Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Happy Weeds

It has been a good year for the weeds with temperatures in the low 20's and quite a bit of rain.  Everything is very lush.

 Pink Joe-pye-weed is just starting to bloom. It grows best in a damp location.

 Usually the township mows the side of the road but this year they left this quiet road alone.  The blue chicory is very pretty.

 Two vines twining up a dead tree.  The Virginia creeper is already starting to turn red.

 White Queen Anne's Lace is a kind of wild carrot.

 A sunflower planted by a bird or a chipmunk.

 Purple blazing star gives a rosy hue to this natural field that is slowly becoming a cedar forest.

Poisonous bittersweet nightshade has very bright red berries.

Bright yellow sow thistle, purple blazing star, blue chicory and greeny-yellow wild parsnip make an attractive roadside border.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Now That's a Garden!

 I just love the energy of this garden and the intriguing tall things - tropical trees? people with spiky hair?
 Here's a farther out view.  The camera is struggling to capture all the colours, probably because my batteries were low, but you can still see  the overall effect.  I like the boy at the far right.  His enthusiasm goes perfectly with the garden.

 The plants haven't quite filled out in these chunks of wall but they still look great.  The curvy dark lines echo the tree trunks nearby and the bright green ties in with the green plants at ground level.

A lovely free-flowing patch of blue delphiniums. At the left of the photo, a tower of impatiens.  The mood of this garden is so different from the first one.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Function and Design

 The gardeners had fun with the vegetable garden at the Botanical Gardens.  I really like this brilliant planting of lettuce.

 An extensive border of herbs ran along one side of the vegetable area.  To give it continuity while displaying a wide variety of herbs, a zig-zag of greyish cotton lavender ran through it all.

 A handsome big bed of cabbages. 
 In with the cabbages, some bright green herb of some kind.  What a great colour combination.
At this point, the batteries on my camera were low and I hadn't brought spares so I had to be very stingy with the photos.  I didn't take any pictures of a  tomato and sweet pepper garden that had been thoughtfully laid out.  Right now it was just green, but when the tomatoes and peppers ripen it will be a really colourful, multi-level planting. Lots of other vegetables and fruit were planted in attractive ways.

In the middle of the gardens is a natural oasis with a waterfall and pond. Although you are a short distance from busy Sherbrooke St., you can't hear any traffic or other city sounds.  Just birds and insects and flowing water.  It's wonderful.  In the distance, you see the arboretum at the north end of the gardens.  You could seriously imagine that you were miles from the city.
Next time, the experimental area of the gardens and a garden that just stopped me in my tracks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jardin Botanique-Montreal

 We had an enjoyable visit to the Jardin Botanique in Montreal last week. I hadn't been in a few years and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the gardens as I had, on other occasions, felt that a number of the plantings were pretty ho-hum.  We didn't see all the gardens this time as I was still having foot trouble, but we saw most of them.

 A corner of the perennial garden had blooming Hens and Chicks (sempervivum). This spot was a little weedy as were some other parts of the perennial beds, but I guess that's budget cuts. But Hens and Chicks in bloom always look fun.

 This was the perennial area but the annual bed assured a good jolt of colour all summer long with its planting of celosia, zinnia, salvia, and heliotrope.

 Nice patch of pink phlox.

 Heuchera can be difficult to place so that their blooms are shown to advantage.  I like the contrast here with the tiny white flowers and bright green leaves.

 A beautiful specimen of Bear's Breetches (Acanthus Mollis).  I was surprised to see it as I thought it wasn't hardy in Montreal.  I checked on the Internet and it's only hardy to zone 7 so I guess it will have to go in the greenhouse for the winter.  In warmer climes, it is considered invasive.

Mulleins are quite remarkable in their sturdiness.  These ones are about 7' tall but shows no signs of flopping at all.  Very sculptural.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Puzzle for the Day

 A peaceful pond with a waterfall in the distance.

A little cabin in the woods.

And finally a wild boar looking a little shabby.
Where are all these things?  How about a guess in the comments?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

More Moths


 I  always find the variety in moths fascinating. This interesting moth is a small-eyed sphinx moth.  I don't think I have ever seen one before. Our area is on the periphery of their range, which is mostly east and south of us.

 This moth is called |The Neighbour.  Not quite sure how they arrived at that name, but she is certainly one that you notice. I couldn't find out much about this one so I am assuming that it isn't very common.  Someone suggested that they like American hazelnut , but I'm not aware of any in the area so it must eat something else as well.

 Yes, this is indeed a moth, the yellow-necked caterpillar moth.  It's only about an inch long and very easily dismissed as a bit of rolled up leaf.  This guy as a caterpillar likes to munch on a variety of hardwood trees so no surprise that it's here.

 I think this is a Rose Hooktip.  I couldn't get a photo of the top surface but judging by the waviness of the wings and the broad band of lighter colour at the edge of the wings, I think that's what it is.  I'm guessing it eats roses so perhaps it has been munching on my rugosa rose.

 Pearly wood-nymph if you want to be snooty.  Otherwise it's known as bird-poop moth.  That's pretty obvious.  It eats a variety of bushes - not very fussy at all.
An excellent site with great photos of Ontario moths is www.backyardnature.net

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Japanese Iris

 Japanese iris ( iris ensata) are a showy iris that is surprisingly hardy (zone 3) if planted in the right location.  They need rich damp soil and a spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day.  For best blooming, feed them every spring with rooted manure or other organic fertilizer. The soil should be friable so that it can easily retain moisture.

 The iris clump will gradually increase in size over time, but it is not nearly as robust as Siberian iris that will produce a large patch with lots of blooms in a short time.

This one is a frilly double that looks quite different from the purple one.  They also come in shades of pink. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014



             the darling of the day,
                  parades around,
            grinning and boasting,
           throwing us like batons,
              higher and higher.

                         the lie,
                  someone's worthy,
                someone's worthless,
                   sends us crashing
                       into fear.
                 the great destroyer,
                      separates us,
            marching over friendships
                    crushing love.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Miniature Donkeys

Miniature donkeys being overseen by a fiberglass horse. I like the pinto one who matches the holstein cows across the road.  The other two with their traditional donkey markings are very sweet, too.
They live on a farm that also has sheep and llamas.  The donkeys and llamas are probably protection for the sheep from dogs, coyotes, or wolves.  A well-aimed hoof can do a lot to deter a predator.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Queen of the Prairie (Meadowsweet)

Queen of the Prairie , also known as Meadowsweet, (Filipendula rubra) is a large plant, native to some of the eastern states of the US.  It thrives in part-shade with moist but not soggy soil.  Feed it with compost or rotted manure and it will grow to 4' high and spread to  5-6' wide.  It is not invasive, but it is easily divided in spring or fall.

I have had mine for several years and nothing seems to eat it, and it has survived all kinds of winter and summer weather. It has a light sweet fragrance that is attractive to small bees like sweat bees.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Here's Lookin' at You

 What gazing eyes are these?

It's the luna moth.  This is the second one that we've had on our back deck this summer.  I guess it's a good year for moths.

The colours and textures are simply gorgeous on this large (4.5 " wingspan) moth.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Gallery of Grass

  I present to you a gallery of grass.

Beautiful to look at .  Even yummier to eat.