Friday, July 25, 2014

My Favourite Day of the Week

Do you have a favourite day of the week? For me it's Saturday. 

Weekends always feel like bit like a mini-vacation that begins with a leisurely breakfast, hot coffee and the weekend paper. Even if the day involves the odd chore and errands like shopping, Saturday is always a nice break from the weekday routines.

In the summer, Saturday is Market Day. The Brampton Farmer's Market is more popular than ever. 

The whole family comes out to shop for fresh, local fruit, vegetables and flowers. 

There are always babies in strollers, kids with balloons and dogs on a leash. 
Music and delicious smells in the air.

Last Saturday there was sweet corn by the bagful. 

Later that evening had corn-on-the-cob for our dinner. Slathered in butter and sprinkled with fresh pepper, it was the perfect summer indulgence.

We're at the end of this year's cherries, but that only means that 
there will be peaches for sure this coming Saturday.

Beans and peas are my favourite mid-summer vegetables. 

Not all the peas make it home. They're so good we eat them like candy.

One of these days I must try making my own pickles!

As well as food there is always some form of entertainment at the Market. This fellow in a Mod 70's costume was selling tea. 

Not sure what the connection is between that era and tea, but he sure seemed to be having fun.

These musicians were playing a couple of instruments at one time.

Best moment of the morning: this little guy dancing and playing along on a tambourine. We adults so rarely relax and enjoy music so freely.

Seems even dogs like the Blues.

Free samples? Yes, please!

So many flowers! Which to choose?

I decided to buy one of the Mason jars filled with flowers.

It doesn't take long before your get loaded down with grocery bags. 
Smart shoppers bring some sort of shopping buggy.

Even the weather cooperated and the rain held off until everyone was packing up.

May your weekend be filled with sunshine and good food!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Joe's Garden: Part 2, Mid-June and Mid-July

The rose garden in June

If you go along to visit Joe's garden this coming Sunday, and you happen to mention that you read all about the Open Garden and Plant Sale in support of the Canadian Cancer Society on a blog, don't be surprised if he doesn't know quite how to respond. 

Computers and the internet may have revolutionized the way we do things, but in Joe's quiet life centred around home, garden and family, the World Wide Web has had little or no impact.

Don't be put off if Joe seems a bit quiet and reserved. He's just a little shy. Let him see that you share his passion for plants, and the next thing you know, he will be giving you a full guided tour.

On our most recent visit, we actually got to see the inner sanctum (A.K.A. the garage) where thousands of plant tags are neatly organized and held in stacks with tight rubber bands.

Rosa 'Red Fairy': Polyantha rose. Red flowers with a very light fragrance. Height: 45-75 cm Spread: up to 105 cm. This rose has a short, bushy, compact and spreading habit making it a good groundcover rose. I also have this rose in my own garden and can say from personal experience that it is a pretty tough little rose.

These are Joe's roses in the month of June. ( If you missed the previous post, here is a link: Joe's Garden Part 1).

'John Davis' Explorer Rose: Height: 2.0- 2.5 m, Spread 1.2 m -1.5 m. This rose has a trailing growth habit and has been used here as a climber here. Blooms are held in clusters and have a light, spicy fragrance. Resistant to black spot and powdery mildew. It will even survive in USDA Zone 3.

 I told Joe that everyone would want to know what he does to get his roses looking this beautiful. 

"Oh, I don't do anything special... For years I always talked to my plants each morning before I would go to work."

"Really? That's it? You talk to your plants," I replied more than a little crestfallen. I was hoping for some big, important tip on growing roses. 

 Joe is however, not one who likes to disappoint. He paused and then added hopefully, "Well, I do put a little manure into the hole when I plant them... and I also add a little mushroom compost around the base of my roses each spring."

Now, when I sat down to write this post and began to think over his answer to my question, I realized that the truly noteworthy response didn't come from me pressing him for rose growing tips. The core of his success with roses, and in plants in general, comes not from any liberal application of compost, leaf mold or fertilizer, they help for sure, but what it really comes from is the love and attention he lavishes on his garden. 

Yes, Joe is a man who talks to his plants!

'John Davis' Explorer Rose in June

'John Davis' Explorer Rose in June


Similar view, but in July.

Sorry again, we couldn't find an identification for this rose. 
It looks like a David Austin rose of some kind...

