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!

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!