Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Seeing the Potential.

How's this for a dramatic companion planting? It's completely accidental of course and, at the moment not perfectly composed, but this has the potential for being an excellent late summer combination. 
The berries are from Arum maculatum, the leaves of which are dormant at this time of year and the foliage is of Hosta 'Osiris Soleil Levant'. 
I'm thinking that a better composition could be created by surrounding the Arum with another one or two 'Soleil Levant' so as to combine the two plants and to make more of the differences in colour and texture. A. maculatum is also a wonderful foliage plant in the Spring with leaves marked with black inky spots and typical flowering spadix.

Arum maculatum and Hosta 'Osiris Soleil Levant'.

Arum maculatum dormant except for it's brilliant red fruit.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Agaves on the Move.

As you know, I have recently moved house, in fact I've moved cities, from Toronto to Montréal. I had to give up a number of my larger plants that were too impractical to transport and to fit into a smaller house and garden. There was some damage to some of the plants in the move, but they have all recovered and are thriving on my sunny balcony.

These are  some of the smaller Agaves that made the trip.
Lord Ganesh ensures that they have maximum growing conditions.

Two of the big Agaves that made the cut,
A. victoriae-reginae and A. filifera as well as three smaller spikey types.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Montréal 2. The Front Garden.

 Blooms Day. I never remember this date, but today it seems unavoidable when there is so much happening in the front garden. An unapologetic "riot of colour" made up of Daylilies, Echinacea and Geraniums and much more.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


It has been many months since I last posted here, and in that time there have been many changes in my life, primarily my moving to Montréal and giving up my house and garden in Toronto (more of this in future posts). The property in Montréal has been owned by Michel and myself for over twenty years, and so I have a great familiarity in both the house and garden. Although the garden is mostly Michel's work, I've had a hand in shaping it's design, both in the selection of plants and the building of paths and fences etc. 
The pictures below were taken when I arrived here at the end of May, the Alliums were still in bloom and the Rogersias had just started to send up their elegant plumes. There is much use of limey green in this planting, with Hakonechloa, "Tiger Eye" Sumac and Dicentra 'Gold Heart' all  contrasting with the dark green fence and giving a cooling effect in the hot Summer days.

Other outstanding plants this Spring were Clematis "Jacqueline du Pre"
and Acer   japonicum  'Aconitifolium"

Although they are almost the same colour, Dicentra 'Gold Heart' 
and this gold form of hakonechloa have completely different foliage texture
 end up making great companions.

A well established clump of Rogersia aesculifolia.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

With a Little Persuasion.

Usually by this time of year, my witch-hazel ( Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena') has been in bloom for weeks. As early as January, given a warm day, it will burst into bloom and close up again when the weather turns chilly again. 
This year, the brutally cold Winter has held it in check, and even now in the first week of March it still sits waiting for a moment of warm air and sunshine.  Today I decided to treat myself to a little preview and cut a few branches and brought them into the kitchen, where they opened up in the course of an hour.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Favourite Blue

It has been a long, frigid winter and many plants have perished in the greenhouse on the coldest nights. However I was thrilled to see that almost all my clematis cuttings and seedlings have survived, despite being left on one of the coldest areas of the greenhouse.
Among these are several cuttings I made last year of a plant that I grew from seed that was collected from Clematis 'Helsinborg'.  When it finally flowered it turned out to be coloured a very lovely clear blue, quite unlike its parent which is described as having slightly twisted tepals and, together with its steminoides, coloured a deep purple or mauve. C. 'Helsingborg is a cross of C. ochotensis and C. alpina and it looks was if "my favourite blue" has inherited its form from its alpina parent. Blue tepals with white staminoides are also common in C. alpina.
Clematis cutttings and seedlings. Including my favourite blue.

My favourite blue.

Clematis 'Helsingborg' one of the parents of my favourite blue.

St. David's Day

It's St. David's Day and Wales will be celebrating the saint's day of its patron saint. The floral emblem of Wales is actually the leek (Allium pornum), but the daffodil is more often used as a more attractive substitute. On this day, people in Wales will be wearing one of these on their lapels with great pride.
This gives a sense of the scale of Narcissus asturiensis.
The delicate little N. asturiensis is actually from Spain,
and blooms in my greenhouse around this time of year