Thursday, 22 April 2010

Happy Earth Day ~ April 22, 2010 : )

...To all my fellow beings sharing this wonderful planet ..... Animal, Vegetable or Mineral : )
Let's celebrate Earth Day every day!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Obedient Plant .. Not so obedient? ; )

Physostegia - False Dragon's Head - Obedient Plant
Some gardeners might read this post and choke at the prospect of allowing this specimen into their garden.
It does have a reputation of running rampant when it likes it's location.
I actually have a friend who never fails to mention the time I gave her a small clump from my garden, (along with a stern warning about it's encroaching habits, which were not heeded, incidently), and how it took over her garden.
Well, my friend was exaggerating, somewhat! But if you do plant Physostegia in your garden, be prepared. It is a member of the mint family, after all!
Well, admittedly, that trait is exactly why I want it in my garden! As you can see in the picture, it's growing in a fairly shady spot.
Those lovely white florets really show up nicely in that kind of location and look splendid amongst Hostas, Goat's beard and ferns.
Physostegia has a nice clumping form, attracts butterflies, and most importantly, has not ever been touched by the deer, (a real plus in my book).
I'm hoping over the course of the years that it does fill in the places I've planted it.
It makes a great and long lasting cut flower. I've had them in my kitchen, and in a vase for up to 2 weeks. If you have a cutting garden, then perhaps this would be a good choice for you! I'm thinking this lovely herbaceous perennial will be a welcome addition to my garden for many years to come!
Tips: For a neat appearance, remove old foliage before new leaves emerge.
Divide clumps every 2 to 3 years in early spring.
~Happy Gardening~

Saturday, 17 April 2010

A Sunny Flower for a rainy April day - Arikara

I just needed to see a picture of a flower that was sunny and bright.
It snowed here today, you see. : (
Hope the weather is better where you are, and that you can play in the garden.
I'm indoors overwatering my houseplants...
Have a great weekend!
For more information about this fabulous historical heirloom, please view:

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Hollyhocks - They'll Grow Anywhere!

Talk about a rock and a hard place!
As you can see, Hollyhocks will grow just about anywhere!

This is what it ends up looking like. I think it's a Double Chaters, but the seeds were shared with me from a friend, and it's not the maroon variety, but a really hot pink colour, so I'm not entirely sure about that.
It's almost 7 feet tall. Everytime the wind blew, I was checking to make sure it didn't snap because I wanted it to produce more seeds so I could collect them!

A better (somewhat), close-up of the flowers. Kind of like pom-poms!

Another one growing between the cracks! This one has a bit more space.
Hollyhock was once the most popular flower in gardens across North America, and is most certainly back in vogue today! So Easy to grow. Hardy to Zone 3 USDA.
Thanks for visiting. Happy Spring!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Wordless Wednesday @ Wall Flower Studio

Clematis alpina "Constance" - Springing to Life!

The top picture is what they look like when they bloom, which is pretty early, even for Haliburton. I love the little downward facing, bell shaped flowers. Very dainty!
Such a hardy Clematis, too. The picture above, which I shot today is showing some nice new growth! It's also one of the easiest Clematis' I've ever grown.
It flowers in May and June, and is followed by really fluffy, attractive seed heads.
I think mine is almost at it's mature height, which is 6-8' (1.8-2.5m).
You might be able to tell that I've trained mine to grow (with support of mesh) up the side of a tree. It's completely covering the base all the way around, and 6 feet up.
The 1/2 to 3 inch wide semi-double flowers are borne on last year's shoots, as you can see in the second picture, and those seed heads stick around through fall.
I collect some of the seeds and leave the rest for the birds!
The foliage is divided into 3 - 5 lance-shaped, and kind of wide, oblong leaflets. A very pretty shape indeed!
C. alpina is (thankfully), highly suitable for sites which are cold and exposed, i.e., where I live!
It is a native to Europe.
It tolerates most soil types, but like most plants prefers a well-drained mix.
It takes partial shade, but will also tolerate full sun.
Hardiness: (to USDA Zone 3 = or Zone 4 in Canada)
Thanks for viewing and Happy Gardening : )

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Naturalizing Daffodils in the Lawn

I would really love to have more varieties of bulbs naturalizing in my lawn than just Daffodils, however, the deer have already munched away on my Crocus, (which are also a good choice if you're thinking of planting bulbs in your lawn and don't have a deer issue), but thankfully, they don't bother the Narcissus, so every fall I plant more.
These daffs have such a sunny disposition and when I pull into my driveway, it's always nice to be greeted by them!
Other great flower bulb varieties to choose from, and which naturalize in lawns without much effort, (except for planting), are Muscari (grape hyacinth), Scilla siberica, Iris reticulata and Iris danfordiae.
A general rule of thumb is that bulbs need full sun in spring, and of course, well-drained soil, which keeps them from rotting. Sun loving bulbs can be planted under deciduous trees which usually will not be fully in leaf until after the bulb foliage has faded.
I planted mine in a very random manner. Didn't want a formal look as I don't think this is a formal type of gardening! I made spaces between the groups and used stakes to mark the areas already planted. That way I was able to remember where I'd already planted bulbs, and where I still had areas I wanted more planted.
The bulb foliage has to be left to fade completely and die back naturally, ensuring that the bulbs will have the required energy and nutrient they need for multiplying, which means an even better display next year. I tend to add compost every year to the areas they grow, which seems to be helping them thrive.
Thanks for viewing! Happy Spring : )

Friday, 9 April 2010

Heirloom Beets - Two Favourites!

