With the warmest, and sunniest May two four weekend behind us, I am finally able to breathe that collective sigh of relief that most all nursery folk emitted after what was the ideal kick off to the gardening season. It has also given me time to spend some time in my own gardens. I have been gardening on this property for close to twenty years, and have come to fully appreciate the rather simplistic requirements that it requires. The results of these past twenty years never fail to elicit squeals of delight. My Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum 'Mariesii' must now be close to 3m in height and at least 2m wide. This year her distinct horizontal branches are loaded with masses of pristine white lace cap flowers.
Larix marschlinsii 'Varied Directions' almost resembles a horse [side view] in this photo. It remains one of the most talked about trees in my garden. I have been hesitant to remove the stake that you can see protruding from his ferny like foliage, and rather enjoy his sprawling, upright habit. The wee guy in the photo below is Abies concolor 'Blue Cloak' which is a diminutive weeping form of the majestic conifer that is my Holiday tree of choice, what with the intoxicating citrus smell that he emits when his needles are crushed. He is the perfect sized specimen for my postage stamp sized property!
You know you've done something right when your gardens can look like this seemingly overnight once the temperatures and soil warms enough to wake up the sleeping 'children.' The focus of my attention seems to have shifted to this long and narrow bed, as well as the Memorial Ring garden that resides beneath my Metasequoia 'Ogon.'
I do love this vignette, with the Clematis clamouring through the Wisteria and the bright green foliage of Deinanthe caerulea 'Blue Wonder' in the forefront. The cathedral shaped mirror is a personal favourite, adding depth to a relatively narrow border against the side of the garage.
Athryium 'Ursula's Red' is a staggeringly beautiful Japanese painted fern with distinctive deep maroon midrib coloration set against the traditional shimmering silver of the 'painted' ferns.
It isn't the greatest shot, but this is the near to open bud of what I surmise is Cypripedium 'Philipp', one of three terrestrial ground orchids that I am blessed to grow. I was gobsmacked at the size of the slippers on C. 'Pluto' which has been blooming his fool head off for the past week and a half. He brings me to my knees with a goofy grin on my face every time! And then of course there are the Tulipas. Not sure why I ever planted them..... not the biggest fan, he who is of Dutch ancestry and all!
There are three spectacular slippers on 'Pluto' this year. I was so thrilled to see his four eyes this Spring when I removed the pine and leaf litter from the Memorial Ring border this Spring. The residents of this garden are memorials to my Father, Grandmother and beloved friend Cathy. I am closest to each and all of them when I am alone in my gardens.
I might treat them as an annual, but I cannot be without the sublime Meconopsis, otherwise known as the blue Himalayan Poppy. I have three of them in the garden this year, and know for certain that I will have at least one bloom sometime in the coming week - the same week as what is my birthday, and the anniversaries of those of my Father and Grandmother. I love the serendipity that allows the bluest of blue flowers to bloom on this truly memorial week for me.
Some of my more rare and unusual 'children' reside in this border that flanks the side of the garage. I have a thing for Polygonatum and Arisaema, and as the two photos above can attest to, I grow some of the more unusual species within these two beguiling genera. She looks sinister with her whip like spadix, and is in fact referred to as the 'Dominatrix Cobra Lily' - and is better known in horticulture as Arisamea thunbergii sup. 'Urashima.' One of my all time favourites!
My resident, semi double Paeonia x [Itoh] 'Going Bananas is going to reward me with no less than eleven stunning yellow blooms this year! She has a way of stopping sidewalk traffic when she is in bloom!
Fagus sylvestris 'Roseomarginata' is the perfect foil for the golden boughs of Metasequoia 'Ogon' which you can make out through his maroon and pink tipped foliage. I love his open, airy habit, which again is perfect for the smaller city property.
The dinner plate sized foliage of Astilboides tabularis is a wonderful reservoir for rainwater after a light drizzle has fallen. I love the boldness of his heavily veined leaves, and utilize it in two locations. My poor Acer campestre 'Carnival' is getting smaller and smaller with each progressing season. Not really sure why. I wonder if he caught wind of the fact that A.p 'Esk Sunset' was joining the family. Unfortunately he [Esk] is performing no better - his sublime foliage is scorching in the heat and humidity of our near perfect mid May! I may find myself removing my 'Carnival' and resituating 'Esk' to that location where he can enjoy a shadier placement. Divas the pair of them! And then of course there is A.shirasawanum 'Aureum' that outshines them both, literally and figuratively. And there you have it. Tea's Hortus Magnificum for the week of May 28th.
I have always wanted to grow more Cypripedium, but after losing more than one of our native C.reginae, I was somewhat gun shy! And then I read about Frosch Cypripedium out of Germany, and decided that I would give it another go. I'm lucky enough to be close to Lost Horizons, the area's premiere woodland garden nursery, and knew that Larry stocked these hardier hybrid crosses. A trip last Fall netted me Cypripedium Phillip and Pluto.
I was so thrilled to see both had over wintered, and when each plant sent up between three and five eyes this Spring, I was elated! In the last three weeks, Pluto has continued to grow and swell with anticipation. When I arrived home from work tonight I noticed that one of his flowers was completely opened. The beauty of his sumptuous slipper brought me to my knees! I can hardly wait for the other two buds to open...... and then there is Phillip whose flower buds remain firmly enshrouded in his magnificent pleated foliage. The coming weeks are definitely going to be exciting around here!
Spring for most Ontario gardeners felt like a stint in rehab. I seriously think April was intoxicated for most of the month, and it is only now, the second week in May, that many of my treasured 'kids' have decided its worth doing more than giving me a quick peek before disappearing again! Knitting took up most of the winter, and it continues to maintain a stranglehold on my free time, but having said such, work at the nursery has been stealthily intensifying, what with Mother's Day this past weekend, and the two four weekend just around the corner. I knew if I did not take the proper time to get out into the garden, it would be June and I would be kicking myself right royally!
I spent a rather exorbitant amount of money last Fall on the small memorial garden that resides beneath my Metasequoia 'Ogon.' I wanted more Meconopsis, and I had also fallen really hard for the genus Cypripedium. Anyone familiar with either or both will realize that if there are a pair of garden Divas lurking in the shade, these two would easily top the list. I went with 'Phillip' and 'Pluto' with the Cypripedium species, and I am thrilled to report that there will be at least five stems in each clump this year. I am so excited. Forgive the nasty plastic garden fencing, but I do not want either of these pristine treasures to fall victim to a weed-whacker or lawn mower tire! Happened once before with the Meconopsis. Heartbreak!
One of my favourite Asian Arisaema species is showing signs of having clumped substantially over the winter. I adore the deep purple near black spathe of A.thunbergii var. Urashima, which is also known as the 'Dominatrix' lily. Always a conversation piece in the border.
I adore Disporum, also known as 'fairy bells' and was stoked to see that my Disporum uniform [DHC970431] has tried its size over the relatively mild winter that we were graced with. I had transplanted some to the stock bed at the nursery and was worried that it would sulk, but instead it has given me enough to share with gardening friends! Yay~! And then there are my resident Epimedium. How does one not have a dozen of these delicate gems in their woodland gardens! Get with the picture people!
I literally had to do a double take when I noticed that my resident Cersis canadensis had flower buds this year! While I grow it more for the fantabulous heart shaped foliage, many folks love the pink flowers that can sometimes smother its branches...... as it is doing for me this year. Perhaps this is the sign I have been looking for that this will be a smashingly good year in the garden. Fingers crossed. We can hope!