31 July 2011

No time for my blog, I am too busy planting!

Hello, friends, fellow gardeners, and other visitors. Did you think I had run off to far away lands? Not exactly...it's been a busy busy month, this July, which of course kicked off with the Open Garden weekend. My voice finally came back completely after about two weeks, which was surely a record for laryngitis. Highly entertaining when one makes a living asking questions of others.
I don't know how YOUR garden is going, but ours has exploded into a rhapsody of lushness. Shrubs are covered in blooms, daylilies are filled with scapes and packed with high bud counts, grasses are growing taller and taller..in fact, pretty much everything is growing taller and taller.
Naturally, I can't resist bringing home new or new-to-me plants, and there have been more of those than ever, this year. They range from tiny saxifrage alpines to fascinating perennials like this yellow stokesia...
To the not-hardy but definitely delectable chocolate cosmos, which really does smell of chocolate. I have to remember to dig and store the tuber of this plant this year!
Long ago, when I was a student at NSAC, the greenhouse lab technician wrote a poem for me. Ken and I were always bantering back and forth, playing little tricks on each other, and as I was going into exam time I spent even more time in the greenhouses, either playing with plants or actually studying. The last couple of lines of the poem, which I still have somewhere, went thusly:

"As she runs to the greenhouse we still hear her chanting,
No time for degree, I am too busy planting!"

Some might think "I'm not finished planting yet!" will be my epitaph. They're probably correct. But you know what? This is the perfect time of year to do planting, at least in our climate. Warm days, cool (ish) nights, adequate rainfall...all these things are highly welcoming to new plants whether they be annual transplants that you just had to save, or container grown trees and shrubs!

There is LOTS of colour in our gardens these days, but as far as I am concerned, there always is. There are the big showy annual poppies with their brilliant colours, countless lilies and roses, astilbes and hostas, cranesbills and filipendula...
But there's also a feast of foliage here. When I look out one office window (the other is obscured by the ever-joyous 'Limelight' hydrangea), I see a feast for the senses--lots of flowers, yes, but also rich foliage from golden tansy to copper beech to purple barberry to blue oat grass. It all makes me happy.
I spend a LOT of time when not actually gardening, staring through my camera's various lens at plants and their visitors. What I love about macro photography is that the camera's lens 'sees' things I can't with my naked, aging eyes, like the hairs on this bumblebee's legs.
If you aren't growing astrantia (masterwort), I'd like to know why! It's a fantastic plant, very floriferous, attractive to a huge number of pollinators, makes a nice clump, and some varieties self-seed, though I haven't had that pleasure yet. There are about half a dozen varieties in our gardens, from white 'Star of Heaven' seen here to deep red flowered varieties, to pink varieties, to 'Sunningdale Variegated', which has gold and green leaves.
Summer is also a time for family, and I've been very happy to have my son home visiting. He is a film and camera buff, creative like his mother but more into making films to tell stories than into writing. He has been teaching me more about my camera, too.

And the happiest of things I can share? I am back riding my horse after more than two years of not riding! This is pretty important to me, especially as I'm going to be getting new knees within the next year, which will make all things easier to do. After losing a number of cherished friends in recent months, I decided that what I'm dealing with is only pain, and no matter what I do I hurt. So I might as well do what I love, and to heck with the pain. Leggo, my faithful Morgan horse, seems to approve too.

I'll try to post more regularly in coming weeks, but if not, you'll know why...I'm still too busy planting!

06 July 2011

Heartfelt thanks to EVERYONE who came out (well, almost)

I'm back! Amazingly, after the assorted cold, wet weather we had in May and June, I didn't expect we'd have three fantastic days for our Open Garden event. But we did! The sun shone, it was warm (and at times, downright HOT) from  the time we started on Friday until the last car left late Sunday afternoon.

There was plenty to see, from the drifts of perennials like 'Lola' astrantia,
The roses all popped on cue, providing colour and fragrance (this photo was taken in the fog on Monday evening!).

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