Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Wrap Up & September Begins

Bit of a hodgepodge this evening.  It's so hard to believe that it's September.  We almost got to the end of summer without any 30C+ weather.  And without all the hot weather to whinge about, well I'm finding it difficult to transition to the next season.  The leaves are starting to change.  Oh my.  And sadly the 100+ year old Ash that is on the way out in November due to the Emerald Ash Borer is not showing any yellow colour - the leaves have simply turned brown and are falling.  

The annual grasses are not quite as big, but certainly just as attractive.

It has been a stellar year for Sedum  of all things.  This patch looks like Broccoli in the witness protection program.

Excellent year for phlox - no mildew - much bigger and beefier than other years.

Other years I've cut this down - but not this summer - looks like it's playing Twister.

Hydrangea 'Limelight' in the centre.  Normally Eupatorium 'Gateway' (pink to the left) would be equal in height - although I think I prefer it this year.

Not being as tall, it's had to lean on some of its neighbours.

OK.  Downtown Oakville.  Morning walk.  Silly dog.  Had I had my brains working, I would have taken a combination shot of the owner with the dog - they both had the same colour fur/hair.  I kid you not.

Pretty pinks with blue.

Three pots here.  One dog.  But just look at the growth.  Really pleased with how well they've done.

I had lost quite a few perennials from this bed.  You really would be hard pressed to say where they would have been, everything else has done so well with the rain and cooler weather.

One of my end-of-the-summer flowers.

Kevin and I got to the Exhibition - this was one of the sand sculptures:

Took a selfie just as we were leaving.  Not so good.

A gentleman was giggling watching us in our endeavours to capture ourselves and offered to take our picture.....

The Lake has been a lot less stinky this year - hopefully cleaner.  Certainly clearer with less pesticides and herbicides being used.  Even saw several groups swimming.  Keep those teeth together.

Another end-of season flower.

Our morning progress being followed by neighbourhood dog Sisi.

Kevin and I got away for our anniversary - 34 years - to the Keefer Mansion Inn in Thorold.  Great new chef - delicious meals and wonderful service - very relaxing.  And while you sit at lunch if you look off in the distance you can see the ships passing and taking the step up (or down) 40 feet in the seventh lock between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie in the Welland canal - built to avoid Niagara Falls.

Back to our morning walk by the hospital that will be coming down next year.   Will really miss Jacques' great gardens that he's put together over the years.

This was a hanging basket that I took apart and shoved into this pot at the beginning of the summer.  It's been a welcome delight.

The showy Rex begonias are starting to send out blossoms - another sign that summer is coming to an end.

The best year ever for Hemerocallis:

And for Rose of Sharon - Blue Chiffon.

Some of Jacques' planters at the hospital.

and a few neighbourhood homes & gardens to finish off from my walk this a.m.

An English style garden:

They face the Lake - love all the yellow.

Over the last 5 years or so several different landscapers/designers have had their way with this property - this is the latest and certainly the most colourful.

So as you can see, summer is certainly coming to an end - but with a little bit of luck the gardening season will continue well into the next couple of months.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday from the Wilds of Stony Lake

Kevin, Bart and I took a vacation to Stony Lake, Ontario two weeks ago visiting my girlfriend Joanne at her home and cottage.  The time away from Oakville was great.  The weather - well, it was consistent with the rest of the summer.   It was cool - one morning 8C.  And, it was wet.  Fortunately the cottage was heated and there's lots to do in the towns of the Kawarthas during the day.

The family property consists of a lovely beach and acres of woodland to explore.  While it wasn't beach weather, there was no reason for not being able to mine the woods for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday.  So with umbrella in hand and dogs to help, off I went.

Here is a woodland sunflower -  Helianthus divaricatus.  There's nothing like a bit of yellow to brighten a dark shaded space.

Often I find flowers I don't know the name of, but have seen before - this was a brand new discovery for me.

You can see just how tall it is based on my friend Mickey.

I was careful not to show too much interest in any one plant, lest he yank it up by the roots and spit it out at my feet.

After much digging on the net, I've discovered that it is a Prenanthes alba or Rattlesnake Root.  The leaves are highly variable - some smooth - others lobed.   The heights differ as well - from about 1/2 a meter to close to 2.

You can just barely see the beginning of Fall Asters at Mickey's feet - and if I may point out - lots of Poison Ivy.

Just a little too close to the Prunella vulgaris - one more second pause with my camera, and he'll make sure we don't leave without it.

Too late for these blossoms, but what pretty Thalictrum leaves.

 You can see little dots of Helianthus colonizing the open area.

There were a few trees that had started to turn red.  I don't even want to go there just yet, seems we've hardly had summer, but you can see the ferns are starting to change to yellow.

And one more shot of my cottage buddy Mickey.  

