Saturday, October 14, 2017

Warm Fall


 After a cool rainy summer, we had a beautiful warm sunny September, and now even in October the weather has been mild. Some of the open areas have had frost but we are protected by all our trees and haven't had any frost yet.


The annuals have, of course, slowed down but there are still bright spots of colour.

 The zucchini which got off to a slow start is still producing bright yellow squash. Usually by this time of year it's on the compost pile.

Some red leaves are to be found but a lot of the leaves are just brown.  Too much rain and then too little rain isn't good for fall colour.

Compared to last year, the fall colour is quite subdued.  Never mind, we had a wonderful September.

 I planted this Cimefuga in a rough area and was pretty surprised to see its snowy white flower stalk.  It has gone through one winter so here's hoping it will keep surviving. It has a sweet scent to it.

 The purple loosestrife goes a pale pink in the fall. I like the delicate colouring.

Good old reliable sedum.  Never had a year when it didn't perform well.

The wild purple asters are just as pretty as any nursery bought plant. And the bonus with them is they are tough as nails.
Our new granddaughter was born last week so I am seeing life at both extremes these days: my mother who is 93 and the new baby. And, of course, there's everybody else in between those two.
It can feel quite similar being with an old person and a baby - lots of just hanging out together and food is a highlight of the day.
A squirrel is hiding nuts in the little hay shed, and the chipmunks are scurrying purposefully around the yard getting ready for winter. Won't be long now.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pardon Me Daylily and others

 The Pardon Me daylily has started blooming. It really is a rich red just like the catalogues promise.
 This Pink Double Delight echinacea is a perky, cheer-leader kind of flower.
 Coreopsis often gets a bit tangled with wind and rain but I like the markings on this Heavenly Gate's variety.
 The Jackmanii clematis is proving to be an incredibly durable, dependable flower.  Even in the shade, it is full of blooms. They say clematis like cool roots so maybe light is less important than the situation of the roots.
A wild very prickly thistle shows off it's pink topper. I don't like thistles in the lawn but in a natural space I really enjoy the structure of the plants and their bright flowers.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Annuals

 The annual beds at the Arboretum were quite far behind for this time of year.  I guess all the rain delayed planting.  They had quite a few orange flowers so that was different.
  The geranium was a really eye-popping red.  They also had some very bright orange ones.I like the nice markings on the red geranium leaves.
I believe the small trees are lantana which surprised me . They would certainly not be hardy and  it would take quite a while to produce a plant of this size.  Were they perhaps grafted on to something else? Interesting. As I said, the plantings are very new but it is possible to imagine what it would look like if the plants were fuller: purple salvia, purple millet, pink and orange geraniums, silver artemisia and silvery blue African daisies, and the orange lantana trees.
This is actually mostly small perennials in a shady sunken garden. It was restful and peaceful.
The red leaved celosia in this bed brighten it up. In the centre are castor bean plants which have a great form but they are poisonous.

I like the dotty effect of this planting broken up by the fan-shaped plants (some kind of grass?)
On the home front, my annuals have suffered a lot of slug damage . The nasturtiums and nicotiana are surviving better than the zinnias and cosmos. Maybe next year will be better.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Perennials

 The Arboretum has some nice perennial beds.
 Click for full width. To the right are some rose campion plants. I don't see them very often but I really like the branching form and the bright pink flowers  atop grey-green fuzzy leaves. I had one for a couple of years but our cold winter was too much for it. They also need very good drainage.
The balloon flowers had really big flowers - was it all the rain or a new variety? Quite impressive.
The red beebalm looks good behind the cream daylily.
Sometimes when plants get jumbled together they make a nice arrangement.
Most of the perennials were growing well as they easily use up the abundant rain.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Arboretum

 We went to the Arboretum in Ottawa.  We parked at the top of the hill and had a lovely view of the sweeping grass and trees below. It was supposed to be sunny but it was cloudy and humid. Appropriately, when we got out of the truck we heard a pipe band in the distance.
 Where were they?

 Here they are -about half a kilometer away on the other side of the canal. I think that's about the right distance to be from a pipe band to really enjoy it.  It's amazing how the sound of the pipes and drums carry across the landscape.
A nice big droopy willow.

