Archive for grasses

Falling for Fall

I am sure we have all heard of Murphy’s Law. I had just been patting myself on the back for not having a cold since we moved to Barbados. I was a bit worried that I would pick one up every time we flew back and forth, but nada! Till this time… darn it! Just before we left, it struck, so there was no turkey dinner for me this Thanksgiving, hope yours was a lot better.  Sorry for the lack of a post last week, I was still recovering.

My two favorite seasons have always been spring and autumn. And now that I am living in the land of permanent summer, they are even more important to me.

I am sure that everyone knows (after listening to it over and over again) how I feel about spring, but I do not know if I ever harped  told you how much I love fall. I love when the nights start cooling down, and you can have a fire. When you can layer a sweater over a t-shirt and you instantly look more stylish, at least I do. When the food changes to heartier dishes, instead of salads. And when the leaves start turning. Oh the glorious colours they go.  Eastern North America is renowned worldwide for the autumn colours and I certainly missed it when I loved in England. Not that they don’t have some lovely autumns, but there is nothing like a sugar maple in the fall. Not to mention sumac, wow could they be any brighter.  Unfortunately we leave Canada before the height of the fall season, but I am starting to get a little preview.

Looking forward to it getting a bit bigger.

Amazing leaves on the Coral Bark Maple

The coral bark maple is starting to be glorious

 and Hakonechloa ‘Beni Kaze’ is changing colour.

Japanese Maples are amazing, ‘Waterfall’ is green all year, but look at the fall colour,

and ‘Full Moon’ is starting to do its stuff as well.

And look at the mushrooms that have decided to make Kilbourne Grove their home, such a great harvest look. Luckily I don’t like mushrooms, so I look and definitely don’t touch!

Burning Bush at my SIL



I will miss the full neon effect, but I am glad I was able to get a bit of a taste for fall.

By the way, do you say fall or autumn? I read that autumn was English and fall, American, but I think it is a bit mixed up know. As a Canadian, heavily influenced by both England and America, I say both.

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Helloooo Gorgeous

Come here often?  Yes that is one of the many cheesy pickup lines I used to hear when I was single.  But gorgeous is a word that I am happy to apply to my new love, Hakonechloa ‘Beni Kaze’.  He is loving the colder nights we have been having lately, and flaunting it!

It is always a few degrees colder at Kilbourne Grove than it is in the city, we actually had to have a fire on Labour Day weekend.  That doesn’t upset me, I am not a big fan of the heat, and love, love, love fall!

Yes, that is pachysandra that you see, a gift from the neighbour, it is on its way to the back forty.

You can see Beni is breaking out his autumn wardrobe.  Or you could look at it as dying his hair red, after all, doesn’t everyone want to be a red-head!

Whatever effect he is going for, I like it, and I like him!

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True Blood

No, not the TV show, (am I the only person in the world not to have seen it?), but Imperator cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ or Japanese Blood grass.  It is the star of the garden when it starts showing its true colours, but especially as we head into fall, the red just sets of everything.

Like my new Japanese anemone ‘Pink Saucer”.

Love it with purple like this lavender. Japanese Blood Grass emerges from the ground green with red tips, but the colour becomes stronger and more intense in late summer and into autumn.

But I especially love it (does Ian know I spread my love around like this, lol), when it is backlit by the setting sun, seen here with red lilies.

Hardy to Zone 5, it grows in shade to part sun, but I think that you need a bit of sun, just so you can see it glowing.  Love it!

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An Ode to Rozanne

Although with apologies to her. For some reason Stings song ‘Roxanne’ keeps coming into my mind every time I look at her, and I have actually called her Roxanne a couple of time by accident.

She came into my life, a 6 inch bundle of joy with an impeccable pedigree.  After all the Perennial Plant Association had named her the perennial plant of the year for 2008. How could I go wrong adopting this little cutie, and for a long hot summer we were happy.

Our problems started the following July. Where last year she was happy and flowered her little heart out, this year she sat sulking, and refusing to move.  The final straw came when she started blushing red, this isn’t fall, she had no excuse for this kind of behaviour.

Look, there she sits, sulking behind her new brother ‘Beni Kaze’, was she jealous at the attention paid to the new arrival? Did she think he was more beautiful than her? Does she not know that a mother loves all her children equally.

I wondered if she was lonely for more of her own kind, and when a garden centre reduced  her siblings to $1.00 each, (yes that is right, $1.00), I took the opportunity to bring them home, all 11 of them, Angelina Jolie has nothing on me, lol.

They were a bit scruffy, and a lot of people could not see past their outward appearance to their beautiful heart.

But there was nothing that a good feed and a haircut could not fix, (obviously picture taken pre haircut, if I took it after, there would be nothing to see). (I know that I said no geraniums in the Lime Walk, but it is a good place for them to put on some weight, no fighting it out with the others in the rest of the garden.)

Hopefully my Rozanne will perk up now that her brothers and sisters have arrived!

