Friday, August 29, 2008

Garden Resourcefulness

Here are some examples of gardening to fit a need.

In the first case, this is my great uncle's vegetable garden. You may think you have heard of tomato cages, but you have not until you have seen this. His garden is frequently ravaged by deer, but he has managed to protect his precious tomatoes with this cage made of bread racks. I was impressed.

This next case is one of synthetic shrubbery. What the need is here, I don't know. Perhaps too many dogs peed on the real shrubbery. Maybe this is the new northern version of xeriscaping. Perhaps radioactive soil contaminants preclude the growth of evergreens. Maybe a nearby preschool had too many leftover giant pipe-cleaners from a craft project.

This converted church on 10th St. in downtown Prince Albert, Saskatchewan now houses a lawyer's office. My mother once sent me a fridge magnet with a quote from Erma Bombeck, "Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died". What should be said about a lawyer with plastic shrubs?

I find it interesting how they put real wood mulch around the plastic shrubs. The twisted gardener would sneak an plastic dandelion into this landscape...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Visiting Community Gardens While on Vacation

As any true obsessed gardener, I took a look at gardens while vacationing two provinces away. I took pictures of the Penticton, British Columbia community gardens on Vancouver hill. These gardens have been cursed with some resident deer who spend a great deal of time munching on the garden veggies, when they are not in my family's yard eating the flowerbed and shrubs.

Quail metal art just above the community gardens.

Sunflower in the middle of the gardens. Several have already offered their seeds to the birds.

I'm not sure if the padlock keeps people out or the worms in...

There are a few low fences, but no real deterrents to deer. Then again, maybe the gardens are an intentional offering to the deer?

I have no idea what this is, but it looks interesting.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beautiful Late Season Gentian

My one Gentiana septemfida is bigger and better this year and its blooms are so beautiful. If you don't have this hardy perennial, you should definitely get one. It is a nice lush green compact plant with large bell shaped flowers of the deepest true blue.

Here's a lesson I should be learning, but refuse to acknowledge: Primula denticulata does not appreciate our climate. It really does need a moist location and spends most of it life in a wilted state under the ash tree in my yard. Two out of the three drumstick primulas are quilt wilty (the fourth plant here being a hosta). I suppose not everything I admire in Victoria, BC will grow here. So unfortunate.

Center raised bed, with annual pink Lavatera "Silver Cup" in the center.

I am still mulling over my fall bulb purchases, waiting for the catalogs to have their "last minute" discounts as the big season approaches. I think I'll order mostly from Botanus in BC, but when I find my Veseys catalog again, I'll be picking a few from there too. I know that one or both of these catalogs five a discount if you quote the code printed on the catalog, so hopefully Veseys sends me another one.

I can never have enough tulips! Of course, the wallet will tire of shelling out for tulips before I will ever have too many. Thankfully RLM is also of the opinion that the potential resale value of the house increases with the beauty of the landscaping. What I good thing I have going here...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

August Blooms are Appreciated

It is easy to collect a nice bunch of spring and early summer-blooming perennials. August blooms are for the extra-patient souls. These plants go about looking unimpressive in the early summer, sometimes even with ugly foliage. Then finally, they provide color when the rest of the perennials have had their dead heads whacked off.

First garden-purchase at the dollar store. I need to find a taller stake for it though, because it gets covered in mud every time it rains!

Flowers in the hot August sun, probably wishing they could run across the street for a dip in the lake.

Blooming now:
  • Daylilies,
  • Threadleaf coreopsis,
  • the last of the LA hybrid lilies,
  • Liatris spicata,
  • Achillea millefolium (I think their lateness is a bit unusual),
  • Echinacea purpurea,
  • Thalictrum,
  • Clematis mandshurica (first year of blooms),
  • Malva moschata,
  • Gentiana dahuria,
  • Gentiana septemfida (soon),
  • Gaillardia grandifolia,
  • some Scabiosa,
  • Aconitum napellus is a bit late, but should be blooming soon.
  • and a few annuals including sunflowers and asters.
Daylily "Summer Wine":

Clematis mandshurica,
started from seed three years ago. These are my first blooms. I grew them because of the promise of a lovely scent, and indeed the scent is better than I ever imagined. These are delicious! This clematis does not climb until it is well-established. Mine is growing at the base of a cedar shrub.

Gentiana dahurica,
a slightly-sprawling hardy perennial plant with long slender leaves and clusters of bright blue flowers along its stems. It looks great in a mixed border.

A thriving annual, Marigold "Doubloon" that I planted over at my sister-in-law's place. Other than the fact that its color clashes with some of the other plants, it looks quite fabulous.

Butterfly (or moth?) on Achillea millefolium. This perennial, along with Echinacea and Liatris spicata, is a butterfly magnet.

I am always searching out some more late-blooming hardy perennials to add to my garden. Does anyone know of some good choices?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Theft from my La Ronge Blog - Unbelievable!

While I don't have an explicit copyright warning on my blog, it is usually common courtesy to request permission for the use of photos or other content from a personal blog. Today we found one of my blog images in a commercial publication from a company based in Regina, SK. My husband nearly threw away the glossy flyer they sent to our post office box, but then burst out in laughter and had to explain to the post office staff why he was laughing.

A communications company was ignorant enough to swipe a digital creation off one of my May 2008 blog posts. Of all images to copy from my blog, it was a spoof image extensively digitally edited to make fun of our town's welcome sign. This cable television provider placed it on the center of the front of the flyer, below a picture of a kid that they might have taken from some other unfortunate blogger.

In that post, I was pointing out the lack of progress in the sign's construction after its initial erection in 2007. Fortunately, there has been some progress on the sign in the last few weeks, with some nice masonry adding a handsome base to the sign. However, I don't think any plants have been added yet. I would also like to point out that almost all of the flowers in the spoof image would not grow here.

