Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Visit to Bruekner Rhododendron Gardens

It was only 2 years ago that I heard about the Bruekner Rhododendron Gardens located in Mississauga, Ontario. My dad told me about it, his hiking group had included it in one of their spring hikes.
As with most gardens this one has a history. From the website:

In 2008, Rhododendron Garden in Mississauga Ontario Canada was renamed Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens to honour a long time Mississauga resident and master rhododendron hybridizer, the late Dr. Joseph Brueckner. This Garden, formerly known as Cranberry Cove, enjoys a micro climate favourable to growing rhododendrons, azaleas, and other species of trees native to a Carolinian forest such as various types of beech trees and Kentucky coffee trees.

Many of Dr Brueckner's beloved rhodos were donated to, and are grown, in these gardens.

While it turned out that my visit to the garden coincided with its best show for the year, the winters harshness was still quite visible. Many of the plants had brown leaves from winter burn or sun scald.  The garden has a number of beds, some more formal than others. Rhododendrons and azaleas were accompanied by Pieris, Solomon's Seal, Bleeding Heart, and a variety of Hosta.

Pieris on the right with rhodos of all sizes

Eye popping colour on this azalea

Winter burn damage is easily seen here

If you want a look at their website here is the link

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Truly Stellar Pink

Last summer I planted my first dogwood tree. Choosing it was quite the challenge since I wanted the native Cornus florida but was very aware of the anthracnose problems it could attract. I did not want the straight kousa, although there is a mature tree down the street that has not yet flowered but when it does hold on to your hat ! flowers galore, top to bottom. The native lover in me finally ( and begrudgingly) decided to compromise (with myself) and chose Cornus Rutgan "Stellar Pink" a hybrid between the native and the Chinese dogwoods.

Here she is one year later. Her form is pretty good and the leaves presently have a pale yellow edge that should eventually turn green. I think I am still taller than Pink at 5' 6".

While certainly not covered in blooms, Pink was stellar in giving me two tiny blossoms. A feat I consider 'well done' after the cold long winter we just had. I was worried for a while in spring as she never dropped her leaves in fall and held on to them the entire winter. In April I could not take seeing her all brown and shriveled and hand picked off all the leaves. No harm done.

I hope that her blossoms will eventually become pink. Mind you the top photo is pretty true to colour and the yellow blossom with pink tinges is quite attractive. I am already looking forward to next spring!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Plan of Inaction becomes Active

Time for a change. The first flower bed I worked on when purchasing my home no longer pleases me. One of the reasons for re-doing this garden bed is that a beech tree overshadows one end of it and in the 12 years here has extended the shade further into the bed. So one of my few sunny areas is slowly transitioning to shade. The other reason change is needed has to do with plant incompatibility, which is mostly my disappointment with colour combinations and bloom times (Not a strong point of mine). I don't know whether to say choices, choices, choices, or what to do, what to do?

Below you can see that my 'Little Henry' Sweetspire did not survive well this winter. I have three of these lovely natives and all three are more than half dead. So out he goes. The dilemma was what to replace him with, a question I have mulled over for a while. I need plants that can take some shade and some dryness. I also did not want to go on a buying spree like I did last year.  So I decided to shift some plants around.

Above and below you can make out a daylily in the back, and to the left is a columbine with a sedge growing out of it (why does this happen? do the plants all think this is a primo spot because someone else is already here?)

I purchased an amsonia  "Blue Ice' and decided to place it in the front. I already grow this great plant and as it turned out there were babies this spring which I did not see until after I bought the new plant. In any case it will slowly spread and babies are welcome. The pale yellow day lily is put next to the amsonia which when in flower will  bloom along with purple lavender, Rozanne geranium and white David phlox.

The wild columbine was shifted to the side of the day lily in case their blooms overlap which is quite possible as the columbine has bloomed into early summer before (wild columbine is a pale scarlet and yellow).

The sedge has been moved to the day lily's old spot, which is closer to the tree and much shadier.

There are peonies to the right and left of this new grouping. I got out my book that talks about the colour wheel and plant combinations made by colour. I considered the colours of the blooms and the time of the flowering- which is not something that comes naturally. Give me a plant and I will place it according to its needs first.

So for now this is what I will try. There is room to add plants if needed but I intend to let these multiply and fill in on their own.