Thursday, May 31, 2012

tbay urbanforestry

A favourite tree
on Court Street, across from Safeway

almost edible

 garlic chives
sweet cherry 100 & peas

Dear Garden Diary,

Campanula persicifolia Blue
'Peach Leaf Bellflower'
and that rolling stone grass...
mark the end of the brick and stone
of the old house,
and the beginning
of the west side succulent garden
bordering the new back porch.

The gaps further down...
still undecided,
which is so exciting
for a gardener.
I've imagined a number of different

I know I don't want to hide the beautiful stone and brick.
Through the kitchen window
during the days of rain 2012

In the backyard, in the east garden full of sunny perennials, our little magical one Alchemilla mollis 'Lady's Mantle' is crowding into it's neighbour, Knautia macedonica. Plenty of room for the monarda to spread it's pretty pinkness.
Another rolling stone container.
A weed.
My spade.
Some of those irises I transplanted last year.
Niobe, clematis
planted in the summer of 2011
in her first real year
vining along fine
hostas, lobelia in the tulip pot, Morden Blush, Wargrave's Pink
west side garden
30 May 2012

Lucky Love

Lucky loves a belly rub
and I love
having a cat to love in the greenhouse

Butterflies flutter by

I found this
Painted Lady butterfly
on the marigolds
happy to pose
made me long for cute bobbly antenna
A Red Admiral
on a verbena bloom
I chased Monarchs all around the greenhouse today
None would pose for a shot
This one hid in the Bidens
On the highest hanging basket
No zoom lens in my pocket, just an iPhone

Friday, May 25, 2012

elephant ears & lungworts

Ligularia dentata
'Britt Marie Crawford'
Pulmonaria officinalis, Lungwort
In the front yard garden
25 May 2012

pretty little annuals

before the bloom

'Wargraves Pink'
Geranium endressii
25 May 2012

treasure box

Clifford, little big guy
dwarfed buy a planter box

One of the new (replacement) replicas of my treasured window boxes, 
...hand-crafted by R as a gift for me while I was at work one him...
...anyway..It's stuffed full: 
Ipomoea 'Blackie', Tuberous Begonia 'Million Kisses Amour', Lysimachia 'Goldilocks', Calibrachoa 'Double Orange', Coleus 'Colourblaze', Hedera Helix 'English Ivy'. 
I know the Coleus will redden with age; it will be large, along with the begonias. 
Everything else with trail and tumble. 
Though it would be nice to see it hanging,
it just doesn't suit the character of our home... 
- not that I've ruled out somewhere on the back porch, or along the new fence once it's in place. 
For now the window box will have to be a ground container, 
and I like it's current location along the west side garden.

striptease oooh la laa

hosta 'Striptease'
living in a pot
on our deck

in the ground so far:

Watermelon radish - Chinese origin, ball shaped, red flesh / white skin, Crispy, mild, sweet. Grows best under cooler temperatures. Can be eaten raw or cooked.

Cherry Ball radish: Quick growing, small, round, bright red fruit. Crisp white flesh. Mild flavour.

Purple Dragon (heirloom) - Deep purple/red skin with orange-yellow flesh. Sweet, spicy flavour. Medium length, tapered.

Scarlet Nante - Dependable, sweet, and crisp. Bright orange. One of the most popular, easy to grow varieties. Stubbies.

Creme de Lite F1 - Creamy skinned, tapered, juicy sweet flesh. No need to peel, best raw but tasty cooked.

Velour Dwarf French - Long, purple pods. Stringless, great texture. Compact bush habit; long bearing, disease resistant.

Blue Lake Pole Bean: Smooth, stringless, and strong flavour, meaty texture. Long bearing, dark green pods.

Long Standing Bloomsdale - Dark green, thick textured, long bearing. Crinkled leaves, rich in iron. Prefers cool temperatures of spring and fall, easy to grow, likes to be moist.

Cynindra Formanova - Long, carrot-like dark red roots, tops are excellent greens. Slow to start, great producers. Keep moist.

Barbabietola da Orto / Dolce de Chioggia - Italian heirloom named for a fishing town near Venice. Alternating red and white rings, excellent for greens fresh eating, & pickling.

Peas, lettuce, mesclun, leeks, Brussels Sprouts, kale, Swiss Chard, 'Sweet 100' cherry tomato, 'Yellow Boy' tomato x 2, 'Roma' tomato x 2, Jalapeno Pepper, Asparagus, garlic.

Herbs: Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Italian Large Leaf Basil, Purple Leaf Basil, Lemon Verbena, garlic chives, onion chives.

25 May 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

tender tendrils

This Rhodochiton (Lohphospermum) vine is already settling into my largest clay pot and spreading its wings. The tendrils are reaching out and up, looking striking as it climbs the twig trellis. I am going to LOVE watching this grow. :D

rain day containers

Lysimachia 'Goldilocks'
Petunia 'Sweet Sunshine'
Lobelia 'Sky Blue'
Petunia 'Burgundy'
Ipomoea 'Blackie' / Tuberous Begonia 'Million Kisses Amour'
Lysimachia 'Goldilocks' / Calibrachoa 'Double Orange'
Coleus 'Colourblaze' / Hedera Helix 'English Ivy'

Garden Clairey

Claire stands in the porch door
and looks out
on to her garden


the only of four new clematis to return
I assume this is 'Niobe'
but we'll have to wait until she blooms to know
new rose
'Rugelda' in the rain

in the ground

radish x (2 varieties)
carrot x (2 varieties)
beet x (2 varieties)
tomato x (3 varieties)
1 jalapeno pepper
brussel sprouts
peas x (4 varieties)
lemon thyme

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

West Side Garden Story

Impatiently I'm waiting for the Peach Leaf Bellflower (Campanula persicifolia 'blue') to bloom along the house in the west side garden. New last year, I haven't seen a bloom. Sorry Mom, they are purple.

