Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Early Amethyst' Purple Beautyberry

Zone 5-8
Callicarpa Dichotoma

This 'Early Amethyst' Purple Beautyberry grows in the 'Rockwell Azalea Garden' at Cornell Plantations in Ithaca, New York and demands a closer look. 
The tiny purple berries are inviting from a distance, but stunning when viewed up close.  A hidden treasure for those who take the time to discover.  These photos were taken in late November when the leaves had fallen but the berries had not yet lost their fullness.
This shrub is native to China and Japan, grows  four to six feet tall and produces a heavy berry crop which, although somewhat bitter, can be used for jelly.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Scotch Moss

Hardiness Zone 3B
This Scotch Moss grows among Black Rundle stepping stones by the pond in a partly shady garden with an eastern exposure in Red Deer, Alberta.   It has attractive tiny needle like leaves that begin as gold in the spring, turning lime green the rest of the year.  From mid spring to mid summer, tiny star flowers bloom at the ends of the stems.
As it spreads (about 12 inches), it hugs the ground and creates a dense ground cover.  It can be expected to live for about 10 years and does best in full sun to part shade with evenly moist conditions.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Planters and Urns

These stunning annuals grow in ceramic urns in  Calgary, Alberta.  

Planted in the large black ceramic urn  are-
Purple Majesty Millet
Phantom Petunia
Yellow Ice Sanvitalia

Planted in one of the two smaller black ceramic urns are-
Red dragon wing begonias 
In the other small black ceramic urn are-
Red wave petunias
White and yellow crysanthemums
and one more to be named

Close-up of the  plants I don't know........
These annuals grow in a blue ceramic pot in an iron wrought stand as a welcome to the front entry at this home in Calgary, Alberta.  The plants are-
 Phantom Petunias (best in full sun)
Red Star Spike (grows 24 to 36" tall)
Pink gerberas

Rosy Dimple Oriental Lily/Lis

Hardiness Zone 4 
Lilium orientalis
Lilium orientalis
This Oriental Lily  grows by the pond in a partly shady garden with an eastern exposure in Red Deer, Alberta.  This plant usually waits until August to flower but this year (2011) it held on to it's buds until the first week in October, even after several deep frosts.  Just when we were beginning to think that it was to late to bloom it flowered, spectacular against the fall foliage behind it.  This lily has beautiful light pink blooms with a yellow star throat.  They are known to be fragrant and are often used as cut flowers. The mature plant is usually 1-2 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Change in the Air

the winter look with the pine, the spruce and the Mayday.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
What a difference a day makes. When two large trees in the front yard in Red Deer outgrew their space, they had to go.  Both trees were around 30 years old.  The 30 foot May Day had developed black knot as well as a secondary fungus.  It had grown so large that it had invaded the 50 foot spruce that was front and center.   Despite lots of creative brainstorming and advice from experts the trees could not be saved and the forest hideaway became a prairiescape in a day.  Stay tuned for further updates.

The MayDay and the Spruce gone, the new sidewalk and Quarry patio stones in..........
Waiting for the next step......

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rose of Sharon

USDA hardiness zones 5-9
Hibiscus syriacus

This Rose of Sharon bush grows in sandy soil in Lansing, New York in a northwest corner bed.  Sitting in the sunroom you can look out the window to see the pinkish lavendar blossoms. The shrub was in full bloom when we arrived back from holidays in late August.

The Rose of Sharon is a deciduous flowering shrub.  This shrub presently measures about 2 feet tall.  It can grow to a height of 8 to 10 feet with a spread of 4 to 6 feet.  The blooms can be red, lavendar, white or blue. 

The Rose of Sharon is a multi-stemmed bush but can be pruned in late winter into one stem to resemble a more tree like plant.  This should be begun in it's first two seasons.  This bush prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

"Miscanthus" Central Park Grass/"Pennisetum"Red Head Grass

USDA hardiness zones 5-9
Miscanthus sinensis/Pennisetum

These two grasses were planted this year (2011) in early September in a new bed with sandy, rocky soil in Lansing, New York.  The soil was good quality despite many rocks and only peat moss was added to freshen it.  The Red Head was planted between two Central Park plants.

