Tag Archives: wildflowers

Wildflowers Rule!

September 9th, 2019 | 6 Comments »

Labour Day has come and gone, which must mean that summer is over. But the wildflowers blooming so exuberantly in the fields around Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, say that isn’t so.

 

Joe Pye weed has taken over an unused field... and every year I thank it for doing that.
Joe Pye weed has taken over an unused field… and every year I thank it for doing moving in.

 

Ok, perhaps that’s wishful thinking. The Joe Pye weed that was so gorgeous a few weeks ago is faded now, and while that has its own style of beautiful, it does mean that autumn is almost here.

Many plants age well but Joe Pye could do with some help, I think.
The brown tones of Joe Pye’s seed heads are a bit depressing. Do you agree?

 

Other wildflowers are still going strong. Golden rod, of course.

 

golden rod (1 of 1)

 

White asters …

asters (1 of 1)

 

… and purple ones.

 

1. aster purple (1 of 1)

 

Queen Anne’s lace is everywhere, gorgeous in full bloom,

 

1. Queen Anne's lace (1 of 1)

 

and intriguing before it opens, when it is a curled up promise.

1. Queen Anne's lace bud (1 of 1)

 

I’m delighted to seeTurtlehead (Chelone glabra) return to our fields. It was growing abundantly a few years ago and then disappeared.

 

chelone close up (1 of 1)

 

But whether on their own or in mixed groups, a display of wildflowers outshines my best attempts at garden design.

1. mixed (1 of 1)

 

As invasive as they are, I even like Canadian thistles.

 

thistle (1 of 1)

 

Must be my prickly nature!


I’m now scheduling talks for the up-coming year.  You can check out the list of topics on my website or get in touch directly to inquire about other topics, dates and details.

 

 

 

Wildflowers and Wild Life

July 14th, 2019 | 16 Comments »
For a wildflower to seed itself all over a field ... how lucky is that!
Some wildflowers are called weeds... but often those 'weeds' have pretty flowers. Consider crown vetch, for instance. Its purple flowers are lovely from a distance and it is useful as a temporary ground cover to prevent erosion. But it's also a menace, in some cases covering and shading out native plants.  Chickweed, on the other hand, isn't a problem, although people who yearn for perfect lawns may disagree.   [caption id="attachment_7731" align="alignleft" width="2773"] It's called chickweed because chickens love to eat it. People can too, and its flowers are quite

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The Middle of August

August 13th, 2018 | 13 Comments »
The Big Meadow
In the middle of August the garden at Glen Villa is just beginning to emerge from an unusually long dry spell. A few days ago we had rain -- buckets of it that washed out our driveway and threw a section of bank into Lake Massawippi. (We repaired the driveway; the lake itself may take care of the landslide.) Before the rain, plants were wilting badly. The leaves on a catalpa tree we planted years ago first drooped, then began to curl up and turn brown; thankfully they are now starting to recover.

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Midsummer Medley

July 23rd, 2018 | 14 Comments »
nepeta (1 of 1)
Mid-July is truly the middle of summer in North Hatley, Quebec, when both the flowers in the garden at Glen Villa and the wildflowers in the fields strut their stuff. The Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low' at The Aqueduct is still blooming, a month after it began. The Eremurus 'Cleopatra' that provided such a wonderful vertical accent has faded now, but its candles remained lit for several weeks. Only in the last few days  have they been extinguished.     Nearby, a clematis (Clematis 'Inspiration') with the same colour tonality as the

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What’s in a Name?

June 1st, 2018 | 4 Comments »
cardamine diphylla (1 of 1)
I saw this wildflower in the woods last week and was surprised to learn its botanical name, Cardamine diphylla.     I was surprised because only a week or so ago, I looked up the name of another plant, now growing in damp areas in the garden and in the fields at Glen Villa. Its botanical name is Cardamine pratensis.   [caption id="attachment_6380" align="aligncenter" width="3264"] Lady's smock or milkmaids is growing beside the Glen Villa pond. It has bloomed for several weeks.[/caption]   What is the relationship between the two Cardamines? Are

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The Big Meadow, Year 3

May 24th, 2018 | 13 Comments »
Saturday late afternoon-020
In 2016, in order to discourage Canada geese from 'littering' the  lawn, we began to transform it into a meadow. We didn't follow the advice given by experts on how to create a meadow -- their process involved too much work and too much expense. Instead we simply stopped cutting the grass. We let it grow throughout the season and cut it only once in the fall, to mulch the leaves and to cut down any trees that were taking root. Now, entering the third year of this experiment, it is fascinating to see what is appearing. From a

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The Big Meadow, 2017

September 25th, 2017 | 8 Comments »
I took this photo near the end of July. The mown path remained green all summer, thanks to the amount of rain we received.
Is it accurate to call The Big Lawn at Glen Villa The Big Meadow? If you use an American definition, the answer is yes.  If you consult an English dictionary, the answer is less clear. Webster's Dictionary defines a meadow as a tract of low or level land producing grass which is mown for hay,  and that definition fits precisely. Allowing the sweep of grass beside our house that was tended for decades to remain untouched produced six large bales of hay last year, the first year we didn't mow regularly.  Those bales were

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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

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A Change of (Ad)dress

May 23rd, 2016 | 14 Comments »
A froth of white dresses the fields and roadsides in Hertfordshire. What do you call this wildflower -- Queen's Anne's Lace, wild carrot or something else entirely?
  The weather at this time of year does strange things to the mind -- and to the wardrobe. One day is cold, the next is hot. Changing locations makes the uncertainties even worse. What do I pack? Summer dresses or winter woolies? I arrived in England a few days ago on a chilly morning that felt much like the mornings I'd left behind in Canada. But looking out at the countryside, it was obvious that summer was now dressing the fields.   [caption id="attachment_3982" align="aligncenter" width="3888"] A froth of white

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Wild Names Flavoured with Wild Garlic

May 10th, 2016 | 6 Comments »
I don't often walk in this section of the woods in spring -- it is too wet. So it was a surprise to come across such a huge colony growing wild. That means it is a good spot for wild garlic.
  NOTE: Several readers have let me know that this blog post only had photos without any words so I'm posting it again.   A walk in the woods at this time of year is a journey of discovery. So many things are there in miniature, waiting to be spotted if you take the time to look closely. Trilliums, for example. Not many are yet in bloom but they are beginning to open up as the days grow warmer.   [caption id="attachment_3890" align="aligncenter" width="2317"] Red trilliums (Trillium erectum) go by many common

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