Not far from that end the house and begin the back porch, where the new succulent garden will grow. In it I want to install one of these rain chains, pouring from the back balcony. I just can't decide which one. The copper would go with all out pots, the red would be striking, and the umbrellas, ...well, I adore them. Fish, maybe R...maybe..

John Davis 19 May 2012

John Davis Explorer Rose
19 May 2012
long, large & lush


'Evangeline' strawberry
a bee visiting the pink flowers of our
'Fraise de Bois' (Fragaria vesca) strawberry
fruit are slender and sweet
Side by side on a double shepherd's hook in the kitchen garden, two strawberry plants in hanging baskets are already full of ripe fruit. I can see strawberry branches creeping everywhere by the end of summer. The new 'Fraise de Bois' (Fragaria vesca) strawberry excites me - featured in Martha's Living magazine this month. The fruit are very sweet, long - almost curly. They'll make a nice, quick jam. ..& more.. YUM


Lucky cat
at Bill Martin's  Nurseryland

backyardovich developments

A hazard of working in a garden centre
is coming home each day with new adoptees.

I'm ridiculously excited about our new 'Striptease' hosta.
Lots of lemon verbena this year, a new 'Gay Parce' peony for the west side garden, and succulents for the west side of the new back porch.

Cosmos for Gromit.

I planted madly in the rain the other day: tomatoes and a jalapeno pepper, kale, Swiss chard, brussel sprouts, and the new yellow rose 'Rugelda' (Pavement Series, Hybrid Rugosa) for the middle trellis on the east fence. Though a little tender for here, he's not the first zone 4 rose I've grown - successfully. He'll just need a little extra attention during harsh winters. Our backyard near the lake is a micro-climate hot pocket, southern exposure, surrounded by old tall tree protection. It can be intensely hot during the afternoon from March - October.

I'm excited to watch & photograph Rugelda bloom
wegeila 'Red Prince' to the right, pink peonies to the left
in front: knautia macedonica,  alchemilla mollis 'Lady's Mantle'
monarda ' bee balm' & rudbeckia goldstrum
There are some gaps and empty spaces which don't bother me as much as they might have ten years ago. My younger gardener self was so eager to grow it all I packed it all in. I still have those tendencies, but rather than plant perennials I'm unsure of, I'll fill the spaces with containers full of the annuals I can't help but bring home each day.

Most exciting is our new Rhodochiton (Lophospermum) vine. This cultivar is new to me - not the same as lophospermum's I've had in the past. These leaves aren't as velutinous (velvety), and are much more ciliated – widely spaces 'hairs' along the edge: fringed, almost jagged - larger too than my previous plants, and star-shaped. I'd say more like dinosaur footprints.
I've planted in my oldest & largest (not for long) play pot with lots of compost, manure, and potting mix. The  stick trellis is a nice touch I think - though I suspect it will disappear under foliage and purple trumpet flowers soon. With the trellis it stands about six feet now, maybe more.., but I bet that won't be tall enough for this vine.
Keeping it simple, the lophospermum will live alone in that pot, and around I'll also keep it simple: some play with foliage, greens in pots. I've brought home lots of English ivy, lysimachia, vinca, chocolate mint, oregano - shades of greens that trail and tumble. The red tropical leafy guy - ti plant Cordyline terminalis? I think. He'll live outside in a pot until the autumn rolls in, then we'll see if I can keep him alive indoors until next year. Let's hope.

The west side garden, new last year, is coming up well. The Penninsetum setaceum 'Fireworks' (tender grass)(in a pot) moves around, homeless, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone. 
'Sweet Sunshine' petunias in a cute white pot are now tucked in between Morden Blush & Wargrave's Pink Cransbill geranium
and the four hostas under the Tamarack.
cornflowers & hostas, hardy geraniums & blue irises
line the west side walkway
sky blue lobelia in a tulip pot looks sweet nestled between

Urban Forestry & Memorial Ave

Will the two ever reconcile? I can only imagine how a tree lined avenue would change the entire atmosphere of Thunder Bay. Right now it's a long, desolate highway running through the City; appearing to span even wider by the asphalt covered shoulders - most right up to the box shop doors. 

It's takes me about half an hour - 40 minutes maybe to walk to Chapters from home in Port Arthur. Intercity another 20. Easy, but ugly. It could be such a lovely walk..., along side walks and recreational trails for bikes lined by grassy shoulders, in difficult areas in winter: paving stones and trees in large containers, pocket gardens of hardy shrubs and seating for people waiting for city transit. All these places are walkable, but people don't want to walk the walk. 

I can imagine the memorial trees, plaques that connect people to Thunder Bay's history, stuff that means something - give people a reason to think, come back, feel something about the City. It could be so beautiful.

An excellent letter in the Chronicle Journal (19 May 2012) 
on the subject of the City's urban forestry plan
and the meaning of Memorial Avenue:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

bumble bee on May fifteen

 following a bee with my lens, 15 May 2012