12 June 2015

The BEST season for gardeners

Life is never boring in my world. It's suddenly nearly the middle of June, almost summer, and I haven't posted here at all of late. There are good reasons for this, none of them alarming--I'm simply so busy with work projects that I haven't had time to do the stuff that doesn't pay me. Plus it is the season for playing in the dirt, so when I'm finished my writing, photo and editing work for the day, I head for the garden; sometimes with camera in hand, of course, so I can catch delights like 'Francesca' primula in bloom! 

 Tomorrow I'm doing a talk at Louisiana Pacific's East River Plant during their Composting Facility's open house, and I'm looking forward to that. Afterwards I'll be heading to Oceanview Garden Centre in Chester (in case I need more plants) before returning to my own garden.
 At the moment, the chief scent in my yard is alfalfa hay from the field behind me and lilacs from beside the house, but the lavenders are also starting to bloom, and that makes me very happy. Isn't it just the best time of year?

01 April 2015

Those rare blue flowers

For those of you wondering where I've gotten to...I'm here, and I'm fine, just really, really busy as we get ready for our 10th anniversary Saltscapes Expo. Lots to tell you about while we're also still waiting for the 87 feet of snow that fell in the past two months to melt, but for now, a blast from the past....

We all know that in flowers, blue is the rarest colour. Which means some of us go koo koo for cocapuffs over it. Quite a few of us, actually. That number would include me, of course. From the glorious of the difficult, divaesque, but oh-so-beautiful blue poppy...

To the stately cobalt splendor of blue delphinium...

And even the dainty, delicate, spring chorus of scilla drive mere mortals to frenzies of bountiful blue blossom blissdom.

Well, you know how plant breeders are. They're never content to rest on their laurels, and they've been at work developing some more blue flowers for us to enjoy. The following stealthy, shaky, grainy photos are of a few cultivars that your intrepid correspondent risked life and limb to get photos of for your viewing enjoyment.

For those who are thwarted by growing blue poppies, perhaps you'd like to try this dandy geum, 'Til I'm Blue Cooky'. I think it would work particularly well, like most geums, in full sun with well-drained soil. 

We're always taught that hemerocallis come in every conceivable shade except black and true blue. Well, we can cross the latter off the list with 'Crazy Iovanni', which to the best of my understanding was created by genetical manipulation, introducing the DNA from the blue April Fish into one of the showier of yellow daylilies, 'Fools' Gold.' I wasn't able to ascertain, from my lofty perch in a truffula tree, whether the foliage of this new hemerocallis was evergreen or not.

Ah yes, the blue rose. We've all heard about how some things are as 'rare as blue roses.' Well, once again, the GMO wizards have been at it, splicing some DNA from that blue delphinium with multiple excited protons from the Large Hadron Collider, and zapping them into a pimpernelifolia rose. Meet 'Harison's Blue.'

And apparently pollen from the bluebanded bee, when stolen from a blue Eryngium planum and dipped onto a double white coneflower, yields this blue eyed beauty, 'April BlueNose.' Because I was in deep ninjacover while clambering around in trees, I couldn't hear the breeder say when any of these blue beauties would be released, but I suspect it will be probably around June 31st of next year. 

Whew. It's sooooo good to be out of March, isn't it? 

28 December 2014

End of year roundup--favourites and more

Slightly belated Christmas greetings to all--we had not a drop of snow in Nova Scotia, and in fact had record breaking mild temperatures and torrential rains this year. It made travel easy, and we spent a very happy Christmas day with family. Since then I've been on an actual time-off from work, allowing myself a few days of just doing whatever I want, which has mostly been playing with photography, sorting through my image libraries, reading, and catching up with people I care about. 

We often have end-of-year retrospectives on many topics, including, of course, on gardening. I decided to do one primarily because most of my favourite plants this year, with one or two exceptions, have been around for a while and still remain some of my favourites. 

Let's start with the photo above, which is mostly of Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'. There is a double flowered form in the background so that's why I say mostly. Otherwise, all those blossoms in the foreground, the orange, the yellow, the deep red-pink, are all from Cheyenne Spirit plants. These were planted in 2013, sailed through the winter, and bloomed their faces off this season, in these and other hues. I like them so much I bought several more, and now have no less than 8 different hues from the one cultivar. The only drawback, of course, is that you have to wait until they flower if you have a specific colour in mind. Hardy and vigourous and highly recommended. 

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