Tag Archives: nepeta

Five Good Things and a Bad

June 25th, 2018 | 12 Comments »

As June shines its way towards July, I’m outside soaking it in and enjoying the garden at Glen Villa. There are too many happy-making things to show in a single post, so today I’m focusing on only four.

First come the hawthorn trees. We planted them more than 15 years ago and they have proved a mixed blessing, blooming well in some years, not so well in others. This year they were spectacular.



Seeing the trees from a distance was like seeing a beacon of light, pulling you into a magic place.
Seeing the trees from a distance was like seeing a cloud of light, pulling you into a magic place.


The roses nearby echoed the colour of the hawthorn blossoms, reinforcing the sense of magic.

rose (1 of 1)
Our predecessors planted the rose bushes about 50 years ago. In 2015 we did some work in the area; disturbing the bushes has given them new life.


Continuing along the driveway, the orange punch of a honeysuckle introduces a new colour. I’m delighted with the way it is climbing up the window frame on the China Terrace, spilling over the top like the froth on an orange soda.


The honeysuckle is growing up one of the window frames on the China Terrace, my re-creation of the old Glen Villa Hotel that stood on the spot.
The honeysuckle is growing up one of the window frames on the China Terrace, my re-creation of the old Glen Villa Hotel that once stood on the spot.


At the front door the colour combo reverts to green and white, with Anemone canadensis emphasizing the white spots on a pulmonaria, or lungwort, that we dug from a neighbour’s house.


untitled (1 of 5)
In the middle ages, plants were often named after a bodily organ whose shape they mimicked. Is it the shape of the leaf or the shape of the flower that looks like a lung?


But best of all the good things happening in the garden is at The Aqueduct.

Regular readers may remember that last year I was searching for a plant that would provide an exclamation of colour, contrasting with the fluffy purple/blue of the catmint (Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low) that dominates the bed.


untitled (2 of 5)
I can’t decide whether to keep the white Bowman’s root at the front or to replace it with a large-leafed plant — a hosta or darmera or ligularia. What do you think?


I found it — Eremurus ‘Cleopatra.’ This orange foxtail lily, or desert candle, looks more peachy than orange, but whatever word your eye favours, to my eye the colour is fabulous and the combination dynamite.

A closer view shows the combination more clearly. Keeping the nepeta from swallowing everything around it is the only problem — the boxwood spheres need to be bigger before they can compete. I planted Eremurus once before, at the Cascade, but the ground was too wet and the bulbs rotted. Here, where the ground is drier, the bulbs should survive and the Eremurus develop into big clumps with many blooms. My fingers are crossed.


This 'candle' blooms from the bottom up.
This ‘candle’ blooms from the bottom up. As more of the tiny flowers bloom, the colour becomes more prominent.


So what’s the one bad thing?


With luck the wound will heal and the tree live for another 50 years or more.
With luck the wound will heal and the tree live for another 50 years or more.


In a high wind last week, one limb on the linden tree at the end of the Big Meadow blew off, leaving a gaping wound and a no longer perfectly balanced tree.  The difference from a distance doesn’t stand out but it is visible.

Still, I’m happy. The garden is looking wonderful, the sun is shining and the sky is blue. What more can anyone ask?


The Bowman's root is almost too exuberant.
Bowman’s root is blooming alongside the Nepeta. It is almost too exuberant. Almost.


What a Difference a Month Makes

July 17th, 2017 | 26 Comments »
Looking beyond the nepeta you can see how the Big Meadow is coming along.
Yesterday was Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. The 15th of the month is when garden bloggers from around the world post photos of what is blooming in their garden. (Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this meme.) I haven't been doing this, and I'm not sure I will in the future. But I can't resist showing off one particular bloom at Glen Villa, my garden in rural Quebec. The flower I'm showcasing is Nepeta recemosa 'Walker's Low.' It's a cliché to say that a plant is blooming its heart out,


The Joy of Weeding

September 2nd, 2013 | 2 Comments »
We all know that weeding is a chore, right? We also know that a weed for one person is a flower for someone else. Or, as often expressed, it's any plant growing where it isn't wanted.   Some people don't like ajuga in the lawn. I do. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it better, describing a weed as "a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." My favourite quotation about weeds, though, is Shakespeare's contribution: "Great weeds do grow apace." And indeed, they do. Or, at least, this summer they