The Central Park variety grows best in full sun, is deer resistant, and easy to grow in average, well drained soil.  The blades are fairly wide with a rich green colour and a silver midrib.  Miscanthus grows 4 to 5 feet high and has eye-catching, fluffy plumes that open in late October. Miscanthus is unrivaled in the diversit and beauty of its flowers, foliage, autumn colours and winter presence. 

The Red Head is a showy ornamental grass for the sun garden that does not seed like many other grasses.  It's huge, 10 inch long smoky purple flowers start to flower already in summer where most pennisetums flower in early fall.  Pennisetums thrive in full sun and well drained soil.  In fall the green foliage turns a straw colored gold.  It will grow to 48 inches high and 36 inches wide.

Endless Summer Hydrangea

"Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer'
USDA Cold hardiness Zone 4 to 9

These Hydrangea were planted in early September 2011, in a raised bed bordering a driveway in Lansing, New York on a hillside lot overlooking Cayuga Lake.  The bed with sandy soil was freshened with topsoil and peatmoss.  Mulch was spread over the area.

This plant is the first repeat blooming mop-head Hydrangea to be developed.  Spent flowers should be removed to maintain blooms from spring to fall.  Cut the emerging spring growth back to half to increase the number of blooms.  The color will vary from blue (acidic) to pink (alkaline) depending on the soil. The shrub will reach 3-5 feet tall and wide.  Water regularly, when the top 3 inches of soil is dry.  Filtered sun is best.  During the first growing season follow a regular watering schedule to establish a deep, extensive root system.  Provide well-drained soil, rich in organic matter.  Feed with an acid fertilizer before spring growth.  Prune to shape after flowering.  
August 2013
Plant about two feet tall

'Black Sprite' cornflower

USDA hardiness zones 3-9
Centaura montana
Centaura montana

This perennial grows in a bed bordering the front porch in sandy soil in Lansing, New York. Two plants were put in.  It is deer resistant and an old fashioned favorite that can  be used for cut flowers or in dried arrangements.  This hybrid (new this year) has purplish black flowers that bloom July to August on plants growing up to 14 inches tall.  The centaurea is also available with white, pink, yellow or blue flowers.
In 2012, the first full growing season, the plants bloomed at the beginning of June.
The  plants are about 10 inches tall.

Crimson King Norway Maple Tree/Erable

USDA hardiness zones: 3B through 7
This showy tree is the  feature tree in a front yard in Lansing, New York.   The Crimson King Norway Maple grows to a height of 35 to 45 feet with a spread of about 25 to 30 feet.  It is popular for its purple-green foliage throughout the summer and its dark maroon or bronze colour in the fall.  It is the most commonly planted street tree in the U.S.  It is shade tolerant and deer resistant.  The oval to rounded crown has  maroon-yellow flowers in the spring.  It is native to Europe and was introduced in Philadelphia in 1792 as an ornamental street tree. 

Acer platenoides "Crimson King"

The Maple Tree Swing May 2012

Tide Hill Boxwood

"buxus miccrophylla"  
Cold hardy to Zone 5
This low growing evergreen shrub  grows alongside other perennials in a bed bordering the front porch in Lansing, New York. There are four plants, spaced among several hostas, bordered by rocks and covered with mulch.  These plants are young and right now measure about 8" high and 8" wide but should grow to about 1 to 2 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide.  They should be fertilized each spring.  Their small oval leaves retain their dark green colour throughout the year.  The plant is known to be hardy, easy to grow and deer resistant. 
August 203
About 12 inches high

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Woodside Rhapsody Daylily/Hémérocalle

This Trophytaker Daylily grows by the pond in a partly shady garden with an eastern exposure in Red Deer, Alberta.  This plant usually waits until August to flower.  The first bloom arrived in mid-August this season.  The 4 inch flowers are deep purple with a green-white throat.  They have a high bud count. They are known to be fragrant ( must remember to check that out next year). 

