Six on Saturday: April 7, 2018

It is so exciting to see things rapidly coming alive in the garden these days! All that mulch we spread last fall has certainly helped slow down the weeding problem.

1. The most obvious colour these days comes from the bulbs: Crocus, white Heloniopsis, tiny fritillarias, Daffodils and soon Martagon lilies , Bluebells and Leucojum should appear. The snowdrops are mostly just greenery now.


2. Podophyllums like Spotty Dotty have just begun to emerge as well as similar plants like Dysosma versipelle, and Panda Face Ginger Plant.


3. So many perennials are showing new growth all of a sudden: some of them are Epimedium, Anemonopsis macrophyllum, Sedum, my artichoke plant, meconopsis and a fern-like Japanese plant called Pteridophyllum racemosum.







4. The return of clematis is perhaps one of my biggest thrills.  Here are a very few of many appearing these days: the top row shows atragene Joe Zary on an obelisk and Blue Dancer on a wall trellis. The next early risers are Perko, Eetika, Semu, Marmori and Gravetye Beauty. I am still finding permanent homes for more clematis. Just this week I unexpectedly found more obelisks on sale. The big problem is there’s no more space!


5. There are spring blooming shrubs now which cheer up our surroundings: Salmonella (too high for me to photograph their pink blooms!), Ribes (flowering currant), as well as Corylopsis spicata. The Witchhazels are history as far as blooms go, but their foliage is slowly appearing.




6. Buds and Blooms on perennials are taking off too. We are enjoying Primulas, Anemone blanda, Pulsatilla and Pulmonaria. There’s more to come too!


Enjoy your garden!


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The Next Generation…

 She’s almost nine and hoping to sell plants that she just seeded over the past weekend. Could it be she’s hooked on gardening?


Friday & Saturday


Our son-in-law spent an hour or so building our new wagon. Then the grandkids had to take it for a test drive!


Ivy, almost 9, pulled her younger brothers along our shade trail. Forrest is hidden in the back seat and Leo is studying nature all around .


Saturday, March 31, 2018

It has been a looong week with cataract surgery for my husband, work on our complex taxes,  the demise of our garden wagon (and purchase of a new one which is so far not assembled). There are many more things to keep us on our toes as well. One of these is mass confusion about the postal system and my orders of perennials from the US to Canada. I have done this for years, but this year certainly “takes the cake”.  I am filled with anxiety, especially due to the fact that this is a very long weekend due to the Easter holiday. So my live plants are sitting “who knows where” until around Tuesday. They should be OK, but it is infuriating. Today’s update was “Your item arrived at a facility in CANADA on March 29, 2018 at 10:23 pm.” How’s that for no information? Canada’s a big place. Could they not tell me where it arrived? Grrrr

On a happy note, I have received more blue Hepatica plants and Cyclamen Coum. Also some tiny starts of white Dictamnus.  All nine of the baby clematis given to me last fall are showing new growth. I’m thrilled!  Some of my newly planted seeds are starting to show: Digitalis laevigata are the first! Exciting. And today, sunshine! I pruned the old blooms from my Hydrangea Quick Fire and the last of my many clematis this morning..

I’ll be back next week with photos I hope.

Six on Saturday: March 24, 2018



1. Seed starting began last week and continued this week. A few seeds are under lights in the shop, (top right) while others are outdoors in the cold (bottom left) Lots of soil, sand, grit etc is piled up in the shop as well these days.  Outdoors are a few pots of divisions for our spring plant sale. Here are yarrow, some grasses and Helenium. During the next week or two I hope to plant and fertilize the clematis. They are mostly pruned now. Some new perennials will be headed this way too.


2. These are a few new plants emerging this week.

IMG_20180321_164609BRhubarb is wonderful to watch. The leaves start out like this, then grow very large and smooth indeed. Dramatic…and also tasty when cooked in pies.

IMG_20180321_163149BI can’t wait for more and more white fawn lilies. They can’t spread fast enough for me!




3. Here you see things gradually progressing. The Ribes bloom is opening. The drumstick primula is showing its blue/purple colour. The Parrotia tree has larger blooms, but they are definitley shy and not very showy. The white Hellebore is a star, a real stunner in my book! This sedum type plant came from nowhere. Perhaps from the previous owners? It is beautiful just where it planted itself. The orange crocuses delight me in their small clusters.



4. In other news, the quilt ladies came to survey the gardens and were very sweet and kind. They were glad to have a preview while the Hellebores were blooming. They said that some gardens improve with the addition of the art work and others stand on their own. They feel that perhaps our garden only needs one or two for the Garden tour in late June. I’ll enjoy that. I am not really sure what will be in bloom then, but I hope our blue poppies will be!


IMG_20180318_092711B5. I did the first mowing of the lawn this week. Mostly weeds and moss actually, but it was good to get rid of leaves and sticks and branches and it certainly makes things look tidy. My husband hung 2 paintings by the grandchildren inside our sauna and they look sweet there! Our son-in-law made the frames with moss on them!


