Welcome to The Tranquil Garden

I hope you will enjoy the journey I'm starting today. I welcome all your comments and questions on my blog posts and hope you will find my observations about my garden interesting and possibly helpful. I am not an expert (far from it!), so this will be a learning experience all round. I'm planning to do research when questions come up that I can't answer. Frankly, the only reason I feel qualified to write a blog is because anyone can do it! The reason I chose to blog about gardening is because I love it, and I think it's therapeutic to get one's hands (or gardening gloves) dirty by planting things that with luck, educated guesses and a bit of sun and rain, will grow!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This Blog has moved!

Feel free to click on my title and check out my new Tranquil Garden website!  All my old posts are there and lots of  new stuff as well.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Garden Bed!

I haven't done a whole lot of serious gardening this week or so, but one of those glorious days we had last weekend found me enjoying every minute of it, digging a new garden bed. Without having any overall garden plan, I do have a rough idea of what I'd like to aim towards in the Tranquil Garden. One thing I'd like to do is gradually phase out more and more lawn areas and create more flower beds in their place. When it comes to gardening, it helps to be realistic about how you function. If you are a high-energy person with lots of enthusiasm and a lot of free time, feel free to go wild! Plan and dig out a pond, for instance, or decide that this is the year you're going to take out all the lawn and make your yard into a mini botanical garden. Knowing myself as a fairly low-energy person who can easily get overwhelmed by large projects, however, I have done all my gardening gradually, every year a little more flower bed, a little less grass in the yard. I like to look at the shape of the beds and think about what pleases my eye and what doesn't and where the next bed would like to be.
If you have beds in the usual backyard way, i.e. all around the perimeter, leaving a large, easy square or rectangle in the middle to mow and for the kids and dog to play in, then digging holes in the middle might not work for you. One day, however, when the kids are grown up and the dog dies, (or better still, you've trained him not to go through your flowers!) you may feel inspired to do something different with your garden. If you wonder how to make a start, try this: fall in love with a large plant at a garden centre that you absolutely have no place for in your present set-up. That's when you'll feel compelled to dig a new spot for it in the middle of your lawn and then the fun and creativity begins! Once you've dug one such bed, it's easy to make it a little bigger so you can group a few plants together, perhaps dividing a couple of perennials you already have that are getting too big and cosying them up to your new plant.

I have tried a couple of methods for 'reclaiming lawn' for the garden, both of which work well. For an area that's not too big (for example, mine last week was about two feet by four feet), start by outlining the area you want to dig with a hose or piece of rope. Then take an edger or sharp spade and dig along the outline. Then you can continue with the spade to divide the sod inside your outline into manageable chunks that you can lift without hurting yourself. Shake off the excess soil from each chunk of sod as you lift it out of your new bed, carefully saving all the earthworms you see and returning them to the soil. Keep doing that until you've removed all the grass including as much of the root system as you possibly can. The pieces of sod can be planted elsewhere if you have a place for them, or composted, or put out with the garden waste pick-up or (last resort) put in the garbage. I wouldn't put them into a regular backyard composter, except maybe after they dry out and die and then only a portion at a time, or the chemical balance needed for breakdown in your composter might go out of whack. Before you plant anything in your new bed, amend the soil with some compost, composted manure or shredded leaf mould and perhaps a bit of topsoil, sand or peat moss, depending on what your soil seems to need.
The other method is best performed in early autumn. Have on hand the following:
lots of newspaper
compost or manure (several bags)
blood meal
cedar mulch (several bags)
garden hose
-Decide on the shape you want your bed to be by outlining as above with a hose or rope. Mow the area. Lay down the newspaper all over the outlined area, one or two sheets at a time, hosing down the paper between layers. You should lay eight to ten layers of newspaper.
-Spread compost or manure mixed with topsoil in three-inch layer all over the newspaper, sprinkle blood meal liberally all over the compost layer.
-Spread mulch in a layer at least another 3 inches thick all over the bed.
-Water very well and continue to water well- unless there's plenty of rain- until the snow flies. -Leave undisturbed for the winter and well into the next spring or summer. Don't rush, as you're waiting for the grass and newspaper mixture to break down. When you feel you can't wait any longer, start planting things by digging a hole through the layers, including the paper (which should be soggy and shapeless by now) and sticking the plant into the hole and planting in the usual way. The advantages to this method are that you don't have to find a way to dispose of the sod, or even dig it out in the first place, and you're actually using the grass to feed the soil, instead. The disadvantage is having to wait quite awhile before planting.
I'm including a picture of the new bed (pre-planting) that I dug recently. Only one plant has made it so far, an upright type of clematis. I may plant some tulip bulbs and perhaps some silver thyme and perennial creeping phlox as well. Who knows?

