Thursday, August 29, 2013

Frog Hollows garden tour is finally here......

It is the final day before the garden tour.... Lets have a look at what I have for people to see. Did my pruning back lengthen the blooming of some of my perennials. Where my efforts rewarded? I will let you be the judge as you walk through my garden on this wonderful Friday. Hydrangea with ornamental grasses beckon people to come into the newer area of my garden which is the butterfly garden. It was struck a nasty blow while I was gone. I had a friend volunteer  to come in and water while I was in Alberta. So between Bear and her I thought I had it covered. But, I lost all the squash, pumpkins and potatos which were all laying limp and ugly so after arriving home at 7:30 I worked until dark removing 5 large wheel barrow loads of very sad vegetation. I did rescue two large pumpkins and a few other smaller ones plus some little gourds. I was left with one summer squash plant and the runner beans still growing up the ornamental grass. I have yet to dig the potatoes out of the ground. I was back up Tuesday morning at 6am and worked till 6pm dead heading and removing ugly brown from every where. I even managed to get a cold shower and feel refreshed before everyone started arriving at 6:30pm. Thanks to a good friend who stopped by to bring me a contract we had put together while I was gone. Fran went in and took over baking the cookies that would be offered to our guests.
 Red Celosia and a dwarf variety of  Solidago along with the blue grass 
 New Helenium put on quite the pop in a corner where Lychnis Maltess cross had been pruned back but didnt start blooming again...acelpesis butterfly weed is still blooming but mostly set huge set pods waiting to feed the Monarch butterfly caterpillars we get each fall. Monarchs have been here this past week along with a beautiful black butterfly with very ornate lower wings. I haven't yet had time to try to identify it.

 Blue Phlox down by the pond came back very well.
 Yellow Stella D'ora is blooming still.
 Sedum's put in last year have gone from one stock to clumps.
Red Roses and Sedum dragons blood break up the yellow flowering Potentilla along the walk way. This picture is from down on the grass from the other side. Myosotis alpestris or forget me not's suffered while I was gone as did all the plants along the walk way. Its an area not irrigated and 10 days without water cost me a lot of potential flowers. With soil that is really pretty much pure sand....I actually water every day with the heat we have been getting. Putting in some form of additional irrigation in the new areas and around the walk way for next spring. 

 This Sedum I believe to be Neon is really just that and will last well into late October where it really does become Neon in the landscape.
 The Phlox I cut back was blooming in the moon garden along with the sum and substance Hosta. White Cosmos and some Leucanthemum are blooming around the edges of this bed.  A varigated Sedum is just starting to bloom but the lady tresses will be a week or so.

 Hibiscus syriacus 'purpureus variegatus' is a variegated form with an oddity of buds that never open.
 I love it in the moon garden for its variegated leaves and its form. The red buds are perhaps cheating a bit but it is my garden so I write the rules!
Clumps of sunflowers planted by the chipmunks were left as punctuation marks through out the garden.
 Ornamental grasses put out their seed heads while I was gone and it was a very pleasant surprise. I have both the red and white variety of this grass. This white one is at the far edge of the moon garden and when the sun is shining through it it literally glows.
Crocosmia saved a few blooms to share

 Clumps of this red day lily are still blooming. I had only the one clump last year but divided it into several which have really impressed me with their constant reblooming and by how the divisions grew in size as well.
 Ligularia is still blooming around the pond where its shadier and cooler. 
 Because I believe in Fairies..... I have added somewhere for them to sit and relax...They might just be inclined to give me a helping hand.
Peaking under the foliage I even spotted this area.....
 The  Buddleia  'white profusion' is covered in massive blooms this year. Monarchs are starting to come through the garden on their yearly migration and hopefully there will be enough to entice them to stay a while.
 Mixture of pink Diantus showed up just in time where the Aquilegia has long since quit blooming
 I found a Hydrangea which promises to have the deeper red blooms that were on the hydrangeas outside my old office window. I took cuttings which are growing nicely but couldn't resist adding this one some where just in case the others didn't make it. This one is called Pistachio 
 The new pink flowering Gaura bloomed just in time
 Hibiscus blooms 
 I have beautiful clumps of a Hosta I believe to be Sum and Substance blooming in several areas of the beds. The clumps are huge with bright chartreuse green leaves which really contrast nicely with other foliage.
 I large grouping of vibrant red Diantus greets you as you come up the drive
My pots are holding their own despite the damage from pests! 
 Oenothera biennis is really coming on. Now if we could just get the purple fall aster to bloom while its blooming what striking combination as you drive in 

