Friday, June 14, 2019

What's Blooming This Week

How was spring in your part of the world?

Here in Southern Ontario, we've had a really cold spring. On the long weekend in May, the traditional date when it is finally safe to plant out tender annuals, my husband and I were working outside in our winter jackets. On the plus side, we weren't tortured by the blackflies that also mark the beginning of the gardening season.

While the cool weather has continued well into June, there has been plenty of rain. The garden has absolutely loved it. Everything is well behind the norm, but there's already so much is in bloom, it is hard to choose a few things to highlight.

If I frequently show Piper perched on top of the wooden bridge, it is because the bridge is his favourite vantage point to watch for hawks and turkey vultures in the sky above. When he spots one of these large birds, he chases them up and down the central pathway barking madly all the way.

The pansies have loved the cool weather!

Euphorbia polychroma 'Bonfire' has green foliage when it first emerges in the spring. The leaves quickly turn into a mix of burgundy and green. The "flowers" are actually bright orange and yellow bracts. In fall, the deep burgundy color seems to intensify and the plant becomes magical when covered with frost crystals. Full sun and normal or sandy, dry soil. This Euphorbia has a milky sap that is irritating to the skin, so it's a good idea to wear gloves when you are doing any pruning. Height: 25-30 cm ( 10-12 inches), Spread: 30-45 cm (12-18 inches). USDA Zones: 5-9.

Pagoda Dogwood 'Golden Shadows' has distinctive horizontal branching and beautiful variegated foliage. In the spring, it has lacey white flowers followed by berries that the birds love. It thrives in light shade. Mature Height:15-20 ft, Spread:20-30 ft. USDA zones: 3-8.

A Geum with a name torn from the pages of a romance novel!

Geum 'Flames of Passion' has small, semi-double scarlet flowers held aloft by wiry dark stems. The repeat flowering of this Geum is considered to be a new and exciting breakthrough. Its small size makes it perfect for the front of a border. Full sun. Height: 40-50 cm (16-20 inches), Spread: 30-45 cm (12-18 inches). USDA zones: 5-9.

Geranium macrorrhizum 'W. Ingwersen's Variety' has pale pink flowers. The slow spreading mound of fragrant green leaves makes this perennial a nice groundcover. It's drought tolerant and can handle both sun and shade. Height: 25-30 cm (10-12 inches), Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). USDA zones: 2-9.

I have waited two years for these flowers!

Dictamnus albus var. purpureus forms a bushy, upright clump of bright green leaves. It has tall spires of pink flowers striped with mauve in late May/early June. The plant gets its common name from a tiny amount of methane gas its flowers produce. A lighted match will flair if held near the flowers. This plant is very slow to establish. Average soil is fine. Full sun. Height: 60-90 cm ( 23-35 inches), Spread 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). USDA Zones: 2-9.

Geranium maculatum 'Chatto' or 'Beth Chatto' has lavender flowers and is one of the first hardy geraniums to bloom in early summer. Cut the whole plant back hard after the first show of flowers to encourage fresh growth. Full sun or part shade. Height: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches), Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). USDA zones: 4-9.

There is just Piper now. Sadly, we lost Scrap back in February. Scrap was 14 when he passed away rather suddenly. Needless to say, we miss him dearly.

'Boomerang' Lilac blooms in the spring and then again after a short rest through the heat of summer in the late summer/fall. On the negative side, it does require deadheading after that first flush of flowers. Very fragrant. Full sun. Height: 4-5 ft, Spread: 4-5 ft. USDA zones:3-7.


Self-seeded Sweet Rocket

For you shade gardeners:

1. Geranium phaeum var phaeum 'Samobor' 2. Geranium macrorrhizum 'W. Ingwersen's Variety' 3. Heuchera 4. Hosta 'Joy Ride' 5. Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'

'Joy Ride' has wavy foliage that is a wonderful powdery, blue-green color ('Joy Ride' does become a bit greener as the season progresses). Light lavender flowers appear mid-summer. Part-shade to full shade. Height: 40-45 cm (16-18 inches), Spread: 90 cm ( 35 inches). USDA zones: 3-9.

Piper kicking up his heels.

Next week we hope to use some vacation time to finish digging out the stream and pond. So stay tuned for updates on that project. 

There is also an overgrown rose with monstrous thorns that desperately needs to be pruned (which is why I keep putting it off). I also want to seed my thyme lawn. 

Things always take so much longer than you think they will!


  1. Thanks for sharing! I really look forward to your emails! Everything looks wonderful.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. Everything is beautiful. I'm in South Louisiana(Zone 9A) where the weather is hot and humid. It's always a lot of fun to see what is growing in other parts. I like that you put the growing zones. Some of your beautiful flowers would actually do well here too. :)

    1. Our weather in the summer is quite similar (hot and humid). The main difference would be the duration of the warm weather and the harshness of our winters. I am sure many of the flowers that grow well for me might work surprisingly well for you in South Louisiana.

  3. Thanks for the post. I garden in Eastern PEI and although you are usually about two weeks ahead of us, this year we seem to be neck and neck in terms of bloom time.

    1. We are certainly behind this year. Usually my peonies and roses are in bloom by mid-June, but they are still tight buds. The rain has been great, but man are the mosquitoes bad!!

  4. hi Jennifer the garden looks amazing yes its been cold and windy and wet, have you been to Humber Nurseries lately? Yes they are closing in the fall, have a great weekend and a wonderful Fathers Day

    1. I couldn't believe how cold it was on Saturday. My husband and I went to an outdoor antique show (Aberfoyle) and I froze to death in my sweater. Who would have thought to bring more than a sweater at the end of June!
      I haven't been to Humber in a few weeks, but want to make a trip there for a few things. I will certainly miss them in the future!


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