Posts tagged japanese maple

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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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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Where did you come from?

I live in the big city, the concrete jungle! Millions of teeming people, like ants, come into the downtown area  to work everyday, but no not me, I live downtown.

Surrounded by concrete, asphalt and very tall office towers, there is very little green (or sky) to see.  Although I was very insisent lucky to get a condo with a ground floor terrace.

But it is also concrete, yes I do have a few containers planted up, and there is a tree planted in the ground, with 6 inches of soil all around him, allowing the rain (and the gardener) to water him.

But look, where did this come from?

Something magical has happened in my concrete jungle!

I did buy a Corydalis lutea last year for my garden in Owen Sound, and I did have that plant on my terrace in Toronto, but it was only for one day, I swear. Who would have guessed that concrete is fertile!


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How Does She Do It? The multitalented Marion Jarvie

Can you ever visit the same garden too many times? Not when they are as clever a garden designer as Marion Jarvie.  It is always interesting to see a garden at different seasons, you can pick up so many ideas for keeping a succession of bloom. She opens her garden four weekends a year, April, May, July and September. My last visit was to her garden in May 2009, you can read about it here. I had taken a course with Marion titled “Early Spring Bloomers” back in February, I wanted to see some of the plants that she mentioned in her lecture in real life. But spring is so advanced this year, they had all finished (always next year), but there was certainly lots to see.

Even with not a lot of flowers, there is so much colour here, a lesson for me to learn. Get more coloured foliage into the garden, not just green.

It seems like so much space between the plants, hard to believe it will be cheek to cheek later in the year.

Marion has quite a number of hellebores in the garden, some of which she was selling. I arrived early I thought, shortly after 10, and she was almost sold out at that time!

The long view towards the back of the garden. In the summer, you can hardly see this path.

Japanese maples are so colourful, she has a number of them in her garden, love this orange.

The long view on the opposite side of the garden, look at how much colour, but not a lot flowering, a great lesson.

This statue wasn’t there last year on my visit.

But this one was. Art in the garden really adds another dimension to it, any time of year.

This massive pot is in her front garden, she changes it a number of times during the year.

Out shopping and brought home some yummy plants, just drop them in some pots while you are waiting to plant them, an instant display like this euphorbia and phormium,



same plants, phormium and euphorbia, just another colour scheme.

Marian had hundreds of hellebore in flower but this one caught my eye.

I’m sure you wanted a closer look!

This plant also caught my eye, I know that I have seen it before, but do you think that I can remember the name. I am sure that someone will let me know, at least I hope so!

A well deserved award!

You can get another perspective on Marion’s garden by reading Barry’s post on his visit (and his photographs are a hundred times better then mine, so please visit him).

The next time her garden is open is the weekend of May 29/30 from 10 to 4, rain or shine.  The garden is located at 37 Thornheights Road, Thornhill, which is located near Yonge and the 407.  Be sure and bring some money, Marion and Alex sell some amazing plants, a lot of which are sourced in Quebec and not commonly available in Ontario.

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I’m turning Japanese, I really think so!


Red Dragon, $20 size

Red Dragon, $20 size

I bought another Japanese Maple today, how can your say no to a $20 red cutleaf weeping beauty.  It is another “Red Dragon” so that makes two.  I am hoping to plant them up in matching pots (probably terra cotta) and flank the garage at Kilbourne Grove, or on the terrace in Toronto. 


Red Dragon $30 size

Red Dragon $30 size


 I was reading Margaret Roach’s blog “A Way To Garden” and she overwinters hers in her unheated garage. She just wheels them in and ignores them.  Towards the end of the winter, when the soil starts to thaw, she will give them a drink or two.  When I lived in Kingston, I had a very small  Japanese maple in a 6″ terra cotta pot.  I would dig a hole in the garden and sink the pot.  When it warmed up in the spring, I would lift the pot and place it on my porch.  This went on for a few years till I moved to England and I gave it away.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) as the case may be, these are too large to be digging a hole.  So I plan on trying Margaret Roach’s method and crossing my fingers that it works just as well for me.

I forgot to mention the green weeper “Waterfall” that I bought on Fathers Day.  Not for my father, he kills them, but for me!!!  I repeat, how can you say no for $20.00. cutleaf weeping beauty. 

I realized after I looked at my Japanese maples again that my red Dragons are two different sizes.  My first I bought for $30.00  When you look at them, it was the better buy, the stem is much thicker, in comparison, the $20 is only a whip.

And how about “Waterfall”, isn’t he a pretty boy?  As much as I love burgandy/red foliage, it is nice to have a contrast every once in a while and this is it.  He got a little sunburnt, as Loblaws had him right out in the scorching sun, but other then that he is in good shape.




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