Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Flowering Friday - Lilacs & Fuschias - Blooming Now @ Wall Flower Studio

Don't you just love Fuschias? I have been growing them in containers for a few years now, especially in the shady locations on my front porch. They just bloom and bloom and bloom, all season long! When they hang down, I can't help but think they look like little dangling chandeliers! The Hummingbirds love them too, so there's another reason to grow these remarkable flowers. A very easy care annual for sure... (Well, depending on where you live, as it might be a perennial there! In that case, lucky you!)
This perennial flowering shrub, the very hardy, Dwarf Korean Lilac, is likely the reason I was inspired to paint so many floral portraits many years ago!

It's definitely one of my top 3 all time favourites, and like I said, very hardy to zone 3 USDA, or zone 2 in Canada. It's Latin name is Syringa meyeri 'Palabin'. This little lilac smells divine, and, if you pinch off the spent flowers, it will usually rebloom in mid-late August! I've enjoyed my dwarf lilacs for many years now, and the great thing about them is they keep their small round shape, and they don't produce suckers everywhere like some of their larger cousins do. Supposed to grow them in full sun, however I have 2. One is in full sun and has just finished blooming. The other is in part shade and is now just at it's peak, so I can extend the enjoyment of these lovely blooms a little longer! Highly recommended!
Happy Gardening everyone, and I realize it's a little early for Flowering Friday, but I've been having trouble getting online. Not sure when I'll have the opportunity again, so enjoy & have a great weekend. : )

Wordless Wednesday - Alliums - Blooming Now at Wall Flower Studio

Friday, 25 May 2012

Forget-Me-Nots aka: Myosotis - Blooming on Flowering Friday

Such dainty little true blue flowers! I let Myosotis seed where they will. They'll spread around the garden very quickly if left to their own devices! Some may even consider them a little invasive, but they're easy to pull up if they're growing where you don't want them to. Pretty drought tolerant once established. Even in a gravel driveway!

Happy Flowering Friday! Have a Blooming good weekend. : )

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A Wee Toad in the Garden

I love seeing toads in the garden. It speaks for a healthy ecosystem!

I also love the fact that because there's toads in the garden, I haven't seen any slugs or grasshoppers in the garden! This little fellow was a bit shy, but didn't mind me snapping a couple of pictures.

As I've mentioned before, to encourage toads, frogs and other beneficial creatures to visit and stay in your garden, leave a couple broken clay pots upside down amongst your plants. This will provide any wildlife with some shelter from the heat, and a safe haven during a rainstorm.

Upturned seashells are great too as they hold water and offer these little friends a place to drink!

Thanks for visiting and have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Gardening For Pollinators Birds and other Wildlife!

Preserving the environment is one of the most fundamental elements of gardening.

When we strike a balance with the creatures we share our yards with, not only do we benefit aesthetically, by creating a beautiful garden full of life, but when we cater to the needs of our local wildlife we are creating an eco friendly garden that in turn provides refuge for the many beneficial visitors. Insects, birds and smaller mammals begin to thrive and visit often, which means all of us who share this planet benefit from a healthy ecosystem.

Spring is the ideal time to embrace biodiversity. Gardeners can see the effects, perhaps not overnight, but over a season it becomes evident that our plots are thriving when we’ve attracted wildlife into our gardens by helping to create the balance that nature needs to properly prosper.

Take the humble bumblebee for example. It really is our best friend in the garden! Even though these hard working pollinators might seem scary to some people, they very rarely sting and when they do, it’s always used a last resort when defending themselves.
As pollinators, a bee’s importance cannot be overstated. Approximately 80 percent of food crops grown around the world require pollination and that’s mainly done by the hardworking bee. Unfortunately the bees are having a particularly hard time at the moment. It’s become entirely clear that the use of pesticides and herbicides are the main contributor to what has been described as ‘colony collapse disorder’. Millions of bees have died and this disturbing occurrence is not just taking place in North America, but all over the world. Because of this, it’s crucial that we home gardeners do what we can to ensure the survival of the bee by offering them a safe haven from chemicals. Considering just how important they are with respect to our food supply, the consequences could be devastating to say the least.

We can help by offering bees and other pollinators, plants that are attractive to them when foraging for food. Consider growing bee balm (monarda) in the garden. It’s an excellent choice and certainly lives up to its name! The bonus is that bee balm is extremely appealing to hummingbirds and some butterflies, too! Other varieties that appeal to bees are Aconitum (Monkshood), Delphinium, Digitalis (Foxglove), Lupinus X polyphylla (Lupine) Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant), and Pulmonaria (Lungwort).

As luck would have it, the same gardening practices that attract and help wildlife also improve our air, water and soil quality so the benefit goes beyond our gardens, and it only takes a few plants and some forethought to create a habitat for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. We can even attract these wonderfully helpful creatures to our garden by adding just a couple of containers with some flowering annuals. Gardeners with limited space may want to plant vertically by using wall space or fences to grow perennial vines like honeysuckle, Virginia creeper or annuals like sweet pea or morning glory. Even planting a hanging basket or two attracts pollinators.

By selecting a wide variety of plants that provide blooms from early spring into late fall, hummingbirds who happen to prefer red tubular flowers, will visit all season long!
Butterflies are drawn to more open-faced yellow and purple flowers, as well as herbs like dill, thyme, oregano and parsley, but by choosing native plants to our region, we offer the ultimate gift as they are even more attractive to pollinators than anything else we could grow.

By making a conscious effort to not use harmful chemicals in the garden, we are encouraging beneficial insects like ladybugs to visit and they eat aphids! Toads and frogs are also great allies in the garden because they eat slugs and grasshoppers. I have a couple broken clay pots, turned upside down, which offers these creatures some shelter during rainstorms, and placing by placing seashells in the garden which will collect water, that offers them a place to drink.

With very little maintenance, the garden will be a welcome haven for all kinds of insects and birds, and wildlife, while adding beauty and creating sustainability at the same time. Whether it’s mulching beds, reducing the size of lawn, which happens to be the most unnatural landscape of all considering the chemicals and water use that go into maintaining one, or by harvesting rainwater in a barrel for use on annual containers, we all benefit by preserving the environment and creating an ecological balance in our own backyard.

Thanks for visiting! Have fun in the garden and help out those pollinators where you live! : )

Friday, 4 May 2012

Flowering Friday - Muscari & Trilliums Blooming Now

Muscari or Grape Hyacinth above - Red Trilliums below

It sure is nice to see the flowers blooming in the garden again!
Well, actually, the Muscari are in the garden, but those Trilliums I can't take credit for planting as they're growing wild, off to the side of our house.

Happy Flowering Friday!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

#WordlessWednesday - Spring #Garden #Blooms

Flying Friends in the #Garden - #Lepidoptera

We had a little visitor to the garden this weekend!

A very friendly fellow! Was happy to pose for pictures. It was flying around for quite a while and even landed on me at one point.

This Moth isn't quite as large as a Monarch, but quite pretty, and just as welcome!

Have a great day!