Friday, July 30, 2010

Amicia zygomeris

Amicia during the day.

Amicia at dusk when leaves close for the evening.

Amicia zygomeris is a tender plant from Mexico, I winter it over in the greenhouse and plant it out in the Spring. It has heart shaped leaves and stipules that gradate from purple to green, making it an interesting accent of texture and colour amongst other plant forms. It also has the habit of closing it's leaves at night and I was reminded of this when reading about Cassia marilandica in the recent post in Teza's Garden.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Roscoa 'Red Gurkha'

Clematis 'Odoriba'

Clematis 'Roguchi'

Clematis sp. ( viorna ?)

Yesterday I attended a Toronto Botanical Garden lecture/demonstration "Summer Pruning in the Jarvie Garden' given by Marion Jarvie in her own garden in Thornhill, Ontario. Earlier in the week while having coffee with Deborah Mills, we discovered that we were both signed up for the course and so arranged to drive up together. We arrived with a warm welcome from Marion and quickly got down to the course itself.

The lecture was excellent and well demonstrated by Marion's helper David Leeman, but as it progressed it tended to be somewhat upstaged by the garden itself, there were so many new, rare and unusual plants to see that one was constantly distracted by eye-catching combinations of well grown plants. This being the later part of the Clematis season, I was surprised to see how many were still in bloom, no doubt Marion had selected these for their long growing habit. "Roguchi' was perhaps the most dramatic with dark metallic purple ( darker in life than in my picture here) pendulous blooms in great profusion and another which I think is 'Odoriba' was equally prolific. Another beautiful clematis that I have trouble identifying I think maybe C. viorna or perhaps a viorna cross, it had the dark purple/red of C. addisonii but without its glaucous foliage.

The final distraction was a plant that formerly I would have dismissed as over-rated, I've never really liked Roscoea, finding it rather scruffy looking, but I've obviously been looking at the wrong cultivars, for in the Jarvie garden we discovered R. 'Red Gurkha' a spectacular plant dramatic in all its parts, stem, leaf and flower.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Full Moon

Saxifraga stolonifera 'Harvest Moon'

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pelargoniums at My Front Door

Pelargniums at My Front Door

Pelargonium 'Mrs. Kingsley'

Pelargoium 'Scarlet Unique'

Pelargonium 'Apricot'

Pelargonium 'Clorinda'

For most people geraniums are those red or pink, double flowered pot plants that bought in great quantities to "brighten" balconies, terraces and patios. They really are the most dreadful looking things and when I see them at retail outlets, I can't help wonder who is producing them and why people keep buying them. The point is that the enormous Pelargonium family has hundreds of spectacular species, hybrids and cultivars to choose from and yet there is very little availability in most nurseries and garden centres.
Luckily for me I live close to Richters Herbs which has a lengthy list of "Scented Geraniums", many of these are species or early hybrids. From these I look for a group called "The Uniques" which are mentioned in nursery catalogues dating back to the early nineteenth century and were popular with Victorian gardeners.
On a chilly day in late February I went out to Richters with a group of friends, to raise our spirits and to choose some tender plants for our summer containers. I chose four Uniques, P. "Clorinda' which has rose-pink flowers and cedar scented foliage, P. 'Apricot' with fruity scented foliage and many synonyms such as 'M. Ninon', 'Monsieur Ninon', 'Madame Ninon' and 'Nonin ( that must surely be a typo??). The other two were 'Mrs.Kingsley' and 'Scarlet Unique' and they are all grown along with P. 'Charity' with lovely gold variegation.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Light Fantastic

Garden back-lit by strong afternoon sun.

Agaves back-lit.

Agaves under diffused light.

Today I opened my garden as part of Open Gardens Toronto from 1.00p.m. to 4p.m., and in that time only four people showed up. How was I to know when I chose this date back in January that it would also be the afternoon of the World Cup final?
Fortunately all four visitors were knowledgeable gardeners and I had plenty of time to spend with them all. Then after I closed up ( and after the game), four friends showed up with wine and food, boosting my numbers to eight.

It was interesting to notice that through the afternoon the weather turned from blazing hot sunshine to overcast to rain and finally to a pleasantly cool evening.
During that time, the garden changed with the weather, starting with the blazing sun back-lighting the beech trees and throwing them into stark silhouettes. In front of the beeches I'd arranged a collection of Agaves on a table in the centre of the circular lawn and they too took on a dramatic transformation lit from the rear. After the rain and in more diffused light, everything seemed more three dimensional and detail was more evident; the silhouettes had simplified the composition, reducing forms to two dimensional shapes that made it easier to see the structure of the garden. The diffused light, on the other hand, afforded a different way of seeing, allowing a greater perception of detail and three dimensional form. Both these conditions created different but equally beautiful points of view.