Friday, November 21, 2014

My Garden: Summer into Fall

Snow began to fall last Sunday bringing the 2014 gardening season
 come to an abrupt conclusion for me. 

What a spring, summer and fall it has been in my garden! What is that oh-so-familar quote? Change is the only constant.

Three big trees came down in June and suddenly there was sun where previously there was shade.

The view along the picket fence last summer.

In August the city redid the sidewalk at the front of the house making it wider. I figure that I lost six to twelve inches of garden along the white picket fence. The workers who relaid the concrete sidewalk slabs were respectful of my garden, but the plants still suffered horribly. My late summer display of blooms was not at all up to its usual splendour.

Sadly, I don't think it will ever look this good again!

My picture taking in late summer and fall was spotty at best. 

Here is a sampling of those images. It is a bit of a long post, but I figure you will only read up on the plants that happen to catch your eye.

Phlox paniculata 'Nicky', yellow Rudbeckia, Caryopteris divaricata 'Snow Fairy' 
and Agastache 'Blue Fortune'

Late August

Phlox paniculata 'Nicky': Nicky's deep plum color makes it a great companion for late summer Rudbeckia and Echinacea. Full sun or light shade. Height: 90-120 cm (36-48 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Phlox paniculata 'David's Lavender': I think this has become one of my favourite varieties of phlox. The flowers are a lovely lavender-mauve. Full sun or light shade (mine is in light shade). Average to moist growing conditions. Height: 90-120 cm (36-48 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune': Height: 60-75 cm (20-30 inches), Spread: 45- 60 cm (18-23 inches). Full sun or light shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average, dry or moist growing conditions. Zones: USDA 2-9

White Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium altissimum 'Prairie Jewel': is pretty, but unlike the pink forms of Joe Pye Weed, 'Prairie Jewel' flops on rather weak stems. As you can see here in this picture, 'Prairie Jewel' ended up leaning heavily on the Agastache in front of it. Next year I must remember to support it properly. 'Prairie Jewel' blooms later than the pink varieties I grow and is a welcome addition to my fall garden. Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches), Spread: 60- 90 cm (24-36 inches). Full sun. Average to moist growing conditions. Zones: USDA 4-9.


Phlox paniculata 'Creme de Menthe': blooms a little later than many of the other varieties of phlox in my garden. One of its best features are its green leaves with cream colored margins. Full sun or light shade. Height: 90-120 cm (36-48 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune' in late September.

Agastache now brown and dry at the end of October

Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium dubium' Little Joe'


Dwarf Perennial Sunflower, Helianthus 'Happy Days': I think it is about time I cut this poor plant some slack. Though I like to experiment with new plants, I am always a bit apprehensive when a perennial is unfamiliar. It's a case of once bitten twice shy: I have enough problems already with aggressive plants like lily of the valley and goutweed.  

I was suspicious the moment I removed 'Happy Days' from its nursery pot and saw long white roots wrapping around the root ball. Worried that it might be yet another vigorous spreader, I planted it in one of my raised beds where it could only travel so far. It has been in the garden for 3 years now and seems fairly well behaved. It has not spread wildly, but it does seem to shift its location slightly each year; preferring to move to a fresh spot each spring.

Height: 55-60 cm (22-24 inches), Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). My plant is in light shade. Average to moist well-drained soil. Water well until established. It blooms for at least a month when deadheaded. Zones: USDA 4-9



Rudbeckia triloba 'Prairie Glow' : This plant is relatively new to my garden. When it came up this spring, I did not recognize the stems or leaves and almost pulled it out as a weed! But the neat plum colored stems made me hesitate and I am glad I held off. 
This is a new selection of Rudbeckia with bi-color blooms. It is a short-lived perennial with a tendency to reseed itself as it did in my garden. It is easy to grow in average or moist, well-drained soil. It is tall, and a bit floppy, so it is good to give it some support. Full sun. Height: 90-120 cm ( 36-48 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches) . USDA Zones 3-10.

Rusty wondering when I am going to stop taking pictures and go inside to get his breakfast.


Anemone hupehensis 'Prince Henry': After a few failed attempts, I think I have finally found a good spot for growing anemones. My plant is just a year old, but is doing well. I have high hopes for lots more flowers next summer. 'Prince Henry' likes rich fairly moist soil and part shade. Height 60-80 cm (20-30 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (20-35 inches) USDA Zones 5-9.

Hollyhock Mallow, Malva sylvestris 'Purple Satin': This was an impulse purchase made this spring. I have always admired the self-seeded Mallows growing wild in the neighbourhood. They flower long after most other plants have succumbed to frost. The Mallows growing in wild patches here are relatively compact, so I was somewhat unprepared for the monstrous size of 'Purple Satin'. This plant reaches 3-4 feet! Even a tomato cage could not keep it upright.
Malva sylvestris 'Purple Satin': is a biennial that likes to reseed itself. Maroon flowers appear in mid-summer and continue well into the fall. Full sun. Height: 150 cm ( 3-4'), Spread 45-60 cm (18-24 inches). Average to moist water needs. USDA Zones: 4-9.
Note: I also grew some Mallow from seed and learned the hard way that Malva sylvestris seedlings hate being moved, so plant it where you want it to grow. 


Phlox paniculata 'Bright Eyes': Full sun or light shade. Average to moist growing conditions. Height: 60-75 cm (20-30 inches), Spread: 45-60 cm (18-24 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Sorry, this is one of my oldest clumps of phlox and I am not sure of the cultivar.

