30 June 2007

A LONNNNGGGG weekend to catch up on many things

Those who work regular weekday jobs have been reveling in a long weekend, which either began when they had Friday off, or will take place officially when they have Monday off. Technically, tomorrow is the holiday, July 1st, Canada Day—or as many of us still refer to it, Dominion Day—whatever you cal it, happy birthday to our country, 140 years young. I won’t go on a political rant about Harpenistas and other icky things; let’s just pause to admire our neighbour and his mare, Lizzy, all decked out to go to the Bay Day Parade here in Scotts Bay. Normally Bay Day is Canada Day but since Canada Day is on Sunday and all the churchy types couldn’t possibly miss out on church and run Bay Day too…they held Bay Day on Saturday. Clear as mud?
Anyway…those of us who work for ourselves can take days off whenever we want—providing the work is done that needs doing. That’s why I was able to skive off on Tuesday and go visit Bayport and Captain Dick. But I made it to two other nurseries that day before making my merry way homewards. The first is called Oceanview Garden Centre and Landscaping (www.plantcrazy.ca) in the beautiful south shore community of Chester. Formerly known as Natural Expressions, it’s a marvelous place, with a really fine selection of perennials, shrubs and of course lots of flamboyant annuals. I thought the prices were extremely reasonable for the things that climbed into the trunk of my car; including Heuchera ‘Crimson Curls’, Euphorbia ‘Blue Haze’ and ‘Rudolph’; Astilbe
Bumalda’ and Nepeta subsessilis. Oh, and joy of joys, they had lots of my favourite Acupulco orange hummingbird mint (Agastache), so I had to get several of those for our hummers and butterflies.

The nursery had a really EXCELLENT collection of Heucheras, which reminds me…I must go write down the names of those I have now. Some of them are so close to being the same (Keylime Pie and Lime Rickey, for example, or Peach Melba and Peach Flambe…) I’ve noticed other garden writers have had troubles with some of the heucheras, but mine have been very well behaved—the secret is to give them good winter drainage, and to replant them if they start getting too long-crownded and spindley. I know that’s not good scientific description for how they sometimes behave, but so it goes. It’s a long weekend, after all!

I decided to carry on down the #3 back to the #12 rather than go up the road to Windsor, and suddenly I spied this remarkable place with all kinds of wrought iron art around it. Stop right there! This is Walter Downey’s nursery, Pitcher Plant Nursery, also in the Chester area. Walter hails from the Rock of My Heart, (also known as Newfoundland), hence the Pitcher Plant nursery name. He’s a busy, going concern, one of those really positive people, says he’s having a great season and lovely customers. He grows everything without chemicals; and his annuals and other plants look great. But what REALLY got me excited were the wrought iron things he makes; hangers and peony supports and signs for holding those blue civic number plates, dozens of unique and wonderful items. Good thing I had only a little money with me, and the car instead of the truck…or else I’d have come home with a LOT of interesting items. As it was, I contented myself with a nice little iron holder for a half-circular planter or a six-inch pot. I’ll show it off when I get it up—after the house is painted (and yes, it’s going to be yellow—now we’re deciding on what shade of yellow…)

Speaking of yellow…time for a few bloomin’ photos from our garden, where I’m slowly getting things weeded and planted. This dandy little darling is Yellow Jacob’s ladder, Polemonium pauciflorum. I really like this because it’s so different from the other Polemoniums we have in the garden—although my favourite remains ‘Stairway to Heaven’. But I love the delicate red tint on the outside of the flowers and the soft yellow of the trumpets.

So far, the roses are looking quite good (those that survived—we only lost a few that were bud-and-grafted, and like a friend of mine, I’m not buying any more of THOSE!) and having profound blooms. This beautiful creature is Souvenir du Philemon Cochet, which I bought from Bob Osborne at Corn Hill nursery several years ago. It’s a sport of Blanc du Coubert, but I love it even more than that tough little rose; look how it’s so packed with petals that it’s got that quartered look, and there’s a pink tinge and a green ‘eye’…how wonderful is THAT?

Last year, the white tussock moth caterpillars raged through the North Mountain and ate a heck of a lot of plants, including all the leaves off my young Paul’s Scarlet Hawthorn. My longsuffering spouse was sure the tree would die—and I just kept saying, ‘nope, it’ll be fine…trust the tree.” Sure enough, this year tis gorgeous—and even has two little clusters of flowers. They’re more pink than scarlet, but hey, who’s arguing?