P.S. I made a few changes to the blog, check them out!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Transplanting and Planting

Today I divided an ornamental grass plant that had become too large and dense and was threatening to take over. I gave one third to my best gardening pal, Linda, and moved another third to a spot beside the deck on her advice, leaving the last part in its original position. The early spring and fall are generally considered the best times of year to divide perennials; in the fall they've done most of their growing for the season and their blooms have withered and gone, but there is still time for their roots to take hold before the ground freezes.

In general, if you've got a large bed of perennials such as black-eyed susans or echinecea, it's easy to simply take a spade, dig out part of it and move it somewhere else without much fuss. Dig around the roots enough so they've got earth still packed around them. You can cut cleanly through the roots with the spade and dig up as much as you want. That kind of perennial that sends out new shoots from their underground root system can sprawl incredibly in a few seasons so it's a good idea to keep them in check before they crowd out all the other plants.

Here's how to transplant, divide and replant a clump-like plant that's grown too big:
1) Water the plant to be divided (or a new plant about to be transplanted from a pot) very well, preferably earlier in the day or the day before. If you forget to do this, make sure you water it well anyway, and wait at least a few minutes or as long as you can.
2) When transplanting (or planting a new plant) to a new site, dig a hole a few inches deeper and wider than the root ball (for shrubs and larger plants, a good 6-12 inches deeper), amend the soil with a shovelful of compost or well-composted manure or leaf mould and some bone meal (which encourages root growth); mix these in the bottom of the hole with some of the soil and wet it with some diluted fish fertilizer if you have any. Prepare the new hole before you dig out the plant destined for division. The less time the plant spends out of its hole, the better.
3) Now, dig out the whole plant (this is what I did today with the grass plant, and it wasn't too bad since the roots weren't deep). Starting a few inches away from the base of the plant and up to 12 inches for a larger plant, dig with a sharp spade and deep enough to get most of the roots. The roots you can't dig out should be cut with a sharp pair of clippers, rather than just yanked and torn, which does more damage to the plant.
4) With the plant on the ground in front of you, take two pitch forks (or try it with one if you don't have two) and try to ease the plant apart at the point you've marked for division. If the root system is too dense (such was the case with my ornamental grass plant) use pruners to cut the roots. At the same time, cut out any dead or sickly looking branches to thin out the whole plant.
5) Place the root ball in the hole so that the base of the plant is slightly lower than the ground around it so that water will flow towards the plant and not away from it.
6) Fill the space around the plant with the remaining soil, tamp down and water very well. This is an important step because the water will help the soil fill in any air pockets around the roots as well as encouraging new growth. Keep watering more often than usual for a couple of weeks until the plant is well established.

That is a basic method for planting/replanting that works very well. If you're in a hurry or just plain lazy, you can usually dig out parts of plants without pulling out the whole thing, but a lot of plants benefit from the process above. Another point to remember is that plants have different soil and light needs and it's a good idea to check into their individual requirements before you plant. Here is a partial list of plants that can be transplanted right now or in the next couple of weeks:

Irises: dig out the whole plant using a pitch fork or spade, cut between the bulbous parts (the rhizomes) from which the leaves are springing, then replant the parts, leaving most of the bulbous parts showing but burying the long stringy roots, not forgetting the compost and bone meal, water in as usual.
Peonies: they're a bit finicky to transplant and may not flower much for a year or so, but if you're putting them in a better spot (sun vs. shade for instance), they'll thank you for it with wonderful growth and flowers sooner or later.
Black-eyed susans
Herbs like oregano, thyme, mint, lavender
Shrubs and trees: the instructions are basically the same as for regular perennials but the hole is bigger! Check for specific instructions for individual specimens and make sure you plan ahead to find a spot that fits the mature plant, some shrubs grow much larger than you imagine!

