Posts tagged weather

Flora Glade

 The area directly behind the garage I have dubbed the “Flora Glade”.  The name was stolen from Roy Strongs garden “The Lasket”.  I felt as it was going to be a mix of flowers and trees the name was appropriate. This is where almost all of the perennials are, as well as some shrubs.  It is the one area that is a more ‘natural’ planting, instead of the straight formal lines that I so love.

When we moved in, the only thing behind the garage was a large number of weeds.  There was a huge pile of bark chips from some trees that had been cut down after being damaged during a storm the previous winter.   Bricks were piled against the garage and there was 5 maples in roughly a straight line.  So it was quite shady. 

I started by planting a cedar hedge in a straight line just east of the trees and then running (again in a straight line) between the trees and the “Kitchen Garden”.  From the rest of the garden, this area will look geometric, not to be revealed as more “cottagey” until you are inside (at least, that is the plan). Then I made a bed under the trees,by laying bricks directly on the soil, then a layer of newspapers and then filling with topsoil. I  divided them with paths (and used up the bark mulch) to the “Kitchen Garden”, and paths to the west, east and another to the south. 


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In this bed you can see 5 variegated willows that were left over from a planting at work.  These I cut back to the ground in the spring and they are a lovely pink, white and green. Behind them is a birch clump. One problem with mulching the paths with the bark chips and the bed as well, no definition shows between the beds and the paths. There are bricks there, but they are slowly sinking down to ground level (another job to do, pull up my bricks). One I have more plants and the beds are filled in more, It should be more obvious, what is bed and what is path.

 I also put a large island bed in the middle.  This I started in the summer of 2007.  In the large island bed I planted a small redbud tree.  I was worried that it wouldn’t be hardy in Owen Sound, but it has flowered and grown alot ever since. To balance it at the other end is a sambucus “Black Lace”.



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Sorry, for the poor quality of these photos, they were the very first shots that I took with my new digital camera, and I didn’t know what I was doing (I still don’t). The tree on the left has now been lost in a storm.

I also built a smaller island bed west of the large island bed.  In this I have planted a cornus kousa.  This is my memorial garden to my mum. The cornus was her favourite tree, and she tried in vain to get one to grow for her in Niagara.  It was replaced three times, before she gave up.  This one has lived through two Owen Sound winters since she died, I think that she is looking after it for me.

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 Here you can see the redbud and the cornus in the next bed.


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 Can you see the cedar hedge, I don’t think so.  It really needs that definition of edge.


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Behind the garage we are thinking of building a pergola , with a vine trained over the top.  That is a set of harrows that my dad gave me. I saw a set turned into a gate at Stonyground, that great Canadian garden. There is still more bricks to be put to use somewhere. Everytime we dig in the garden, it seems that we find more bricks, I don’t know why they are buried.


I have planted a lot of shrubs at the edge of the bed. I hope that as they grow, the paths will become hidden and more mysterious.  You will not know what is around the corner. Then I will be able to take out a lot of the “free” perennials that I have been given.


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Storm Update

I was reading Helen at Toronto Gardens post the other day about her 150 year old sugar maple that came down at her cottage in Quebec. 

We do not know how old ours is.  We had it pruned and checked two years ago, and the tree guy said it is old, but that it will last.   Will it didn’t!

One third came down, 2 weeks ago during a particularly heavy wind which only lasted for 15 minutes.  It  is about 5 feet from the property line and crashed down on our neighbours metal garden shed, crumpling it like a tin can.  Luckily it fell between the two houses, so there was minimal damage, except to our hearts. That was our favourite tree. We didn’t know how old it was, but I am sure older then our 130 year old house.  It gave us so much privacy as well, which we didn’t realize.  When it came down it broke about 4 young trees. Now we have a gaping hole.

I could only find pictures that were taken for other reasons in the garden, and the maple is only an afterthought in the corner, but please take  a look at these.


There it stands, proud in early May. Not yet leafed out, you can see that the top is divided into three sections.  The back one is semi hidden behind the middle. 


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 Now leafed out in late May, you can see how much privacy it gave us.  There is also three young trees around it and a bit of shrubbery on the neighbours side of the fence.


