Friday, May 31, 2019

Belles of the Ball

Wide-eyed with anticipation

 Poised and posed
A word of gossip
 The mothers' curls

Big crinoline skirts


A room full of beauties

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Spring Flowers

The first tulips are blooming.

The species tulips are short and make a good substitute for crocuses that the chipmunks eat.  The little yellow tulips slowly spread.

Stocks aren't always available at the garden centers. I think they look Victorian and they have a wonderful fragrance. Hot summer weather can stress them out of blooming but I will enjoy them while the weather is still on the cool side.

 I liked this unusual orange petunia. It's a little more orangey than the photo reflects. It's an E-Z rider variety which is supposed to branch more, and flop less.  We'll see.

A bright cheery calibrachoa.

A quiet woodland garden.

A pair of hummingbirds has been frequenting the pulmonaria. Normally any hummingbirds that show up in the spring are just passing by, but this pair is hanging around so maybe they will nest on the property. Bumblebees also like the pulmonaria and I witnesses a near miss mid-air collision between a hummingbird and a bumblebee. They both startled at the last second and veered away. Pretty funny.
I had put up a hummingbird feeder for the first time in ages even before I saw the pair. They haven't found it yet but I'm sure they will before too long.
The flycatchers have discovered that Pepper, the horse, attracts blackflies and they hang out around him and easily catch the bugs out of the air. Great partnership.
A pair of cardinals is also spending a lot of time near the house so maybe a nest with them, too.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Pulmonaria Variations

I have lots of pulmonaria plants but they all originated from a couple of plants that came from my mother's garden that came from her mother's garden. They've been growing for about forty years at our property (yikes! that's a long time!) and the last few years I've been noticing more variation in the plants.  The photo above is the typical bloom cluster with a range of purple and pink tones with fairly spotty leaves.
 Here's a plant with almost all purple flowers.

A cluster of cerise blooms.

 Two plants - one with darker pink, one with pale pink.

I like the delicate pink of this plant.

 The leaves of this plant have very little spotting.

 This one is very spotty and the spots are pretty round.

These spots are so intense they look raised.

And finally a plant where the blotches have blended so much the leaves are almost white.

Pulmonaria is easy to grow especially if you have heavy soil.  They like to be in partial shade and will droop in hot afternoon sun. They can get powdery mildew but it won't kill them. They are great for bumblebees in the spring. They can be too vigourous and spread more than you want, but they are shallow rooted and unwanted plants are easily dug up. Some people find the slightly prickly leaves irritating to the skin but I've never had issues with them.
Pulmonaria is one of my favourite plants.I think the spotty leaves are so cheerful and the spring flowers are wonderfully colourful after the dullnes of winter.

The mystery plants from the last two posts are orange campion. I'm absolutely sure about that! I didn't think they would make it through the winter so I kind of forgot about them, but they came through with flying colours. They'll bloom in late June.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Recalcitrant Snowdrop

I was poking around in the gardens today and noticed a spot of white. The missing snowdrops! or rather snowdrop. Another set of leaves nearby may be another one. But the best of it is that it is a fancy double one although I had ordered the plain ones.

Isn't that pretty?

I think my mystery plant from last post is a phlox that happens to have red leaves when it first comes up. I actually have two of them. I must have bought them on the sale rack at the end of the season and I still can't remember what colour they are - probably red .

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Garden Wakes Up

The chipmunks left me a few crocuses. I like the way the pattern of the tulip leaf behind it mimics the pattern of the crocus petals.
 Sky-blue scillas are popping up all over the place. So pretty.
 Unless you flip them up, you don't get to see the beautiful turquoise stamens and the pale yellow center.
 Several wild mullein have shown up.  I will let them grow as they are in empty spots and I like the tall stalks with bright yellow flowers that will bloom later.
 Sometimes the daffodils get stuck in the leaves and need a hand getting free.
 I emptied out a gallon pot that had soil in it from last summer, and out flew a sleepy bumblebee. I looked it up online and found it is a tri-coloured bumblebee. It has a bright orange band around its middle. It was probably a queen , the only survivor from last year's colony. She will start a new colony soon which will have about 200 bees when it's mature. The pulmonaria is starting to bloom so there will be lots of pollen .
 Cheerful little clump of chionodoxia.
The weather has been on the cool side so the snowdrops have lasted for a few weeks. I planted a new patch last fall but no sign of it this spring so I guess my little furry friends ate them.  I didn't think they would. This patch has quite a bit of ornamental onion around it so maybe that has been discouraging the chipmunks.
I notice this plant a couple of days ago and can't remember what it is! It almost looks like baby lilies but from the soil it seems to be one plant. Hum...