Some very sad news.  I couldn't believe this, but this morning just as I was loading the photos into my blog, I heard from Joanne.  Her dear old Mickey had died.  He'd had seizures for a while.  Apparently last evening was a tough one and she had planned to get him to the vet this morning as soon as she could, but he passed away.  Joanne has buried him with dogs Sam, Brandy, Kelsey, Eli and Rocky the cat.  He was such a social guy, no doubt he'll enjoy keeping his old pals company.  

As my Kevin said, "He lived in paradise.  He was one lucky dog."  We'll all miss his happy-go-lucky nature and his ability to fix you with those eyes so you'd swear he knew exactly what you were thinking.  May his next journey be as wonderful as his time on earth.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August Update - Catching Up With the Weeds & Flowers

Lettuce, not tomatoes.  Just one of those years.  It has been cool and wet - spa weather for plants.  Those that were close to death after this fierce winter have their little leaves dancing around their crowns bigger and better than ever.   And, the weeds - so lovely and lush, and in such abundance.

Speaking of leaves, I've had the best luck with Renee's lettuce mixes this year.  Planted both the 5-variety Mesclun Organic Blend and the Paris Market Blend this spring and am still harvesting.  Turns my guests into little kids.  After a few bites of their salad, they start pulling it all apart wanting to know which one is which and where could they buy this particular type of lettuce.  With all the different varieties included in these two packages, I don't have a clue, so I simply encourage them to eat up, drink more wine, and maybe grow their own lettuce next year.  Below are more lovely leaves of Renee's Swiss chard and beans.

My pots have done very well too.  Loblaw had provided a great number of plants to replace the ill-fated and popular Impatiens.  These bright orange begonias are a new favourite of mine.

Quite a bit of spider mite here and there throughout the garden.  First time I'd seen it on Colocasia.

My new favourite Hosta 'Wheee!'  My little H. 'Praying Hands' that lived beside it obviously hasn't been praying hard enough - it's down to two tiny leaves that I trod on yesterday.

And two weeks later, more colour in Hydrangea 'Mystical Flame' and Heuchera 'Amber Lady'.  (and a few less weeds up front)

I'm zipping you back to the front yard again.  What a year for Hydrangea 'Limelight'.  It's next to Persicaria polymorpha which looks so much better when it hasn't been devoured by Japanese Beetles.  Eupatorium 'Gateway' is a little more than waist-high this year.  But on a positive note, the leaves have not been mutilated by leaf miners as they have almost every other year.

You can see the limelight colour a little better in this shot.

A couple of morning walk shots - silver, pinks, and blues are such pretty combinations.

Back to my garden....This is H. 'Incrediball'.  I believe I'm into year 4 here.  Still very small.  Shocking white blossoms, but very slow growth pattern.  May take another 2 years until it earns its incredible moniker.

More 'Limelight':

Did I hear you say Uncle?  Until I do, more 'Limelight'.

Hybiscus syriacus 'Blue Chiffon'.  This was one of the plants on death watch after the rough winter.  Just shows what a cool wet summer will do for a shrub.

H. 'Invincibelle Spirit'.  Wasn't keen on this when I first planted it.  Now, I really like it.  Very unusual pink colour, and it continues to send out blossoms throughout the summer.

This is my favourite new perennial of the year.  Be aware though, this is only year one.  Can you believe all the blossoms?  The colour in person is richer and better, and just when you think it should be done, it provides even more colour.   I wish they'd spent as much time on the name as they had on plant development, I'm finding Coreopsis 'Permathread Red Satin' a little hard to remember.

Two weeks later:

After the rain:

Coreopsis 'Route 66' - one of the first fancy thread leaf varieties to survive year after year - yet another Loblaw feature.

It was a good year for birds & squirrels - what a feast on the Cornus alternifolia berries.  The party remains on the hosta.

The mixed pots have done very well.  I use a 15-30-15 mix every two weeks.  Am surprised at how well the petunias have done.

The Ipomopsis rubra are in bloom.

More monarchs than last year, but not many more.  Good to see them enjoying the milkweed I let grow in the big perennial garden.

Best Hemerocallis year ever.

Lost one of the Begonias when we had the last thunderstorm.  But the rest of the bunch is looking just fine.  The green bit is a plant left over from last year.  Waiting to see what colour it will be.

Couldn't believe it was time for these blossoms - always think of this Clematis as one of my end-of-summer plants.

Great year for Platycodon.  The white gunk is pine blood from the still open wounds of the Eastern White above.

More 'Limelight' from this a.m.

And one last shot - a very clever bee staying dry on Eupatorium 'Gateway'.  Hope he finds a better spot by this afternoon - looks like we're going to be hammered with thunder and heavy rain for most of the afternoon.  There's simply no let up on this lettuce summer anytime soon.