21 May 2007

Welcome to our water gardens....

…that’s what my longsuffering spouse told me he wanted to put on a sign outside our property, when he got up yesterday morning. I simply didn’t get up yesterday morning, being sick with a relapse of the flu. Small wonder, given the weather and having gotten soaked four times on Saturday.

We have had monsoons of rain. Saturday was one of those drownpour days, and I had to go to Truro to meet my friend Wild Flora, visit Jane of Woodlands and Meadows Perennials, and give a talk at the Truro Tulip Festival. We got good and soaked at the farmers market, then again unloading and loading my car for the talk. Then I was getting sort of dried off as I drove east toward Antigonish and The Willow Garden, but got soaked again at West River Greenhouses in Pictou county.

The wall of water stopped outside of Pictou, and it was just like a wall—one second it was raining, the next second the pavement was DRY. And while it didn’t get really sunny, it was at least pleasant to Antigonish, where I first stopped at Pleasant Valley Nurseries before going on to Bill and Sharon’s wonderful garden a few miles outside the town.

You know, you can get a lot of plants into a small car if you try. I had a 5 foot tall catalpa in the front seat, a yellow azalea and a Kerria shrub in the back seat, assorted perennials filling the trunk and the other part of the back seat…everything from a ‘Chocolate Stars’ corydalis to a fern leaf Peony (Paeonia tenuifolia ‘Rubra Plena’) to wild bergamot (thank you, Flora!) some merrybells (Uvularia), a 'Destined to See' daylily, a ‘Jade’ Echinacea and white Asclepias incarnata. My tastes are nothing if not eclectic!

When did I get wet again? When I got home of course—the heavens opened as I was moving my new treasures to the greenhouse. We were having some weather coming in off the bay, as so often happens (here's what it looks like in our back yard on a clear, if soggy, Monday afternoon.) Already was feeling miserable with fever and aches, so this about finished me off. Hence I decided to stay in bed much of yesterday!

The sun came out today for a while, but as so often happens after a big rain, it was cool again. No matter. I took more cold medicine and sallied off to work on a project for one of my clients, then retired to putter in the greenhouse potting up containers. At least it was semi-warm in there, and no wind either. While the sun was out, I did take a few photos.

I love poppies. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but they are just so delightful, all of them. This is one of the Icelandic poppies (Papaver nudicaule) and while I don’t know its cultivar name, these are winners in my book, blooming their little hearts out well into late summer. I have a few small alpine poppies too, and just got a brilliant yellow Celandine poppy to add to the collection.

The Yellow Bird magnolia isn’t mine; it belongs to Gerry Frail, owner of Gerry’s Nursery in Centreville, another of my favourite places to leave grocery money—whoops, I mean disposable income. I have to content myself with Stellata and Susan (my two magnolias—not Betty as I wrote earlier!) and maybe next year I’ll succumb to the urge for a yellow magnolia too!

Rhodochiton is one of my favourite annual vines, and it overwinters nicely indoors too. It has a more rude name besides purple bell vine, and I bet you can’t guess what it is!

These little anemones are so sweet—I’ve been wanting some for years, and I hope they’ll settle in and stay with us but in the meantime, I’m enjoying their delicate flowers and foliage very much.

And here we have a mystery: I’m not sure if these are species tulips or an allium, because I’ve lost their label after planting them last fall (surprise surprise surprise) and didn’t try smelling them with my stuffy, achy nose. But aren’t they cute?

Despite the wet, things seem to be doing well, although of course we continue to be about two weeks behind the Valley floor—and about on the same level as Antigonish. I noticed tonight my PJM rhododendron is showing colour, and Ramapo is also starting to flirt a bit. And the grass on the lawn is decidedly growing, though the pasture seems slow. But we’ve now had enough rain for a few days—could we PLEASE have some sun and warmth again? Otherwise, we’ll be growing mushrooms everywhere….


  1. So YOU are the one hogging all the rain! Sorry you've been deluged. We NEED it badly here.

    Interesting that you posted a picture of the purple bell vine, because I just saw this for the first time on Sunday at Lowe's. I'd never seen nor heard of it before then. I might just have to go back and get one...

  2. The mystery plant must be an allium. I know because the photo stopped me dead in my tracks, while I dealt with a surge of "I want that plant" cravings (the gardening equivalent of a hot flash). I tend to react that way to the smaller alliums ...

  3. Kylee: Rhodochiton (purple bell vine) is a dandy plant, and if you plant it in a container separate from other things, you can bring it in and overwinter it. Mine flowered all winter two years ago.

    Wild flora: I too think it's an allium, and today it's not open (too darn cold!). I'm going back through my garden journal to see if it's possible that I planted a tiny one last year. (note to self: must keep better records, especially at bulb planting time....)

  4. Jodi:
    Sorry for you flu relapse but at least the sun is out. I love the picture of the blue arbor with the bay in the background. I think it is much more difficult to take a picture of the whole garden than flower closeups. Anyway, haven't tried the Rodochiton before. Maybe this is the year! Feel better!

  5. Get better quickly Jodi - there are few things worse than a sick garden writer whining about it. (cough, cough, hack, hack) He says whining about his 2 week bout with this spring cold. And you can keep your rain for another week - but then I need it back when this darn clay starts to dry out.

  6. I second Kylee... I was wondering where the rain was going... 'cause it wasn't on my garden.

    My blue columbine is just blooming now too!

  7. Layanee: I agree, it's hard to get shots of a whole garden or bed--it's an ongoing challenge for me. May need a new lens...
    Doug: I sympathize both with the cold and the clay! Hopefully you finish off your cold and don't relapse like I did. (Maybe I need to go get on a ship again to get rid of this!). The sun is out here but it's cold still...
    Ottawa Gardener: I could have sent you some rain, because we had enough to go round for quite a while. No columbines out here yet, so enjoy yours for us!


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