Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hamilton Beach : the other side

I have posted a couple of times about the Burlington beach walk I do frequently with a walking friend. This time we are are crossing the great divide, the water way that separates our two fair cities.

Both Burlington and Hamilton beach areas have histories going back to the 19th century when the real city folk of Toronto wanted to get away to the countryside. They would drive or take boats to Burlington and spend a holiday at the beach. I have no idea how long it must have taken them at this time along dirt roads, but consider that a drive on our multi-lane highways from Toronto to Burlington takes an hour today. Many built cottages and many of these cottages remain today. Most have been updated or renovated and some just pulled down and started over.

Shall we take that walk?

Naturally, a walk starts off in the parking lot. You may remember the lift bridge in the background from previous posts. Today we are on the other side of it walking south instead of north.

A first view of Burlington

You will of course remember the hydro lines along the beach. Perhaps if we look at them often enough we will eventually not notice them at all.

A first view of Hamilton

Let's go to the beach.

Yours truly

There is a lot of flowering life at the beach. Most of it I do not recognize. I definitely need to buy some guide book to the flora of beach lands. Maybe you will recognize something.

Let's move along a little further. You will see that homes show off their backsides and gardens along the beach area.

Someone had their thinking caps on right when they built this

Lobster traps? No lobsters in Lake Ontario

New signage as part of the revitalization of the beach strip

Perhaps it's time to sit and check out the view?

One of many viewing areas

Now we can see Grimbsy, south of Hamilton, not too far from Niagara Falls

Dip those toes in, the water is fine.
Pollution has always been a problem for our area as tankers and smaller boat craft use the lake for transportation of goods. When I first moved here 25 years ago you could not swim in the lake. Today the water is much cleaner and there are more swim days than not.

I don't think this boat gets out as much as it would like.

Bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, strollers, all are seen along the path

New development

My favorite part of the walk is at the turn around point. Oh, you can keep going for many more kilometers or miles, but this is where I turn to head back. It is also one of the few shady spots along the way and a good place to refresh yourself for the return trip.

One of the most important elements of the beach revitalization is this:

A last few photos to take us home

Home sweet home.
Thanks for joining me!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Work, Work, Work, summary

As promised in the previous post, I will now give you some idea of what I have been doing this spring in the garden.
I have whittled the bags of mulch down to zero and still have 6 bags of soil left. I thought I had 9 left as I said last post but it turned out it was 13 - anyway, the pile is getting smaller. Some of the soil and mulch went here:

A new bed next to the shed. From left to right is daylily Stella d'Oro, evening primrose, three gillenia trifoliata or Bowman's Root, and some native geranium. The plants in the bed are not necessarily going to be there permanently  except for the gillenia which should take up a fair bit of space in a couple of years. I am thinking of adding a clematis or two against the side. The rock, or really boulder, was already here when we moved in. There was an attempt to move it with a small bobcat prior to putting in the new shed but there is more rock below than above ground level it seems.

Gillenia trifoliata with pink flower buds

Not a pretty picture at the moment. What you are looking at are three snowberry shrubs planted along the fence with some foamflower  that will fill in the area at some point. Mostly you are seeing mulch.

Foamflower -  this one creeps

This is where my native ginger went. Trying to figure out what to plant by the wall was tricky- I didn't want anything too tall that would hide the stonework, especially closer to the steps. So I decided on a ground cover ginger and will plant shrubs or ferns or both behind to help block the view by the fence. I ended up putting down quite a bit of soil as the gingers prefer a more acidic soil and the wall with all its ground rock and gravel base is of course limestone. More soil may be needed to help out, but at a later date.

My new Mountain Maple, Acer spicatum. I am thrilled by the red branches but I assume they will turn grey at some later time. The tree just finished flowering when this photo was taken. Mountain Maple leaves are supposed to turn some variation of orangey-red-purple in the fall.

Two of three Spicebush shrubs, Lindera benzoin. Spicebush are called such as a broken branch will smell spicy. They put out tiny yellow blooms in early spring. My older plant is very blowsy and charming and I hope the three new ones will behave the same.

And the Nannyberry, Viburnum lentago, which may get to 10 -15 feet tall. My Nannyberry is having a bit of trouble adjusting, exhibiting some odd leaf curl, which I think the weather is contributing to - lots of rain.
I have planted many other perennials, transplanted a hemlock I bought last spring and transplanted a tiny pagoda dogwood found on the property. There are still a few plants I purchased that are too small to put in the ground now and so I will baby them along until fall, fingers crossed.

This week is hot and humid and I intend to take it very easy. Keep cool everyone.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Work, work, work

This spring was the year to accomplish some major plantings in the garden. Our new next door neighbour was finally established and put up an agreed upon fence between us (thank goodness as they have dogs and cats). Boundaries are now established which allow us to better decide how we want to increase some privacy between the two houses.
Also, there were plants I wanted and needed to add to the gardens. I joined the North America Native Plant Society in Ontario and bought about 40 plants from them including some shrubs and a tree. I ordered from Cannings Perennials some other hard to find plants and finally had no choice (yah, that's it) but to support the local plant sale at the botanical gardens. All in all I think I had 60 plants to find homes for.

That is just some of what needed to be planted. I managed to plant the shrubs of Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) and a Viburnum (V. lentago) right away, as well as, my Mountain Maple tree which is an understory tree preferring the shade canopy of other trees -in this case black walnut.
Most of the plants above are now planted. A few are very small and need a bit more time to bulk up before I plant them. The wild ginger is waiting for me to put out some new soil by the stone wall before it has a home.

This is the second shipment of soil and mulch. 2 cubic yards of soil and 1 cubic yard of mulch. Today there are 3 bags of mulch and about 9 bags of soil left to spread.

Then I bought the shrubs above - 3 Snowberry and a spreading yew. The snowberry are planted but not the yew, I think I am changing my mind about its location.

Anyway that is the recap. Once I take some more photos of the finished plantings I will fill you in on some details. I am glad to see the end in sight as other parts of the garden are starting to complain....

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Late Spring in the Patio Garden

Since the renovation of the backyard two summers ago, I planted the patio garden last year. It is a small eye lid shaped garden bed that follows the contour of the patio which you may recall my hubby created, an ellipse shape using Maxwell's Method (if you want to see it again go here).
I am quite happy with this bed. The plants are filling in nicely and seem to work well together so far. Here is an update:

The full view - the eye lid bed is behind and to the right of the patio chairs.

What you can see is spiderwort, wild columbine, jacob's ladder, bleeding heart, boltonia, and a hint of chamomile.


I am particularly proud that the Jacob's Ladder (bottom right) did so well this year. Last summer the rabbits kept eating it.

My few rhodos are out now in full bloom.

A bit bright photo of the azalea Lemon Lights, so here is a close up with a truer colour.

Finally I will show you my once prized rhodo Ken Janeck. I have pulled this dwarf rhododendron out of the ground twice now in an attempt to figure out why it is dying.

This plant is about half its original size and it keeps dying bit by bit. I have chopped off sections of the root ball to no avail. I think it either too root bound (the center is extremely dense) or there is a borer perhaps. 

Flowers from one week ago

Flower colour today

I do not know why it is not dead, it has been out of the ground for two weeks now.

That is a late spring update of the back yard. Next post will be about the work I have given myself to accomplish this spring. Right now I am 70 % done.