Posts tagged hosta

Floral Fantasy: White

Who doesn’t love white? Especially in flowers. Always elegant and classic, it is certainly the most requested colour scheme not only for weddings, but also for most design work. And throw in some chartreuse, yummy! I would always advise customers at the flower shop when they were not sure of a colour for a gift arrangment, to go white.

As a neutral, it is suitable for any home, and people have much stronger opinions about colour, white is certainly a safe choice. My friend happens to love white and green, smart woman, so when I was visiting her in Toronto, it was off to pick up some white and green flowers to prepare an arrangement for her coffee table.

I have already showed you the hydrangea arrangement we made for her front hall, and we had some extra Limelights left and more hostas, so we lined this vase as well.  I love lining vases, when I worked at Kenneth Turner, all our clear vases were lined, we used to use a flower frog made out of chicken wire to hold the flowers in place. But when I worked at Black Eyed Susan’s, we taped a grid on the vase after lining it, much easier on the hands.

Grouping flowers is the big trend in the floral design world now, so I added my hydrangea in two groups of two. When you are grouping larger flowers it is not as important to add them in odd numbers, however I would never put just two roses together, so they were added in groups of 5 and 7. 

Commercial chrysanthemums and alstromeria completed the  white flowers, while green hypericum berries brought in a fresh shot of green.

And that green Wasabi coleus, talk about yummy, I loved it, and it was cut fresh from the garden. Perhaps a bit too fresh perhaps.

The next morning we found small puddles of water on the surface of the tray and could not figure out where they came from. Imagine our surprise, when we discovered new ones later that day. How was this happening?

Looking a bit more closely at the arrangement we discovered this.

I have been a floral designer for over twenty years, and had never seen this before. Has it happened to you?


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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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Gotta Have It: Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’

I love this little guy, he is sooo cute. A great edger, covering up old bulb foliage and the flowers, don’t get me started on them, they are perfect. Unlike large hosta, where the flowers are spread out up the stem, these are compact and very close together, perfect for a vase as well. And are they large for the size of the plant, wow.

There is certainly a reason Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ was named hosta of the year in 2008.  It has very thick, round and rubbery blue-green leaves, you know that means no slug holes. It grows only to about 8′ high and 12′ across, I planted mine under my Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Waterfall’. It looks lovely (at least I think it well when it finally reaches) with the pale green cut leaves dripping down to the roundish leaves of the hosta.

Carolyn had a whole post about the ‘Mouse‘ series, apparently ‘Blue’ has been a busy boy and spawned a very large family.

Now if he would only get busy and get much fatter, I would love to divide him and enjoy it all over my garden.


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ORGS Picnic

I know ORGS sounds like a disease, but it an acronym for the Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society, obviously came up with it before the hardy plant was added in. I have been a member for many years, but really a silent member, I have not got to any meetings, not any of the open gardens, but when Barry Parker and David Leeman asked me if I wanted to go, I jumped at the idea.

Ian was still in Barbados, so I was foot loose and fancy free, (as the expression goes), and I certainly love garden visiting.  There were five open gardens on the tour this year, but I knew I could not make it to all of them, so I had to pick and choose. I certainly had to get back to Lilactree Farm, I promised you some pics of the species peonies, and there were certainly some other yummy plants in bloom as well.

A couple of gorgeous anemones, I shall have to look for those, I need lots of spring bloomers to welcome me when I return from Barbados,

I have become interested in Dodecatheon this year, purchased the hot pink at the ORGS sale in May, now I think I shall have to have the white as well.

Look at the way this hosta has seeded around, love it,

I wish I knew the variety of this primula, isn’t it gorgeous?

And this Arisaema, hope mine lives through the winter.

The next garden I visited is owned by one of the founding members of ORGS, and unfortunately, they are selling it and moving into a smaller place. That certainly happens to all gardeners as they age and the garden becomes overwhelming,  and is certainly something I am trying to keep in mind as I design new garden areas at Kilbourne Grove.

Built on the edge of a forest, there was certainly a lot of shade lovers for me to lust after.

Love the tiarella in the stone pot.

And these orchids, I know Teza would be envious.

But, my heart leapt into my throat when I spied this.

Primula heaven, oh to have a stream creeping through Kilbourne Grove, I lust after this planting.

After a fabulous lunch at the pub in Mono, I had to see the garden that David is looking after in Hockley.

There was certainly some amazing plants here, a mini arboretum has been started at the back of the property,

and Abies ‘Tigertail’ certainly caught my eye,

 look at the colour of the new growth.

Another lovely primula

 and this hepatica, heavenly blue.

This planting really appealed, the home owner did not know what variety Japanese Maple this is,

but the contrast with the variegated Cornus mas is wonderful,

and I really like the epemedium planted at their feet, I shall have to ask David what variety it is.

A quince is planted here, I have always wanted one, and look, 2 flowers, maybe quince jelly is in the future.

A serene cathedral filled with trees was a highlight at this garden,

 and I love the insect house that David built, it certainly is a work of art on its plinth.

I certainly added to my wish list throughout the day, and hope you will too.

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Oh, It’s a very good year

After my huge disappointment last year with my hydrangea, I was fully prepared to return to Kilbourne Grove and find horrible and wilty hydrangea. I had been reading people’s blogs, and they were all talking about how hot and dry the summer had been. No one is watering my garden while I am away (no one had been watering it when I lived in Toronto either), I am a firm believer in the sink or swim method. As a weekend gardener (and now long, long distance gardener),  I cannot afford to coddle plants. So I was very prepared.

And very pleasantly surprised.

My ‘free’ hydrangeas are really settling into their space and starting to fill out.

Hard to believe that these were all ‘blue’ hydrangea at one time. I was a bit of a hydrangea snob, would not take the bright pink ones. Now they are all various shades of pink, and purple, not a blue to be seen. I now that you need acidic soil to keep them blue, which we do not have in Ontario, and I am actually starting to prefer these colours.

I love how the Allium christophii seed heads look with the hydrangea. I wish I had been there when they flowered, very curious how it looked.

You can also see some seed heads of Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, these have been planted a number of years, but I wanted to extend the Allium season by planting the christophii.

The Hakonechloa ‘Aureola’ is just one of the variety of plants that I am testing at the base of the hydrangea. As you know, I have muscari planted there and when it finishes flowering I find it a bit tatty. Along with the Hakonechloa  I am testing Nepeta, Hosta and Geranium ‘Rozanne’. The geranium was the first to go, I dug it up and moved the plants to the Allee in September. I love the plant, and it certainly flowers heavily, weaving its way through the hydrangea. Unfortunately it also weaves its way onto the path, and I prefer something a bit more tailored looking in this section of the garden. You can also see at the top of the photo the nepeta. Looking at at here, I am not feeling it, but I think I should give it another couple of years before I make a decision. See how messy the muscari seedheads get, must hide them.  We shall see how the other plants make out over the next few years.

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