Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fairy Garden

I guess it was last year that a offered my daughter her own "fairy garden", but then other than her adding a small stump there and the occasional sticks and such, the plants were not particularly unique to a fairy garden. Just more of my usual, such as crocosmia and Japanese anemone. So I finally decided something had to be done, especially since I have had this fairy house on the counter for too long. So today I started clearing out the crocosmia and such:
Clearing out for a fairy garden
Hmmm, I think that hosta has to go also... make room for the fairy house. And then I have started planting miniature plants, such as the tiny hosta in the bottom left corner, and sedums and sempervivums, and a small violet, and whatever else I will find around the garden which will fit the scale of the fairy garden:

I will leave the lilies (they look like huge trees behind the house), and the Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon) behind, but will eventually clear out more, so that all the "gardens" surrounding the house will be more to scale. If I didn't know better, I would even leave the horsetail which pokes up in spots, to form tiny trees. But the horsetail is much too successful already to give it such encouragement.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fairy Discovery

Last weekend while we were walking Lighthouse Park (one of my favourite parks), my daughter discovered a fairy (click for a larger image):
My daughter discovers a fairy

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Friendship Tulips

I almost forgot to post a photo of my friendship tulips... Last fall, I found a fairly large bag of what looked like very pretty bi-colour tulips. So I decided to surprise my neighbour Helen, who has a wonderful little garden next to her driveway, which is quite underutilized (ever since she got tired of and removed the beautiful daffodils from there, and gave them to me). So I snuck over there, and planted up the tulips and also grape hyacinths in between (click the photo for a larger view). This Spring, we were all pleased with the result (photo from 2 weeks ago):
Beautiful tulip garden
My own were not as noticeable, tucked in between plants in my fairly crowded front garden:
Beautiful tulips tucked in a garden
Then when I visited my friend Lily 2 weeks ago, I noticed the same tulips in her front yard. I had forgotten that I had shared some with her also. So I guess they have truly become "friendship tulips".

More Garden Glimpses : Late May 2008

One of the many rewards of gardening is the continual surprises. Such as this daylily, which came along with a small masterwort plant (gift from the garden of a friend of my mother-in-law), and which bloomed for the first time this year. I'm glad I resisted the urge to pull it out last year, when it showed up as a few blades of what looked almost like grass.
Yellow Daylily
Then there is this gorgeous tri-colour honeysuckle, which is full of blooms this year. I received it as a tiny shoot in a plant trade about 2 years ago, and had no idea what colour to expect. What a lovely surprise to see this wonderful mix of pink, white and yellow!
Tricolour honeysuckle
Of course, not all surprises are welcome ones. I try not to even think about the Carex pendula which has seeded itself all over my entire upper garden and down the hillside. It is coming up by the thousands, and if I don't find them in the first year, they get pretty hard to pull the second year, and pretty hopeless for me after that. I received a tiny shoot in a plant trade one year, gave it what turned out to be an ideal spot in the moist side of my garden, and it grew to a monster with a base maybe 4' wide within 2 or 3 years. At that point, it had flowered, but seemed to only have a few offspring. However, I began to fear the size and growth of this thing, and being not very impressed by its looks, I asked a neighbour help me remove it last year (over-filling a wheelbarrow to haul it away to add beside his pond). It seems that right after that, the ground exploded with seedlings, and I've been pulling and shovelling ever since, with no sign yet of any hope of completely removing it from my garden. I'm afraid to ask him yet if he's noticed any seedlings. I can only hope it is not so successful in his garden!

Speaking of unpleasant surprises, I opened the barbeque last week, to get it ready for the BBQ season, and found this weird ball of garden clippings inside:
Mouse nest from our BBQ
My first thought was that someone had played a joke on us, cramming that in there. But when my husband went to clean it out, and found the BBQ full of droppings, we realized that a mouse had made a nest there during the winter. Good thing I didn't open it until Spring! What a creepy thought, those little guys scampering up & down the barbeque without our noticing.

Anyhow, back to some more pleasant images. I can never seem to get enough of this Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry). I hope it will survive and thrive in my garden:
I can't help adding another photo of my white tree peony:
White tree peony
I also can't get enough of this Campanula glomerata, so here goes with another photo:
Campanula glomerata
I don't know the name of this orange flower, but the yellow version of it grows wild in the neighbourhood ditches and lakeside parks (and along my East fence, near the ravine).
Pretty orange flower
My son painted this birdhouse last year (the rainbow colours was his idea), when he was 6 years old. We finally set it up outside. I was ecstatic to find a chickadee checking it out within a couple of days (probably looking to find out if it was a feeder).
Rainbow coloured bird feeder
The espalier apple tree is bearing small fruits now, so I thinned out each clump, from the 3 or 4 fruits...
Espalier apple with small fruits
...down to 1 fruit each (in some cases, I've left 2, to see which one will be stronger).
Espalier apple after thinning
This lupine is a cheery pink colour. I have a few of them in the garden, but wish I had a few more. I should plant some of the seeds I gathered in previous years:
Pink lupine

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

3D Creature Battle

It feels much too late to be working on a 3D image, but I'm trying to stay awake until my husband makes it home (he phoned at 9pm that he was finally giving up on getting home for dinner, and now at 11:30pm he's still not home)... sigh! Anyhow, I created a DAZ 3D image of the "Millenium Dragon" fighting with "Xerr". Could be better, but not bad for being much too tired tonight (click the image for a larger view):
Creature battle

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Garden Glimpses : Late May 2008

