Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rescue Plants

It is so satisfying to liberate plants from the imprisonment of an uncaring Big Box store. This I did last Fall when I found three Agave desmettiana, a mature plant with two large offsets crammed into a two gallon pot. I managed to winter them over under lights in my basement and was further satisfied last week when on a mild day I was able to take them out onto the balcony where, with a little surgery, I was able to separate them and give them their own root space in new pots. I can't wait for the warmer weather when I can get them out of doors. 

Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' and two offspring, crammed into a 2 gallon pot.

Divided and repotted.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Euphorbia bupleurifolia

Another favourite and very forgiving plant, Euphorbia bupleurifolia has sprung back to life after months of winter dormancy and general neglect. Again I wonder what I've done to deserve this sudden display of foliage and flowers, when I've shown it so little attention over the long winter hiatus.

E. bupleurifolia is a  caudiform with dramatic form and texture.

                                         To add to the display, lovely green flowers.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

South African Annuals.

This time last year I was a in the throes of moving house and home from Toronto to Montréal and had no time for my usual late winter activity of planting seed. This year I'm making an attempt to get back into the habit and have uncovered some seed of some of the many annuals that were such a delight on my trip to South Africa in 2013. They include Nemesia cheiranthus, Nemesia barbata, Felicia australis, and Dorotheanthus bellidiformis.

Packages from Silverhill Seed in Cape Town.

Nemesia cheiranthus with complex structure and lovely colour.

Felicia australis, a simple flower but en masse is a sheet of vivid blue

Dorotheanthus bellidiformus, a seed mix endless variety of colours.
Nemesia barbata has flowers with intense colour from magenta to dark purple to black.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tried and True.

After moving from Toronto to Montréal last year, many of my plants have not been given the most tender of care. In fact, they've often been ignored completely and in particular the few pots of Cyclamen that I managed to move have had a tough Summer sitting outside in all sorts of weather and at the mercy of slugs and snails. 
I'm not sure what I've done to deserve this, however, as  most of them have survived to bloom indoor this Winter.  Some of them have out on an impressive display of both foliage and bloom that I am resolved to give them better treatment this year, a dry, shaded place to wait out their dormancy and repotting in July before they come back into growth.  

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saxifraga 'Silver Velvet'

This little bunch of flowers was almost thrown out with the yard waste this afternoon. I'm so glad I rescued it as it is one of the last plant to flower in the garden and being such a small thing it is easily overlooked and shaded over by its larger neighbours.  It is one of the Fall blooming Saxifragas sometimes called S. fortunei 'Silver Velvet' and sometimes S. cortusifolia 'Silver Velvet'. I suspect it is a hybrid of these two. Its foliage is a delight all summer, but it's late season foliage is always a surprise, it is after all November in Montréal, but no one has yet told this recent transplant from balmy southern Ontario.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Auspicious Gales.

I spent a few weeks this Fall  in the village of Mumbles which is now a suburb of Swansea. After decades of living in Zone 6 Toronto and Montreal, I'd forgotten just how temperate my home town is in comparison to the Great White North.
Climate is complicated, and here I'm reminded that north and south are not the only things that affect cold and warmth. Montreal is just above the 45th parallel and Toronto is even further south just below the 44th. By comparison coastal South West Wales is just below the 52nd parallel, and yet experiences mild temperate weather throughout the year. The reason for this is, of course the Gulf Stream which sends warm currents of air and water up from the southern Atlantic which moderate the climate.
Plants that would be considered tender in my Zone 6 garden. Rosemary, Fatsia and Passion Fruit are completely hardy in Mumbles, even in the smallest front gardens, and can grow into impressively large specimens.

A typical row of cottages in Mumbles.

Rosemary can grow into impressive shrubs.

Rosemary still in bloom in September.

Fatsia looks almost tropical to Zone 6 gardeners.

Passion Fruit a common vine in gardens with lots of flowers and fruit.

Lavender hardy in zone 6 but never achieving this sort of size.

This garden has Dracenas, Tree Ferns, Bamboo and Phormium.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Great Plant Combinations at the JBM

My last post was, perhaps a bit negative, so I'm following it with these very beautiful images from a recent visit to the Jardin botanique de Montréal. There were some wonderful container plantings, but also flower beds planted out in seasonal (rather than perennial) combinations, one example that I show here is the pairing of a Dracena marginata possibly 'Colorama' and a pale pink Gaura .  There was a lot of use of Papyrus as a vertical element in many of the container plantings, and on closer observation we were thrilled to see it's new shots emerging from the base, reminding us of motifs in ancient egyptian art. At the time of posting this my header is an image of Persicaria 'Red Dragon' and an unidentified Coleus, another great JBM combo that I'm showing again in this collection of pictures. The final image is the base of a Penjing in the Chinese garden, the tree itself was lovely but I was most taken by the planting at its base, a combination of Sedum dasyphyllum and two unidentified ferns.

One of the many container plantings at the JBM.

At the base of the Papyrus new shoots emerging.

A hot pink Dracena marinate paid with a pale pink Gaura.

Persicaria 'Red Dragon' and Coleus.

The base of a Penjing planted with Sedum dasyphyllum and ferns.