28 May 2007

A gardener's potpourri

Sunday was another of those ideal gardening days—not too hot, nicely sunny and with a hint of a breeze on the air. We fled the house right after breakfast and stayed outside until muscles simply refused to work further. First on the day’s agenda was a stroll around the property to plantwatch—what’s in bloom? What’s come up today? What’s going to flower? What’s missing in action?

It’s no wonder I’m besotted by blue flowers. Look at Loddon Royalist Anchusa: I could drown in this shade of blue!

A lady at one of my talks told me she gives her husband a tree every year on his birthday. I think that’s a lovely thing to do! Eight years ago, when we first moved here, I gave my dearly beloved a young horse chestnut sapling, about three and a half feet tall. This year, it’s heading for 15 feet, and it’s going to flower, with no less than a dozen definite flowery ‘candles’ (flower spikes) to celebrate its life in Scotts Bay.

One of the best things about garden season is the hummingbirds. As near as we can tell, we have around a dozen of the tiny winged jewels racing around our yard all day every day. The rubythroated hummingbird is the only species that comes to Nova Scotia (and indeed to much of eastern North America, I understand) but that’s okay—these little darlings are a delight to watch. They are voracious for both the three feeders of various types we have around the house AND now for the variety of annuals we’ve put out in part for their benefit. And they’re not a bit shy in coming to ‘tell’ us that the feeders need filling.

Despite the fact that the weeds in the back yard are growing faster the perennials are, my main goal for the day was to plant up some of the containers with a variety of annuals. As many readers know, I’m quite partial to annuals because of the way plant breeders have gone into overdrive creating marvelous colours of foliage and flowers. There’s nothing shy and retiring about my colour sense, either. I always say that in a garden, you can put together combinations that you’d never dream of doing in your home d├ęcor or your clothing wardrobe. Take this gerbera—I adore it, though I’d never wear orange!

Nemesia is one of those underused annuals that people need to know more about. Some are fragrant, some come from seed, others are developed by plant breeders, including this delightful Sunsatia ‘Raspberry’ cultivar. Although it’s not one of the fragrant types, the hummers seem to like it, and I excuse its lack of scent as being made up for by its delectable colour.

Last year I planted what were supposed to be a number of Leucojum bulbs, also known as Summer Snowflake. Whether they were mostly kidnapped by naughty bulbnapping rodents or failed to germinate or else were mixed in with snowdrops, I don’t know, but most of what were supposed to be snowflakes turned out to be snowdrops. Except for this one single solitary stem of lovely bells. I’m hoping they’ll multiply and that I’ll find more bulbs this year—properly labeled.

By the time I finished planting, weeding and puttering, it was too late to photograph some of the containers and plants without using the flash—which always muddies the colours too much for my liking. Today was overcast with some rain, though mild, so you’ll have to wait for fair weather to return before I do a photo essay of why I love annuals.

The gardens are pulsing with life, although a few things are still missing in action. I don’t expect to see Lysimachia Beaujolais come up, as we wondered about its hardiness, but I’m starting to worry a bit about our Amsonia, as they haven’t put in an appearance yet. They’re always late—along with gentians and chameleon plant, they’re the last to yawn and stretch and emerge from the soil, but it seems there should be something showing by now. But I’ll be patient—and plotting what to put in if the blue stars don’t show up. There's always something new to try...


  1. Hi there Jodi,

    Surfed over from Yolanda's Bliss garden in the Netherlands. I was struck by your comment about how if you let them, cats will tell you what their names should be. Just thought I would write and let you know how much I agree, our cat Cricket told what to name her that through her cricket-like chirping. "Cricket" it had to be. Glad to have found another cats n'garden blog! Cheers!

  2. Love that anchusa and you are right about the color. I love to wear orange! Try it! It is such a happy color. Can't wait to see your containers. Love the snowdrops. That little green chevron on each white petal is so lovely.

  3. Ohh, hummingbirds! I wish there were hummingbirds over here but sadly that is not the case.

    The Anchusa is lovely, it is true blue! ;-)

    I don't wear orange either, it makes me look like I'm very ill or something. To each his/her own!

  4. Julia: Welcome to my garden of cats and fleurs. Hope you feel welcome, always.

    Layanee: I love orange--just not to wear it. Although I should post the photo of me in the wheelhouse of Coast Guard ship Cygnus, wearing the captain's safety helmet and the chief mate's survival suit. THAT's orange! But IS a very happy colour.

    Yolanda Elizabet: I'm sorry you don't have hummers, but I will post ours sometimes and you can always enjoy them vicariously, like I do your cats...:-)


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