A quick google search (which is probably how they found all the photos) reveals the source of the guy-with-fish photos.

I have created several digital garden images to test my own garden design ideas and to show family members some potential designs for their yards. It is a credit to the makers of the PC program Realtime Landscaping Pro that someone actually thought this was a real photograph rather than a digital creation!

Here is my spoof image of the La Ronge sign done in "Victoria, British Columbia" theme.
The original photo was taken in May, thus the surrounding vegetation is still dormant and the grass is brown at this time of year.

My question to this communications company is, why didn't you use this (below) photo from my blog? Did you think the locals wouldn't notice? Has anybody from your Regina office actually been to La Ronge?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Purple Carrots and a White Orchid

I picked the first of my purple carrots, which added some sweet carrot flavor to my lunchtime salad. I admit to child-like interests in my vegetable garden, selecting novelty vegetables and drooling over Lee Valley's "veggie-forms" that can make your squash and cucumbers grow into ugly-old-man faces. Next year we'll have some purple tomatoes and the spiky Romanesco broccoli just because I want to see what they look and taste like! So far, the diaper-wearing junior gardener has approved my my interesting veggies.

This poor white Phalaenopsis orchid is blooming despite being repotted while in bud, which is an orchid sin I have committed on more than one occasion. Also, some brushes with careless humans (mostly myself) have knocked off a few buds, to complement the shriveled one on the end of the spike (which is probably from the trauma of repotting). It HAD to be repotted though, since the former pot was too small and falling apart. Would you believe there is yet another phalaenopsis in the basement with a new spike of buds? Unbelievable! I love these plants.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

First Daylilies

It seems outrageous that I am finally seeing my first daylilies, since the rest of Canada has been posting about them for weeks now. Actually, I think I must have later-blooming varieties, since I've seen other daylilies in town blooming well over a month ago. From what I read, double-bloom daylilies are generally not favoured by many daylily enthusiasts because of their soggy-toilet-paper-like appearance when the blooms are finished. This yellow daylily was my first one ever, so I had to have something more interesting, which in my mind, was a double bloom.

Daylily "Double River Wye":
I finally caught this daylily in nice morning sun thanks to an early morning small dog scuffle in the backyard, where the sisters where NOT getting along. While checking the dogs, I noted this excellent garden lighting!

LA Hybrid lilies "Courier",
a towering plant with cream-colored flowers that look great in this 7:00 am light.

LA Hybrid daylily "Auckland"
, a white lily with a unique bloom shape:

A regular red annual poppy (Papaver rhoeas). The crinkled-paper appearance never ceases to amaze me. I moved the orange lily next to the reddish-orange poppies, and it looks much more at home.

Lavatera "Silver Cup",
an impressive annual that covers itself in beautiful hibiscus-like blooms. This is the first year I've grown this annual from seed.

Mystery plant from the compost
has buds on it yet all of them seem reluctant to open. What are they waiting for?

The large raised bed is in need of some deadheading. I was out there gardening last night when some children passing by commented favourably on my work. I think they thought I was the hired help (which we have none of).

Monday, August 04, 2008

Vibrant Colors, Hardy Blooms

After a few days of rain, the lilies are still looking great. These LA hybrid lilies have dutifully multiplied, making a more impressive show each year.
Center raised bed with lilies, and pink Malva moschata:

I don't remember buying this lily, but referring to the online store that I buy my lilies from, this must be "Royal Trinity" LA hybrid lily. I've been calling it my canteloupe lily.

This little mystery plant has come up for a few years, with sickly-looking foliage that resembled that of a lily. It has the shape of a trumpet lily and is pink like many of my lilies, but I've never bought a trumpet lily! Most of my lilies are LA hybrids, and maybe this one is some sort of seedling reversion to a parent lily?

LA Hybrid lilies "Yellow Tycoon".
I absolutely love the LA hybrid lilies, which have sturdy cold-hardy plants with amazing large blooms. I highly recommend them. I just made another lily order from Lilies in the Valley, a Canadian mail-order company.

The Saskatoon berry crop is very good this year.
I picked a litre from my 3 young plants and made a berry crisp. Now if only I could grow the vanilla icec ream!

My pink crossed with a purple poppy, a gift from the pollinating bees. The poppies have reached the end of their season now.

Evening photo of impatiens "Little Elf" mix, started from seed this year. They look fabulous in the half-barrel under the partial shade of the poplar tree.

Scabiosa caucasica
"House's Hybrid", a white variety from the color mix. This perennial has taken 3 years to start blooming, which is a long wait. These flowers have long stems with a small loose bunch of foliage at the base, looking best in a mixed perennial flower bed rather than as a feature plant.

RLM Rocks My World

Resident-lawnmower-man has been doing a lot of heavy lifting recently. My alpine bed and some other rock-work next to the house are seeing some progress. My alpine bed is a new project to give me a little more garden space, remove some lawn, and create a place to feature small rock garden and alpine perennials.
Present state of the alpine bed:

Realizing that alpine plants are ridiculously small and slow-growing however, I will be adding a few low-growing conifers. I was thinking about dwarf balsam fir, the tiniest mugo pine I can get, and a birdsnest spruce. Hopefully they still have some of these at the garden centers in Prince Albert.
RLM is collecting some huge blasted rocks with machinery borrowed from a neighbour. These rocks will be added to the center of the alpine bed.

The lake across the street from our house. Just imagine some loon-calls and mosquito bites, and you can enjoy the experience right there at your computer.

Guess who has company for a few days? Kona's sister is in town for a visit. We're happy to see them together -- they hadn't seen each other in over a year! They can howl in harmony at ambulances tonight. Kona is on the left: