Monday, 1 April 2013

April 1st, No joke, I'm winning an Ugly Garden Contest!

In one of my previous posts, Vision- Blessing or Curse? I discussed an area of our garden that had been neglected, and needed drastic cleaning up. Well, I have the pics to prove I did clean it up, and this spring, it looks worse than ever! We had pulled up the old landscape cloth which was embedded with weed roots entangled with bark mulch. Our garbage collectors even refused to take it as there was green waste attached to the cloth, which is not allowed in our landfill! Arghh! So we laid down new landscape cloth, replaced what was left of the bark mulch, and weeded to the best of our ability. We didn't top up the mulch, as we still intend to pave this area with stones or brick, and didn't want more waste to have to get rid of in the near future. Big Mistake! With only a couple of inches or so of bark, and in some areas, even less than that, the weeds and weed seeds have prospered to the point that I entered a pic of this area in our town's Ugly Garden Contest! The only good news in this sad tale, is that if I win, there is a prize of a gift certificate which I hope to use towards finally finishing this patio off! So, in a desperate attempt to win some more votes, I'm pleading with my fellow Bloggers to vote for my Ugly Garden, and help end this sad excuse for a patio once and for all! Contest runs until April 14th, and you can vote 3X per email per day. If this link works, My public name is Weedin, and the pic to vote for has green siding and plastic chairs. Thanks so much, and I hope to be able to update with better news later in the year!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Summer successes!

August 29, 2012
Allium pulchella
A sure sign that summer is coming to an end, is the Japanese Anemones beginning to bloom. I love them, find they will grow in multiple locations, and are relatively care free, (ie need little or no staking, aren't bothered by pests and spread fairly slowly).
Anemone japonica 'Honorine Jobert' 
 Here in the Pacific NorthWest, we have enjoyed an unusually wonderful August. It's been so perfect weather-wise, that I really haven't had any time to spend time inside writing my blog. Today is cool and grey, so it's giving me the opportunity to reflect on my garden, and start to plan fall/winter containers, and next year's seeds/flowers. I have kept a garden log for nearly 30 years, and one of my annual entries is the successes in the garden. This year a few of the flowers that I've been especially pleased with are:
Baptisia australis 
Unfortunately this year, I was away on vacation for two weeks during its prime bloom season, but I did cut a huge bouquet of the flowers to give to my mother. The plant itself still looks magnificent today at the end of August, when many perennials are ready to be cut back. In fact, it is so vigourous, I am thinking that perhaps the top of my Alpine garden is not the right place for it... though I don't think it could survive transplanting I could try one of the seedlings in a new spot...mmmm....
Oriental Lilies 
This one is Star Gazer. Lilies are so easy...just plunk the bulbs in with some bone meal or bulb fertilizer, weed the area once in awhile, and let them multiply... Not sure why I don't grow more of them... I love cut flowers and nothing beats lilies in a bouquet! I do cut the stamens off to avoid staining the petals and tabletops, etc.
Alchemilla erythropoda  
This is a tiny dwarf version of the more common Lady's Mantle A. mollis. I grow it more for the foliage than the flowers, which will often turn reddish as they age. I've had it for several years in my Alpine Rock Garden, and this year it has just taken off...maybe because I dug up several small plantlets to transplant? Looks good for 7-8 months a year!
Another plant I grow primarily for its foliage, though I do like the flowers too. This one is tender, and can't take any frost. I usually keep it in containers, but I had so many babies potted up, I stuck some in the garden this year. I never did get around to mulching with gravel as I had point now, but I will do that next year just to 'prettify' the planting, and help keep the weeds/moss down.
New Zealand Flax with Sunpatience 'Variegated Spreading Salmon' 
This planter was absolutely care free all Summer. The flax I keep in pots so that I can place them in the greenhouse for the winter. I planted One Sunpatience annual in there, and it has bloomed non-stop. I may try and take cuttings before hard frost, as I would like to redo this planting next year, and the Sunpatience is pretty new and not that easy to find.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Vision- Blessing or a Curse?

Allium GlobeMaster

Sometimes the very quality that defines a true Gardener can be as much of a curse as a blessing. That ability to see beyond the obvious, to plan for the future, to envision the potential, can also prevent us from attending to necessary day-to-day chores and allow areas to 'escape' untended or forgotten.
My husband and I began a total renovation of our Fort Langley home five years ago. Our original plans included an addition off the back which would have encroached on a small hill we had created that was to eventually become a waterfall feature with pond.
In preparation for that we dug up and moved most of my woodland/shade plants to a 'temporary' position in my much sunnier Alpine garden. As fate would have it, our Architect/builder let us down, and we are no longer planning an addition. In the meantime, the unplanted hill has become overgrown and weedy, as has the bark-mulched area that is to become a stone patio.
We are also going to replace the soffits and eavestroughs, so last fall we had dug up all the gardens next to the house, and forseeing that plants would become trampled on, had just mulched the area with ground-up leaves. However, we haven't had the soffits installed yet, and last week, I couldn't stand looking at the bare Earth any longer, and so planted a few annuals in one of the beds beside the house.

The problem with the unkempt 'hill' and 'bark mulch patio' is that they are right outside my bedroom window, and the first thing I see every morning. Finally yesterday, I couldn't stand viewing that mess anymore, and implored Hubby to help me clean it up a little.

See what I mean, guess I stopped seeing the mess, and was picturing the future!

Today, after an afternoon's work, vast improvement in my view!

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Saturday, 21 July 2012

July 21, 2012

Allium cristophii

Time to climb a new learning curve...

First attempt at a blog...

I love to garden, and am always searching to create that perfect spot, that ah ha moment. Though I think I should know better, I do find my gardens are more plant driven, ie. I buy the plant, and then look for the right location, rather than making an intellectual choice as to which plant would be best for a certain spot!

We live in the Pacific Northwest, in Fort Langley, B.C., so we are blessed with a wonderful climate to garden in, and so many choices when it comes to nurseries, both commercial and home-based, in which to search for that elusive 'next plant'!

Unfortunately, I lost my camera while on vacation recently, so pictures will have to be from my files or taken with an old digital. I'm on the hunt for a new camera, and any suggestions will be gladly accepted.

Please send me a message  via if you drop by, so I can take a peek at your blog too. Am hoping that I can use this sharing blogs to find out more about plants I have or 'should have' in my garden, and can hopefully help others out with what I have learned.

Some of my recent 'Successes'... always looking to create combos that work!

I love the Gold Heart Dicentra. I had let it languish for a year or two in its original gallon sized pot, but it survived and is flourishing in its new spot. Picture was taken one month ago, and today it is still blooming! Hosta 'June' is in the forefront, along with Primula vulgaris (bottom right) that will usually bloom twice a year - prolifically in spring and then again in September. To the bottom left and not showing in the picture is a variegated Japanese grass, Hakonechloa aureola. Behind this combo are two very large Rhododendrons, 15 x 15 ft each, so because of the deep dark green of their leaves, having three lighter leaved plants in close proximity works.

One of my favourite late spring combos! I have three Heuchera Marmalade spread out on the front edge of one of my borders. I have different plants behind each forming the 'middle layer' of my border. This one sets off the purple tones of the emerging leaves of Eucomis comosa. By mid-July the leaves will have lost most of their purple, but until they do, I think this combo is stunning!

Hostas are an indispensable staple of any Perennial garden, and here in the Pacific NorthWest, they  are a given! Here are two of my favourites... Hosta Guacamole on top, and H. Striptease on bottom. I'll have to split them this fall.