Once you've finished your hard work, make yourself a cocktail such as the "White Lady" shown in my photo, and relax, you've earned it!

P.S. This is also the time of year to plant your spring-flowering bulbs! I will post something about that next time. I hope this answers your question, AJ! Thanks for posting!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


This was one of those amazing fall days that you just want to exploit for all it's worth. I woke up and thought, maybe I'll go for a run...no, I'll ride my bike...no, I'll work in the garden...no I'll go for a long walk on the mountain... I couldn't pin down what I wanted to do, but it had to be outside! In the end I did a tiny bit of most of the above and was just enthralled with the perfection of the weather. When I finally ended up in the garden at five o'clock, I couldn't get over how wonderful the flowers looked. They were like those aging movie stars who refuse to get work done; instead they age in that sensuous way that some people with good bones and lots of dignity seem to do. You can't stop staring at those people, right? Well, I couldn't stop staring at my fading blooms, either.

However, there are some blooms that are just coming into their prime at this time of year and they include...asters! I remember looking at asters years ago and thinking they were a drab little flower. When they start blooming in the tranquil garden in September however, they are anything but drab. I was probably looking at those small, light blue, unexciting wild asters you see on the side of the road. These ones are the ones you buy to brighten up the deck or yard when your planters are well past their best and you want to toss them and put something else on display. Whatever you do, don't throw out your asters after they have brightened up your deck for a month! Plant them in your garden and they will give you pleasure year after year. The same goes for some of the mums you can buy right now. I have one mum in the garden that has buds all over it. I can't wait to see what colour it is.
Asters and mums are saving my garden and giving it the last excitement before the end of the growing season. I love them!
A note about the colour of these asters. The blue one is actually bright purple in my garden and the pink one is really deep magenta. Not being a photographer, I don't quite know why the photos are coming out the wrong colour. I probably need to adjust something on my camera but I don't know how. I will try to figure it out with some help from my friends and get it right for future posts. At least they're still pretty!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Japanese anemone and Joe Pye weed

I mentioned in an earlier post that my best gardener friend, Linda, gave me three plants from her garden and I'm happy to report that they're all doing famously. I'm especially impressed with the Japanese anemone (shown at right and below with hosta), which is blooming(!) despite having little foliage and enduring a bit of a drought while I was away on vacation. I really thought it was a goner, but naturally I watered it anyway and, voila! Back to life. Never despair when you see leaves wilting badly after some hot sunny weather; most plants can bounce back pretty well with just a few leaves lost in the process. Any plant that can't endure a little neglect will never last in my garden. (Did I mention I toyed with the name "The Lazy Gardener" for this blog?). I'm going to post a picture of the anemone in bloom, because I think it's going to turn out to be a favourite of mine. It's spunky, (another polite term for 'invasive'), but according to on-line sources it's easy to keep in check. At this time of year when a lot of flowers are past their flowering periods, it's satisfying to have a bed of jolly blooms that doesn't need much encouragement.

