Archive for trees

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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Lilactree Farm

It is such a small world (in a way) in the blogging and gardening community. Because of Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening reviewing Brian Bixleys book last year,  I got a chance to see his garden for the first time. And it was well worth it.

Brian loves spring, and is trying to educate gardeners, how many plants there are that flower early. Most gardens, when they open to the public, open later, usually mid to late May, but Brian opens Lilactree Farm a couple of times earlier then that, and when I visited last year on April 24th, I picked up lots of valuable ideas. This year, I visited on May 6th, and all the early spring bulbs that I had lusted after were finished for the year, but my heart filled with other lusts. And I want to show you a few.

Anemone nemerosa is new to me. I certainly grow a few (ok, quite a few) varieties of the fall anemone, and I love the amemone coronarias that we sell at the flower shop, anemone blanda, is another of my favs, but I have not paid to much attention to the spring ephemerals. There is certainly quite a few, but nemerosa, is such a gorgeous one. Coming in white, soft blues and pinks, it is certainly easy to place anywhere in your garden.

 I do not know the name of this one,

 but this is Pallida, a very soft yellow.

Brian did tell me the name of this very tiny trillium, but my head was spinning by this point and I do not remember, isn’t it sweet.

My one cimicifuga looks pretty lonely now, this is the way to plant them.

Wish I knew the name of this yellow magnolia, it is gorgeous.

The nice thing about the yellows, other than the obvious, (the colour), is they are later flowering. So they usually avoid the frosts.

I have some Virginia bluebells in my garden, but I think I need more. Perhaps I shall transfer some fo them to my berm, and hope, one day, I will have a show like this.

Speaking of blue, is there anything like a gentian.

One of the only perennials that was at Kilbourne Grove when I bought it, was a primula veris in the grass.

 I carefully dug it up, and transferred it to my garden, and it has been divided many times by now. After seeing this, perhaps I should transfer him back to the lawn.

I do not know how I missed this piece of garden art on my last visit, just a reminder always look up, instead of just down, you never know what you might see.


Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’

I remember when finding this plant was like finding the Holy Grail. You should see the number of them here, mind-boggling.

Now, one of the best parts, the species peonies. I have a weakness for peonies, my grandmother always used to tie the first blooms to my birthday present. The species are not only gorgeous in flower, but the leaves are amazing. He has a large number of varieties, including mlokosewitschii, veitchii, tenuifolia,  and those are just the tags I could see.

 Unfortunately (for you), they are not in flower yet, but I am going back for a visit on May 20th, so you might get lucky, depending on Mother Natures mood.  Fingers crossed…

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My Tree

Last week, Diana from Elephant’s Eye, wanted to know, if you could pick one tree, what would it be? Although, I love trees and could certainly think of a dozen off the top of my head, that I MUST have, Cornus kousa is my favourite.

I planted this tree, which was also my mum’s fav, when she passed away a few years ago. And I waited, and I waited for it to flower. It looked healthy, and it certainly grew, but no flowers.

Until last year. When I arrived back in Canada in April, I noticed what appeared to be flower buds on the Cornus.  Could this be its year? I watched all of May as the buds swelled, and I could clearly distinguish the leaf buds from, yay, flower buds. But, boo, I was leaving to go back to Barbados the end of May. It would not bloom until June.

Luckily, 2 lovely ladies came to my rescue. First, Carol, from Gardening Tips and Pics, took some photos of my garden in mid June, and there it was, a bloom on the Cornus.

 Still greenish, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. So when my neighbour, e-mailed me some photos of the garden,

 including a closeup of the now white Cornus, I was ecstatic. And I asked her to go back and take a photo of the whole tree,

 I wanted to count just how many blooms were on it.

Yay, there are so many, I couldn’t count them all, so excited.

If you would like to read about Carol’s first visit to Kilbourne Grove (and see a photo of me), you can here.

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Meet the Departed

It was sheer magic for me when I was home at Kilbourne Grove, even with all the weeding. I was very happy to see how much plants had grown over the summer, but there were a couple of casualties as well.

Why are they always one of a group? It just makes it so much hard to have a uniform presence, I know, don’t tell me, the magic of Mother Nature. I am sure that everyone knows I am trying to start a pleached lime walk at Kilbourne Grove. It was planted in 2009, you can read about that here. I planted the bare root dormant Tilia early that spring and one never developed its leaf buds. So in 2010 I replaced that tree, and as they came in lots of 5, added to the length of the walk. This spring, despite all leafing out and looking wonderful, when I returned in August, one had dead leaves.

 It was the smallest of them all, and had been struggling to grow. And now has failed. I am at a bit of a loss as what to do now, I can order 5 more trees from Yesterdays Garden, but only need one, and certainly can not extend it any more. I did read somewhere that professional gardeners will heel extra trees in somewhere, in case of a tree dying in an avenue. Then they have one at hand to replant. How many years could I leave extra trees in my Kitchen Garden, before they would be too large to move? Some thought is required.

And of course one of the Amelanchiers in my Allee did the exact same thing. And one of the trees that had been planted almost three years ago, not one of the newer ones. This tree will be a lot easier to add in, luckily it is on the end of the Allee.

When I was living in Toronto, we had a number of Japanese maples in pots on our terrace. It was lovely having something growing (and hiding much of the concrete) all summer, and I used to heel them into the Kitchen Garden for the winter, before dragging them out the next spring and moving them back to Toronto. When we got the news we were moving to Barbados, I had to permanently plant them into the ground at Kilbourne Grove. All came through their first winter nicely, and looked lovely when I left the end of May.

But when I returned the ‘Butterfly’ Japanese Maple was crispy as well.

And it had been so gorgeous when I left…  However all was not lost. Look down, all the way down, can you see…

Look at all those lovely new shoots,

 how pink and white and green they are, is seems I might have a ‘Butterfly’ shrub instead of a standard, and that is perfectly fine with me.

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Look what is finally in flower in my garden.

I planted this Cornus kousa as a memorial tree for my mum when she died in the autumn of 2007.  It was her very favourite tree, and one that she had tried (unsuccessfully) to grow.  So it was my first choice when I decided to plant a living memorial for her. I was a bit worried, she had lived in Niagara, which is one of the warmest parts of Eastern  Canada to live. Owen Sound is much further north. But they were selling it at my local nursery, so I took a chance.

2008 came nothing, 2009 zilch, 2010 again no flowers, but it was still alive. That was something, wasn’t it.

This spring, I noticed for the very first time, what looked like flower buds. But, now I was living in Barbados, I wasn’t going to be there every weekend to check on my garden.  So I e-mailed Carol, and asked her to watch the Cornus and see if it was going to flower.

Then my neighbour sent me this one yesterday. Looks like my mum is looking after me!

In loving memory of Muriel Gallaway Combe, 1940-2007. Love you and miss you mum.

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