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That magical hour, when everything  (including me) looks so much better in the garden, no harsh glare, just flattering shadows.

Compare these two pictures of the same spot in my garden,

this one was taken during the harsh light of the day,

And then the magic hour,

wait, do you need another look at it,

So far, I am pretty happy with the way this section of the garden has turned out, however there is always room for improvement.

So far, I have Hakonechloa macro ‘Albo striata’, Hosta ‘White Feather’, Berberis ‘Royal Cloak’, a mini variegated bamboo, name unknown (but planted in a pot, just in case), Regale lily, Sedum sieboldii,  self seeded foxglove and an Anchusa, also unknown variety.

What do you think it needs?

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Summer Pruning in the Jarvie Garden

I hope that I never lose my interest in learning. I think that I could be a perpetual student, at least in subjects I am interested in, lol. I love, love taking garden courses. I have taken quite a few over the years, but my favourite teacher has to be Marion Jarvie.  Every course I have taken with her, I have come out a better gardener. She opened my mind to using trees and shrubs, the way other gardeners use perennials.

 I have taken lots of courses with her, but on Wednesday it was pruning, and it was in her own garden. This was so much better than taking it at the Toronto Botanical Gardens, I am always looking for an excuse to get to see Marions garden. It was also a lot of fun that my friend Barry Parker was there as well. (We actually went to a garden centre after for a spot of shopping).

We started at the road side with a Japanese Maple that she had planted 25 years ago.  It was one of the first trees that she planted on her property and it is huge. Now it is overhanging the driveway a bit too much and needs pruned back.

You have to cut back a tree or shrub gradually, do not try to shape it all in one year. It is best to prune it over 2 or 3 years and give the plant time to acclimatize.  Marion had a friend, David Leeman there to do the heavy work. He is making sure he knows exactly what branch she wants removed, after all you can’t glue it back on.

David removes the branch gradually, first using lopers to take off some of the thinner branches at the end,

and then getting out the saw. He used the saw in two spots, first reducing the length of the branch. This is so, when he cuts it close to the trunk, it weight of it does not tear the bark.  You also want to cut it close to the trunk, but not too close, it is a fine line.  Marion said that you can prune a Japanese Maple any time, except when the days are above freezing, and the nights are below. This is the classic ‘maple syrup’ time, the sap starts to flow , you do not want the tree to ‘bleed’.  I should have taken and after picture, but you really couldn’t see the difference, the mark of a good pruner.

Look at the lovely underplanting of the Japanese maple, Athyrium ‘Ghost’, Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ and a variegated hosta, I could copy this look.

After the course was over, I took a look around Marion’s garden. This maple is on my wish list for next year, it is Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’, or the Full Moon Maple.

I love euphorbias, there are a lot of variegated ones out there now, like ‘Ascot Rainbow’, or ‘Silver Swan’.

Under her arbour, a pale pink, double rose of sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), a  red Japanese maple and a lovely variegated grass. I could duplicate this as well.

Here is something else I would like to try, if I could only get Ian to go for it. She topped her blue spruce, and has pruned it well.

Between her and Barry, I can’t decide whose ligularia is lovelier, hopefully mine will be nice as well one day.

I love this small clematis scrambling through the perennials, it is called ‘Rooguchi’, 2 o’s on the tag, but when I googled it, there was only one o.

A golden dawn redwood or Metasequoia, is also being pruned. She is keeping it to roughly 10 feet tall, cut off the leader 2 years ago. It also has a lovely clematis scrambling through it.

Lastly, a great example of pruning. This is a golden euonymous. It has been trained on a pole and kept clipped in a columnar fashion. I could copy that too!

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My (Secret) Obsession

 I am obsessed (or is that possessed)! It is probably no secret to any one who reads my blog.

What am I obsessed with this time you ask?

Are you going on and on about snowdrops again?

NO, much as I would like too, they are safely asleep and so are safe from me.

My new obsession is Hakonechloa.

Probably not so new to anyone who read my two previous posts about them, here and here. But I have something new, yes that is right, a new hakonechloa.

Wait, I am such a tease. I actually have two new hakonechloas.

My first is Hakonechloa macro “Fubuki”.  Much as I love to say Fubuki over and over again(and especially to Ian if he gives me some ‘tude), it actually translates to “Snow Storm”.  A lovely, short and upright white and green beauty, I have planted him beside a blue hosta. I think that it brings out his inner beauty.

Ah, such a beauty.

My next lovely is ‘Beni Kaze’, a weeping olive wonder who goes red in the autumn. His alias is ‘Red Wind’, I am hoping to see if he lives up to his name.

(Not sure what is happening with my geranium “Rozanne” this year(can you see her behind Beni, she has not flowered yet and her foliage is turning red, any one know what is up with her?)

These two stunners have joined the rest of my family, macro, Albostriata, Aureola and All Gold.  I seem to be working on the National Collection of hakonechloas (except we don’t have that in Canada). As far as I can tell, I only need Nicholas and Naomi and I will have them all.

Unless you know of more varieties?

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