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Now, obviously this picture was not taken to focus on the maple, but you can hardly see through that corner

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Oh the agony! I couldn’t bring myself to get any closer to the carnage.  The maple, bent the metal chain link fence, and broke the saplings and shrubbery around it in its dying throes.  I was to heartsick to go to the viewing, so stood on the other side and using the zoom, made my husband go over so you could get a sense of how large this tree is. (we never saw that house with the barn roof before, obviously, it wasn’t just built.) It will take a long time to fill that empty hole.

This was the smaller of the two trees that fell. Our trees seem to grow very tall and skinny(too bad I didn’t). However, this fell only on our property and actually hit another tree, you can see how the tip is just bending up.  It is hard to believe by looking at this picture, but that tree is taking up aprox 1/3 of the depth of our property.  We have a depth of 150 feet.

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After I put in this picture, I realized that it might be hard to visualize how large the tree actually is.

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So I put a picture of Ian in. This one was easy to cut up, even with our 14″ electric chainsaw (boy, those things scare me).

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Be Careful What You Wish For!

Last week, Helen at Toronto Gardens commented on a post of mine, and mentioned that the Humidex was going to be over 40 that weekend.  I responded with the fact that it is cooler in Owen Sound and  there is “lots of breeze off Georgian Bay”.

Well, I found out to my cost that there is.  Sunday night, at around 7 p.m., the “breeze” started.  It got heavier and heavier.  Winds reached up to 96 kilometers an hour at Pearson airport, but I swear, they were worse in Owen Sound. Hydro One reported that Owen Sound, as well as Guelph and Newmarket were hit particularly hard.

I know Kilbourne Grove was hit particularly hard.  Ian and I had just been congratulating ourselves on all the large old trees on the property.  We counted 10, just in the middle of the garden, but there is many, many more on the boundaries of the property. It makes such a huge difference in the temperature of the house when it is hot and sunny outside.

This is what happened, (please forgive the photographs, I was inside as it was driving rain outside, and it got dark, before it stopped. We left Monday morning at 3 a.m., so I do not have better pictures.)

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The biggest tree at Kilbourne Grove

The biggest tree at Kilbourne Grove


I’m so sad


Here is another, (I am not sure what that “special effect” is in the corner)

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And this is how it used to be

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The smaller tree is not a problem, it fell on our property and I have not planted anything in that area, so it can wait. However, the larger tree was about 4 feet from the property line fell onto the neighbour behind us, it cannot wait.  It is very difficult to get someone to respond to phone calls, I am sure that the tree services in Owen Sound are very busy, we are not the only people to have problems, (unfortunately for our neighbours). We are not sure if there is damage to the house, until the tree comes out, so we are up in the air for now.  Cross your fingers.


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Rain, Rain, Go Away…

I was just reading Yvonne Cunnington’s blog over at the Country Gardener and she has posted the Agriculture Canada map of Ontario’s precipitation for April 1-July 30, 2009.  Owen Sound is in the very high area.

Now, I already knew this as every weekend that my husband and I visited our house, it was either raining, had just rained, or was to rain the next day.  As it takes me four hours to cut the grass, never mind the edging, there became a problem.  I never had a four hour window of time.  Consequently, I was only able to get around the house cut on a consistent basis (so the neighbours won’t run us out of town) and the “back 40” didn’t get cut.  This went on all summer, until our holidays two weeks ago. 

By this time, farmers had already cut for hay, and my hay field (as it was now), could have competed with the best of them.  I had to angle the lawn mower up on its back wheels, and slowly lower the front over the thigh high grass. 

The Hayfield

The Hayfield

I certainly didn’t take any pictures of this deliberately, but I noticed that in the background of Ian planting the yew hedge, that you can see it, and this was two rain filled weeks before I cut it.  My mother in law wants me to hire a neighbourhood kid to cut it while we are gone all week, but having been a kid myself, I don’t think that I can find one willing to spend 4 hours, not to mention being careful, not to drive over any of my “precious”.  As long as the neighbours don’t take up a petition to evict us from the “hood, we will continue the way we have. And just hope next year, isn’t as rainy!

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