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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13 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    paulinemulligan said,

    What a fantastic selection of trees, no wonder you like this garden so much! If you plant just a fraction of them, you certainly won’t be overlooked by the new development at the rear of Kilbourne Grove!!

  2. 3

    That interesting foliage must make her garden interesting year round, unless it is under snow.

  3. 5

    tezalizard said,

    Ah yes, the illustrious gardens of Marion Jarvie. Truly a tree and shrub collectors fantasy come true. I too want C.a ‘Argentea’ but we both remember the price on the one we saw at LH! Something to start a piggy bank for me thinks! I look forward to the day when your A.c ‘Carnival’ rivals Marion’s. I am surprised at how quickly my shrub form has grown on just one year!

  4. 7

    Marguerite said,

    Love all the photos of the japanese maples. I’m contemplating a new area in our garden and am considering a maple for that spot. I love the bright greens of Full Moon but that Strings of a Harp is magical.

  5. 9

    […] maybe ten. After seeing Marion Jarvies Salix integra ’Hakuro-nishiki’ that she changed from a shrub into a tree earlier in […]

  6. 10

    […] I was visiting Marion Jarvies garden in May, I found some stunning combinations that I am hoping to […]

  7. 11

    Jean said,

    Lots to covet in this garden! But, really, where is Ian’s sense of adventure? He needs to take lessons from Soren at Flaneur Gardening, who manages the most amazing plant relocations via public transit. 🙂

  8. 13

    […] know, I know. You are probably horribly bored of seeing Marion Jarvies garden over and over and over again. But I can’t help it, I love it. She is one of my plant […]


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