Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Sedum, a Swan, or maybe a Goose

You take your typical sedum or more specifically hens and chick, put it in a pot, or more specifically an old  cement container of a swan and it grows like you have never seen before!

When I bought the Hen with chick (hiding lower right) in the spring it was just your typical sedum. Then it started this growth spurt as you can see above.

I watched the flower buds form.

And then bloom.

Look at it now. It is leaning out of the swan. Swan or goose - I am not even sure of that. You can vote on that. Swan or goose, your choice and I will abide by it.

See how it is lifting itself out of the cement bird? It is leaning even farther than the Tower of Pisa!
Hmm, I wonder if I will need a support for the flower spike.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rose problems at the Gardens

Earlier this month my master gardener group had a tour of the Centennial Rose Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in  Hamilton. The reason behind our visit was to learn about the changes the gardens have made or had to make since the Ontario pesticide ban in 2009. Through consultation with other large gardens they have returned to 'heritage' care techniques, or in other words, organic practices. Not surprisingly, this is not as easy a feat to accomplish with gardens of its size and unfortunately a lack of funds to support their endeavors in order to present the gardens at the level of quality for a botanic garden.

Climber 'Alchymist'
 The main problem they deal with in the rose garden is black spot. Anyone who grows roses knows this problem well. How do you create beautiful beds of let's say hybrid teas when all their bottom leaves are turning yellow and falling off? Not a pretty sight. Keeping the beds clean looking is presently more of a priority than the actual prevention of the problem especially during rose season. 

Climber 'Roberta Bondar'

The problem of black spot is the result of the way they prepared the beds for the winter. Each rose bed was covered with a plastic sheet of polyfoam and then trenched in. Even the climbing roses received the same practice being removed from their supports, laid on the ground and covered in polyfoam. Black spot, weeds and mice thrived under the plastic and after years of following this practice the soil is completely infected with the fungus. To add to this, most rose beds are grown just as that, rose beds. This creates a monoculture in which pests and diseases thrive.

Parkdirektor Riggers

In the last few years there have been changes including planting roses that are hardier for our zone, growing more shrub roses like rugosas which are relatively trouble free, and growing more disease resistant varieties such as the 'Knockout ' roses. They are also playing with some new mixed plantings such as roses, clematis and grasses.

Captain Samuel Holland

There is still a lot of work required to bring the Centennial Rose Garden up to the level it should be and one day they will achieve that. For now they are looking at ways to replace all the soil in each bed, a  huge goal and very costly endeavor. In the meantime the rose gardens are still a lovely place to wander through with camera in hand and nose at the ready.

Bed of species roses

rosa foetida bicolour 'Austrian Copper'

rosa foetida 'Persian Yellow Rose'

William Baffin

roses galore!

Knockout roses with clematis and panicum 'Heavy Metal'

Knockout 'Carefree Celebration'

gorgeous Knockout - sorry never got the name


Monday, June 11, 2012

Catching Up

Busy busy busy. Most of it in my garden which is a very good thing. For now let's catch up on what has been blooming and now close to finishing.

First, two new additions to the garden. This one is R. 'Fascination' a Yakushimanum. It is very similar to Ken Janek (also in the garden) but hey, I like it.

The second is Lemon Lights azalea. This is my first azalea. I have always admired the flowers especially as they bloom so early, but never sure about not being evergreen. I am not much of a stick admirer but I will have to get over that. Here's another photo of the flowers:

Amazing colour!

Here's a mellower yellow with rosa hugonis 'Father Hugo'. I have had this species rose for four years now and this year it rewarded me with close to one hundred blooms. This type of rose is an awkward fit in the garden. It is like a teenager, all limbs, flailing about. However each of those limbs is covered with a dozen or so blooms all the way along each stem. Magnificent.

Blue eyed grass - a species native to our area

I always look forward to the return of the Blue eyed grasses. They are found all over North America and they all are easily recognizable. Notice the difference in the shape of the petals between the one on top and the photos below. I recently found out that there is a naturally pink flowering blue eyed grass.

Blue eyed grass 'Lucerne'

Last summer our master gardener group went on a tour of the nurseries at Sheridan Gardens in Georgetown, Ontario. While at their gift shop, oops I mean Garden Center, I and a friend found the native climbing honeysuckle sempervirens. Well we both certainly hoped it was so, as we both (it turned out) coveted and had been searching for the elusive sempervirens for years. I believe I can say with certainty and pride that we are the proud owners of this gorgeous plant. (If I am wrong please let me down gently)

Well that is all the catching up for now. As I am not caught up stay tuned for part 2.