Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peonies to Die For!

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Ambience'

Even before most roses dazzle us with their flowers, there are peonies. With their big, showy blossoms, and if your lucky, a soft hint of fragrance, peonies have a definite stage presence in early summer.

If only they lasted longer! My peonies last a week, maybe a week and a half. Then, they are green into late fall. 

Here in Ontario, peonies are just starting to come in flower and it is time to get out there and admire these scene stealers while you still can.

With that in mind, I popped into the Royal Botanical Gardens on Saturday to take in the show. 

And it did not disappoint. Let's take a look together:

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Mr. Thim'

If you are going to go with ruffled and frilly blooms, you might as well consider choosing pink! There were lots of pretty pink peonies to choose from.

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Cora Stubbs'

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Coral Tide'

Looking one way.

And another.

I wanted to show you a few overall shots. Massed pink, white and red flowers were statement making. Note that in the first image, the blue and purple irises make a nice backdrop.

Also interesting to note that none of these peonies were staked. I am not sure what the field of flowers would look like after a rain storm, but in the bright light of a sunny day, the flowers were holding their own.

I hope you will forgive me for digressing for just a moment. One of my latest amusements is to photograph other photographers.

I thought that this couple were charming.

Ladies don't we all secretly wish we all could bring a man to his knees in such rapt admiration! 

Too often, we think of the early days of a romance, when we think of love. 

This is not a young couple, yet he obviously adores her. I find that truly romantic.

I have another reason for showing this shot here. While I find the limited mix of peony colors above pleasing, I find this unedited mix of iris colors unattractive. There are just too many colors here and not all of them work together. 

What do you think?

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Ambience'

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Coral Supreme'

These shots came out a bit pinker than they should be. Perhaps it was the blazing sun on this particular afternoon. Coral describes them perfectly! 'Coral Supreme' are definitely going on my wish list!

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Coral Supreme' up close

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Do Tell'

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Honey Gold'

Red is so tough to photograph and is well beyond my skill set, but know that there were some beautiful reds to be seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Red Imp' 

Herbaceous Peony, Paeonia 'Red Imp' up close

Unidentified Tree Peony

Tree Peony, Paeonia suffruticosa 'Hakuoo'

I took a number of shots of tree peonies, but for whatever reason the plants were not as carefully identified as the other peonies at the RBG. I hate to tempt you too many pictures that are unidentified! Tree peonies are larger and taller than standard herbaceous peonies. These plants were definitely staked.

My favourite was this white Tree Peony called 'Hakuoo'. Gorgeous! The flower petals make me think of ocean waves.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Which of these Garden Ornaments is the most Tacky?

Sometimes an instance of bad taste can grab my attention as much as something pretty.

Recently, I was doing some shopping at one of my favourite local nurseries when I got distracted by some of the more outrageous garden ornaments on display.

Some of them are just mind-boggling! Who buys these things anyway?

I am a dog person, and I love my boys, 
but I assure you there are no plastic shelties in my garden. 

And if I ever did decide that a dog might add something to my garden, 
I promise you that I would never pick one like this. 

Look at this guy's tongue! And his eyes!

Does orange ever get any brighter?

I have enough trouble with the real thing, why the heck would I want a fake raccoon?

Or perhaps the fake raccoon is meant to scare off the real raccoons? 

Is this rude or so rude that it is funny?

This guy can't keep his pants on.

Now that's an attractive view!

Somebody is having a bad day!

Actually, he is so grumpy he's kinda cute.

For those of you who missed my post on last fall's clearance sales and love the sport, 
this hockey figure is still available. 

Even at a discount $38.39 no one seems to want to see him on "home ice".

And speaking of last year's leftovers....

there is still a huge selection of plastic gnomes lining store shelves.

Fake deer anyone? I was shocked when I checked out the price tag. $599.99 

Gosh, bad taste is expensive!

See no evil,
Hear no evil
Speak no evil!

Admirable sentiments, but chimps in a North American garden? Is that weird or is it just me?

Is there a gardening trend that I don't know about? Here is yet another garden chimpanzee. 

This time he is playing golf!

I was trying to think of a funny caption, but his face is plenty funny enough.

He is yours for only $489.99!

And to go along with your golfing chimp, why not get this hole-in-one garden bench.

It even has a golf ball embedded in the seat back. Yours for $395.99!

When it comes to garden ornaments, what do you think qualifies as just plain old tacky?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bridging the Gap Between Spring Bulbs and Summer Perennials

Harmony: A pleasing combination of elements in a whole.

My garden is fresh and green at the moment, but I want more color. So on the weekend, I made a field trip to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton to do some "research". Here is a glimpse at not only what was in bloom, but also a look at color and plant combinations.

What did I find in flower? Early blooming peonies, irises, tree peonies and catmint to name but a few. Let's take a look:

Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris, Iris 'Lillipinkput' +

Miniature Tall Bearded Iris, Iris 'Apricot Drops'

An aubergine columbine with a hosta and spirea in the foreground.

Columbine, Aquilegia 'Ancolie'

Yellow + aubergine

Clear sky blue + green 
Siberian Bugloss, Brunnera Macrophylla

Yellow + tangerine 
Intermediate Bearded Iris, Iris 'New Kid'

Soft pink + tangerine
Intermediate Bearded Iris, Iris 'Pink Kitten'

Eggplant + cream
Intermediate Bearded Iris, Iris 'Prince of Burgundy'

Milky white + Purple + yellow

Sorry, could not find an I.D. on this beauty

Mountain Bluet, Centaurea montana

Iris aphylla

No wonder Georgia O'Keefe loved irises so!

Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis

Some late spring flowers are like notes in a musical score 
or perhaps colorful beads strung on a fine cord.

At the feet of the Bleeding hearts were English Button daisies, Bellis perennis 'Bellissima White'

Solomon Seal, Polygonatum

These tiny white flowers are like a string of electric lights.

Each creamy bell glows in the fading light.

Catmint, Nepeta 'Dropmore Blue'

 A closer view of Catmint, Nepeta 'Dropmore Blue'

I have more to show you, but I will save them for a second post.

I am going to link this post to GardenWalk Garden Talk's W4W. Today's word is 'harmony', which I have chosen to define as 'A pleasing combination of elements in a whole'. To see other interesting interpretations of  the word harmony, please click the link.