Archive for trees

A Rosedale Garden

I know the Toronto Botanical Society’s Rosedale garden tour was a couple of months ago. I soooo wish I could have gone on it, but was flying back to Barbados that weekend.  But I wanted to share a garden with you that is gorgeous enough to be on it. It is also in Rosedale, and belongs to a friend of mine.  We met in Barbados through my neighbour, and immediately bonded over gardening. When I returned to Canada in May, I was invited for lunch and a garden tour. This garden was a true labour of love for my friend, thought about in great detail and it shows. We are both huge fans of structure in the garden, both hard and green, flowers while gorgeous are an accent to the space.

You enter through two massive beech hedges, kept softly in shape rather than firmly clipped.

This allows you to enjoy the movement of the hedge as the wind blows and allows dark then light to shine out from them.  These are accented with a clipped box hedge which in turn leads to a square box of roses sitting directly in front of the main entrance.  The paving laid in a diamond pattern directs you towards the door where two more beech hedges on either side of the door echo the ones at the sidewalk,

repetition at its finest.  A yew hedge separates the house from the sidewalk and encloses two more planting areas. 

 Another enclosure of clipped box is a frame for peonies and sedum, both plants that look good all year. A serviceberry accents one corner, allowing for early season blooms.

On the other side, directly under the window is a box parterre. This is accented seasonally with a colourful annual, this year a dark coleus was planted. I love the structure and shapes in the front garden. Even if you did not have any flowering plants in it, the different colours of green and textures make it interesting.

I took this photo from the third floor so you could get a good look at the overall design of the back yard. The back yard is divided into three main areas.  A lovely brick garage has been accented with trellis-work, breaking up the expanse and allowing roses and clematis to climb. Beside it is the dining area, bordered by box, heuchera and carex.

Two steps down and you arrive at a small sitting area where you can admire the pool with its infinity edge. Water pours out of four opening into the pool allowing the sound to mask any city noise. The copper beech hedge looks dark and mysterious against the light stonework of the pool.

This provides a lovely backdrop in the third area, which is the main sitting area.

Two identical small buildings are joined by columns, roof and backed by a large mirror. This not only hides the neighbours beside them, but the mirror doubles the size of the garden, you can see the pool (and me) reflected in it.The overturned pot on the pedestal is planted up by now, usually with grass, which is also reflected.

Changing the flooring material sets off the sitting area beside the pool, the brick looking like a carpet.

 Four laburnum trees are also enclosed in diamond shaped box, that is also underplanted with coleus for colour later in the season. Box hedges edge the garden here as well and act as a frame for the hydrangea, fern and hostas that are planted behind them. The japanese maple beside the pool is the only remaining plant from the original garden. It was dug up and saved off site while the hard landscaping was going on. Then it was returned and replanted, and it certainly adds to the overall scheme with its size and colour.

Love it against the blue of the pool.

Although there are not a lot of perennials in this garden, there is colour all year.  This garden was designed to be low maintenance (although I am sure you do not believe it). The hedges are cut a couple of times each year, and the rest is really just a few varieties of easy care perennials. And if you did not want any colour, you could remove all the perennials and between the trees, hedges and ground covers, you still have an exciting and dynamic garden.  I LOVE it!

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Likin’ the Lichen*

I realize that this is not lichen, but some kind of bracket, fungus, but I am likin’ it.

When I returned to Kilbourne Grove from Barbados this spring, one of the tree stumps in the Flora Glade had become covered with brackets. I happen to think that they are very beautiful, lucky it is not my wine glass rest. We purposely had the other tree cut level(ish) when the tree blew down in a storm, just for that purpose.

See the big slice of tree trunk next to it, another casualty from a storm, but the perfect seat from which I can survey all the weeds.

 And that tree next to it, the next to go. There will certainly be no shortage of firewood whenever I want it.

(*This is a phrase we always used to use when I worked at East of Eliza, it described anything ‘woodsy’.)

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Got Five Minutes?

OK, maybe ten. After seeing Marion Jarvies Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ that she changed from a shrub into a tree earlier in the month, I got thinking, always dangerous. And on the very last evening at Kilbourne Grove, while Ian’s family was visiting so they could take us to the airport the next morning, EARLY (like leaving the house at 3:30 a.m., early)!  Sitting around having a glass of wine and staring at the Salix.

What did I do but get up and fetch my secateurs.

And started snipping.

I only had time to prune two before I had to break for dinner, and after dinner, and a couple of glasses of wine, well, there was no going back to the pruning.

But I got a sense of what they would look like, and look at all the new planting room there would be.

Now I can’t decide if five in a row would be interesting, or a mess, what do you think?

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Spring with Marion Jarvie

I never really know where spring actually ends and summer begins. I know the date, the official date on the calendar. But in real life, it feels different. For me when the tulips and daffodils stop blooming, for me that is the end of spring.  But this was advertised as spring, so I am going with it. I always look for any opportunity I can to take a garden course, I just love to learn. And taking one in an actual garden, instead of a classroom is a huge bonus. You are not looking at carefully composed slides, but at the actual plants, warts and all. So when a course was offered at Marion Jarvies garden, I made sure to sign myself up.

