Thursday, December 24, 2009
I've just returned from a couple of days in Montreal. It was generally five or six degrees colder there and so when I got back to Toronto, it was good to be reminded of the gentler climate we have here. One result of this balmy weather ( relatively speaking) is that many stores and green grocers in particular, have produce outside. You don't see this in Montreal, but here there is always a bountiful display enlivening the street-scape. And especially now at Christmas time when the sidewalks turn into gardens of trees, greenery, flowers and berries.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
This weekend I insulated the north facing wall of my greenhouse. It has two jalousie windows which are wonderful ventilation in the warmer months, but in the cold of winter they leak cold drafty air into the greenhouse, particularly when then frigid winds from the North are blowing. I managed to find 4' wide rolls of bubble wrap and with the use of duct tape( what could be more Canadian!)I covered the whole northern side. It may be my imagination, but it immediately seemed warmer inside.
This is my fifth winter with a greenhouse and now I can't imagine being without one; it extends my gardening season and allows me to grow plants that would otherwise be too tender or difficult to the climate here in Southern Ontario. Right now I am anxiously awaiting the species Narcissus to bloom, as they will around the Holiday season; Although I've planted many of my Hardy Cyclamen seedlings outside this year I've have reserved a number of selected plants as specimens in the greenhouse.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I have a collection of large Agave and Aloe which spends it's Summer on the deck on third floor of my house. This faces directly South and gives them a lot of bright light for a greater part of the day. In the Summer months, when at ground level the garden has fallen into shade, the evening sun shines brightly on the deck unaffected by the shadows of tall trees and neighbouring buildings.
As Winter approaches, I'm fortunate, again, when I can carry these heavy pots a short distance into the window-well that leads out to the deck. This provides a perfect Winter haven for these plants,this location provides lots of light and is relatively cool. I water them sparingly during these months and last year I was rewarded numerous blooms on my Aloe plicatilis.
Friday, December 11, 2009
I wouldn't call myself a "fair-weather gardener", but I have to admit that the cold winds and the serious sub-zero weather have turned my attention to my indoor garden activities.
All my tender plants spend as much time outdoors as possible this can be as much as from April to November. In fact I've only in the last two weeks moved some Pelargoniums indoors ( although they have spent the late Fall close to the house against a south facing wall).
I have three ways of wintering this group of plants. The first is under lights in my basement. Usually these are the smaller succulents that can fit close to the lights and benefit from maximum exposure. I also plan to create a taller space under lights for Pelargoniums, that are perhaps, a little too tender for the greenhouse.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Recently my good neighbour and friend Gayla Trail collaborated with me on a new project which documents the phenomenon of storefront gardens. The main inspiration came from a Variety Store that had the most interesting collection of plants in the window. Some of the plants are unusual, if not rare, such as a lovely flowering Pinguicula. Most touching is the hand written sign saying "This is our Garden. Plants not for Sale"
I grew this group of Lithops from seed. As instructed, I watered them frequently in the first year and now that they are maturing, I'm not sure how to proceed. I'd like to get them to bloom but I've not had much luck bringing the plants I've grown in the past to flower. Any Suggestions?
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I Just wanted to round off my earlier posts by including a picture of one of the other Geraniaceae cousin, Erodium corsicum.
It is presently blooming away in the greenhouse. It is planted in a blue bonsai dish along with a number of other erodiums and small geraniums.
I'm also posting an image of a new introduction Erodium 'Freedom'. It looks very promising, having the foliage of E. corsicum as well as the veined and spotted flowers of other Erodium forms.