Joe Pye Weed (see below) is another late summer blooming perennial that I've been wanting to plant in my garden. It's very tall (up to six feet!) and takes up quite a bit of space but the flowers are lovely and it's actually not so weedy despite its name (and who could resist a plant with such a name?). I will post a photo drawn from the web since I don't have any in my garden. I guess it'll have to wait until next year unless I happen to discover a neglected orphan at a garden center waiting for a good home; or another gardening friend happens to want to donate one!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The View from my Hammock

I've had it mind for a good while to post a photo of the view from my hammock, which you can see below right (click on it to enlarge). My hammock is tied to the chestnut tree that resides in a corner of my garden and the view from it is comprised of the beautiful leaves of that tree that make up the canopy as you sway and stare sweetly upward. Although I rarely indulge myself by lying in that hammock, it's important that it is there, inviting me to remember the lightness of being that I have when I take the time to visit that corner. More often than not I stand hesitatingly on the deck, considering whether I "have the time" to spend 15 minutes in contemplation and relaxation swaying in the breeze and finally I turn regretfully away. The time for swaying in hammocks is drawing to a close for this year, but I intend to grab 15 minutes very soon before I have to take down the hammock and put it away until spring.

Today is the first fall-like day after that horrible heat wave of last week and it brings relief because I can spend time outside without dropping of heat exhaustion; but it also gives me a pang knowing the garden is going to be dying back soon and the growing season will be over. Before that happens though, there are all the fall chores to do: cutting back all the dead foliage, raking leaves to save for the composter, taking in the birdbath and other garden ornaments, putting away the hammock, drying some of the herbs that will not go to waste (for once!), putting away the hoses, etc, etc. But let's not despair because it's only September 5th and there is still plenty of time before the first frost for beauty to continue its reign in the garden.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vacation Musings

One thing I love about traveling is noticing how gardens vary from one part of the world to another. Of course this has a lot to do with growing zones; but just as no two gardeners will create the same garden in the same region, there must be differences that arise from culture, traditions of that particular region, local gardening trends, etc.. I find it fascinating and, though the contrasts are not glaring from Nova Scotia to Quebec, there are some worth noting.
Walking through Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, yesterday, my husband and I were struck by the number of a particular kind of hydrangea that we saw in front of many of the colourfully painted, cedar-sided houses just outside the "downtown core" (okay, the main street!). After doing a little on-line research, I discovered that it is called "peegee hydrangea" and is a tree-type. The ones we saw had off-white clusters with pink tinges extravagantly covering the whole tree. The picture is one I took myself and is quite typical of the ones we saw.

Another plant I noticed in a couple of gardens was a rhododendron or possibly an azalea (hmmm...I should know the difference! Hold the phone...). What struck me was the size of these plants! I saw more than one that would have been more at home in the tropics, it was so enormous. Also, it had buds on it, and I thought these were spring-flowering plants. The photo I took is below, right. The plant is so large that there is sizeable maple seedling growing up through it that probably has gone unnoticed until recently.

Right, I'm back-- and now I know that Rhododendron is the genus name (spelled with a capital "R") and azaleas are a species of that genus (lower-case "a"). I always wondered about that. I also learned that there are indeed late-summer flowering types, although most seem to bloom in spring. There you are! You're welcome! They prefer acidic soil and semi-shade, too, FYI. I found a terrific site in case you're interested in growing these finicky babies in your garden. http://landscaping.about.com/cs/treesshrubs/a/rhodo_azaleas_2.htm

I'm going to end this for now, but I'm posting a picture of a garden bed I saw beside Notre-Dame in Paris. It's quite a different style than you'd find here, but beautiful. The bed is mostly low-growing annuals (verbena, perhaps?), but here and there a tulip pops up. If it had only been one or two tulips in someone's private garden bed I would have said that they were just strays forgotten by a squirrel or missed by the gardener, but these seemed to be deliberately planted that way. In Canadian gardens tulips are invariably planted "en masse" for the head-turning effect that produces, but why not try this sometime? Pick the right colours and it could be just as alluring and just think of all the gardeners who would stand staring quizzically at your front garden, wondering "Was this an accident? Do I like it?" Food for thought...this is how trends start!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

More Rose Ruminations and Conundrums

HI, All,

I got a question via FB about roses so I thought I'd put my answer (such as it is!) here on the blog so if anyone else finds it helpful to their gardening journey, all the better! Here's my friend's note:

"...Wilderness is winning in my backyard, but on the plus side, I do have some new growth on two rosebushes that I thought were completely dead! Oh - the lone rosebush in my front yard is about 8 feet tall with no blooms whatsoever - is there anything I can do about that? I'm going to cut it in half, just so it doesn't look so ridiculously floppy, but I'm happy to get some advice on that one..."

