A Colour-full Summer

August 28th, 2017 | 10 Comments »

Even while summer is coming to an end, the garden continues to make me happy.

I’m really pleased with the gravel garden.  Early in the summer we adjusted the slate border; now it steps rather than slopes down, giving a firmer definition to the edge. While the yucca didn’t bloom this year, it did produce dense clumps that should bloom next year. The sedum ‘Dazzleberry’ is growing well and the small islands of sandwort (Arenaria verna) that I added offer good colour contrast.

 

Although it doesn't show well in this photo, I added a top dressing of a honey-coloured gravel to make the grey gravel tone in more softly with the stone wall nearby.
Although it doesn’t show well in this photo, I added a top dressing of a honey-coloured gravel to make the grey gravel tone in more softly with the stone wall nearby.

 

And talk about bees! They are dazzled by the Dazzleberry.

This big fat guy stayed so long in one spot that I feared he was a goner.
This big fat guy stayed so long in one spot that I feared he was a goner. Nope, just getting all the dazzle that the sedum had to offer.

 

The shrub border in the Upper Field is full of strong colour contrasts, particularly striking on a sunny day.

 

Berries are weighing down the branches on the highbush cranberry.
Berries are weighing down the branches on the highbush cranberry.

 

We planted the shrub border in the Lower Field last fall, adding clumps of giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha) at the same time. The shrubs are still adjusting to their new location, the fleeceflower is thriving.  Next year the shrubs should be fuller and begin to grow. But in the meantime the astilbe (A. Veronica Klose) we added is blooming as never before, providing a powerful punch of bright pink that picks up on the fading tones of the fleeceflower.

 

Why a two-toned rock? The white section was buried until last September when we planted this border.
Why a two-toned rock? The white section was buried until last September when we planted this border.

 

Although the yellow Ligularia has finished blooming, the Cascade still looks good. I like the contrasts in form and texture. The Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ are starting to show their muscle… I’ll need to prune judiciously next year to keep everything in balance.

 

Take note: the fleeceflower (Persicaria microcephala 'Purple Fantasy') is a VERY vigorous grower.
Take note: the fleeceflower (Persicaria microcephala ‘Purple Fantasy’) is a VERY vigorous grower.

 

At the Yin Yang, the contrasts in colour, shape and texture couldn’t be more obvious — soft billowy grey-green, hard static brick red.

 

I should have given the Artemisia another hair cut. Oh, well, too late now.
I should have given the Artemisia a hair cut a few weeks ago. Oh, well, too late now.

 

Colours at Webster’s Column are less obvious. The Column, dwarfed by the tall trees that surround it, is filled with newspapers that recognize my husband’s 50 year career as a journalist. The colours on the papers have faded over the last seven years since the column was installed. That means the news isn’t fresh — but it isn’t fake, either.

 

I designed this piece of sculpture in 2009 and installed it in 2010. Seven years later the newspapers have faded. The news inside isn't fresh, but it isn't fake either.
I have a genuine sense of pride every time I pass this column, in part because it honours my husband and in part because it is one of the most successful sculptures I’ve designed.

 

On the deck where we frequently eat, the flowers are as colourful as they were at the beginning of the summer, and much more profuse. This is a combination I may repeat.

 

The Coleus is a variety called Indian Summer. I pinched it back regularly to keep it from getting too big. (thanks for the warning, Nancy A.!)
The Coleus is a variety called Indian Summer. I pinched it back regularly to keep it from getting too big. (Thanks for the warning, Nancy A.!)

 

The last touch of colour is one I’m not too happy to see… autumn will soon be here.

 

This horse chestnut tree is usually the first to turn colour in the fall. But you'd think it could wait until after Labour Day.
This horse chestnut tree is usually the first to turn colour in the fall. But you’d think it could wait until after Labour Day.

 

I hope your summer was as good as mine. If only it were longer!

Metis International Garden Festival

August 22nd, 2017 | 6 Comments »
The optical illusion never fails to delight.
  Recently I visited the International Garden Festival at Metis, Quebec. I've attended the Festival many times since it first opened in 2000, but in previous years I've gone with adults. This year was special -- I went with two teenage granddaughters.   [caption id="attachment_5512" align="aligncenter" width="1425"] The festival gardens are adjacent to the St. Lawrence River in a part of Quebec that offers much to explore.[/caption]   Playsages, the theme for this year's Festival, was a good fit for the three of us. The word is a mash-up of languages, blending

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A Mid-Summer Check Up

August 14th, 2017 | 6 Comments »
I can't identify the plant exactly -- I gathered seeds from plants that were growing along a nearby road.
In the middle of August, the garden feels different. It's not as fresh or vibrant, not as satisfying. This makes it tempting to move into planning mode. But first, I need to review the goals I set for the year, to assess what still needs to be done. One goal was to hold a second Open Garden Day. I checked that off in July. Another was to let the garden express itself. This is a goal that will never be finished. But I'm doing my best, letting nature take its course in the fields and

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The Upper Room Updated

August 7th, 2017 | 10 Comments »
An overview, looking towards the dogwood panels.
  Finishing The Upper Room, the area that honours my mother and her beliefs, was one of my goals for 2017.  I started work on the area last summer, hoping to finish then, but everything took longer than expected. This year, the sand-blasted panels that are the central feature were installed in the spring, the area was planted in early summer, and the final elements were added in July. The dogwood screen remains the crowning glory. It stands at the uppermost of three levels, defining the space without closing it in. I'm particularly happy with

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