Marion always has the newest and most interesting plants. A lot of growers will ask her to trial plants for them, this helps them decide whether or not they are worthwhile offering to the public. Of course, I see plants that I want, and then find out they are not available yet, or would be out of my budget, at least until they have been on the market for a few years, oh well.

She has quite a few varieties of Cornus, but these 2 really tickled my fancy.

Cornus ‘Venus’ is the largest flowered variety.

These blooms are huge. It really makes an impact from far away, unlike my smaller kousa chinensis.  Also making an impact from further away is Cornus kousa ‘Lemon Ripple’.

Gorgeous yellow and green leaves will certainly add a stunning contrast in the garden. I wish I could have purchased this one as it was for sale, but we were taking the bus to Kilbourne Grove, and Ian did not fancy sitting with it in his lap for the journey, I can’t understand why!

I have been visiting Marions garden for quite a few years, and Acer campestre ‘Carnival’ has always been my favourite tree in her garden

 I have longed for one for years, and finally, this spring, on a visit to Lost Horizons with teza, I was able to purchase one.  Look at how white the leaves are, a lovely contrast to the weeping Cornus beside it. Of course it will be a few years before mine is as statuesque as this one, but I am willing to wait.

Another tree with lovely white foliage is

Cornus alternofolia ‘Argentea’, and Marion also has this one. It can be the Holy Grail for gardeners in North America, difficult to find, and very expensive if you find it, but an amazing tree.

Japanese maples are a highlight in this garden, and she has many forms. My favourite is this one.

 I am going out on a limb here, as I forgot to pack my notebook with the name in it, but I am pretty sure it was ‘Koto No Ito”, Strings of a Harp.

I love the contrast of the two different sizes of leaves, and look at it with the Berberis, gorgeous. Hopefully you will see this combination at Kilbourne Grove one day.

Another gorgeous Japanese maple is “Geisha’. 

Marion actually has two,

 one planted in a bit more of a shaded woodland setting, beside ‘Peaches and Cream”, and the other with more sun.

That one is certainly more pink, it really stands out in the garden. ‘Geisha Gone Wild’ is in the front garden,

it is also quite pink, but has a contrasting edge on the leaf, where ‘Geisha’ has a contorted dot of green.

I also spied a

 Full Moon Maple or Acer shirasawnum, as well, I am not sure if I mentioned that I purchased one last fall, sale item of course.  From what I understand there is two different varieties,

this one has some colour on it in the spring, can anyone tell me if these are both shirasawnum?

I purchased a dwarf Berberis ‘Gold Nugget) from Marion a couple of years ago, and it looks good all year. This has opened my eyes up to growing more Berberis, and Marion has a couple of beauties,

 including this one called ‘Sensation’. love it,

also ‘Golden Rocket’ another amazing berberis.

Another tree I have been toying with the idea of purchasing is the Fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus .

 Marion has just planted one and I look forward to seeing it mature in the years to come, certainly not a common tree.

When I had stayed with my friend Barry, I noticed a beautiful Juniper ‘Gold Coin’ (which also seems to be known as ‘Gold Cone’),  then I happened to see it in Marion’s garden as well.  

This one is tiny, but Barry’s is over 6 feet tall.

Once you notice something it seems you see it everywhere and you wonder why you were blind to it for so long. And since I seem to be on a golden foliage kick lately, I am certainly adding one of these to my (ever-growing)wish list.

I love how Marion layers hers trees and shrubs,

 hope I can achieve a similar effect at Kilbourne Grove one day.

When I was at the front of her garden I spied this shrub.

It was only released a few years ago, and I have never seen it in real life. Viburnum plicatum ‘Popcorn’ grows in tiers like other double file viburnums, but the flowers are ball like instead of flat.

This part was interesting for me.

Marion had this Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ as a shrub in her garden and decided she wanted to make a tree from it,

looks amazing. I happen to have five that were free from work and I have always been wondering what to do with them, mine are a bit rangy. She clips it twice per year as the new growth is the most sensational! Great idea.

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Old Stumpy

Look at this poor thing,

 hasn’t he taken a lot of abuse from me, and of course, Mother Nature, herself.  He was one of the first trees I planted at Kilbourne Grove, way back in 2007.

Cercis canadensis

This is the first photo I have of him flowering, May 2009. By this is a blast from the past, look at the Flora Glade, I haven’t even got the cedar hedge planted yet, or perhaps they are so small the weeds just tower over them.

He came through his first two winters beautifully, but the third was a bit hard on him. When he didn’t flower, I was worried, but when he didn’t leaf out, I was very worried.

Finally he started developing leaf buds, but they were from the main trunk, and quite low down. The leaf buds turned into long whippy branches, but the leader did nothing. So I finally cut it out. The next summer, those long branches, just got longer and longer, they were practically touching the ground, and it was showing no sign off branching, so I decided to take the ends off, in hopes that it would force some of the dormant leaf buds to spring into action.

This spring

 

 I finally got some flowers for the first time in a few years,

 and  hopefully soon you won’t be able to see the place where the amputation took place.

But if you are looking for it, follow the line of the garage from the top of the wheel barrow to the Cercis, this is the spot!

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