I have a few rose bushes in my yard, some that bloom no matter what and others that bloom reluctantly. I do find I have some success with the following policies:

1) I always prune the bushes fairly hard in the spring, down to an outward-facing bud about 8 inches to a foot from the ground on each main branch and I cut out the weaker looking branches plus any dead wood. Always prune on an angle so the rain can drip to the ground and doesn't pool where the stump is and cause rot.

2) Also in the spring I add a shovelful of compost or composted manure around the drip-line of the rose bush and sort of gently scrape it into the top inch or so of the earth. Also, I've started spreading a cup or so of epsom salts around each bush with the compost. This is supposed to stimulate blooming as well and it seems to be helping my more reluctant bloomers.

3) Roses are sun-worshippers so if your rose isn't blooming it may not be getting enough sun. Don't hesitate to move it to a different spot, preferably in spring. I can do another post this fall on transplanting, since fall is another good time to transplant most perennials. Also, water roses liberally at the roots, avoiding the leaves so you don't encourage blackspot and mildew.

4) Your eight-foot rose bush, has it ever bloomed? What kind of blooms does it have and when? It definitely may need some major pruning, but at this point in the year you might be better off going gently on it and doing the major job in the spring. Do cut out any dead branches, dead-head any spent blooms and thin out the inner branches and shape it gently all around.

That's all I have time for now, but I'll write more soon! Roses are touchy creatures but their blooms and scent (if any!) are worth the trouble. I'll talk later about dealing with the insects that seem to love them as much as we do.

Happy Gardening!

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Plantings!

I am lucky enough to have a good friend who is also an avid gardener and who is very generous with her plants (when they're big enough to be split, of course!). Today I planted the last of three items she generously gave me (thanks, Linda!).

The first was a perennial anemone that is listed as an "easy" plant if you look it up on the World Wide Web (aka, the "Internets"). I actually ended up dividing the portion she gave me into three plantings, which probably means I will be over-run with them in a couple of years, but they're so pretty I may never put them on my "love-hate" list. It was suggested that they would fare well amongst the hostas so that's exactly where I put one of them, the others ended up at the back of the garden along the fence.

The second is bee balm, which I have been wanting in my garden forever, so I'm pretty excited about it. I seem to end up with way too much pink and yellow in my yard in mid-summer, so now I have a lovely red bee balm (aka, monarda, or bergamot) to break it up with. This is a very tall plant (Linda's is at least 5 feet tall) so it needs to be planted with that in mind. Of course, I stuck it in the center of my center garden bed, a place of honour that I may come to regret!

The third is a purple butterfly bush that is potentially an even larger plant (6-15 feet tall). I planted it in front of the deck to hide the hot tub from the garden, but now I'm thinking if it gets that big it'll hide the garden from the deck... Oh, well, I can move it again some other day but I had to get it in the ground before going away on vacation, so I'll think about re-considering its home at a later date.

Looking forward to vacation, but will miss the Tranquil Garden! Happy Gardening, all of you!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beauties that Wear out their Welcome

I mentioned in my first post that I yanked out a bed of perennial geraniums that was obnoxiously elbowing out its neighbours. The sad aspect of this story is that these geraniums are lovely, prolific bloomers that come in several colours (pink, purple, blue and white, etc)and can really fill out an empty space quickly. Therefore, it's tempting to accept a donation of such a plant (easily obtained for free, not surprisingly) from one's mother-in-law or friend. Accept such presents under advisement! They can be wonderful, but plant them in an area where they have room to grow and won't inhibit the growth of others. Here is a short list of other plants with whom I've had a love/hate relationship.