A couple of kayakers in green boats enjoying the canal.
In the arboretum, a couple of smoke bushes give colour to the otherwise green landscape.
All the rain we've been having will be good for the trees.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Lilies and Some Shade Plants

 I got the idea to plant some lilies in among pansies from somewhere online -possibly Fine Gardening. I popped the lily bulbs in the pot mid-April and the pansies early May. It's been so cool and rainy that the pansies are lasting longer than they normally would.
 On the left, the dwarf scarlet runner bean I started in March or whenever is blooming away.  A few beans are forming but the plant was flowering for several weeks before the beans starting being properly pollinated so no actual beans to harvest yet. Also the slugs are chomping on some of them. Anyway, the flowers are somewhat decorative.


 This orange lily used to be a hybrid tiger lily but it has reverted to a plain lily with just the fewest of spots at the center.  That's the trouble with some hybrids, they don't stay true. Still it's pretty as it is.

Most of my gardens are full of weeds this year and the flowers look sad from too much rain, so I decided to make a fresh bed today.  All the plants were half price. I planted a blue hosta, a green and yellow hosta, two heucherellas with reddish centers, three green heucheras, a cowslip primrose and the bushy plant in the middle is the yellow corydalis. We'll see how it survives winter but for now I have a little patch that's not full of weeds. This will hopefully inspire me to get weeding in the other gardens.
On another note, the other day I had Pepper, my horse, out eating grass near the house.  Little bunny arrived and for a few minutes they were eating about 6' apart. Bunny didn't seem to notice me at all.
Then a noisy truck went down the road and scared the bunny away. It would have made a very cute picture with the two animals munching on the grass together.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Yellow Corydalis



A friend kindly gave me this yellow corydalis today.

Doesn't it look perky and healthy?
I went to my friend's home for the first time today and was blown away by her gorgeous gardens. I knew she was a good gardener as she had her own greenhouse at one time and subsequently worked for a large floral greenhouse as the head designer. But still, I was surprised at the extent of her gardens.  I didn't take pictures - somehow it didn't seem right- but imagine a couple of acres of grass flowing down a gentle hill that flattens out midway before going down to the Ottawa River.  Mature trees flank the open area and partially block the view of the water. At just the perfect spots, she has perennial flower beds with a wonderful assortment of plants. She has a variety of light so different areas have plants suitable to the locations.  All this she has done from a rough lot in the past  nine years, as well as raising her teen-age boys (with her husband) and working at the greenhouse. And while she does have a tractor, she does the work herself. A true gardener. It was so refreshing to spend time with her in her wonderland. I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ecomuseum - (4) Turtles


 A turtle saying hello.
 Two turtles saying hello.


This soft-shelled turtle really is a shimmery yellow-green colour. It's hard to make out his pointy head with the reflections.

 A small dark turtle with white spots.  Too bad he's hiding his head.

 This turtle has a head like a frog.


A turtle saying good-bye.
All these turtles are native to the St. Lawrence Valley.  They also had an albino snapping turtle with a dented shell but he looked so pathetic that I didn't include his picture.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Ecomuseum (3) - Ducks

 I'm pretty iffy on duck identification but I will hazard some guesses. These are northern shovelers with spoon-shaped bills.
 The little duck is a green-winged teal. He is smaller than the other ducks.
 Female mallards are  sunning on a rock.
 A group of ducks are sleeping among the weeds.

A pintail duck is making a wake as he paddles across the pond.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ecomuseum -2

 The Ecomuseum has a really nice set-up for the water birds. A flowing stream and lots of native plants and rocks makes the birds feel really at home. The area is fenced in and has netting about 20' overhead, but you are able to access it through a doorway, and so you can wander around near the birds. This kingfisher didn't mind us at all.  He was just intend on the water below, hoping for a minnow, I suppose.


I think this is a turkey vulture.  He just came strutting up the stairs and marched by, turning right along the walkway. He had the funniest goose-stepping walk.  He was out of sight before I could get a good picture of him.

 Inside the main building of the zoo, aquariums housed some of the reptiles.  This is a blue-spotted salamander that grows to about 8 -10 " long.  We see them occasionally near our home.  He is really a dark blue even though the photo shows him as black.
More ducks next time.