In spite of our cool spring, there has been a lot of flooding around the various rivers in Ontario and Quebec. A significant bridge going in to Montreal is closed, and another one in Ottawa is also closed.
We had a good amount of snow but not an extraordinary amount, but we never had a real meltdown in January like we usually get so there is lots of snow melting now. We've also had several rainy days which, of course, doesn't help. We are fine because our property is well away from rivers and our bush absorbs lots of water, but many people in flooded areas are displaced. A small century old hydro dam in rural Quebec about an hour from here is at risk of failing and the authorities have evacuated all the people downstream.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Mealy bugs and ladybugs, and some flowers.

 I haven't posted for a long time.  We had a challenging winter with my mom being in the hospital for 2 1/2 months (she is in long-term care now). But spring is coming and I feel like taking some photos again. I thought I'd start with the cyclamen that was in my last post.  It has been blooming non-stop since November although it is a bit slower right now.
 The bougainvillae made it through the winter and had a lovely show of flowers on a different stem. Suddenly now though it has dropped all its leaves. I'm guessing I over watered it in spite of trying to be careful. I will give it a dry spell and hope it will revive. I don't know if this spray of flowers will open properly or not.
 This orchid has bloomed for the third time. It has 14 flowers and buds. I bought some special orchid foliar fertilizer in a cute little spray bottle and give the leaves a spritz about once a week as well as watering the pot with distilled water.
 The ladybug is on a leaf of a new orchid that unfortunately brought mealy bugs with it. I was preoccupied and didn't notice the infestation until it was pretty bad.  I gave the orchids a total bath in soapy water and that helped a lot but I have killed quite a few bugs by hand as they hatch out. Some ladybugs woke up from their winter sleep and we have been putting them on the buggy plants. It really helps.
The white fluffy thing is a mealy bug. They like to be in the fork of a stem. This is celery I started from seed last fall. The celery plants got damaged by the mealy bugs but they are still growing and I think once I plant them outside, they will be OK.
I started some lettuce a couple of weeks ago. I keep it well away from the mealy bugs! Nice to have something new growing.
I hope you are all enjoying some spring weather.

Thursday, November 22, 2018


 I was looking for a poinsettia for the Christmas season but this pretty cyclamen caught my eye and I bought it as well as a modest poinsettia. I love the leaf patterning and the blossoms are such a lovely shade of magenta.
I did some reading up on cyclamen care after I got it home.  I have had cyclamen in the past but I haven't cared for them diligently and they have ended up in the garbage after their bloom cycle. This one I am going to try to keep going. I am thinking about the growing conditions of the outdoor hardy cylamen that  has done well  for a number of years. When the hardy cyclamen is dormant in the summer, it is in dry shade. When the fall rain comes, it starts to grow and it is happy with lots of moisture as it leafs out and blooms. So for my indoor cyclamen, I will give it moderate water (letting it soak up water from a saucer for 15 minutes) and some half-strength liquid fertilizer through its bloom cycle.  I have it on the dining room table about 8' away from the south-facing window. With the low angle of the sun, it gets sun shining on it in the morning but the light is gentle. It will have steady temperature which will minimize stress.
After it stops blooming, the leaves will fall off and it will enter a necessary dormant period during which I will cut back on the watering and light.  Two or three months of rest will allow it to renew itself and then I can start to encourage it to grow again by increasing the light. I will only increase the watering when active growth starts. Here's hoping it works.