Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sorbet Supreme

Several visits to Le Glacier Brilboquet have satisfied my sweet tooth and tastebuds. An artisan glacier with an incredible selection of ice creams but for me the diverse choices of sorbets was impressive everything from pamplemousse, mango to lulo( a unique flavoured south american fruit, tastes like a cross between tomato and passionfruit.....sort of......)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Montreal Botanical Garden

Today we went to the Montreal Botanical Garden Plant Sale. Noticeably more vendors than the previous time I visited several years ago. First stop was to the tent of the botanical garden and their garden divisions. I purchased Cercidiphylum 'Red Fox' a columnar form with deep burgundy foliage, Salix fargesii, Astilbe 'Lilliput' and Clemetis occidentalis var. occidentalis. All truly well grown plants at reasonable prices.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rain Drops on Hosta 'June' in May

Visiting Montreal this week for the botanical garden's plant sale on friday.......This picture of Hosta 'June' was taken this evening in a friends Montreal garden lush with hostas and other sculptural plants.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wisteria Hysteria

As a result of a relitively mild winter, my high/low thermometer read only -15C, plants that form their buds in the fall were profuse in blooming during this long and gentle spring. The Wisteria in the picture is of a client's in the Annex of Toronto. It has been well pruned over the years and in march I gave a good pruning to create finger branching off the main stems with 5 or so buds remaining, less if the buds look slender and not plump flowering buds. Viola!!!!! a flabulous show of petal power cascading down like a violet Niagara Falls. The scent is also a heavenly one wafting through the spring air. Enjoy..........

Monday, May 19, 2008

Trough Time

Here is a homemade hyper-tufa trough i planted up on sunday at a friend's. The before and after pics speak for themselves. It was an easy thing to plant up with various cultivars of Sempervivum (hen & chicks or houseleek) into a lean well drained mix. From 40 known species there are now thousands of named cultivars. The colour intensity is at its best in early spring. The thing to do is not be too kind to them, they thrive on neglect once established. Instructions to my friend is not to water and leave them to root in . A fine black mesh netting has been placed over it to keep investigating squirrels and raccoons away. The ammonia mixture was sprayed around the perimeter of the container, hopefully this will keep the vermin off.


The Redbud (Cercis canadensis) in my backyard is in full bloom. One of the best years its had. I grew it from seed given to me by a fellow Ontario Rock Garden Society member 7 years ago. It's now over 18 feet tall with a beautiful vase shape, characteristic of Cercis. Many cultivars are available . Such as the lime green form 'Hearts of Gold', a weeping 'Covey' and the dark burgundy leaf of 'Forest Pansy' an odd name for this most handsome tree. All Redbuds are small trees and suitable for city yards with an understorey of dappled light. The magic of this tree is how it blooms on bare wood before the leaves emerge even buds form on the trunk itself.
Yesterday at my Allotment Garden I Planted 25 varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes grown from seed 8 weeks ago ,the last 2 weeks they have been hardening off in the backyard, only once I brought them inside when the night temperature threatened. The seed was collected last year from tomatoes I tasted and liked, the moist wet seeds are put onto paper towel and if known, the name is written on the paper towel and stored away in a cool dark place. I planted out 2 of each variety this year.I have found tomato seed has 100% germination, so this year I was selective with each seed getting its own space in a tall narrow plug tray. At week 2 they were potted up deeper (about half their height)into the tallest and narrowest pots I could find.
When I arrived at the garden plot I found that my newly planted squash and selections of seed grown plants in pots were excavated ,undoubtedly by raccoons, my garden nemesis. Interestingly enough they only dug up the Clematis 'Lake Baikal' seedlings that I had recently re potted. Was it the fact they were newly potted up or could they read the three labels????I will spray the mixture I use around the perimeter of my home garden to keep all the vermin away. The mixture is 1/4 ammonia with the remainder water into a large spray bottle with 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper. Shake then strain and return to the spray bottle. It has to be applied every time it rains but it seems to work. I have had terrible situations in my backyard with raccoons vandalizing newly planted items night after night. To the point I had to cage in a newly planted raised bed until it gets established. They would toss aside the plant and continue to dig in the planting hole. An animal psychologist is needed to explain this. Or its just opportunism to investigate in newly tilled earth for grubs and worms.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Since I'm starting this blog in May it will be difficult to catch up with spring images. But I'd thought I'd start with Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite).One of the first to emerge in spring along with Galanthus (Snowdrops). Maybe a folder with spring gems is in order.

The Beginning

Its time to compose a bit of what I've been up to. After a 2 year stint at the beginnings of the Toronto Botanical Garden I am back to my  garden design/build business of 8 years. A challenging  job that always is evolving and changing with my varied clients.Spring has sprung and slowly but surely milding up. A theme of gardens this year is renovation. A majority of clients are coming to me with mature and established gardens that  need a rebirth and infusion of  change. What is satisfying is that  most  are doing the garden's maintenance and want to learn and be involved in the process. I hope to create a site here where i can share my experiences and show lots of pics ive taken at work and travel.