I have to ask: Does this....

 ...look anything like this? 

I added Rosa 'Palmengarten Frankfurt' this spring, but the blooms don't look anything near as nice as the ones on this fine specimen at the Royal Botanical Garden in Hamilton. Even the shape of the flowers seems slightly off.

Perhaps time will tell.

I also a number of groundcover roses to my raised beds and a Hybrid Musk rose 
I have long admired called 'Belinda'.

Sedum spectabile 'Neon' with another clump of Agastache 'Blue Fortune'

Sedum spectabile 'Neon': This Sedum has light green foliage and magenta-pink flowers.  Full sun. Like all Sedums, it is attractive to butterflies. Height: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches) Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). USDA Zones: 2-9

Sedum 'Pure Joy': has a low, rounded mound of blue-green foliage and pale pink flowers. Grow it in poor to average well-drained soil. Full sun. Height: 20-30 cm (10-12 inches) Spread: 45-50 cm (18-20 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Early October

One of the things I love about Sedum is the way to changes color as the weather gets colder. I am not certain if this is Sedum 'Autumn Fire' or Sedum 'Autumn Joy'.

 Lobelia x speciosa 'Dark Crusader' and Lobelia siphilitica 'Alba'

 Last year I added three different varieties of Lobelia. They all bloomed for the first time this summer- not a spectacular display, but it is bound to get better with time.

Great Blue Lobelia or Cardinal Flower, Lobelia siphilitica 

Ironweed, Vernonia gigantea: is a skyscraper of a plant. Fairly new to my garden, there were exactly three stems crowned with purple flowers this summer. Height: 180-210 cm, 
Spread: 90-100 cm Full sun. It prefers moist soil, but my plant has average moisture only. 

Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana: One final tall perennial. This is Pokeweed a plant native to northern and central North America. I have one plant that is about 6' or 7' tall. When they first appear in spring, the young shoots of the plant are edible (often refereed to as "poke sallet"). 

Parts of the mature plant and berries however, are poisonous (so not a great plant choice if you have kids). Pokeweed has outrageously colored magenta stems and berries that hang like grapes. At first the berries are green in color and then magenta. As they mature, they darken to plum and finally become shinny black.

A word of warning: I grow this Pokeweed because I love tall plants and I think the stems and black berries are neat. I am really, really careful not to let the berries fall to the ground. Each little berry has tons of seeds. What is a cool plant could easily become a big problem if you are not really careful.

Fall was lovely here, but it disappeared far too quickly. So many chores remained unfinished! 
Oh well. There is always next year.

Have yourself a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Beryl Ivey Knot Garden and Nature's Garden

This week I return in a series of photographs to the Toronto Botanical Gardens. 

Nature's Garden is an area of the TBG devoted largely to native plants.


My picture makes it look modest in size, but in reality, this was a very grand urn.

Begonia 'Yadev' (Million Kisses)

Coleus, Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Rustic Orange'

Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Little Henry': Rudbeckia subtomentosa or Sweet Coneflower is native plant found in an area that runs from the midwestern states into Texas. It is a tall, upright plant with quilled yellow flowers with brown centres. 'Little Henry' blooms from midsummer into fall and is attractive to butterflies. It will grow in a range of soils types and tolerates moist to fairly dry growing conditions. Full sun or light shade. Height: 80-90 cm (30-35 inches) Spread: 55-60 cm (20-23 inches) USDA Zones: 4-9

The Beryl Ivey Knot Garden is a contemporary twist on a traditional knot garden.

Great Blue Lobelia or Cardinal Flower, Lobelia syphilitica and Lobelia syphilitica 'Alba'

A mix of cream and pink varieties of Echinacea.

A pretty pink Sedum for which I could not find an identification tag.

Tall white Nicotiana spills over the clipped hedges in the Knot Garden.

Nicotiana with Cone Flowers (Echinacea), Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) and a variegated Miscanthus in the background.

The small trial gardens at the TBG.

An unidentified cultivar of Agastache.

Gaillardia aristata 'Gallo Fire': 'Fire' has red-orange flowers on a compact mound of light green leaves. Full sun. This is a plant ideal for normal or sandy soil with dry growing conditions. Its hardiness is still being confirmed, but 'Fire' is likely to be hardy to zone 4. Height: 20-30 cm (10-12 inches) Spread: 30 cm (12 inches) USDA Zones 4-9.

A colorful mix that includes: Dipladenia, Mandevilla 'Rio', Guara, Guara lindheimeri 'Belleza Early Pink'Anise-scented Sage, Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue', Greek Basil, Ocimum x citriodorum 'Pesto Perpetual', Trailing Petunia, Petunia "Surfinia Heavenly Blue', Fan Flower, Pink Ivy GeraniumPelargonium 'Balcon Pink'Spurge, Euphorbia hypericifolia 'Breathless White' and Curly Parsley.

Pelargonium 'Balcon Pink'

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue': has deep cobalt blue flowers and is a tender perennial that blooms from July to frost. Full sun to light shade in rich, loamy soil. Height: 60-90 cm (20-35 cm), Spread: 60-90 cm (20-35 cm). This cultivar must be propagated from cuttings. Hardy Zones: 8-10.

Up shortly are a couple of long overdue posts on my own garden. I also am working on a blog post with more of my experiments with drying flowers.