Garden Visitors

June 27th, 2017 | 12 Comments »

This week the first group of gardeners will be coming to tour Glen Villa. Forty plus members of the Ottawa Garden Club will spend the morning  here, on what I’m hoping will be a sunny day.

They are coming at a good time — the garden is looking fabulous. I rarely write a blog post that’s only about flowers, but this week the blooms are so spectacular that it’s worth showcasing their beauty.

The Aqueduct, where last year I added Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’, Ruby Carousel barberry and Porteranthus (formerly Gillenia trifoliata) to existing boxwood balls, is stunning, a symphony of blue and green.

 

I want to add a tall spiky plant that pops up through the Nepeta at occasional spots and tones in with the barberry and rusty steel. I'm trying several possibilities this year, including early summer blooming Eremurus 'Cleopatra.' I've ordered the bulbs for fall planting.
I want to add a tall spiky plant that pops up through the Nepeta at occasional spots and tones in with the barberry and rusty steel. I’m trying several possibilities this year and have ordered early summer blooming Eremurus ‘Cleopatra’ to try next year.

 

A close-up shows how the nepeta is almost overwhelming the boxwood.  I’m wondering how much I’ll have to cut back in the future. But for now, I’m happy with the balance.

 

flowers (13 of 13)
I plan to add another clump of Porteranthus (Gillenia trifoliata) at the far corner to echo the clump of white shown in the photo above.

 

The Cascade, which in previous years has proved problematic, is looking the best I’ve seen it for a long time. I’m particularly pleased with the two perennial geraniums that I planted last year. Geranium ‘Biokovo’ is a tiny delight…

 

I love the colour of these blossoms and the perky way they stand up above the foliage.
I love the colour of these blossoms and the perky way they stand up above the foliage.

 

,,, while Geranium ‘Hocus Pocus’ brings a touch of dark magic to the scene.

 

I wasn't sure these geraniums would survive the winter in this often damp location, but they have. And soon the plants should be covered with blossoms.
I wasn’t sure these geraniums would survive the winter in this often damp location, but they have. And soon the plants should be covered with blossoms.

 

Near them are plants I started from seed about a dozen years ago, Sanguisorba menziesii. I love the bottlebrush shape and the fabulous burgundy colour.

 

Hmm... maybe these burnets would work in the Aqueduct border. But would they carry enough weight to balance the explosion of Nepeta? What do you think?
Hmm… maybe these burnets would work in the Aqueduct border. But would they carry enough weight to balance the explosion of Nepeta? What do you think?

 

In the Lower Garden, the pink peonies are luscious.

 

Maybe Sarah Bernhardt?
Maybe Sarah Bernhardt?

 

So are the double white.

 

I like any colour of peony. I like the foliage, too.
I like any colour of peony. I like the foliage, too.

 

The Acquilegia canadensis are staying true to themselves, and offer a punch of colour in combination with ‘Bowles Golden’ carex.

 

This combination is growing close to a mustard-coloured Chinese vase. The colours work really well together.
This combination is growing close to a mustard-coloured Chinese vase. The colours work really well together.

 

I don’t have much bright red in the garden, but seeing this  honeysuckle in  bloom, that may change.

 

I planted this honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens 'Major Wheeler') in 2012. This is the first year it has bloomed well. Is a warmer climate the reason?
I planted this honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’) in 2012. This is the first year it has bloomed. Is a warmer climate the reason?

 

In the same bed a fingerleaf Rodgersia (Rodgersia aesculifolia) is a standout against a pink-flowered weigela (Weigela florida ‘French Lace’).

 

Rodgersia is pink around the edges... I haven't noticed that on the plants before this year.
This Rodgersia is pink around the edges… I haven’t noticed that on the plants before this year. And not all of the fingerleaf Rodgersias share this colouring, but over half of them do.

 

By the front door, the Anemone canadensis I added last year is doing exactly what I hoped it would do, shining a spot of light in the shade of a pine tree.

 

The white spots on an old-fashioned pulmonaria, variety unknown, are set off by the white blossoms on the anemone.
The white spots on an old-fashioned pulmonaria, variety unknown, are set off by the white blossoms on the Anemone canadensis. The anemone should self-seed and spread.

 

The display is wonderful now and should continue for weeks. Next to come, I think, will be the astilbe in the Lower Garden. Even now, tightly closed, the promise is unfolding.

 

The deep red of Astilbe Fanal is set against the citrus blooms of lady's mantle. Both are just beginning to bloom.
The deep red of Astilbe Fanal is set against the citrus blooms of lady’s mantle. Both are just beginning to bloom.

 

I plan to challenge the members of the Ottawa Garden Club by asking them a few questions. I didn’t think up the questions, I’ve pinched them from one source or another. They seem to be good questions for gardeners anywhere to ask, about their own garden and any garden they visit.

What one thing in the garden would you change? Is there something you’d add or delete? And would you like this garden to be yours?

I hope they send me their answers. Honest criticism is a good way to learn.

An Exchange of Views

June 23rd, 2017 | 9 Comments »
Topiary at Allt-y-bela was stunning.
What happens when two opinionated garden makers visit the garden of a Chelsea award-winning garden designer? Last month, Anne Wareham, Charles Hawes and I visited Allt-y-bela, the home of Arne Maynard, an author and prominent UK garden designer.  We spent several hours wandering around the impressive garden, located in Monmouthshire, Wales; Anne and I spent even more time several weeks later exchanging ideas and responses to what we had seen. Along with running her own garden, Veddw,  (in case you missed my review of Veddw, you can read it here), Anne edits the internationally

Read More...

Garden Envy

June 20th, 2017 | 19 Comments »
The Upper Field at Glen Villa is a what dieticians argue against, butter spread thick on the ground.
Coming home from a tour of English gardens I felt a short, sharp shock. Everything in my garden looked inadequate, not up to the standard I had come to expect. I moped. I complained. Why can't I grow the hundreds of plants I saw and admired?  Some of them must surely suit my climate. So why don't the garden centres around Glen Villa stock them? Then I faced the facts. My garden will never match the perfection of an English estate that employs six or seven full time gardeners.  The garden centres will

Read More...

Gardeners (and Gardens) to Remember

June 7th, 2017 | 14 Comments »
This garden by James Alexander Sinclair showed the relationship between sound and motion. Water gurgled and spouted in response to sound waves. Very ingenious.
I'm home again at Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec, after touring gardens in England. In ten days, the small group I was hosting visited 17 gardens, each special in its own way. Add in the Chelsea Flower Show and pre-tour visits to three other gardens and you can imagine the result: more photos and memories than a dozen blog posts can handle. Let me mention a few highlights. (More blog posts will come once I catch my breath and begin to assimilate all I saw.) The Chelsea Flower Show

Read More...