Wednesday, 27 January 2016

What is your favorite "drought" tolerant plant ?

As soon as I typed out this title I knew there had to be a plethora (I just like saying that in my head so try to ignore the cabin fever) .. in any case, my point is there are many drought tolerant plants to chose from, but what would be your most reliable one for making a statement in the garden ?

Statement as in it packs a bit of a punch and you do not have to baby it ... once it is established, it seems to take care of itself for the most part .. yet is very pleasing to the eye .. not exactly a "ho hum" boring plant, that doesn't posses some unique qualities you appreciate.
This one is VERY tactile and I never forgot how much my son liked them.

Good old fashioned "stachys byzantia" aka Lamb's Ears.
I know ... it has been around forEVER so why should it come up on the garden hot list now ?
Exactly for the "hot" reason is why I have come to respect this unassuming plant very much these past few years.
They keep saying each of the last three years (here) has been the hottest ever.
This plant takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin !
I have truly run it through the mill with neglect and a side dish of out right meanness.
The little scientist in me wanted to see how far I could push the envelope with this plant.
I think there is a little of that in every gardener at some point right ? not the meanness, the scientist!
One thing I do to keep them in optimum condition, is never let them flower .. cut the flower stalks off or any growth that is trying to go upright.
I feel a little sorry for doing that to them BUT it makes a huge difference in their appearance !

So ... from May to October snap shots in time with this plant acting as a soft neutral colored border.
You can see a little stress going on now with the hottest month .. some holes that surprised me because you wonder what insect wants a mouth full of "fuzz" ?
September ... cooler weather helps refresh them
I am actually thinking of extending them further up and down this border because it is such a great plant for bordering ... soft and yielding against the flagstone and a wonderful neutral "color" that other plants can play off of.
Your favorite drought tolerant plant doesn't have to be used in such a way .. it can be a singular focal point or a small grouping .. but truly ... what is your favorite in your own garden ?

Sunday, 17 January 2016

A "twisted" Fan

OK ... I did use a little fish hook to get you here with this post title .. winter does this to me and the domino affect is that I do these types of posts ... humor me ?

Truly though ... twisted plants are magnetic .. you wonder how they stay so ... twisted ?
The one in particular that I am highlighting is my corylus avellana "Red Majestic", aka ... corkscrew hazelnut, also known as "Harry Lauder's Walking Stick" of another colour.

A small contorted tree or large convoluted shrub. Take your pick.
I prefer to see it as an a amazing little tree.
It is gorgeous in the Spring as the leaves open to a deep dramatic burgundy.
Then through summer the leaves turn green but still very pretty because of it's twisted nature and generously crinkled foliage.
Fall brings the copper tones and in winter it's shape is accentuated more so because of it's bare branches and snow which cooperates on those special days that it is "sticky snow" like sticky rice ?

I see catkins in the Spring ... not hugely showy but all the same makes me smile.
I have it hugging a garden obelisk since it was a "baby", but if I can separate the two I will because it is more than capable of standing on it's own foot ? and of course that frees up another obelisk to play with .. I wonder what it means when you are obsessed with obelisks .. hum.

My Japanese maples also show off their beautiful bare shoulders in winter .. along with their companion plantings.
The little companion plant is Dream Catcher Kolkwitzia. I have turned it into a mounding shrub.
OK .. I have to let this word out of the box because it is sort of fun... juxtaposition  : ) goofy sounding but sums it all up with many a planting I do in the gardens.
Bare bones in winter gardens are so noticeable and pretty to see.
Outright eye candy when this season gets on your last nerve and stomps on it.
These plantings assume a completely different personality in this season (heck, so do I )
It goes without saying that you can also plan out your pruning by seeing those bare beauties.

Another one of my twisted features is the skeleton of my Bittersweet vine ..
I think I mentioned I had to "cut ties" with it because it kept insisting that it was meant to be in our neighbor's back garden as well as mine .. just too proud of itself ?
Once I trim out the excess arms ? it will enable the clematis I have waiting in the wings, to scramble up this arbor without me going bonkers tying it up.

