Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's not always easy being a Canadian Garden Blogger

Just the other day, I was commiserating with fellow Canadian garden blogger, Patty (Garden Pomona) about the challenge of writing gardening posts when our gardens are snow covered here in Canada for such an extended period of time.

Winters in this part of Canada are soooo long! While our American cousins are enjoying the first bright yellow daffodils and tulips, I am still shoveling snow off the front walkway. Honestly, its a bit like being the last person picked for a team or the girl standing on the sidelines, just praying someone will ask her to dance.

Just last week we had a snow storm. This was followed by several days of brilliant blue skies, but the temperature hovered so close to freezing that the snow barely melted away. Then, this morning we awoke to a fresh covering of heavy, wet snow. In December, I might have found the beauty of the snow covered tree branches magical, but this morning I just found it disheartening.

It is uplifting to visit other blogs and see everyone's hellebores blooming. I feel more hopefully when I read about other bloggers cleaning up their gardens and starting to plant seeds. Spring is surely creeping this way. 

I would love to show you my magnolia in bloom...

But this morning, magnolia blossoms are nothing more than wishful thinking!

I'd love to go into the back garden and see deep blue grape hyacinths peaking up out of the dirt.

But this is the only blue in sight.

There is something in the air, but its not spring. It's snow.

Can spring have forgotten all about us here is Canada?

Maybe if go onto the internet and I look at a few of those spring blog posts I will feel better.

P.S. The flowers in this post are from the 2011 Canada Blooms Garden show.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Let's Go Shopping!

Spring hasn't set foot in my garden just yet. This morning is down right frosty and the ground is still snow covered. 

Today as a distraction, I thought we might go shopping. 

Don't worry about wearing comfortable shoes so you can trek from store to store for this shopping excursion. Just sit back and get comfortable. Nor do you have to stress about what will greet you when you stand in front of a mirror under those unflattering florescent store lights. The only thing you are going to see here today is "pretty". Best of all, everything is for the garden.

Window shop or if you are brave enough to turn over the price tag and check out the price, click the link below each picture and that should take you to the retailer's site/price page.

Carmel Collection at Restoration Hardware.

Restoration Hardware is doing interesting things these days. Take this vignette- not a flower in sight and yet everything looks beautiful.

Imagine these filled with moss or a collection of sedum.

Metal Push Cart at Pottery Barn

A random collection of plants in pots can look messy, but if you group them into a collection, they can really look terrific. Visitors to your garden will also be better able to appreciate pretty pots if they are up closer to eye level.

I love this vignette.  If you have a blank wall, why not add something interesting like an old rusty gate. Add some plants in interesting containers, a climbing vine and some comfortable seating and you are transported instantly to somewhere in the south of France.

Just a quick note about the new additions to the top header. It became obvious to me from a few recent comments that I needed to add some contact information to my blog. To that end, I have created a new contact tab so you can now contact me directly by email. While I was modifying the header, I also added additional placeholder tabs that will contain general background information in the very near future.

Hope you had fun window shopping.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Color Essay Number 10: Shades of Red

I love absolutely love red. My dining room is red. I have a whole range of decorative accessories that are red. I even have a collection of red sweaters for pete's sake. So how is it that there are hardly any red flowers in my garden? I have been pondering this question as I put this post together. 

When I began my garden I did not have a color scheme in mind. Nor did I consciously set out to favor certain colors and exclude others. Yet, I seem to have ended up with lots of white, pink, and mauve flowers. Other colors, like yellow, show up and hog the stage for a brief time, but they are interlopers, not main characters.

I have a few red roses like the one above, but I have to say I would choose a pink rose over a red rose every time, hands down. Pink roses just seem prettier to me somehow. And of the all the pinks, I prefer dark pink roses best. Softer pinks seem to fade in the bright sunlight and end up looking washed out.

So where is the red in my garden? It is limited to a couple of roses,  some bee balm, a couple of oriental poppies (which are arguably deep orange in color) and smattering of gallardia. 

In this post, we will take a look back at the reds of the previous garden season- not in my garden so much, but elsewhere as noted.

Gallardia flowers- a great sun loving, self-seeding flower in my garden

This vine is an invasive nuisance in my garden, but doesn't it look beautiful
 in its fall colors on this church in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Red gladiola flowers from the Kingston Farmer's Market

A collection of birdhouses decorate my neighbor's garage door.

A colorful wagon from Canada Blooms 2011

Spigelia Marilandica or Indian Pink in the Kavassalis Garden Oakville. (see the garden here)

Yvonne Alexander Rose at the Royal Botanical Gardens. (See the rose garden at the RBG here.)

A hollyhock in the Kavassalis Garden Oakville. (see the garden here)

Rosehips in my garden

Red summer cherries. Yum!

Currants at the local Farmer's Market and below in my garden.

A row of red cherries.

Red dahlias from the Farmer's Market.

A dragonfly sunning himself. Aren't his red eyes wild looking?

Robert W. Auten Peony at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton.

Berries on a Canadian Yew just behind the back garden.

A burning bush in the fall.

Crazy red Swiss Chard growing in a vegetable plot at Edwards Garden Toronto.

Another shot of red dahlias. 

One of my Japanese Maples turning red in fall.

My frost covered red roses.

When it comes to my favorite color, am I a traitor when it comes to the garden? A guess I have to say that I am.

Have a great weekend!