More Befores and Afters

May 30th, 2020 | 8 Comments »

A sudden burst of hot weather brought out shorts, t-shirts and leaves on the trees. It was only two weeks ago, on May 10, that the Cascade at Glen Villa was looking bare and boring.


Will these bare branches ever bloom?
Will these bare branches ever bloom?


Less than two weeks later, boring had become a bouquet of blooms.

Early evening light gives this scene a slight blue tint.
Early evening light gives this scene a slight blue tint.


Yet three days after that, the blossoms were beginning to fade, all thanks to extremely high temperatures.


The Cascade is frothy waterfall of spirea.
At its best, the Cascade is a frothy waterfall of spirea.


The star magnolias in the Lower Garden were in full bloom last week,


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Up close, the blossoms were stunning.


This is Magnolia 'Susan.'
This is Magnolia stellata ‘Susan.’


Three days ago petals began to fall.


Wistful yet wonderful.


And now, the grass that suddenly turned green is spotted with pink.


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Susan is only one of two types of magnolias that bloom in the Lower Garden. Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ is a later variety, with dark outer petals that fade on the inside to baby pink.


magnolia dark (1 of 1)


A few days ago it was coming into bloom. Now, it is going over fast.

Even though today is much, much cooler, I doubt that 'Susan' will bloom for long.
Even though today is much, much cooler, I doubt that ‘Leonard’ will bloom for long.

Daffodils at Glen Villa began blooming in mid-April. Those on the berm by the Skating Pond that was so gorgeous a month later …


i took this photo on May 17.
I took this photo on May 17.


… are now crumpled remnants of themselves.


Wet handkerchiefs or wet mopheads?
Wet handkerchiefs or wet mopheads?


But to my delight, the late blooming narcissus (Narcissus poeticus) in a shady spot near the front door are still going strong.


Pheasant's eye narcissus, or Narcissus poeticus is delicately fragrant.
Pheasant’s eye narcissus, or the poet’s daffodil, is extremely fragrant. It is also more poisonous than most daffodils.


Hot weather also shortened the season for my favourite flower, Jeffersonia diphylla. Its blossoms are always short-lived, but this year, the flowers that appeared on day 1 ….


Jeffersonia bloomed on May 20.
Jeffersonia bloomed on May 20.


… were dropping, petal by petal, by the end of day 2.


May 22, petals began to drop.
The flowers are gone now, leaving only the beautifully bisected leaves.


For weeks I’ve been looking forward to seeing La Grande Allée in full bloom. The buds were promising.


The buds of Malus 'Dolgo' are tinged with pink.
The buds of Malus ‘Dolgo’ are tinged with pink.


But I could tell that something wasn’t quite right. Individual trees varied considerably. Some looked vigorous, others were thinly leafed.


Thinly leafed tree
Those branches should be lushly, not thinly leafed.


Overall, the Allée didn’t bloom as well as I’d expected. Definitely not as well as I’d hoped. Was the lack of rain responsible?


Not the best, not the worst.
Not the best year, by far. But I’m always optimistic.. Next year will be better.


Last night it rained hard, the first rain we’ve had in weeks. This morning the air is clear and cool and the more plants in the garden are bursting into bloom. The primula I planted several years ago are blooming well, their deep red blossoms providing a sharp contrast to the white blossoms of sweet woodruff (Gallium odoratum).


Candelabra primula 'Miller's Crimson' stand out against the green and white gallium.
Candelabra primula ‘Miller’s Crimson’ stand out against the green and white gallium.


Probably the sweet woodruff will spread too far but for now, I am pleased with its abundance.

What’s blooming in your garden that is giving you joy?

Wednesday Vignette

May 27th, 2020 | 6 Comments »
I spotted this couple in the garden a few days ago. Do you think they had seen something ominous? Or was the cat stalking the groundhog?  


May 25th, 2020 | 6 Comments »
You know you are having a bad day when the tractor that is meant to pull you out of the brook runs into trouble en route to the scene. Something on the tractor's winch pulled loose but Jacques Gosselin, a man who can do almost everything, indoors and out, fixed it in a minute using a rock he found nearby.     We were on our way to pull a four wheeler called a Gator out of a stream that, mistakenly, I thought I could cross.   [caption id="attachment_8764" align="alignleft" width="3088"] An 'After' photo of


Before and After

May 18th, 2020 | 9 Comments »
Despite the lockdown, life at Glen Villa has been, and continues to be, very busy. There is always a lot to do in the garden in springtime but this year, there seems to be more than ever. In March we started seeds under grow lights in the basement...   [caption id="attachment_8743" align="alignleft" width="5184"] Before: seedlings sprouting.[/caption]   ... before moving them towards the beginning of April up to the greenhouse.   [caption id="attachment_8733" align="alignleft" width="5184"] After: tomato plants galore![/caption]   It's easy to show the 'Before' for these tomato plants but to show


Songs for Funny-Faced Ferns

May 10th, 2020 | 8 Comments »
The ferns are poking their heads up above ground, and I photographed several groups of them when I went out this morning for a walk.     Much to my surprise, when I looked closely at the photos, it seemed that conversations were going on.  Some ferns were lecturing, or at least giving instructions to others that were still growing up.     Some of those youngsters were looking puzzled, as if they didn't quite get the message.   [caption id="attachment_8713" align="alignleft" width="1968"] Huh? I don't get it.[/caption]   Still others were simply having


Daffodils and more

May 6th, 2020 | 12 Comments »
On the weekend, my heart was dancing with Wordsworthian glee. There weren't ten thousand daffodils in bloom but there were far more than I wanted to count.   [caption id="attachment_8687" align="alignleft" width="4587"] Daffodils make the berm above the Skating Pond a true delight in spring.[/caption]   For the last umpteen years, we've been planting daffodils on the berm above the Skating Pond. I've never ordered single varieties, always choosing instead to use the less expensive mixed varieties that are packaged in the hundreds. So I can't identify any of the particular varieties