IMG_20180323_080716B6. My garden helper finished off the spreading of mulch that we missed back in November due to rain and snow. Nice to have that area cleared. I feel we have achieved a strong start with our spring efforts! Most of the pruning is done, bulbs and Hellebores are showing off, and soon new plants will be arriving. We still need to prune the Calluna. Then our garden wagon collapsed from age and rust. We hope for a new one soon.  I am hoping to find Brass Buttons (Leptinella squalida) for a shady spot.  The temperatures are not ideal. We still expect some nights dipping down to -2C…which certainly is chilly! But the crisp blue skies are a treat when they arrive, and it is even nice to have mud under my fingernails.
BUT!… then Friday morning we awoke to snow.  Then there was sun. Then there was hail. Variety is the spice of life I guess!

Enjoy YOUR garden!


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Six on Saturday: March 17, 2018

1. We have had quite a few days of cold and sunny weather…which have been wonderful for getting chores done outside. This has helped the Snowdrops, Crocuses in several colors, Hellebores and early Iris reticulata stay looking their best!
Women from our garden club will be coming next week to check out the garden for a tour in June and I’m glad there’ll be a bit of color for them to see. They are looking for locations to hang quilts because the tour is combined with the quilter’s group. I’ve seen the displays two years ago and the plants and stitchery make a lovely combination.


Working hard on eliminating this mulch pile too. My husband will be glad to see the tarps put away soon!


2. I have been working on a plan to incorporate 14 new Clematis into an already full garden.  Not all have arrived yet, so I still have time to think this through. I found two supports this week from last year for a decent price. Two will not be enough though. I’m thinking of some sort of post and wire setup like we had at our former farm. Time will tell. The Clematis are just coming up now.


3. Emerging plants this week: Heloniopsis orientalis and orange crocus.

Here come drumstick Primulas, Fritillaria persica and a Podophyllum. Exciting!
Also found some blue Anemone blanda all of a sudden today.



4. The Cornus mas trees are still in bud, and cheerful. The birds are singing at last too!



5. The Hellebores are going strong with the drawn out cool weather. I took a bowl of them to our Monday Garden Club meeting. I removed the last of their ugly foliage today as well.


6. We had a fantastic speaker presenting material on Japanese Gardens at our Garden Club meeting on Monday. He is a fabulous photographer as well as a gardener… and a tour leader in Kyoto. His talk combined slides with music as well as various ways to think about the various gardens. I think this was a genius speaker! His talk concluded with a series of photographs of Hellebores in watercolor shades to express the Japanese mood and philosophy of the garden…without words. It worked! Some 80 people were captivated

The following day I was in town, ate a Japanese lunch and bought yet another Hellebore. There are seedlings everywhere here as well!


Enjoy YOUR garden!


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Six on Saturday: March 10, 2018

1. Last week’s snow is now history. I hope I am safe saying that! You may recall these crocuses in their white element.


Well this is the new version from this week. It is fun to see colour, but the need to get into the soil is overpowering!IMG_20180303_145550B


2. There are many more plants gearing up for a show. Have a peek at the Pasque flower photo (Pulsatilla) and one of a Ribes bush.

I believe this Pulsatilla is mauve. We shall see!
Long ago I visited Brewster Rogerson, renowned scholar of the genus Clematis and  considered the American expert in this field until the time of his passing. At the time of one of my visits, Brewster was growing several pulsatillas and that is when I first heard they were related to Clematis! (

This ribes bush is a three year old stick and we are surprised to see a bud on it already. It is a white one.IMG_20180306_145247B.jpgRibes


3. I was excited to see the buds emerging on our new Parrotia tree.  This is a relative of Hamamelis. But because we have recently endured on-again/off-again temperatures, the buds have not fully bloomed so far.


4. For me, the huge excitement has been the emerging Clematis. Some display their new leaves on their old stems only, others show new stems growing from the base. Others show nothing at all so far.
On the left you see new growth on an Atragene which blooms on last year’s new growth. This variety does not usually get pruned at all. The two clematis on the right are Group 3 Clematis, which means they have been hard pruned and have new growth coming from the ground. Others show both stem and base growth. If I want them to bloom high up, I don’t prune them very much at all.



5. The Hellebores continue to show off, despite the cool to cold weather. Here are a few more opening. (Yesterday I bought two more. It is an addiction of mine….)



6. And finally, a group of other plants now in bloom: Iris reticulata – planted last fall, Blue Hepatica, and Calluna getting started near our outdoor lantern.





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Six on Saturday: March 3, 2018


  1. The snow and cold continued early this week. The flowers were covered but are slowly coming back to life. The Rhododendron leaves are no longer sagging. Today is windy and rainy as well, but the snow is gradually disappearing.



2. First came the crocuses.

3. Then the Hellebores perked up.



4. The first dandelion appeared. I had to laugh at this! There will be more…



5. This variegated grass never changes, no matter the season.



6. At last, the seeds arrived. I need to get busy!



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Six on Saturday: February 24, 2018

1. Happy Chinese New Year – of the dog!



2. Meet our Bouvier, Phoebe. This is before her grooming last week.



3. Since the flowers displayed in last week’s six, we of course had a serious snowfall.



4. Indoors the prunus stems are blooming- to make life bearable!



5. I love the markings on the foliage of this succulent. (again, indoors)



6. On a very sad note, after 12 1/2 years, we had to say goodbye to Minoue. Pets never live long enough. Her friend Vita wonders where she has gone, so we still enjoy a cat in our household.



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