Chinese Lantern: More of a hate-hate relationship; bought it on a whim, planted it in an isolated spot and watched while it popped up twenty feet away across the driveway. To be avoided!
Bachelor's Buttons: A nondescript plant, whose leaves grow up from the ground almost like an iris, produces vibrant, blue three-to-four inch flowers with lacy edges. Very prolific, sprouts up everywhere, but actually fairly easy to keep under control and a repeat bloomer if you dead-head it regularly.
Oregano: A wonderful herb that flowers abundantly in sunlight and spreads like wild fire. I'm intending to cut it back, but I keep seeing the bees landing on it so have hesitated for their sake. Probably best grown in pots.
Black-eyed Susans: Lovely plant, but very vigorous. Dig out and give away the excess and enjoy its long-lived blooms
Echinacea: Same advice as the Susans. Comes in a few nice colours, the most common being pink.
Goutweed: Was afflicted with this plant in my previous garden and eventually had to dig it out completely and for all I know it has come back to haunt the present owners of the property. It's an awful creeper but I suppose has its uses if you just want to fill up a space with something other than grass. It has variegated (green and white) leaves and small white flowers that grow in bunches on a tall stalk. Quite pretty (she said, grudgingly...). To be avoided at all costs, in my humble opinion (IMHO).
That's it for now. I was going to add links to a couple of sites about geraniums etc., but I can't figure out how. I'll try to get that sorted out.

P.S. My sister tells me I should keep watering the Hawthorn for awhile because it might not be completely dead, so I'm going to do that and see what happens.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Tranquil Garden Philosophy

What feeds your soul? What activities or experiences make your heart sing? Those are some of the things that you have no control over in your life; that you can't be logical about or choose. For that reason, they are part of the primal "you" and should be acknowledged, wondered at and cherished. The things that feed my soul are music (playing great music or listening to it);reading wonderful books; hanging out with my loved ones (friends and family); and gardening or being in the garden, just observing what's going on there. It's amazing how an activity can be the stuff of life for one person and leave another entirely cold, but there you are. One of the mysteries of life. I could try to explain how being in the garden makes me tranquil, settles me, gives me pleasure, exercises both body and mind in a meditative way, but if you don't experience it you'd have to compare it with some other activity that does the same sort of thing for you. For instance, I suspect that my husband gets that same sort of enjoyment out of playing the tuba. I don't really "get it", since I don't play the tuba and have no wish to, but it works for him. It gives him contentment and relaxation, or something that defies explanation. We both play trombone for a living, and I think we both enjoy it a lot, but the tuba gives him something the trombone doesn't. The tuba is his "garden".

Although there are garden jobs I avoid and think I don't prefer them, once I start to do them I tend to get into a rhythm that has a pleasure all its own. I'll think, "Oh, God, the weeding...it's endless, I can't possibly do it today," and put it off. However, if I happen to be in the garden, thinking of something else-- just doing my garden tour, as I call it-- I might absentmindedly notice a weed in a bed and pull it out, then another and another until I've pulled out all the weeds within a certain radius. At that point I come out of my reverie to see that I've made that little part of the garden more beautiful and I feel more relaxed and happy than when I started. That's the beginning of the explanation of why I love gardening.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Don't do this in YOUR Garden!

On the right you can see a photo of a tree I transplanted to make way for our new deck. Correction: I procrastinated so long about transplanting it and where to put it that my contractor and his assistant ended up transplanting it. That's not as bad a scenario as it sounds on paper because my contractor is also a gardener (or at least he tells me so!). I trust him so I agreed that he'd better go ahead and move it, since time was of the essence at that point. He watered it in well at the time and I gave it one more good watering but then I forgot about it completely for a couple of weeks. As you can see, it didn't appreciate the neglect. There are a few partially green leaves still on the tree but I don't hold out much hope for it. It's a hawthorn, in case you were wondering. I planted it a couple of years ago because I wanted a tree that would provide some shade (but not TOO much shade) for our patio. This particular variety of hawthorn doesn't actually have thorns; except on the little shoots that come up from the base of the tree--they're covered in wicked ones! Another case of genetic manipulation I guess, where the genes just won't be repressed over the long term. (My sister will chime in and let me know what actually is going on there, I hope). I'm sorry that the hawthorn didn't make it because it actually produced lovely little pink flowers in clusters in the spring.

