Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Plant Obsession, Hydrangea paniculata 'Kyushu'

I am completely obsessed. I first saw this beautiful and interesting Hydrangea in the book 'Lois Hole's Favorite Trees and Shrubs'. I started browsing the Hydrangea aisles more carefully, but never came across one.

During a quick trip through the garden centre of a hardware store, I spotted 2, in amongst some Limelight and Little Lamb. I bought one for myself, and one for a friend (well I couldn't just leave it there, could I?).

Since planting it mid-summer, I've been crazy about it. It is my first Hydrangea, and I have since added 2 Uniques. I'm also considering a Limelight, and possibly an Endless Summer, if I can manage to keep the soil acidified enought to maintain the beautiful blue colour.

'Kyushu' is hardy to zone 3, when grown in a sheltered location, and grows to 8-10ft tall and wide, It is often trained (or grafted?) to a treeform, and then makes a wonderful focal point in a formal setting. There are lots of images of the treeform variety online if anyone is interested in seeing one.

The panicles are around 8 inches long, and have only 10% showy sterile florets. This gives them a very open and airy shape, and they are easily held up by the branches.

This beautiful plant is named after the Japanese island where it comes from. For those of you who love Hydrangeas, there is a wealth of information (& photos) on many varieties in the Royal Horticultural Society 'Hydrangea paniculata Trials Bulletin', available here.

What is your plant obsession?

Monday, November 23, 2009

One Post, Two Awards, Geese, Horses & Muffins.

I am absolutely honoured to have been selected for not one, but two wonderful awards. The "Honest Scrap Award", from Deborah at Green Theatre, and the "Best Blog Award" from Noelle (aka azplantlady) at Plant Tips and Guidelines for the Desert Garden. Both of Deborah and Noelle are very special to me. I truly hope I haven't offended either of you by combining both awards into one post, it just seemed to make sense to me.

Deborah (a fellow Canadian) with her wonderful comments & insight, and watching her Kilbourne Grove develop is just enthralling. Living in a somewhat similar zone, I am able to gain lots of useful information, and ideas that I can try to incoporate in my garden. She's also brilliant ;).

Noelle, in Arizona is a breath of fresh air. I am introduced to plants I've never seen before, and a landscape that is vastly different and beautiful. I'm counting on her beautiful blooms to carry me through the cold, dark winter days ahead.

As I was walking today, I saw a large flock of geese, gathering together before heading south. They were spread out across a lake, with numbers in the hundreds. They made me think of all of the bloggers out there, and so I'll include a picture of them:

Just a note, I realize that many of the blogs I mention will have already received one or both awards, but I will re-award them regardless, since they are a cherished part of my blogging community.

I'll start with the Honest Scrap Award:

The rules are:

A. Brag about the award.


'Dance of Joy, Dance of Joy, my very first blogging award, I'm surprised and honoured that someone thinks so highly of me, I must be great (is that enough?).

B. Link back to the person who gave it to you.

Thank You to Deborah at Green Theatre.

C. Share 10 honest things about yourself.

1) I don't eat blue food. As established in Kiki's post, I have a true blue essence, but not when it comes to food.
2) I have lived in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.
3) I worked in plant genetics research before becoming a stay at home mom.
4) I love nature and wilderness, but am absolutely terrified of bears. Not a great combo living near the Rockies.
5) I really love to cook, I find it as relaxing and rewarding as gardening. I could slice and dice vegetables all day. I sometimes photograph food, and may blog about it one day. I've been tempted to add a recipe here and there but want to stick to one topic. Except today ;).
6) A major passion in my life is horses. I've been smitten since childhood and have been actively involved for decades. For other equestrians out there, Dressage is my discipline of choice.
7) I get a lot of enjoyment out of a quiet cup of coffee with a close friend.
8) I am a big fan of anything that Christopher Guest is involved in.
9) I miss the glorious fall colours of Eastern Canada.
10) Eggplants are perfect.

D. Give the award to 7 more bloggers who inspire you.

Northern Shade is the inspiration for my blogging, I wandered into the blog looking for information on the Mockorange 'blizzard', and was Wowed by the beautiful pictures and knowledgable information. We are both in Alberta, so much of the information is directly applicable to my garden. I had started taking pictures as a record of my garden, and around the same time I started exploring other garden blogs. So I decided to give it a try.

The Garden MsS at Gardening with Lattitude. A beautiful, kind gardener with an adorable youngster. Her blog is lovely and her comments are always appreciated.

Kiki, at Awake with Charm and Spirit. She is a wonderful and enchanted soul. Her blog always gives me a boost of positive energy.

Tatyana from My Secret Garden. Her garden is out of this world gorgeous, she is pleasant and delightful and a joy to correspond with.

Lona, at A Hocking Hills Garden. Her posts always tell a beautiful story and are loaded with stunning pictures.

The Informal Gardener, miss m. Her garden in the Laurentian Mountains takes me back to my childhood. Her fall pictures were wonderful and her posts are always a delight.

Jan, at Thanks for 2day. Her blog name says it all, a wonderful, positive attitude and lovely pictures & collages.

Pravesh, at Whatever. Her garden fairy captured my heart, and her blog in South Africa is filled with pictures of tropical plants.

And now for The Best Blog Award:

Post the award on your blog along with the name of the person who passed it on to you and link to their blog. Then be sure to leave them a comment to let them know that they have been chosen. Choose blogs which you have recently discovered and you think are great and pass it on to them.

