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!)


  1. What a wonderful garden! It is really beautiful and the roses are all very impressive.
    I also like John Davis a lot. In our garden it took some years to get going but it is now one of our best, besides it does not have any thorns or very few. One thing I like about it is that the flowers take a long time to fade and so, as new blooms open, it produces a very lush effect.
    I will have to look for that annual poppy. That mop head is very nice!

  2. Please tell Joe what an amazing garden he has, and that I am but one (of the many) who are immensely impressed by everything he has created. Thank you for sharing this with us! And please pass along my highest compliments to Joe.

  3. This is such a lovely lovely garden...Sunshine Glory..Oh Joe, how I loved that hosta and have not seen it here in Nova Scotia. Highest compliments from me as well Joe and Jennifer, thanks for the introduction. A truly passionate gardener (both of you). I wonder about the rose.. Abraham Darby perhaps. Looks similar to mine. (not as healthy as Joe's)

  4. I am so impressed with Joe's garden. Where does he get his plants? I live in So. western Pa and I think I would have good luck with the same plants. Thanks Joe!

  5. A lovely garden and an excellent cause! thank you for the tour : )

  6. Joe sure sounds like a wonderful man, Jennifer, and his gardens are just gorgeous.
    I especially love those roses. Such gorgeous colors, and everything looks so healthy.
    I am sure you're's not the compost, it's the love.

    I wish you a wonderful week ahead!

  7. What a gorgeous garden. That garage is the most impressive seed storage I've ever seen! I love the way he uses the hosta. And those roses!! Oh, those roses!!! Simply stunning. After seeing Joe's, mine are going to get a little "talking to" this afternoon! ;)

  8. What a truly beautiful garden. Joe has some really wonderful roses that all look so healthy compared to mine! I too talk to my plants but they don't respond the way that Joe's do, maybe I'm saying the wrong things!

  9. What a beautiful garden...wish I lived close enough to come to the tour. Thank you for sharing this.

  10. I think I would really like Joe, his garden is absolutely beautiful! How I wish I could walk around there and meet him! The robin chicks are adorable as

  11. I can tell you that I like Jo already! He sounds like a real gem of a person and I loved that part about him talking to his plants! How gorgeous is his garden and how wonderful that you were able to see this space! Thank you for passion along the inspiration friend! A happy week to you! Nicole xo

  12. I will be in Ontario on Sunday, but sadly I will be unlikely to stop at Joe's Open Garden. It really is beautiful and if we get any time on the way back I will certainly try to visit.

  13. Don't you just love a real old fashioned gardener! I am in awe of his inner sanctum - so organised - I have just thrown hundreds of plant labels in the refuse bin after keeping them in disarray for years - if only I was as methodical as he I would have had the plant history of my garden all filed away neatly for reference. He must spend hours out there keeping everything looking so good - and his roses are to die for. Maybe I'll try talking to mine - it looks like it works for Joe.

  14. SO much beauty! I don't even know where to start. Those roses, just wow. Especially that peach one, but the pink one on the arbor is stunning. And the red one. All of them! hahaha
    I swear I could smell the lavender phlox in that first photo. One of my favorite summer perennials, for sure. I was surprised to see all of the hostas up front in the sunny beds. Mine get burnt to a crisp if they get any afternoon sun at all. That's the trick I want to learn! His garden is obviously a labor of love. Just stunning. Wish Portland, Oregon wasn't so far away, I'd be at the tour in a heartbeat!

  15. Joe sounds like an incredibly sweet man. and what a garden! I am massively in awe of how organized those plant tags are though. that takes some serious effort.

  16. You always tour the BEST GARDENS Jennifer. Joe's is wonderful. I am intrigued how he pruned his Blue Spruces (??) I have one taking up too much room in my front flower bed & maybe this is the solution. So funny you said you swore off those funny echinaceas ~ I did too!!! However I broke down & bought a 'supreme Cantaloupe' one this year & I'm not minding it at all. :) I think now I could work with 'Southern Belle' or 'Hot Papaya' too! He sure has some lovely Hostas.
    It's been too long since I've been by. Hope things are good with you? Thanks for sharing Joe's very lovely garden.

  17. Oh my, I'm going to go out and have a long, long conversation with my plants! What a lovely garden; if I lived closer, I would love to tour Joe's garden in person. Such a caring idea, too, to hold a plant sale for such a worthy cause.

  18. This garden is just incredible! I don't talk to my plants but I do touch them a lot. I wish I was closer so I could attend the tour. :o)

  19. What a beautifully kept, and planned garden, it's simply stunning. And I have never seen so many roses on one bush ever. Joe's work is paying off.


  20. I like a man who dislikes technology! And what an amazing garden!

  21. Jennifer girl ... I would have loved to see Joe's much loved garden in person !
    It is simply stunning ... his roses are awesome, I wish mine would grow as well as his so I will try to remember the compost applications (I am getting better at that now: )
    I love how crowded with wonderful plants the gardens are .. the hosta are gorgeous and yes they seem to tow the line of the beds very well indeed.
    It is certainly a work of love and he is an extremely talented gardener!

  22. C'est un très beau jardin, bien entretenu avec de superbes fleurs. Bonne journée.

  23. Lovely cannot even begin to describe the beauty of this garden. Reminds me of some of the old gardens HGTV used to show. Thank you!

  24. oh my gosh. I may be a few years behind but I love Joe's garden! Would even love to meet Joe.


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