Sunday, August 18, 2013


This perennial grows in sandy soil in a flower bed bordering a deck with a southern exposure in Lansing, New York.This perennial is commonly known as coneflowers 
or black eyed Susans.


 These berries grow in sandy soil in Lansing, New York on a hillside overlooking Cayuga Lake.  The ripe berry is black.
  In the blackberry, the drupelets remain attached to the core which comes off with the fruit when picked.

Day Lily

August 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pumpkins and Bunnies

This year we planted a pumpkin plant in the front garden along with grasses, a weeping caragana and a bergenia.  It was planted as a small plant as soon as the threat of June frost was over and now about four weeks later it has overtaken the area and has a multitude of blossoms that will hopefully soon become pumpkins.  We plan to crop extra vines in order to allow the pumpkins to grow as quickly as possible, given our short frost free season.  

 This garden is visited regularly by the neighbourhood bunny who likes to rest in the shade of the plants as well as on the cool shaded lawn.  So far he has nibbled on the tall grass but has left the pumpkin and bergenia alone.  

Lots of male flowers 
A female flower with the start of a pumpkin
The pumpkins are growing very quickly now

The pictures below were taken on September 7, 2013.  The pumpkins have been growing quickly over the last week.  The above pumpkin was the largest but has been overtaken by the pumpkin in the pictures below.  The color of the pumpkins confused me.  I always thought pumpkins were green before they ripen to their bright orange colour.  So I turned to Google once more and found out that "Giant Pumpkins" start out yellow.  These must be giant pumpkins.  

I have "pruned" the pumpkin patch twice now.  Today I cut off all the tiny pumpkins, vines that went nowhere and any remaining flowers.  Under one pumpkin I placed a plastic lid and under another a foil plate with holes.  Hopefully this will keep the pumpkins from getting soggy.

This is our largest pumpkin as of September 7, 2013.  It is 13 inches long and has a circumference of 24.5 inches.  

5 days later, September 12 we remeasured.  Our pumpkin now measures 16 inches long and is 28.5 inches.  In five days it grew 3 inches in length and 4 inches in circumference.

 We are closely watching the pumpkin patch, as the littlest pumpkin (below), which used to be the largest pumpkin, began to get soggy underneath so we harvested it today (Sept. 12).  It has started to change into a deeper orange colour but although it isn't quite "ripe" we removed it from the vine before further damage occurred.  We will watch daily for any damage to our biggest pumpkin.

Vegetable Garden

First step of a vegetable garden finished today.  The garden will get full sun from it's southwest exposure.  Soil to be added soon, then these two garden boxes will be ready for planting next spring.  In the meantime, one of our potted tomato plants will try out the new home.

Tiger Lily

These lilies grow in several different flower beds, one clump by the pond which is a southwest exposure and one clump in a large "keeping" garden which is fairly shaded by surrounding trees.  The keeping garden is an area which has become a lovely flower garden over the last few years by default, as the area was an old vegetable garden which became too shaded for growing healthy vegetables, and was used to put perennials in until they found a better home.  Needless to say some of the perennials grew very well here and have never been moved.
I believe these lilies are tiger lilies but more research needs to be done to verify that fact and also to learn about their peculiarities.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Vancouver Starry Nights Clematis

This clematis grows in Benny's garden with a southwest exposure.  Planted this spring (2013) it has grown steadily and had it's first two blooms in mid July.  As I had been told that it is a good idea to shade the plant near the ground I have planted a hosta in front of it.   It should grow to about 7 feet tall with a spread of 24 inches and under ideal conditions can live for 20 years.  As it is a climbing vine it should be planted near a fence or trellis where it can be trained to grow upwards on it.  My clematis is presently climbing a small metal trellis that is about 4 feet tall.   It is a Type 2 clematis which means it will bloom on old wood of the previous season with a second bloom later in the summer.  It can be pruned back every second to third year to just above a set of buds about 6-8 inches from the ground. It's hardiness zone is zone 4 and as this zone is 3b it will be interesting to see how the winter affects it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Peony Bed

This single white peony with a yellow center grows in a northwest flower bed at the front of the house.  Planted last fall in a newly established peony bed it grew quickly this spring (2013) and saw it's first bloom near the end of June.  It is  a Clair de Lune Peony.  It should grow to a height of about 30 inches with a spread of 30 inches as well.