Fuchsia is still blooming thanks to taking them down and putting them in a shadier spot and  the two watering fairies while I was gone.
 Some areas are looking soft and more pastel... That is until the fall flowering Aster which is a beautiful vibrant purple.
 A little bit of "pop"
 Roses put on another flush of colour just in time
 Red flowering Gaura
Phlox with Hyssop in the back ground
 I asked the people attending if they could guess which perennial known for its true blue colour I absolutely love and do not have in my garden. No one guessed it! Can  you?  By the way if you ever want to know just how many different plants you have then decide to put out labels.. I only did one per genus and didn't bother with the species. That is to come!!  I handed them to the hort members and made a game of it having them place the tags at one o'clock behind the plant.  I did it because not using my latin daily like I use to Im losing it. Also, because of a head injury years ago I sometimes will "know" something when asked but like a deer caught in headlights I can't always instantly recall it when put on the spot. Its very frustrating.  I did find out that what I had previously called my ginger is actually bloodroot.... I have been offered some ginger which is awesome.. Two more labels to add to the list of the ones not yet made.
I hope you enjoyed your walk this week. Please leave me a message so I know you have been. I do make an effort to  answer all messages and even drop by to see your gardens if your a fellow blogger. If you would like to have new posts sent directly to you so you don't miss them, then please select the  FOLLOW button on the lower right side. 
Have an amazing week.... enjoy the cooler temps that come with September... The quieter days with the children back at school. Have a cup of tea out on the deck enjoying reduction in bugs! and always always remember.... It is never too late to become what you always knew you could be!


A parting gift...

Daughter number twos' beau Jason is always looking for something to do to keep busy. He is still waiting for his call back to work. Unfortunately with all the flooding that happened in Alberta that call has not come through yet. I have reaped the benefit of that with work around the acreage and now this beauty. I mentioned that I would like a "Potting bench" and here is the start...

I mentioned that I would like it to have a place that you lift off the top and a screen would be there to sift through soil from pots etc and a place for a tote or large bucket to catch the sifted soil..

Here's the finished table with a couple coats of protective sealant. Its rightful home is to be over on the deck of the house but we are in the midst of pressure washing and then restaining the logs. Since I need to start potting up cuttings of plants I want to winter over etc I've set it up in this covered over area of the pole barn which is very handy to our vegetable garden. The blue tote is under the screen and I can not empty out pots and screen the soil to be reused.

Ahhhh to relax at the end of the day over looking the perennial beds, pond and out through the meadow.
Thank you Jason... another job well done and greatly appreciated. ( daughter number two found a "keeper" in this one!)
I had a whole list of things I wanted to try to do this spring. In fact its now just a day or so short of September!...Several of the ideas or inspiration has been picked up through Pinterest. That site is wonderful and dangerous at the same time! I have fortunately been extremely busy at work so not a lot of time has been spent on there at the moment. Hows your "to do list"?
Have you been able to enjoy a day, week or even a few hours of creative play?....
If not then why not drop over to Pinterest and get inspired...
I had a whole list of things I wanted to do with Jasons help. Im extremely pleased that I was gifted this incredible Potting bench though before they moved on in their adventures. The garden tour is now behind me and a long weekend awaits.  I feel a need to relax and create something! What are your long weekend plans? Are your children ready for school? Are you? 

Whatever your plans.....Remember that it is never too late to be all that you were meant to be!


Im linking up with outdoor Wednesday... yes Im late! put it down to all the catching up Im doing after ten days away but its always worth stopping over and checking out what is happening in other gardens around the world... far more entertaining then the TV...


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Meeting Tootsie

Two years ago we had talked about meeting when Tootsie still lived in Red Deer and I lived out in Irricana.  Both of us were going through busy times and the meeting never seemed to happen. 
I had hoped to actually go and see Tootsie's garden and greenhouse in person but after chatting with her we both thought that meeting in the middle was a better idea. So off to Red Deer I went.
Where do two Canadians meet... Why at Tim Hortons of course. Then it was off to tour some of Glenda's favorite greenhouses before she moved.