Hush Little Baby Daylily/Hémérocalle

This Trophytaker Daylily grows by the pond in a partly shady garden with an eastern exposure in Red Deer, Alberta.  This plant usually waits until August to flower.  This year the first bloom arrived in mid-August.  This lily has beautiful ruffled and rose colored flowers.  The blooms measure 5" across.
Hush Little Baby August 7 2012

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Benny's Apple Tree/Le pommier

Late May/June 2011 blossoms

Apples ready to pick August 13, 2011

Loaded with apples summer 2011

This apple tree grows in a large backyard with a southwest exposure in Red Deer, Alberta.  Surrounded by other large trees it gets good sun in the morning and early afternoon but by evening it is mostly shaded.  The name of the tree is still under research but it is well suited for the Alberta climate.  The peel of the apple is green and transparent and is well suited for apple pies and apple crisps.  There is no need to peel the apple for baking but the larger apples can be peeled if desired.  The grandchildren like to nibble on the fruit but generally speaking these apples are a bit tart for most tastes.  As soon as the apples are ready it is wise to begin the harvest.  They don't store well if left on the tree too long as the peel begins to yellow and the flesh of the apple begins to soften and bruise easily.  

August 15, 2012   Yellow Transparent Apple Crop
In the spring of this year, 2012, we saw no blossoms and assumed that there would be no pies or other apple treats from Benny's tree this year.  A close look at the beginning of August small groups of apples were spotted and now the middle of August and we are getting ready to harvest.
May 27, 2013 Benny's Tree is full of blossoms.

The bees are very busy in the blossoms.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Clematis/La clématite

This clematis grows in sandy soil in Lansing, New York on a trellis shading a large deck overlooking Cayuga Lake.  The vine was in full bloom with soft mauve flowers in early July.
Click on things to know about the clematis to learn more.  

Teddybear Sunflower/Le tournesol

This Teddybear sunflower grows in a planter with a southwest exposure in Calgary.  With a height of about 2 feet it is full of soft, fluffy, golden blooms that would make wonderful cut flowers. Left on the plant it makes for a cheery children's garden. 


This stunning daylily grows in a planter with a southwest exposure in Calgary. Still researching the name of the lily.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trumpet Vine

This trumpet vine grows in sandy soil in Lansing, New York on a trellis shading a large deck overlooking Cayuga Lake.  The vine was in full bloom with stunning orange, red and yellow flowers in early July.  Click on things you need to know for growing tips on this attractive vine.

Broccoli and Kale/Le brocoli et le chou frisé

Kale and broccoli are a good choice for any garden.  These vegetables grow in a large planter with a southwest exposure in Calgary. They are started as annuals each spring.  The kale can be harvested throughout the summer.  
Click on comfort food for a wonderful traditional recipe from the Netherlands.  The broccoli didn't produce a crop this year.  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Indian Paintbrush/Prairie-fire/Pinceau indien

This Indian Paintbrush grows on a mountainside in Banff National Park on the Sarbach Lookout Trail


These arnica blooms grow on a mountainside in Banff National Park on the Sarbach Lookout Trail. The arnica belongs to the sunflower family.

Lodgepole Pine/Le pin tordu

This lodgepole pine grows on a mountainside in Banff National Park on the Sarbach Lookout Trail.  The lodgepole pines you see in this area are some of the oldest and tallest you will see in the Rockies.  The last burn here was in 1640.  The lodgepole pine is the provincial tree of Alberta.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cherry Tomatoes/ Les tomates cerises

These cherry tomatoes grow in a birdbath planter with a southwest exposure in Calgary. They are started as an annual each spring and produce delicious fruit throughout July and August.

Black Raspberries/Les framboises noires

These black raspberries grow in sandy soil in Lansing, New York on a hillside overlooking Cayuga Lake.  The ripe berry is black.
 Raspberries are a bramble fruit which are formed of several smaller fruits called drupelets.  The drupelets are all attached to the fibrous central core of the fruit.  One way the black raspberry differs from the blackberry is that when the raspberry is picked the core remains with the plant and a hollow center is created on the harvested fruit.  In the blackberry, the drupelets remain attached to the core which comes off with the fruit when picked.