This double white peony grows in the same northwest flower bed at the front of the house.  It was planted last fall as well in the same newly established peony bed. Its' first bloom came in the first week of July 2013.   The name of this peony is Shirley Temple.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Anemone Snowdrop Windflower

Hardiness Zone 3B

This perennial grows freely in Grandmaman's "interim" "ephemeral" Garden in the backyard in Red Deer, Alberta.  The area is planted with plants that have grown too big in their present space and need to be split or are awaiting a new area to be prepared for them.  This hardy perennial was given to me by a friend and was first planted in the front yard until that area became "in construction".  Planted in the "Ephemeral Garden" until a new home was found it came up this spring hardy, healthy and in splendid bloom.
It's present space has slightly acidic soil and is in full shade most of the day.  It seems to like it's new home.
Amemone in Greek means "Daughter of the Wind".

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lily of the Valley

Hardiness Zone 3B
This lily of the valley was transplanted from the frontyard garden to the backyard gardens in Red Deer, Alberta. Planted in areas for ground cover and the beauty of the tiny bell flowers in the spring, all the locations are shaded.  This perennial spreads invasively and should be closely monitored so that it doesn't spread to unwanted areas.
This year, 2013 the flowers were first notice in early June.

The plant has many meanings.  From Christian legends it represents  Mary's Tears during the crucifixion of Christ, a symbol of humility in paintings and/or a sign of Christ's second coming.  The lily symbolizes life to Pagans.

Care should be taken not to ingest or allow animals to chew on this perennial as many references state that some parts of it are toxic.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tall Bearded Iris

Hardiness Zone 3B

This Iris was planted in June in a backyard garden by a pond with a southwest exposure in Red Deer, Alberta. This iris has large, ruffled powder blue flowers with a soft yellow "beard".  It grows best in full sun and prefers a rich, well-drained loamy soil.  It will grow to a height of 90-100 cm or 3-2 1/2 feet.  It grows well in zones 3-9 so should do well in Central Alberta.  There was a "Caution: Harmful if eaten" tag with the plant.

Moses Fire Daylily

Hardiness Zone 3B
This day lily  was planted in June in a backyard garden by a pond with a southwest exposure in Red Deer, Alberta.  The flowers are a double cherry red. The plant will grow to 45 to 60 cm tall which is about a foot and a half to two feet.  

First blooms were noticed in mid July 2013.

Royal Frosting DayLily

Hardiness Zone 3B
This day lily  was planted in June in a backyard garden by a pond with a southwest exposure in Red Deer, Alberta.  The flowers are a near white with ruffled edges and a lemon to green throat.  The blooms measure 5 inches wide and the plant will grow to 36 inches tall. A coating of diamond dusting makes this lily shimmer in the sunlight.  It is listed as hardiness zone 4-8 therefore we will have to wait to see how it does in this Central Alberta Climate.  Stay posted for further updates.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kelsey Flowering Crab

This is one of four flowering crab trees that grow in a backyard in Red Deer, Alberta. This tree grows best in full sun.  In our backyard none of the locations are ideal as there are many other mature trees which create a lot of shade.  Nonetheless, the trees have grown satisfactorily.  In the spring, the flowers are a joy to behold.  They do create messy berries later in the season which tend to last until the birds eat them or they are raked up in the following early spring.  The tree is known to grow to be about 15 feet tall with a spread of 12 feet and a clearance of 4 feet from the ground.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Hardiness Zone 3B
May Long Weekend 2013
This saskatoon bush grows in a backyard with a southwest exposure in Red Deer, Alberta.     It was planted between the garden shed and the fence two years ago.  This spring it was covered with blossoms for the first time.  Saskatoon berries are native to Alberta.   This bush thrives on most soils with plenty of organic matter and prefer slightly acidic soil.  They don't like wet roots but need to be watered consistently in order to establish the bush and for plump berries.