Thank you Noelle aka azplantlady @ Plant Tips and Guidelines for the Desert Garden

Here is my list, in no particular order. I'm very sorry if I've forgotten anyone, it was not intentional.

Northern Shade

Green Theatre

Gardening with Lattitude

Awake with Charm and Spirit

Informal Gardener

The Galloping Gardener


The Urban Gardener

My Secret Garden

Garden Joy 4 Me

A Gardener in Progress

Dung Hoe

Thanks for 2 day

Does Everything Grow Better in My Neighbours Yard

Jocko's Plot

The Urban Balcony

A Hocking Hills Garden

This list makes me realize how very boring my blog name is, but I really had intended it for personal use only, otherwise I may have come up with something much more clever.

And since this a completely wacky and self indulgant post, I am going to add the following.

I think this video is gorgeous, anyone who appreciates gardens and/or horses will enjoy it. I prefer to watch it with the volume off, I find the narration doesn't add anything and may detract a little.

And here's recipe for you,

Pumpkin Muffins

Blend together:
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup melted butter or margerine
1/4 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)

Combine the following, and add to above.
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger

The batter is quite thin, so it's easy to mix by hand with a whisk. Grease 18 muffin cups and fill ~3/4. Bake 25-30 mins at 350C.

Enjoy! And it's been a pleasure meeting all of you. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Summer pictures that didn't make the first cut.

I was going through pictures from this summer, and for some reason I passed these over. I didn't like them enough at the time, or they didn't seem to fit anywhere. Seeing them again, I think they are lovely. Here they are, a last summer hurrah.

This is my first Stella D'Oro Daylily, isn't she pretty?

Here is the little peony that I rescued, I hope it flourishes in it's new home.

I think this Obedient Plant is very attractive.

Here's a picture of my Midnight Wine Weigela, the new foliage is green and it matures to a dark purple. I like the combination of colours.

This lovely tree is a white lilac. It's location is horrible, squeezed between 2 houses, a big spruce and a fence. It does well and has gorgeous blooms despite the challenges it faces.

I'm very fond of this flower on my False Sunflower, it was twice as big as the others, and much lighter in colour. It almost shouted 'look at me' every time I walked by.

I can't believe how well these grow, they started off so small and took a few years to look like anything, but 3-4 years later they are enormous.

Another picture of my Blue Star Petunias & Lobelia, I think they are so pretty, cascading over the wall.

Pretty berries on my Cotoneaster Hedge. I forgot how light they were now that they've matured to a much darker colour.

I planted a Snowdrop Anemone, it's a lovely happy flower that grows well in the shade. I've heard the spread well, I hope it does.

I hope all of the summer beauties come back next year.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Butchart Gardens

(This photograph was taken quite a few years ago, in the springtime)
(I'm going with the theory that words in brackets don't count ;) )

Shades of Blue.

Kikivee's wonderful post "The Colour Essence of Blues" got me thinking of some of my favorite plants, so here they are. Many 'blue' flowers seem to be more purple, but have a similar effect in the garden, and give off a similar feeling. I find it to be the most difficult colour to photograph, the colours not staying quite true to life. I also enjoy blue tinged foliage, and try to add it when possible. Here is a tour in shades of blue.

Blue Elf Dwarf Delphinium, probably the truest blue I have, and I really enjoy the shape of the flowers.

Here are some little blue violas I planted this year, they produced a lot of seed, and will probably become a permanent addition on their own.

This is one of my favorite annuals, the Blue Star Petunia...

...which I always plant with blue & white lobelia.

These are the flowers of Jacob's Ladder, polemonium caeruleum.

This painted daisy is more purple than blue, but I think it's very pretty.

In the foreground is Campanula portenschlagiana 'get mee', it is a very pretty little bellflower.

My favorite, however, is the Fairy Thimble Bellflower (Campanula cochlearifolia), the shape of the little bells is just charming.

Here's another Campanula, 'Carpatica' (Carpathian Bellflower). I've had white ones for years, but added some blue ones early this season.

Here are a few pictures of my H.F. Young Clematis. I wasn't sure what to expect from it, but was very pleasantly surprised by the beautiful large blue blooms.

This Dwarf Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus 'Astra Blue') reminds me of the above clematis, and is planted near the base. I think I'll add more as a groundcover, to keep the clematis roots shaded.

On the right, is the foliage of a Blue Fox Willow.

And here is a Blue Arrow Juniper. There are 2 large Blue Spruce trees in our yard, and it's nice to have some coordiating foliage.

Lastly, some lavender fall asters. Unfortunately the early snow shortened the bloom time considerably.

Thank you Kiki, for the inspiration. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mademoiselle Lemoine, Do you know what season it is?

My young treeform Mme Lemoine Lilac seems a little confused, the large green buds are very spring like, all of the other lilacs have hardened off. I hope she's alright for the winter. I'm looking forward to bright white flowers next spring.

A little splash of fall colour, along with plenty of berries. I don't rememeber having so much fruit before, but it may just be more visible with the early leaf drop this year.

The red branches of the Ivory Halo Dogwood are beautiful, this one receives very little sun but still develops good colour.

The little Rhododendron is having a nice fall.

And because it's that time of year, there's always room for a ghost.

I really like the clematis seedheads, so round & soft. The remind me of a little tumbleweed or fuzzy alien (depending on my mood).

Where do the Ladybugs go for the winter? Jacob's Ladder won't stay green forever.

The new Coralberry seems to have transplanted well, the berries look a little dried out, but maybe that's normal for them this time of year.