Welcome to July in Joe's garden! 
Most of the roses are now resting, but there are still lots of plants in flower...

Echinacea 'Hot Papaya': is a vivid orange and has a pompom head with drooping circle of petals. Full sun. Height: 60-90 cm, Spread: 60-90 cm. This plants likes to be well watered to get established and then is quite drought tolerant. Average garden soil. USDA Zones 4-9

Hosta 'Sunshine Glory' left and an unidentified hosta on the right.

You'll note from the pictures that Joe uses a lot of hostas at the front of his borders. It seems to keep them looking neat and tidy all summer long.


Echinacea 'Southern Belle': has magenta pompom flowers. Full sun. Height: 50- 90 cm, Spread: 50- 75 cm. Does equally well in moist or dry soil. Normal, sandy or clay soils are fine. Attractive to butterflies. USDA Zones 4-9

Sometime ago, I swore off some of these new and often weird looking varieties of Echinacea, but I have to say that this variety looked positively stunning when we were there.

Joe has many, many varieties of Phlox. This one wasn't labeled when we dropped in, but hopefully it will be labeled for next Sunday's open house.

Phlox paniculata 'Peppermint Twist': Height: 35-45 cm Spread: 30-40 cm. Full sun. Does equally well in moist or dry soil. Normal, sandy or clay soils are fine. Attractive to butterflies. USDA Zones 4-9

Possibly Phlox paniculata 'Blue Paradise'?

These flowers heads were HUGE and a bit bluer than my picture shows them to be. If they are identified at the open house this coming Sunday, I will come back and update the post. 

Echinacea 'Sunset': has large, lightly fragrant flowers. Full sun. Height: 50- 75 cm, Spread: 45-50 cm. Does equally well in moist or dry soil. Normal, sandy or clay soils are fine. Remove faded flowers to encourage the plant to continue to bloom all summer. USDA Zones 4-9


As you can see, the pathways become quite crowded in July.

An annual Poppy.

Annual poppy close-up.

In the front garden, Joe pointed out a robin's nest that hidden in a shrub not much taller than I am.  The low nest made taking pictures of these babies a snap.

This is an odd color combination (cool mauve, warm peach, pink and shocking lime green) that I would never have guessed would work, but it is does in a weird and interesting way.

The light mauve flower sneaking into my shot from the right are annual Larkspur, the peach foliage is some unknown Heuchera, the pale pink rose is the 'Fairy' and the light mauve flower is annual Candytuft that has self-seeded itself into every nook and cranny.

Annual Candytuft, Iberis Umbellata: Height 30-40 cm. Full sun. Flowers range from white to pink and mauve. Annual Candytuft flowers within a couple of months from seed.  It is taller and less compact than its perennial cousin.

Now, Joe has probably never seen the two blog posts I have done on his garden. 

Nor has he read all the nice things you have had to say in the comments. 

So I have decided to print out all the comments and take them over for him to read. I think he will be deeply touched to hear just how much you appreciate his labor of love.

More information and links:

Details for Joe's Open Garden and Plant Sale in support for the Canadian Cancer Society

Date: Sunday, July 27th 2014
Place: 65 Austin Drive, Brampton Ontario 
Time: 9 am -5 pm
Hosts: Joe and Cathy Covello

Directions: Exit the 401 at Hurontario Street and travel north to Steeles Ave. Turn right (East) onto Steeles Ave and watch for Hartford Trail on your right. Turn right onto Hartford Trail and then take the first right onto Appleton Trail. At the end of Appleton Trail turn right onto Austin Drive. Drive to the end on to of Austin Drive. Joe's house will be the one with balloons and plants for sale on your right!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Garden in July

Summer seems to be positively flying by. 

But what a lovely summer it has been so far! Hot, but not unbearably so, with cool breezy evenings that have often made me want to reach for a sweater. 

Our rainfall seems to have been perfectly timed; arriving on more weekdays than weekends, and always when the garden seems to need it most.  

The month of June somehow vanished with barely a picture taken.

The peonies bloomed a few weeks later than usual, and put on a beautiful though fleeting display.

Sunny yellow Evening Primroses and little purple geraniums always provide a nice backdrop 
for the big showy magenta peonies in the front garden.

