Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Sizzling July

There has been quite a heatwave in the last couple of weeks, but the garden is holding up fairly well.  Here are a few photos of where things are at in the garden, as we come to the close of July.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

In the pink

For the last few weeks my garden has been predominated by a yellow and purple colour scheme, with roses, lady's mantle, and  achillea providing the yellow, and aquilegia, veronica, salvia and delphiniums providing purple and blues.  But now that we are in mid-summer, a streak of pink has become the most eye catching feature, with lilies and some carpet roses coming into bloom.  It's nice to see a distinct transition into mid-summer, particularly given the heat of the last few days here in Toronto.  I'm really pleased that despite early signs of impending doom, the alien invasion was averted!  I'm also very happy to see that my lavender hedge, whilst still not quite a hedge, has filled in a bit in year 2, and by next year, I hope it will be quite a feature.  There are also a number of self-seeded baby lavender plants around, so I can use them to fill in a couple of gaps.

I love the look of these tall lilies before the buds burst - very sculptural

The window boxes are filling in and add a bit of old world charm

The first of the lilies are opening up

This white eryngium has taken on its frosting of white.  I like  how it stands out against a see of green, and that it picks up the grey of russian sage and white echinacea

You can start to see the line of my lavender hedge starting to form, now that the plants are in the second year

Delphiniums are still doing well.  The lady's mantle is a nice contrast
I really wish I could make the fragrance of these gardenias come across the blogosphere!
The New Dawn rose is at its peak now, and the flowers are engulfing my potted fig
I have a baby fig!  If it doesn't drop off, it will be my first!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Maureen Forrester, contralto.

The local "classical" music station is currently having an hour long program dedicated to the work of Maureen Forrester, the Canadian contralto, who rose from very humble beginnings to be a major force on the international concert and opera scene, and in latter life, as an arts administrator with the Canada Council.  This summer, to mark the anniversary of her death from Alzheimer's Disease last year, the Stratford Festival is holding what sounds like a wonderful tribute event to remember her:

Youtube has a few recordings, probably not the best, but they do give a sense of the power and beauty of her incredible voice.

Espalier update

It's been two months since I obtained three heritage apple varieties, with the intent of training them as espaliers.  I planted them up in some large pots, cut them back to about 15 inches high, after having determined that the cut would leave 3 appropriately oriented buds to form the branches that will become the skeleton of my espaliers.  Things have generally gone well so far.  Some of my buds were a little sluggish to get going at the beginning, but they did all eventually sprout as desired.  There have been some minor infestations, which I managed to control with a bit of insecticidal soap, and now I have lots of ladybird larvae around the pots, so they should do a good job of keeping things clean.  The new branches are now about 8-12 inches long, so I have made a training framework in each pot from bamboo canes, and tied the main leaders in.  The side branches are being adjusted to control the growth of the tips to try to keep each side even.  Allowing the branch to grow in a more upright position accelerates growth, and pulling them down to a more horizontal position retards growth.  By playing with this balance I should be able to keep them more or less even on each side.  They still look a bit puny and pathetic, but I'm excited to see things moving in the right direction.
Three branches only, oriented like a cross, waiting to be tied in to a frame

A little caterpillar chomped through the growing tip of this branch.  Thankfully another new bud is coming in just close to the growing tip, so I think all will be well.

Here's one of the trees tied to the frame.  Still a little immature, but I guess it's technically an espalier now.

Canada Day long weekend

New Dawn roses, with their lovely shell-pink colouring

These roses are now 3 years old, and are blooming profusely and covering my unsightly garage
The Canada Day long weekend seems to have flashed by in a whirl...but it's been a highly productive one, with 2 batches of strawberry jam, newly installed gutter guards (and clean gutters), a nice shiny, black sealed roof on the sunroom, a cherry clafouti and numerous garden chores accomplished.  Finally, after clambering down off the the garage roof, it's time to sit down and relax with a cocktail and a good book in the backyard, and put my feet up.  Other than a torrential, tropical thunderstorm late yesterday evening, the weather has been picture-perfect all weekend, and the temperatures are starting to climb.  Canada Day itself was celebrated with a tasty backyard barbecue with Davey & Mr. B, followed by a soiree at the Doll's House, with the girls, and a quick stop on the walk home to watch the celebratory fireworks.  The girls were insistent that no hostess gifts should be brought, so I put together a nice bouquet from the garden to take over instead.  The roses are looking fantastic right now and I was able to couple them with some very candyfloss looking pink astilbe.

Rose, astilbe, the last couple of peonies, dianthus and Lady's Mantle made a nice, full looking bouquet.