Sunday, 26 June 2011

What's in bloom? June 26, 2011

We've had quite a few overcast days this week, and the weekend only cleared up late on Sunday afternoon.  Not to worry, since there wasn't a lot of time for gardening anyway.  Yesterday I took the GO-Train downtown to meet Davey for some shopping, and had a spree at Brookes Brothers under the influence of Nadia, a highly chic French woman, of a certain age, et beaucoup de je ne sais quoi.  Davey fell under her spell a few weeks ago and got his outfit for the Winnipeg wedding at the last minute.  Yesterday, I left with 4 shirts, a delicious navy, ultra classic blazer, two pairs of dress pants and a couple of lovely ties.  Despite the chaos of an end of season sale, Nadia was calm efficiency itself, and looked unphased in her black and white toile de jouy skirt, beautifully tailored black t-shirt, and oh-so-casual little scarf tied with such a jaunty knot.  After two hours of personal shopping with Nadia I was spent (physically and financially!), and barely had the energy to make it through the liqour store for cocktail fixings and a quick stop off at St. Lawrence market for dinner things, so that by the time Davey drove us back to my place, I was quite ready to put my feet up.  Unfortunately, this meant that I totally forgot that in my hurry to get to the train station earlier in the day, I had ditched my plans to walk to the station and drove there instead.  You can imagine my shock this morning when I went out to the garage to discover the car wasn't where I expected it to be!  I'm please to report the car was safe and sound at the GO station, without so much as a parking ticket or wheel clamp thank goodness!

After all that, here's this week's visual diary of what's in bloom in Mimico on June 26, and a in case you'd like something to listen to in the meantime, why not a bit of Brahms?  Sonata for clarinet and piano - lovely, I hope you'll agree (and listen out for my favourite bit at 6 minutes 11 seconds on the video):

Malvas and salvias predominate at the moment, but lavenders are in bud, and delphiniums are in bloom further back.

The lavender hedge I planted last year is in bud now, and still needs to fill out a bit, but at least the plants made it through the winter.

This budding lavender is now about 6 years old and seems hardy and tough, given our  very cold, wet winters.
Early evening sunshine casts a pleasant glow.

This Graham Thomas rose is my favourite amongst those I planted in the spring.
Astilbes flourish in a shader corner of the garden.
My "Special Occasion" clematis has just opened for the first time.

New Dawn roses are covering my garage...the first buds are just opening and it should be quite a show for next weekend and the Canada Day holiday.

These roses were moved from Davey's mother's garden last summer, and survived despite the shock of a midsummer move.  They look like candy floss, shattered candy canes or raspberries and cream, depending on who you talk to, and they smell utterly divine!

The gardenias are just start to bloom.  Again, a marvelous fragrance on a warm, balmy evening.

Friday, 24 June 2011

You know you've been watching too much lifestyle television when......

......this is the kind of note you leave on the fridge.

The Caramel Fairy is more like the Wicked Witch

A rose posy, featuring Elina, Graham Thomas and yellow carpet roses.

My new rose garden has burst into bloom, and the plants seem vigorous, rude with health and prolific in bloom.  The garden is a little soggy for outdoor photography today, so I brought a few blooms in to enjoy in the dining room.  Notable by its absence is the Caramel Fairy.  Although the plant is as healthy and full of bloom as the others in my tiny rose garden, it is by far the ugly stepsister, black sheep, odd man get the drift.  If you remember, my plan was to have a small selection of different forms and habits, all in shades of yellow, the idea being to have some sense of variety, but in a muted and harmonious way, given that the "rose garden" is a circle about 5 feet in diameter.  Caramel Fairy is not at all the faded amber I had expected (about which, by the way, I had some misgivings in first place), but instead is a kind of nasty, faded, dusty looking salmony-peachy-tangerine colour.  It looks like those old fashioned wax flowers that Victorians liked to keep under glass domes in their parlours, or like a plastic rose that's been left unattended at a grave for several years.  All in all, rather a disappointment.  I'll dig it up in the fall - let me know if you'd like it for a corner of your garden!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

June is bustin' out all over!

A spectacular weekend on the weather front.  Barely a cloud in the sky, temperatures in the high 20's, with tolerable humidity and a light breeze off the lake.  Evenings cooling down pleasantly to make for good sleeping weather.  My only concern is that it has been quite some time since the torrential rains of April and even May, and my garden is parched.  Have laid out a series of strategically located drip hoses to try to keep things in good health, with intermittent and deep soakings.  It's been a busy weekend, but I did manage to get quite a few garden chores taken care of.  Here's what in bloom this weekend, and my Order of Work for this week.