Evening Primrose, Oenothera tetragonaHeight: 30-50 cm, Spread: 30-40 cm. Not everyone is a fan of this plant because it spreads. It does well in sun or part shade, and it has happy yellow flowers, so I like it. 
Evening Primrose's unruly spread is best kept in check now when the plant is in flower. I edit my flowering clumps to a manageable size by yanking out unwanted plants and find the plant stems give easily. 

Roses filled in where the peonies left off.

Explorer Rose 'John Cabot' : This rose has glossy foliage and arching stems that can reach 3 meters in height (Note: can be used as a climber). This rose is only lightly fragrant. John Cabot's main drawbacks: the stems are quite thorny and Japanese Beetles love, love its blooms. Lucky for me its first flush of flowers appear a few weeks before the beetles make their now annual appearance.

Explorer Rose 'John Cabot'

A mix of roses from the front garden.

Other standouts in late June/early July were these mauve Veronica (on the right) and the light cream and magenta flowers of Penstemon 'Black Towers' (seen on the left).

Penstemon 'Dark Towers': Height: 60-90 cm, Spread: 45-60 cm. Full sun. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to dry conditions. Zones: USDA 3-9

Veronica 'Eveline': Height: 45-50 cm, Spread: 30-40 cm. Will tolerate part shade, but blooms much better in full sun. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Moist soil is preferred, but mine seems fine in average conditions. Deadhead to encourage repeat flowering. Zones: USDA 4-9

Veronica 'Hocus Pocus' has been blooming now for weeks.

Veronica 'Hocus Pocus' : Height: 40-50 cm, Spread: 25-30 cm. Full sun. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Moist or average conditions. Again deadhead to encourage repeat flowering. Zones: USDA 4-9

Along the white picket fence at the front of the house.

These Sidalcea 'Party Girl' continue to one of my favourite flowers in early July.

Prairie Mallow, Sidalcea 'Party Girl': Height: 60-90 cm, Spread: 30-45 cm. Full sun or light shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to moist conditions. Attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. A good self seeder. Zones: USDA 4-9

Recently, I added a lighter pink Sidalcea, as well as blue flowering Nepetia 'Walker's Low' to fill in a few gaps along the white picket fence.

Prairie Mallow, Sidalcea 'Elsie Heugh': Height: 60-90 cm, Spread: 30-45 cm. Full sun or light shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to moist conditions. Zones: USDA 4-9

Blue Catmint, Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low': A long blooming perennial (if regularly deadheaded) that has a mounded, bushy habit. Height: 30 cm, Spread: 45 cm. Full sun. Hardy zones 3-9.

In the back garden, I have been delighted with these Campanula. The white, bell-shaped flowers seemed to go on blooming for ages.

Campanula persicifolia albaHeight: 60-90 cm, Spread: 30-50 cm. Full sun or light shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to moist conditions. These easy-to-grow plants form a low mound of green leaves and have bell-shaped flowers that are born on tall stems. Zones: USDA 2-9

I also have the blue variety, but I have to say that the white form is by far the best of the two.

I lost the label for these Campanula, but believe they are:
Campanula persicifolia ' Telham Beauty'Height: 60-90 cm, Spread: 30-50 cm. Full sun or light shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to moist conditions. Like the white variety, this cultivar forms a low mound of green leaves and has bell-shaped blue flowers that are born on tall stems. Zones: USDA 2-9

Last summer I grew foxglove from seed and this spring I transplanted them throughout the back garden.

This is a new perennial for me. It is a native plant that has the most delicate, starry white flowers.

Gillenia trifoliata: A tough, long-lived native plant with reddish stems, narrow leaves and white star-shaped flowers. Height: 60-120 cm, Spread: 60-75 cm. Full sun or light shade. Prefers rich, moist, well drained soil. Good fall color. Zones: USDA 4-9

My Agastache "Blue Fortune' is just starting to flower.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune': Height: 60-75 cm, Spread: 45- 60 cm. Full sun or part shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average, dry or moist growing conditions. Bees love this flower! Zones: USDA 2-9

My raised beds are barely visible in the jungle of plants. In the four raised beds I have a crazy mix of herbs, tomatoes, berries, roses and perennials.

The flower border that frames the part of the garden with the four raised beds.

I have a number of unusual perennials, but I also have very common plants as well. 
Throughout my garden there are hosta in bloom this month. 

I love the way this common Spirea seems to glow in the light of early evening.

I hope July has been wonderful in your garden as well.