Anyway, I'm thinking of transplanting my little Japanese Maple into that corner when I take out the hawthorn, although I have some concern that it will shade my raspberries over the long term. (Come to think of it, that was the reason I hesitated to transplant my hawthorn to that spot.) In the short term I'm not too worried because it's only about 2 feet tall, a gift from my gardening sister. It will look lovely there I think, when it grows up a bit....as long as I remember to water it...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rose Ruminations

After a bad night's sleep and a full morning of chores ahead of me before we head out for the weekend, I suspect that I won't be getting around to planting the other Day lily I bought this week, so I thought I'd post about a little rose bush that is a favourite of mine. It's called Romantic Ruffle (no doubt it has a fancy Latin name, but I swear it's not on the tag, which by miracle I still have!) and it's a deep pink with lighter tints on the ruffles, growing lighter as the bloom fades. I've transplanted this rose at least three times and every time it manages to bounce back.This year I had to move it because we added a deck to the house. As you can see by the photo, it barely hesitated in it's blooming. Unfazed, it just happily keeps going. The second time I transplanted it, I was amazed to see some lighter leaves being produced after awhile, on taller stalks than I was used to seeing (this is almost a dwarf plant, it never grows above about 18 inches high). Then, lo and behold, there were even different coloured flowers turning up and the lovely dark pink ones were disappearing. Luckily, my sister (my source for lots of gardening advice) was visiting around that time and she explained that the plant I had bought had been grafted onto a more hardy root so that it could do well in our climate and the transplanting must have stimulated its production. Now, as long as I keep a sharp eye out for those lighter leaves and stalks and nip them off right away, my favourite rose keeps on looking healthy and producing lovely blooms.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day One

Today I planted a new Day Lily. I've been gazing at some neighbourhood day lilies and feeling quite envious of them so when I was at Reno Depot yesterday buying wasp traps I impulsively bought two of them. (At $6.99 per plant I thought it was a deal). They're large and when I cut open the first pot to get ready to plant it, I found that it was quite root-bound, not surprising, given the lateness of the season. They look healthy though so I hope that soaking them in water before planting them will loosen the roots enough to help them on their way to adapting to their new space. I even decided to try dividing the first plant (called Hemerocallis 'Cape Cod'- a gorgeous deep pink one) since it looked like it was ready for it. I really hope it works because that corner of the garden really needs a good sized bed of something that will look good from a distance. I'm sick of the perennial geranium that has taken over that bed and is starting to threaten the clematis it shares it with. I ruthlessly dug it out today, hoping I got all the roots. I doubt whether I've seen the last of it though, tenacious little begger!

I'm pretty excited about keeping this garden diary because up until now I've been absolutely awful about learning proper names for plants, especially the latin names! Species, cultivars, genus....all Greek to me. I tend to remember the homey names for plants, but that's not always reliable as they change from region to region sometimes. I'm hoping that by documenting my daily (or almost) forays into the garden I will keep better track of what I've planted and when, as well as the proper names!

I recently visited Le Jardin de Métis, (aka, The Reford Gardens) near Grand Métis, Québec. It was unbelievably beautiful and I had a glorious time there. My friends and I spent six hours that absolutely flew by, just wandering around the different beds and visiting the Garden Festival that is a yearly installation there. Elsie Reford, the original creator of the garden back in the first half of the 20th century, kept a scrupulous garden diary, jotting down notes on an almost daily basis. That was my inspiration! Her garden meanders; it has very few formal points and it is a garden after my own heart. Her creative process was impulsive, like mine. I don't think it's my nature to plan the way the books say you're supposed to. I start a new bed whenever I want a new plant (or an old one needs to be divided) and have nowhere to put it! I love that kind of organic process. At the same time I often procrastinate on projects because I'm "not sure", so I suppose there are drawbacks to my seat-of-my-pants approach.

Tomorrow I must plant the other Day Lily (Chicago Petitcoat's- a peachy coloured one) because I ran out of energy today and I'm going away for the weekend. A demain!