I’ve written before about how much I love bellflowers—except for the really rampant ones. This is Sarastro, which is like Kent Belle on steroids—bigger plant, bigger bells, and LSS just loves it. He loves bellflowers in general, but he was really pleased to see this one take off. Terra Nova Nurseries reports this is not a runner, but a modest spreader, and that it reblooms. I can see it will become a favourite (tis new, from my recent trip to Lowland Gardens)

And THIS is one of my favourite plants of all time. It’s Lindelofia, and the best way I can describe it is to call it a giant blue forget-me not. It grows about 3 feet tall, and has these lovely clusters of really blue flowers that last a good long time. It doesn’t spread or selfseed like Myosotis, but makes a nice clump and has been a consistant performer since I bought it probably five years ago or longer at Maple Hill. I plan to divide it after it finishes flowering, and put a couple smaller clumps elsewhere, because it IS so lovely and well behaved. It doesn’t reflower, but with our garden that’s never a problem—there’s always something in bloom.
Well, the sun is sinking in the west, and I am also fading…time to retire to read my latest fluffy mystery novel, and rest up for another day’s gardening. Happy Canada Day, everyone—eat a maple sugar candy for our country!


  1. You've been busy! I figured it would be yellow ... it will be beautiful. Both nurseries sported beautiful plants - I don't know how you keep track of the different plants you get at each nursery.

    I love the blue forget-me-not-like plant. That colour of blue is difficult to come by in the garden. I keep planting Anchusa, but they don't always survive our winters.

    The bellflower is gorgeous ... when I see that particular shape of bell, I get antsy, since I had one that sent runners everywhere. Took me ages to rid the garden of it ... but thankfully, even that doesn't compare to creeping bellflower, which is a scourge here.

  2. Oops ... I forgot to wish you a good Canada Day - I quite like this weekend, since the neighbourhood is unbelievably quiet. It's as if everyone has disappeared on holidays or to cottages.

  3. Happy Canada Day! A beautiful country! Great variety of heucheras. I just planted one called 'Lime Rickey' and I saw a guest pull a leaf off it and taste it. I was a bit surprised...not really offended, I like people to examine plants and one leaf less won't hurt the plant but to taste it? She looked at me in surprise and said 'I thought it was lettuce'! Curious! Thinks aren't always what they seem. LOL

    Love that new blue! New to me anyway.

  4. I've never even heard of a yellow Jacob's ladder, and now you've shown me a photo of it - something about the blush of color on the yellow makes me think of our native coral honeysuckle.

    We had no maple candy here, Jodi, but a quick survey shows Maple Syrup from Canada, and that's where my green garden shoes came from - we'll call it a bow to Canada Day.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  5. Kate: ummmmmm....as for keeping track of where I get what...I start out with the best of intentions on that, but sometimes...I forget to write everything down and then someone asks me where did you get THAT? and I look blank.
    I'm with you on creeping bellflower--we have it here too but it does succumb when sprayed with vinegar and salt mixture.

    Layanee: That's TOO funny about the visitor tasting 'Lime Rickey'! Here she would have had to try: Mocha Mint
    Mint Julip (I think this has another name too)
    Peach Melba
    Ginger Ale
    Key Lime Pie (similar to Lime rickey)
    Frosted Violet
    Harvest Burgundy
    I think there are other tasty-named ones out there, but as always the brain goes blank just when I want it to work.

    Lindelofia is related to anchusa, brunnera, myosotis, etc. Funny how that one family of plants has so many with blue flowers. I love them all--even borage.

    Annie: if my sometimes capricious memory serves me, you can get seed for yellow Jacob's ladder at a number of good seedhouses. A local nursery grew it several years ago, but I got mine from the good people at the Willow garden in Antigonish (www.willowgarden.net). I'll email Sharon and ask where she got her seed and let you know, if you'd like.

    Now it's almost Independence Day...I must make up a floral photo tribute for my neighbours to the south...:-)

  6. Wow to the Lindelofia, what a beauty!

    Love that pretty child of Blanc Double de Coubert! I have the parent and you the child, does this mean we are related? ;-)

  7. Jodi, thanks but don't go to that trouble - the number of northern plants that will live in Central Texas is pretty small. I'm happy to admire it on your pages- along with peonies, lilacs and tulips - while appreciating the subtropical things that do well here.



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