Here goes for a few garden glimpses... As always, click the photo for a larger view.
I saw my first hummingbird a few days ago, and it was checking out the Weigela, which is fully in bloom:
Weigela bloom closeup
This year the Genista pilosa (creeping broom) "Vancouver Gold" is spectacular, completely covered in bright yellow (shown here with a seedling of my treasured Geranium "Victor Reiter" peeking through):
Genista pilosa 'Vancouver Gold'
I found this bumblebee sleeping on a geranium flower, so I was able to sneak in a bit closer than usual for a photo:

This one was not so sleepy, but I still managed (after a few tries) to catch a reasonable shot of him also:

The ants on my peonies bring back fond memories of my childhood, watching the ants on my mom's peonies:

This Menyanthes trifoliata (Bog bean) is a delightful addition to my garden, in a very wet spot in my garden (at a junction of two underground drain pipes). I pulled a small piece of it from Bunsen Lake during a canoeing trip last summer, and happily it not only survived the winter (dropping its leaves so it looked like a small green twig), but is flowering this Spring:
Bog bean (Menyanthes trifoliata)
I love the foliage of the Petasites frigidus, so much so that I have allowed it to take over an increasingly larger area of the hillside on the moist and shady side of our garden:
Petasites frigidus
And of course, who could not love the foliage of the Stachys byzantina (Lamb's ear)? All the kids who come to the garden are delighted by these leaves (or at least I'm always delighted to pick a few leaves to share with them).
Lamb's ear
I'm always delighted by my espalier fruit trees, and I will need to thin out the fruit to let it ripen fully, but in the meantime I am pleased to see so many tiny fruits, here on the asian pear:
Espalier asian pear fruits
...and here on the apple:
Espalier apple closeup 1
Espalier apple closeup 2
This tree peony flower is so delicate. I had 5 flowers this year.
White tree peony
I love how this little Japanese maple cascades gently down the concrete wall.
Japanese maple
I am pleased to finally receive flowers for the first time on my Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry):
Cornus canadensis (bunchberry)
This is also the first time my lilac tree is in bloom (since I bought it in bloom, some 2 or 3 years ago now), and it is not only a pretty double flower, but also wonderfully fragrant:
Lilac blooms
This Sempervivum (Hen and Chicks) is nestled (almost smothered) by the Sedum growing around it, forming a richly textured ground cover. The small seedling in the top left is a Masterwort:

What pleasing texture and colour on these epimedium leaves (with again more Geranium "Victor Reiter" peeking from behind - this time a green variant; about half the offspring seem to come up with the burgundy foliage, and half with just green, but the flowers are always the same purple).
Epimedium leaves
When the Campanula glomerata is in full bloom, it is stunning. So far I have this one "teaser" bloom, and the remainder is in bud:
Campanula glomerata

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Trio of Espalier Fruit Trees

One of the delights of my garden over these past few years has been to witness the growth of my fruit trees, and especially my two espalier trees. They have really developed and taken a nice form, since I first wired them up two years ago (see my post from February 2006).

This year, I was delighted to add a third espalier tree. Then today, my Dad arrived, with a heavy coil of a thick vinyl coated copper line, and re-strung my supports. The 19 gauge wire I had started with had broken in a few places, so this is a welcomed improvement. Tonight I removed all the original ties & wires, and re-tied the trees to the new supports.

Here is my espalier apple tree, grafted with 3 varieties of apple (click any photo for a larger view):
Espalier apple tree
..and my espalier asian pear tree, with 3 varieties of asian pear:
Espalier Asian Pear
..and my new espalier european pear tree, again with 3 varieties:
Espalier pear tree
Another view of my espalier pear tree
One of the many great things about gardening is that it is full of surprises. Tonight, as I was leaving the garden, I passed by my Morello sour cherry tree which we had only planted a month ago, and is now starting to sprout leaves. To my surprise, it is also sprouting some blossoms. This little guy is only 5' tall! What a summer this could turn out to be!
Morello sour cherry tree
Morello cherry buds - soon to blossom

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Garden Glimpses : Early May 2008

Here are a few more recent garden photos (click any photo for a larger image)... Sometimes an accidental pairing can have a pleasing effect, like these tulips blooming among the greenery of an iris. Oh yeah, I planned it that way. ;-)
Tulips among iris greenery
I believe this is the first time I've seen this rhodo in bloom. Nice.
Pink rhododendron
This is also the first time I have flowers on my Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, a perennial dogwood groundcover). I'm very pleased, I was worried last year I would lose my few shoots, but it looks as if it's now established.
Cornus canadensis (bunchberry)
If dandelion were not so successful here, it would make an ideal flower. Deep-rooted, and such cheery yellow flowers. Look at this one among the rockery, I wished I didn't need to dig it out:
Well placed dandelion
But sadly, I have dandelions by the dozen this year, as well as thousands of Carex pendula, which I am digging out by the wheelbarrow-full. My soil is a very rich garden mix (many, many truckloads of it were brought in to form a garden on top of the impenetrable clay beneath), so everything that lands in it, grows like crazy. If my weeds were edible, many of them would be "entree-sized".
Wheelbarrow full of weeds
The fruit trees are loaded in blossoms this year. Looking at the other fruit trees in the neighbourhood, it looks like it will be good year for fruit trees, all around. Here is my young bartlett pear tree, showing great promise this year:
Bartlett pear tree in blossom
Closeup of bartlett pear blossoms
Here is my Rainier cherry, about one week ago, in full blossom:
Rainier cherry tree in blossom
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