Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cyclamen Foliage

I was happy to see Joseph Tychonievich's enthusiastic post about Cyclamen, and in particular  his love of the diverse markings and shapes of C. herifolium.  I too find extraordinary the degree of variety in these plants, and like Joseph, I have a fondness for the elongated lance shaped leaves that show up occasionally in pots of seed grown hederifolium. This is not to underrate the others that conform to the usual five point ivy-like shape, as these too, are among my favourites when they also have wonderful markings and textures.

C. hederifolium with silver,  lance-shaped leaves.

Lance-shaped leaves with typical C. hederifolium markings.

Lance-shaped leaves with light green centre graduating to a darker edge.

Silver leaves with less elongated form.

Ivy shaped leaves with a striking silver and green markings.

A more conventional leaf shape, but with beautiful markings.

Another Ivy-shaped leaf with very distinct markings.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Last Precious Flowers

I live only a kilometre from Lake Ontario, and benefit  from the mild weather that results from this proximity. Even now at the end of November we have experienced only a few light frosts and can still enjoy the last few flowers that survive the cold nights. 
The roses are the most dogged survivors and despite the fact that they have lost much of their foliage, they continue to bloom. 
It is only a question of time, of course, and winter will take hold and force these hold outs into dormancy.  In the meantime we are enjoying these last precious blooms.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Waiting for Pollinators

The mild weather we are experiencing has given Helleborus niger 'Praecox' the time and ideal conditions to show off its stuff.  I've never noticed any seed or seedlings around this plant and assumed that its out of sync with the life cycle of most pollinators. It's certainly ready for procreation with pistils and stemens forming a spectacular pinwheel that would seem irresistible to any bumblebee or wasp. Perhaps this year with unseasonal warm days there is a chance of these flowers being pollinated, but so far I've only noticed a very sleepy bumblebee clinging to the outside of one of the sepals and a fly stopping by for a brief reconnoitre.  
Although it only now occurs to me that I could go out and pollinate the plant myself.

Helleborus niger 'Praecox'

'Praecox' up close.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Tale of Two Gardens

Toronto is one of many cities renowned for its cultural diversity,that is to say it is a city which has been settled by people who , like me, have come from other parts of the world.
I live and walk through a neighbourhood with such a diverse mix of cultures and find that certain attitudes survive and are evident in the way people present themselves via the appearance of their  property. These two gardens are made by immigrants from two great Asian nations of the world, with two very definite aesthetics.

Never the twain shall meet.

An  exuberant mix of
perennials, shrubs and trees. 

Complete control and orderliness.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mature Hedera helix

 Although in some climates it can be a bit invasive, Hedera helix 'Goldheart' is pretty much well behaved in zone 6b. I have one in my garden that has slowly covered a large part of a west facing wall and never fails to attract attention from visitors.
After many years it has finally reached maturity and has gone through the transformation of form that is typical to this plant; as it climbs the leaves turn from being five pointed to three pointed and finally becoming elongated and arrow shaped. Also at this stage it produces flowers and fruit or otherwise produce congested stems of elongated leaves that have the appearance of an exotic parrot.
This metamorphosis only happen when the plant is able to grow vertically and will not happen when plants are being grown horizontally as a ground cover.

Leaves mature from left to right.

Only mature stems produce flowers.

Mature stems also produce these feathery leaves.