You can't beat Beets!
Beet "Chioggia", also called the "Bulls Eye beet" for obvious reasons is an Italian heirloom dating back to the 1840's. The Chioggia Beet has a mild flavour and it's solid green tops have a smooth, delicious taste. This beet is particularly best harvested young and they may make a nice baby vegetable because the tops are also best young, especially when used in salad mixes. I like the fact that Chioggia matures early and requires less cooking time then most other beets. It's origins are from Chioggia, an Italian coastal town.
Days to Maturity: 55-65 days

Beet "Early Wonder" - Also an heirloom that can be grown in containers. I really like that!
The greens are tasty and abundant, and every bit as good as chard or spinach, and of course, just as nutritious. These roots are flavourful and produce earlier which makes it a great choice for a small garden!
Days to Maturity: 48

Beets, (beta vulgaris), are a member of the chard family. Chard is really grown just for its leaves, and beets are more well known for their edible roots. Some people aren't aware that every bit of a beet plant is edible! These wonderful heirlooms are becoming very popular at market gardens, and are prized in salads and other dishes with many chefs!
Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Seedlings sprouting

Everything is coming up... thankfully!
The tomato seeds have sprouted, as well as the Green Globe artichokes, and the Cocozelle zucchini. Am planting Citron seeds now, as well as some more herbs.
Pennyroyal is coming up, and the radicchio.
Thinking I'll have a bumper crop of Thai basil this year, too. Not a bad thing, really!
What seeds are you starting? Would love to hear about it! : )

Rain Barrels - Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Creating Seed Balls ~ Rural Sustainable Guerrilla Gardening : )

The first time I ever heard of the concept of making and using "Seed balls", I was enamoured with the whole idea, and was determined to make some. It took me a while to get my act together, but finally, I've gotten around to it and thought I'd share my experience on my blog.
Above is the mix. 2 parts soil and 2 parts dry powdered clay, plus a whole lot of seeds. I threw in a good mix of drought tolerant native species for my first go round, but will be making them with herbs and other seed varieties as well.

Next, I've added water, and just enough to make it feel like I'm making meatballs! You don't want it to be too dry or too wet. As Goldilocks would say, "Just right'! And just a hint, make sure to take of your jewellry first ; )
Really, this is a ton of fun! I next took some in my hands, enough, like I said, to make meatball sized seed balls and rolled them into shape. Then they were placed on the trays, as you can see. Am fortunate enough to have a grow light stand, so I put them under there over night and they were almost completely dry the next day.
Now of course comes the packaging. Am not a big fan of overkill when it comes to packaging, especially due to my concerns for the environment and landfills,
so, trying to keep it simple, as you can tell!
~Offering them in sets of three or six in my Etsy shop, however, I'm happy to create custom orders and amounts as well!
So, why seedballs, you ask?? Where did it start, and what's the point?
Here's some information and a couple of great links that will explain it all, and more!
It's more than just Guerrilla Gardening. It's all about sustainability, urban renewel, and a whole lot more...
Seed balls solve many of the problems that loose seeds face.
~wind blows them away
~ birds and rodents eat them
~the sun bakes their vitality out
~excessive rain carries them off
Seed balls protect them from all of that.
When the seed balls start to break down, the seeds emerge and are nurtured in that pile of clay and enriched with the nourishing soil.
In essence, the seed germination is very high!
I hope that if you like the concept of making seed balls, you'll try it too! Great fun for kids!
Happy (Guerrilla) Gardening!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Great Blue Lobelia - Lobelia siphilitica

Well, my apologies for not blogging this past week, or for responding to all the great comments on my other posts. It's been a rather busy time. I'd like to thank everyone for all the responses to recent blog posts, and I'm looking forward to visiting other garden blogs again! Have been in the garden and had a really great open house, so that's been keeping me away from the computer. Feeling out of the loop!
Thought I'd get back into the swing of things by posting about one of my favourite plants in my garden...

This lovely, true blue specimen is Lobelia siphilitica and was in cultivation in England as early as 1665.
The common name is Blue Lobelia for obvious reasons, and it is a true lobelia, as you just have to compare it to it's red relative, the beautiful red flowered Lobelia cardinalis.
This blue version, however, has a thicker stem, a much larger flower than it's relative, but you'll find it growing under similar conditions as the cardinals, ie: damp areas, shady spots, which it especially prefers during the high heat of summer, and of course, near streams.

Mine, pictured above, is in a partly shady spot of my garden, (except for the time that I took this photo!), and so far, seems to be thriving.
It starts blooming early August, and went right on doing that until frost.

Lobelia siphilitica is a herbaceous perennial, growing 2 to 3 feet tall (60-90 cm), with a spread of 1 to 1.5 feet spread (30-45 cm).
To propagate, divide clumps in spring, and, it may self-seed as well. It's very hardy, which I like, from Zone 4 - 10, USDA.

Just a note on some folklore about this plant. You may have noticed the name siphilitica, which, yes, you guessed it, is similar to siphilis, and it was thought, way back when, that it was a cure for siphilis, which of course we know now that it's not!
It is poisonous, at least the seeds are, so don't eat any of it!

Happy Gardening!