These peonies always remind me of the fresh cream meringues I loved as a child!

June is the peak month for Alchemilla molis.

I find these mallows get quite weedy after their first bloom, and mean to pull them all out every year. ....but they always re-seed and when they look like this, it's hard not to give them a reprieve each year.

The meadow rue I planted in the spring is blooming now, and complements the peonies beautifully .

I was weeding beside this dianthus for some time this morning.... the scent is just delicious!

Finally got round to putting up new, stronger brackets to hold the window boxes I planted a few weeks ago.  I went "cheap and cheerful" with the planting scheme this year.

Clematis Arabella has been blooming beautifully for a few weeks now.

My yellow rose garden, planted this spring, is starting to come into bloom, and I'm quite pleased with the varieties I ended up selecting.  It was tough to decide - so many to choose from!

I'd always thought Sweet William was strictly a biannual, but I've had this one in place for the last 4 or 5 years, and it merrily comes back from the same plants each year.  They don't die back, but just seem to go dormant under the snow, in winter.

I had the Achillea "Moonshine" in the back yard for a couple of years, but it never got enough sun.  I moved it this spring and it's repaid handsomely for it's new dry, sunny spot.  I love the carriage of the flowers and that intense sulphur-like yellow.

The new salvias are a hit, and I love the dark leave geranium (whose name I can't recall right now).

The lavender "hedge" I planted last year is starting to come into bloom.  It's still a little sparse , but hopefully next year it will be considerably fuller.

In an "over forty" moment, I cannot remember what this demure bulb is called, but it's quite pretty nonetheless!

Order of Work - June 18 & 19, 2011 

  • much weeding
  • more spraying with insecticidal soap - both roses (aphids) and now gardenias (spider mites) needed attention
  • laying out of soaker hoses to provide relief from the drought we seem to be heading into
  • planted out a tray of Victoria salvias, and a few sunshine impatiens, to fill in some gaps
  • divided off a couple of pieces of Moonshine achillea, which is suddenly become one of my favourite things in the garden
  • finally hung up window boxes - better late than never.
Listening to:
Dame Janet Baker singing "Where corals lie" from the Sea Pictures by Edward Elgar.  I love Janet Baker, partially because she was the public, or television, face of opera in the UK when I was a child in the early 70s, but I heard a recording on the radio of Canadian contralto, Maureen Forester singing this song, and it can only be described as "breathtaking".

Saturday, 18 June 2011

My new French Antiques.....huzzah!

I have had a terribly busy week at work, and thought I wouldn't make it to the French Antiques Auction I had been looking forward to for the last couple of months.  Fortunately, I managed to get ahead with some deadlines and got to the auction in time for the viewing.  I was delighted to get a set of 4 Louis XV style chairs, in good shape and with upholstery that I liked and which is in good enough condition to suffice as it is for some time to come.  Much later in the evening, when the crowds had subsided and bidders were getting weary, I bagged a small table at bargain price, which I can use to finally replace the Ikea dining set I've been stuck with for years.  I had been planning to get a smaller table for ages, and had it stuck in my mind that a round pedestal table was precisely what I wanted.   But, as you can see, I ended up with something completely different.  I am absolutely delighted with my purchases, even if I didn't get to bed until 1:00 am as a result of all the "to-ing and fro-ing".   Marvellously, I managed to take the 4 chairs home on one run, and got the table in the trunk of my little mazda on the second run (I had feared needing to tie it to the roof, as Bobby has done with his purchases on prior occasions).  The peonies have opened up in my front garden and look lovely, although I've been cutting them and giving them to friends, and haven't left too many to photograph out in the garden!
Here are my new chairs and table

I got the cabinet in the background at a previous auction.

I love the little finial on the stretcher! 

Monday, 13 June 2011

A bit of a lull

After my little sojourn in Winnipeg, I came back home, to find the garden looking a little "blah".  Although there are one or two things in bloom, in the front yard, things seem to be in a bit of a lull, with the spring flowers well and truly gone over, and nothing very showy ready to take over quite yet.  There are some encouraging signs though.  The new roses I planted this year are looking very healthy, have grown considerably and all of them have lots of buds developing.  The peonies look to be only days away from bursting out and the geraniums won't be far behind.  However, the forget-me-nots which have seeded wildly all over, and which were swathing the garden in a billowing cloud of blue and white were definitely in the phase of needing to be forgotten.  SO, I quickly got to work, cutting back, hauling out and generally tidying up.  On the plus side, I don't see any more signs of the dreaded japanese lily beetle for now, and the centranthus rubre, which I thought hadn't made it through the winter, has sprouted up nicely in the last few days, probably encouraged by the sudden blast of heat last week.  On the negative side, someone has put a size ten boot in the middle of one of my lavender plants and broken half the stems, and aphids have attacked the climbing roses in the back yard (and it was too windy to try spraying with insecticidal soap).  Such are the agonies and ecstasies of being a gardener.