 Meet Glenda A.K.A. Tootsie Time...
 A very nice gentleman offered to take a picture of the two of us.
 We wandered around the greenhouses and the lot outside looking at special finds discussing how we would use different items and which were our favorites.
 This would certainly of been going home with me if I could think of a way to get it in my suitcase.
 I wouldn't normally go for this colour scheme but I have to admit that I like the contrast in foliage and texture plus the blooms would never fade! 
I really loved this how could I make this into a mermaid in my pond? Any ideas...
Perfect size for my Butterfly garden....
I liked the look of these pots and remembered an idea on Pinterest where the black is actually a blackboard paint and then you can write what ever you want on the rim. Perhaps "Happy Birthday" or "Happy Anniversary", "Best Wishes" etc... 
We had a great time chatting and trading stories and ideas. But, time flew by fast and we both had to get back to family.
Thanks for the great day Glenda. I hope to return the hospitality one day.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Back in time

Im in Alberta Canada visiting my two daughters who live here as well as friends and past colleagues.
I decided to stop and check on the progress of the new Wet Lands area at the college as well as check out their flower beds. I was not disappointed. The beds are used to help Horticulture students learn their identification and Latin. There is a  sample of pretty much everything that will grow in Alberta even if needing some coaxing. I will obviously not be able to show you it all. I absolutely love the Salpiglosis above though...

 I love the contrast in textures and colour of foliage which of course is seen for the entire season versus the three or four weeks that the average perennial blooms. A lot of annuals are used in these gardens too because designs drawn from the years before students are generally used. Which keeps these particular beds looking new and fresh yearly. The rest of the beds out side all the buildings are all trees and shrubs and or perennials so that they are there every year and easily found for identification purposes.
I loved the grasses tucked in among the ornamental Kales and Salpiglosis. You will see some weeds in these beds due to the fact that they retain very few staff over the summer. I did chat to two of the instructors assistants that were there when I attended. So many changes to the grounds and programs but that is how the college stays alive. Change...
 This was the first change you will notice driving in to the Land Science buildings. Where once stood an apple orchard and planting test beds there now stands a Hotel. Yep! a Hotel.... hmmm .. The reasoning behind it is that the college holds a wide variety of conferences and now they are able to provide more up to date accommodation to the participates.
 I love the tall Nicotiana. Such big leaves and the movement of the blooms. I believe these ones actually are fragrant.
 The AHS test gardens that the college has always had. These were looking well attended and full of bloom.

 Walking around I was remembering all the wonderful fun times spent at this college for the full two years. They were great times. I of course was older then most of the other students parents!
 This photo although to dark to do it justice shows a walk where its full of shrubs and different trees that could be used for identification. Every where on these grounds is an opportunity for learning
 Then I reached the first glimpse of the long awaited "Wet Lands garden". A dream child of one of Dave Hieberts. A real favorite of a lot of the students who were privileged to have him. Trees and shrubs ID. He spun wonderful personal stories which for me at least helped me to remember the Latin and information of the trees. I still repeat some of those stories to others that I meet.

 The Wet Lands is used as a way to filter and reclaim the grey water used at the College.
 I think its only on its second full year of being planted so it will grow into a far more spectacular place to walk and Im sure used as well in ID. For now its a probably used as a way to ID the younger more immature plants versus the fuller more mature plants.

 The pavilion where we learned to build retaining walls, walk ways, fences as well as put in a complete working Irrigation system.
 The greenhouses used by the greenhouse production majors. They produced crops and actually sold them. Also a favorite place to go and hang out with plant materials we were IDing through the winter months.. Or in the case of Alberta darn near nine months of the year!
 My favorite place to study was on the second floor and then the view looking straight out through that glass arch. It was also a great place to people watch. The main meeting place and cafeteria and indoor gardens were just below.
 Frantic work is being done to spruce the beds and prepare them for the students that started to arrive this week for a week long preparation class. 30 years of being out of school. Yes! I certainly did take advantage of that course and its where I made my first friend at college. A young man who remains a good friend.

I hope you enjoyed your walk. Sorry I'm rushing out the door to go and visit with my friend Jamie and see his new house and gardens he is working on.
Have an awesome week. I will try to put together something about meeting my first fellow blogger for my next post. It was a great day spent in Red Deer touring her favorite haunts from when she lived in Red Deer.... Bet you have guessed just who that blogger is....


Im linking up over at Fertilizer Friday on Tootsie time ...