Posts tagged Brian Bixley

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…

Comments (15) »

Top 11 of ’11

In case you were curious, I certainly was. These were the 11 posts written in 2011, that had the most page views. I was surprised that so many of them have to do with Barbados, not quite sure why I was surprised, I guess because I feel like my blog is about my garden, although now it feels more like about my life. And my life is now in Barbados, it least for the next two years. And I only like to write about personal things, not take a picture from the internet, and write a brief paragraph about it like some bloggers do. My blog has become a journal, a snapshot of what is happening in my life at this time, and that certainly includes Barbados.

1.  The Magnificent Seven

I was surprised this one was the number one post of 2011. I wrote 2 posts on my trip to Trinidad, but the post about the seven amazing houses was the most popular. It was certainly one of the most interesting things for me, I am sure you all know I love old houses, look at Kilbourne Grove.

2. Gardening in a Cold Climate

My visit to the amazing garden of Brian Bixley was sparked by reading a review of his book by Kathy Purdy on her website. Luckily I was in Canada for his first open garden of the year (you all know I love bulbs), and took a million photographs. Kathy was kind enough to post a link from her blog to mine, and she became my second largest referral site in 2011. Thanks Kathy.

3. Pride of Barbados

After gardening (and floral design) for soooo many years, it is disconcerting to live in a country where I only recognize 10% of the vegetation. It is fascinating for me (and I hope you) to discover new plants.

4. Gotta Have It: Bougainvillea

I have long loved bougs, and was super excited to find them in full flower when we moved here last December. The flowering seemed to go on and on and on. Luckily, I was given one for our terrace here, and have found it a super easy plant to grow, just wish they were hardy in Canada.

5. It’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to

 

What I left behind!

 

This post was a bit of a moan for me, sorry about that. At the time I was feeling a bit unhappy, leaving my friends, family, job, home and garden, to live in Barbados. When we moved to London, I was beyond excited, but that was LONDON, I could work, travel to Europe, and I am a bit of a city girl at heart. However, after spending most of the spring and fall in Canada, when I wanted to be there, and spending the winter in Barbados (who wouldn’t), I have adjusted.

6. St. Nicholas Abbey

Back to point number one, I love old houses. And Barbados has 2 of the 3 Jacobean houses in the Western hemisphere. St. Nicholas Abbey was sooo gorgeous.

7. Drax Hall

Funny that the second Jacobean house in Barbados was the next most popular post. This one is not open to the public, so we were only able to see the grounds.

8. Ah, Life!

For some reason, some of you wanted to know a little bit more about me, so I gave you a lot more, more than you asked for, sorry about that, I do like to ramble. Here is the story of my thoughts about moving to Barbados.

9. Pots, Pots, Pots!

Frank Kershaw was my garden design teacher at George Brown College and he opened his garden to the public. There was so much to see, I had to break it down into a couple of posts, but his pots were the most popular.

10. Porters Great House

Barbados has its own National Trust, and during the ‘season’ a number of homes opened to raise money for it. This was the only home I visited in 2011, but hope to visit more this year. I was surprised more people did not read Part 2, where I talk about the garden, that is where my true love lies.

11. I’m going home

Not sure why this one was so popular, unless you were happy to see me head back to my ‘forever’ home.  I certainly was.

There you have it, my most popular posts in 2011, what will 2012 hold…

Comments (16) »

The Year in Review 2011

Another  year has come and gone, where does the time go!

January

Yet another idea for my garden, it would be a lovely reminder of my time in Barbados!

February

Bumped up my country count with a quick trip to Trinidad.

March

Oooh, maybe this would be a better reminder of my time in Barbados.

April

I arrive back in Canada, just in time for the snowdrops, yay!

May

I finally get to visit Brian Bixleys garden, after wanting to for many years.

June

The trees in the Lime Walk get their first prune.

July

Visited Hunte’s Gardens, an amazing place in Barbados.

August

Saw my first Kadooment Day parade, and vowed to start exercising when I saw the size of the costumes.

September

The hydrangea (free leftovers from Easter sales), finally started bulking up in the Lime Walk and looking like something.

October

Visited another amazing garden while I was home in the autumn. Keppel Croft is located close to Kilbourne Grove.

November

My SIL came for a visit and we tried zip lining, what an adrenalin rush.

December

Christmas on the island, what a glorious feeling.

Interested in what happened last year? You can read about it here.

Comments (23) »

Gardening in a Cold Climate

The man is a genius!!!!  Yes, I have said it. Brian Bixley is a genius.

When I was is Barbados in February, I happened to read  Kathy Purdys review of Brian Bixleys book ‘Gardening in a Cold Climate’. A series of e-mails followed between Brian and myself regarding the mailing of the book.  When it became apparent that the cost of mailing the book would be quite high, (and Brian attached the open garden schedule), I decided to rent a car and drive to Shelburne and visit his garden in person. And I am glad I did!

Over thirty years ago, Brian and his wife, Maureen purchased a Victorian brick house and proceeded to design an amazing garden. Here is a man who gardens after my own heart, strong, formal lines, (a maze, how I want one), and yet has a multitude of plants. It shows me that it is possible to have it all.

There is a strong center line from the driveway,

towards the barns. All the ‘garden rooms’  flow off this spine.

As I walked up the driveway, I turned right,walking through a shrubbery, underplanted with thousands of Chionodoxa,

I spied a gap in the hedge. Imagine my surprise,when I looked through, up a mown path,

and spied this obelisk on the top of the ridge. It certainly enticed me to follow the path, the views at the top were amazing. Across, a maze,mown in the long grass, I spied another piece of garden sculpture.

This one had to be my favourite. I love how it swings in the wind,

the mirrors picking up a different view every time.

Walking back towards the main gardens, I walked through a Malus allee, back towards the driveway. When I reached it and turned to the right, I was treated to the sight of three paths, this is the ‘Goose Foot’.

 One path leading to a blue bench was lined with Betula and is underplanted with peonies.

Another led to a pine, while a third led me into the ‘Oak Grove’. Here not only was I treated to the sight of an amazing yellow snowdrop,

 Galanthus ‘Lady Elphinstone’,

 but there was another amazing sculpture,a blue Snake.

Retracing my steps, I turned to the east,

and walked through double hedges.

At the end was a small figure peering out of the hedging, but I turned to the left and turned into the ‘Anniversary Garden’, an enclosed garden with raised beds.

 It was warm and fragrant in here, protected from any wind, and the plants obviously appreciated it.

Leaving here, I then walked to the west side of the garden, past the drive,

and along the ‘Maple Bed’. At the end, another figure was hidden in the hedge, and beside it was the ‘Trough’.

This was the old cattle trough that was here when they bought the place, and it has been put to very good use.

Just past the trough, was the ‘Nursery Garden’, where Brian grows many of his trees from seeds, patience is his middle name.

 Looking out the other end, you can see the blue Snake in the Oak Grove.

closer to the house, there is another of his amazing pieces of garden sculpture.

It is worthwhile investing in this kind of art, it has a huge impact in the garden.

An amazing, amazing garden, that led you around, had strong bones, but had profusion of planting. I would love to see it at other times of the year, and it is open ….., but until I return from living in Barbados, I cannot, sigh.

Comments (24) »