This little dianthus was hidden in a corner, so I moved it early in the spring, to a nice sunny, well drained spot, close to the seems to have adjusted well

Lots of texture, and shades of green, but not much by way of blooms!  And those forget-me-nots have well and truly past their prime.

This self-seeded eryngium is starting to form it's flower.  When in bloom, the whole thing will turn a ghostly silvery-grey.

Lots of white bachelor's buttons (Centaurea montana).  I also now have a rogue patch of bright blue ones.  They must have sprung up from seeds, are intensely blue and delightfully dwarfed.

Looking forward to the opening of the peonies. 

My tree peony was so woe-begone, and outgrowing it's place.

Love my white clematis...I hope I can find the tag at some point to recall what the variety was.
Tree peony "after"....I gave it quite a haircut, and I think it looks the better for it.

This climbing hydrangea is a free gift from my neighbours, and is lush and beautiful, with it's lacey white flowers.

That looks better....tidied up and waiting for the next wave of flowers

Note the patches of bare earth.....see below for the solution!

After I'd finished with the clean up, I was disturbed to see quite a number of open spots, so off I went to Plantworld to find "just a couple of things" to file the gaps.  A trip to plant world almost never ends with "just a couple of things" and yesterday I returned with:

  • a couple of dwarf delphiniums (Dasant Blue) to keep the one I already had company
  • veronica "Sonja" and "First Love"
  • threadleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb')
  • Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'
  • daylily 'Joan Senior'
  • Iris sibirica 'Silver Edge'
  • a few annuals to fill in any last remaining spaces (Victoria salvias, and white sunshine impatiens)
Hopefully, these will create quite a contrast to the current dullness!
Iris sibirica 'Silver Edge'

Delphinium 'Dasante Blue'

Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb'

Hemerocallis 'Joan Senior'

Salvia nemorosa "Caradonna', along with a lovely nepeta

Veronica 'Sonja'

Veronica 'First Love'

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Turkish Delight

Just back from a couple of days in Winnipeg, to attend the Diva's wedding, which, as was entirely to be expected, was absolutely beautiful and wonderful in every way.  The wedding was at the Fort Garry hotel, part of the chain of hotels that sprang up across Canada around the turn of the 20th century to service the railways which were ferrying people and goods across the vast expanses of the country.  The hotels all have Chateau-like architecture, and remain extremely grand, particularly in the public spaces, like the ballroom in which the wedding reception was held.

This is where the cocktail reception was held, to the sounds of a jazz duo.  It was also the chill-out room during the dancing.

This is the ballroom where the reception was held - there were some gorgeous architectural details
The wedding ceremony was beautiful, and was enhanced by the musical performances of a veritable who's who of the Canadian classical music scene, including the principal trumpeter of the Winnipeg Symphony, the glorious Tracy Dahl (video clip below), accompanied by Judy Keller-Siebert, and radio host/amazing mezzo-soprano Jean Stilwell, accompanied by Patti Loach.

 There was nerry a dry eye in the house as the bride made her spectacular entrance to the sounds of booming organ and trumpet solo, playing Jeremiah Clark's trumpet voluntary, and the entire assembled throng was reduced to tears again during the reception when her lifelong friend joined from Holland by Skype, unable to attend due to family circumstances.  All in all, it was the best wedding I've ever been to and I wish the bride and groom many, many years of happiness together.  Can't wait for the silver wedding party!

The non-wedding Winnipeg highlight was, without doubt, our afternoon in the Ten Spa, on the top floor of the Fort Garry.  We had a full-on hammam experience followed by was the height of decadence and just what I needed after a very busy period at work.  We left with our skin aglow like little new-born piglets, and relaxed to the point of being rendered incapable of summoning sufficient energy to walk the few steps back to the room.   If you ever have a couple of hours to fill up in Winnipeg, I can very highly recommend it.
The Hammam at the Ten Spa - a sensuous treat.