Looking backwards I think you can see my design idea for "over hang" from assorted trees and shrubs, that envelope you as you walk the flagstone path.
I love that feeling of melting into the garden and the secretive atmosphere.

One last touch that brightens up the winter garden are a few weather worthy ornaments.
Coloured ones such as this truly are eye candy, especially if a bit of sun hits them on those teasing days.

Monday, 4 January 2016

2015 Gone Like A Flash !

I have never had such a long gap in posting like this before .. my garden brain just up and quit on me with no two week notice or any such agreement .. what a nerve !
Slowly but surely I am beginning to think about the upcoming season and yes I already placed an order for something rather specific.
It wasn't actually for me as much as it was for Garden PA.
Have you had any experience with King Kong poppies ?
Vesey's (Canadian company) have the roots on Spring order for me .. I was thinking of refreshing my old garden poppies .. refreshing is saying nicely that they are old, bedraggled, and on their way to poppy heaven.
Garden PA really likes the deep red oriental type colouring .. and these poppies are supposed to weather rain and wind and look totally stunning all the while .. hope so !!

So before rushing into plans and ideas for 2016 ... I had some pictures that grabbed my attention with the old year rushing out the door ...
Frost late November early December was scary because of lack of snow, yet so beautiful.
The wood of the deck sparkled
I fell in love with the table looking so pretty

The greenery I had right into December was amazing this new climbing rose really caught my attention .. sadly no roses happened for the first year but I am hoping for this year !
I have two Autumn ferns that looked amazing .. but the track record between other garden friends and I for having them come back the next year is not a good one ... but I can always hope right ?

Now for something strange and unusual ... I have quite a few pieces of driftwood  thanks to Garden PA .. might ask for more if he ever sees any while fishing .. replenish the stocks because they do tend to compost themselves eventually ... but the lichen on some pieces are just about spectacular.
So here comes the show !

I have a few mossy rocks that i just had to throw into the mix .. fuzzy little creature
The lichen colonies are tiny worlds unto themselves ... I find them fascinating .. they are a healthy aspect to the garden as well ... and of course the best of all plants .. no care ! haha
So are you beginning to really plan for the 2016 garden yet ?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Last Push & Bulbs

The count  ... the FINAL count .. as far as I know is 406 ... how it got up there is a mystery to me but there it is !
The most I have ever prepped my garden for winter and planted so many bulbs.
I don't know what came over me ... it just all happened in dribs and drabs but I so hope it looks like it does in my imagination to real life ?
Gardeners do that don't they ? ... use their imagination so much of the time to see the future in their gardens.

Right now it is rather dull and boring and the gardens want to go to sleep .. how can I blame them?
These coppery colours were much more colourful than what shows up in the pictures
I have two Autumn ferns that I am trying to yet again over winter ... they are very persnickety and I know I should be resolved that they will probably not return but I hold on to hope still.
Another oddly green plant is my Red Majestic corkscrew .. it refuses to drop it's leaves yet which said leaves refuse to let down their green guard still as well.
The Maiden Hair fern below looks like a ghost of itself.
I am trying to make gardening easier for next year so the Bittersweet vine just had to be done away with .. but the skeleton is very useful for the clematis that I will be planting there, as structure to hold on to .. so it has a use even in it's demise .. but oh those roots are going to be hard to get rid of!
The long bare look of the pathway from the gate .... BIG sigh !
The water feature area is bare as well .. but bits of greenery pop with the little cedar trees and the false cypress shrubs on either side of the Japanese maple.
Something to see as green through the long winter !

It was a windy day when I took these pictures of the squirrels hanging on to our tree.
I could not help but name this guy" wart-face" .. could you ?
They do a helpful thing by eating those darn wing-nut seeds from our maple .. other wise we would be knee deep in them !
Lately they have been frantic about eating and storing them .. does that mean our hard harsh winter is breathing down our necks soon ? eeeekkkkk !
Well the majority of the list has been stroked off ... I can breath a little easier and wonder what will happen in the Spring ... that has to keep me going !