creeping rhododendron, and some sedum, creeping phlox  and erica carnera seedlings I generated this spring. And I stuck in a couple of pots of blooming things and some pinks for colour.
       In the area below the yellow birch I am planning to add a bed of the orange flowers that are scattered around here and there amongst all the pink ones. I find them a bit jarring and think they would do better off on their own. I expect I shall find I have far more of them than the space will hold! However there is a possibility of digging out a matching bed on the other side of this little lawn area (perhaps I should say former lawn area? Yeah, more lawn gone!) and more oranges/yellows could go there. I know I have a couple of daylilies including two big thickets of Franz Hals, and my geums should go there too. There are others but I have to wait until they have finished blooming before moving. Just now I am smothering the grass with carpet in those areas.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Too Busy!

     This is iris 'Ziggy', the first time it's bloomed since I bought it at the Veseys fall sale in 2014. Pretty glorious.

        I've been gardening frantically, but knitting has gone by the wayside for the moment. We have a wedding NEXT WEEK so everything revolves around that. The bride and fiance arrived yesterday so I expect the pace to pick up considerably.

       In late spring we had two weeks of an upper-level low which dumped a lot of rain on us, but lately the warmth has come and the garden has benefitted. However, the peonies, upon which we have been basing a lot of floral ideas, have been held back nicely. I think we should have lots and lots for floral arrangements.
But not these babies, unfortunately. The two surviving tree peonies are blooming like good 'uns but they are now over, or nearly so. Spectacular, however! And this one, the Paeonia suffruticosa 'Renkaku had eight blooms!
      Now I am keeping a weather eye on my ring-around-the-rosey bed, as the Rosa multiflora should just about be blooming on July 3.  They will be just the ticket for a massive, ceremony-backing arrangement with branches over 10 feet long.  Now I just need a HUGE bucket, and something to disguise the fact that it is a bucket. No problem!
     Veseys has had another sale, this time of bare-root things, and as usual Anne and I have splurged quite A LOT. Lots of hardy hibiscus, roses, clematis - If the NEXT wedding is in five years, they should be ready.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Early Spring?

We hardly dare hope. But it has been mild and even rainy, so most of the snow is gone, and most of the ice in the river and the Bay. Yesterday it blew hard from the northwest, so I expect much of the ice in the Strait is over on the other side now. I certainly can't see any from here.
I have been starting seeds, mainly the really hardy ones in milk jugs for outside, and a few things in the house - sweet peas, peppers, anemonies (no sign of them so far, but Anne did hers at the same time, and, with the same result as me, excavated one last week. There are roots!) Most of my fuchsias are sprouting new growth here in the office, and the all-white ones have buds on, the crazy things! Unfortunately I'm not seeing anything on the more unusual ones - two triphylle 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt' I bought late in the season, and another really tiny one in the typical pink-and-purple. They may have gotten too dry in the garage.
I have put the smaller wire-and-plastic greenhouse out inside the polytunnel (which has withstood the weather perfectly!) and last weekend I put bubble wrap around it to see if I can keep it from getting below freezing inside it. It would be so lovely to put out some of the hardier things - I am sure the sweet peas would bush up (they are very stretched right now) and other things would do well. But it was -8 outside last night (and windy) so I doubt we managed above zero last night. I bought a great little battery-operated temperature and humidity gauge that records the lows and highs, so I have been keeping records out there for a couple of weeks. Soon!

Monday, January 11, 2016

January Thaw

         This was the post-Christmas snowfall - a festive look in the front yard. However it is all gone now, as we are having a break from the wintry weather. A bit of rain and quite a lot of wind, but warm. I looked out in the afternoon and the sky was blue! And the solar water heater was cranking out hot water in the basement.         
          Decided to go for a walk, up the hill as far as the golf course. In our sheltered corner there was not much evidence of the wind, but it was still blowing up on the hill, on my back as I walked. I was a bit worried about the return journey but it was not too bad - a function of the +5 degree temperature! However it started to rain a bit as I neared home.
               I stopped in at the polytunnel to give it a bit of a face-lift. It had popped a few clips on the Southeast corner in the wind before Christmas, and then of course the clips were under the snow so I couldn't do anything about it. However! The snow has disappeared and the clips were just where I thought they'd be so I got it all put back together again. It's a bit damp inside but warm. I wish I could grow out there! But I am not deceived. The cold will return.
            The cold frame was bare as well, and everything inside looks great. A bit dry but I don't want to water, as there's cold coming tomorrow - and snow on Wednesday. And as I look out now there are flurries. It's been nice to have the break, though.