Plants of the week from Gardens4u, take two…

These are my favourites this week…

Traditional Perennials: Roses, roses and more roses…because, in my opinion, you can never have too many roses…

Roses come in many colors and growth habits; climbers, shrubs, bushes and even trees.  They look awesome climbing a wall or fence, at the front of a perennial border, or towards the back of a large bed.  Although I have them under the traditional perennial category, the modern versions are much hardier and require less maintenance to keep them looking beautiful year after year.  With the exception of the yellow shrub rose pictured that only blooms for about one week, the other roses, especially the shrubs, in my garden bloom from June right through to a hard frost.  A few years ago the white one was still blooming in November!

Modern Perennials:  Goats Beard or Aruncus or Wild Spirea…

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I have only seen Goat’s Beard with white blooms, it is new to my knowledge base.  Please let me know if it comes in other colors too, it is absolutely striking!  In addition to the towering version shown here, it apparently comes in a dwarf variety as well.

Shrubs:  Weigela

The weigela in my garden is in tree form (right), although the bush form is much more common.  The tree form fits into the back of a border, especially in front of a fence, or veranda in this case.  One of my clients once talked me into cutting his weigela bush right back to about one foot tall because a backhoe was scheduled to work on his pool area and he thought the bush would get ruined.    I did cut it back, but was worried as the bush must have been six feet in diameter and five feet in height: spectacular.   I wish I had taken a picture of it to show you before and after the pruning.  It did survive the drastic hair cut, but is not quite as large yet two years later.

Vines:  Clematis

Clematis vines come in many colours too, from white to yellow to pink or blue and many shades of purple; all are beautiful ways to cover a wall or fence.  Some blooms are flat, singles and others have raised centers (doubles)  I have two that climb through a tree.  Unlike other vines, they will not damage a tree as their stems are very light, almost fragile.

Annuals:  Pansies

Pansies look like tiny, cheerful faces to me; I love them in containers of any kind.  They too come in many colors, although I do tend to go for the purple ones.

Stay tuned for next week’s picks…

Hello dear (pun intended)….Are you looking at me??

Deer are the reason we try to get off the back roads before dark on the way home from the cottage…

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The roads are winding and hilly with the deer running out of the woods and across the roads before you have the chance to see them and react.  This one looks like he’s saying “Are you looking at me?” or perhaps “What’s the problem?”

Plants of the week from Gardens4u

One of the best things about working in other people’s gardens is that I get to admire many different plants.  Many times I take time to snap a few pictures of my favourites, so I thought I would share them with you…

traditional perennials:  peonies

peonies come in white and many shades of pink, with single or double blossoms.  They are beautiful in bloom, but get pummelled by rain,  turning them into a soggy mess, so often we only get to enjoy their beauty for a short period.

modern perennials:  salvia

Salvias come in pink and all shades of purple.  My favourite is called purple rain (third picture)  Planted in a large group it makes an impressive statement in your garden.  Both pink and purple varieties contrast well with bright green or chartreuse foliage like the golden elderberry in the second picture.

shrubs:  ninebarks

Ninebarks make striking shrubs at the back of a border, in a row for a unique hedge, or planted in a container.  They too come in many varieties, with foliage ranging from golden green to a deep wine color. Some have small pom-pom like, pale pink or white flowers.  If you plant one in a container, be sure to choose one two zones lower than what is hardy in your garden.

vines:  golden hops

allum & golden hops vine

Vines make great privacy screens.  Many are fast growing, able to cover a bare spot on your fence in just one season.  The golden hops vine dies back to the ground each winter, but quickly greens up in the spring to a bright chartreuse green color, a perfect background for other plantings.  It is self adhesive, not requiring any staking or tying, but it can be invasive.  Simply pull out new shoots from areas you do not want them to spread to.

Those are my favourites this week, stay tuned for next week’s selections and more…

Another cottage project for Father’s Day

Last year on Father’s Day our sons brought a truck load of cedars up to the cottage for us to plant along the edges of our property for a privacy screen.  The project was a great success, a wonderful way to spend Father’s Day.

Everyone who owns a cottage knows there is always something to be done there.  We are currently in the middle of renovating a patio and deck, a job we decided to prioritize when our pipes froze and required digging up.   This year for Father’s Day our sons spent the day helping their dad work on this project…

Their hard work was topped off with a jump in the lake to cool and clean off, then a BBQ dinner, before they headed back to the city for a soccer game…

Even the weather co-operated; the forecasted rain and thunderstorms held off until our ride home later that evening.  The flowers have nothing to do with the project, just thought I would add them in as they were blooming beautifully this past weekend.

Hopefully this gift of time for Father’s Day becomes a tradition; I know it is much appreciated!

Just how cold was this past winter in the Ottawa area?

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This past winter was so cold our buried water pipe running between the lake and our cottage froze in Ompah, Ontario.  This has never happened before and the cottage was built way back in 1972.  Apparently the frost line was deeper than normal for this area of Canada this winter.  Digging down to find the buried water pipe, we found the ground frozen solid six feet down!  Fortunately, the soil at the cottage is sandy rather than full of clay as it is here in Kanata, although it was still a big job.  The pipe was rerouted so it no longer goes under the covered patio, but instead will be snow covered for better insulation in winters to come.

The good news is we had planned (eventually) to rebuild the patio, so the frozen pipe turned out to be motivation to start the patio project…