We have frost in the forecast for the Ottawa area tonight. Isn’t it a bit early for that? To me, it’s a nasty “f” word…
3:24 PM EDT Thursday 04 October 2018 Frost advisory in effect for: Ottawa North – Kanata – Orléans Ottawa South – Richmond – Metcalfe Frost may damage some crops in frost-prone areas.
To us gardeners, that means our annual plants and crops will be dead tomorrow morning. Fortunately, I have already moved any I wish to preserve inside. Other than this one night of near freezing temperatures, the weather looks pretty mild for the next few weeks, meaning my gardening season isn’t over quite yet.
There is not much new in bloom in my zone 4 to 5 Ottawa gardens this third week of August. A new orange color of coneflower, pink garden phlox and a fresh flush of roses prevail…
The pink and red coneflowers are still quite striking. They were a little beat down by the storm we had just before I took their picture. The yellow pom poms of the false sunflowers are still brightening up the back of a bed…
hot pink coneflowers
pale pink coneflower
This week in my clients’ gardens I took some pictures of some awesome containers of annuals. Annuals are always great this time of year to fill in with their pops of color. The shades of purple in the last ones really caught my eye…
Hurray, the garden centers in Ottawa are open for business, a sure sign of spring! One of my favourite signs of spring actually. These pictures were taken two weeks ago now when I spotted my first open garden center and could not resist stopping in…
Perennials can be planted any time now, as soon as the ground is thawed. Annuals should wait until after the last frost date for your time zone. Here in Ottawa, that is usually around the long weekend in May. If you plant your annuals earlier than that, cover them when frost is forecast or bring containers in overnight.
Contact me at GARDENS4U with any questions or if I can help you plan your garden.
Instead of “mirror, mirror on the wall”, I should say “gardens, gardens on my route, who’s the fairest of them all?” I know that “all” does not rhyme with “route”, but let me ensure you get the picture, literally…. Continue reading →
The best part of autumn is the awesome display of color in the trees and gardens. Our weather here in Ottawa has been spectacular, in fact so spectacular that I have put off preparing garden beds for the winter. All of my clients’ gardens are looking great with their late season displays…
…annuals are still going strong, in containers:
and in the gardens:
joe pye weed
late blooming perennials are still glorious:
pink monarda, yellow coneflowers & blue juniper
pink aster & wine ninebark
and ornamental grasses are at their showiest:
japanese blood grass
I hope we have a few more weeks of this awesome weather to enjoy the gardens before the cold weather hits.
When planting containers of annuals in the spring, I try to choose annuals that will look good for a long time. These coleus certainly fit the bill in the shade of this garden. They are still going strong after a few light frosts. I didn’t have the heart to disturb them while performing a fall cleanup in a client’s garden last week. Recently I wrote a post about the wonders of COLEUSand how adding them to your gardens can provide pops of colour, especially in shady areas. These planters provide that burst of colour all summer long under the shade of several large trees.
These pictures of various coleus plants were taken in a client’s garden. They were planted to fill in bare spots between perennials and are quite striking at this time of year, brightening up shady spots in gardens. Their leaves look like red velvet with splashes of green The coleus are annuals that will die off when frost hits so new ones must be planted each season. Coleus prefer shade, but will tolerate some, but not full sun.
I do not usually plant annuals to my gardens each season, preferring to use them in containers only. After seeing the display these coleus put on each season however, I decided to try some in my garden this season. They do not look as beautiful as these ones do, but are still nice pops of colour in my garden. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
hostas are great at the front of a border or bed and thrive in deep shade through part sun. Most hostas prefer shade, but those with yellow leaves or fragrant flowers prefer more sun. They come in many colours and sizes these days from miniature to huge. If you do plant the large ones, be sure to give them lots of space as they do not look their best when crowded.
Modern perennials: geraniums, not the red annual type your grandmother planted, but the perennial variety
Perennial geraniums also look great at the front of borders or beds. They tolerate shade and part sun. I love them because they are the first to green up in the spring, offer some colour with the blooms, but look great even when not in bloom. They come in many colors and sizes. Some of the larger ones can tend to be floppy, so I stick to the smaller ones.
Shrubs: Black Lace Elderberry
black lace elderberry
The deep wine colour of Black Lace Elderberries look wonderful mixed with all of the shades of green in your gardens. They die down to the ground each winter in my area, and are often slow to come back in the spring, but can grow to heights of six feet or more. This spring was so late and the winter so cold, I thought my black lace had died. Thankfully I decided to give it another week, and sure enough, one week later it was one foot tall! The pale pink flowers are pretty but I consider them a bonus as they don’t last long. The dark coloured lacy foliage is the reason I love this shrub. This season it is a great backdrop for my lily trees featured in the third picture.
Vines: Silver Lace
silver lace vine
Although the Silver Lace vine blooms in the fall and so not blooming this week, I am always suggesting it to my clients. It is quick growing, covering any structure very fast with white lace like flowers, a beautiful sight in September through November. Unfortunately I lost mine this past winter due to the severe cold weather we experienced. It is only hardy to zone 5 which is pushing the envelope for my Ottawa garden.
Coleus are great for filling in blank spots and contributing splashes of colour in shady spots of your gardens. I never used to like them, but after seeing them tucked in among perennials in a client’s garden, I’ve changed my mind and added some to my own gardens this year. Coleus come in many combinations and shades of pink, red and green; all make vibrant additions to a garden or container.
daylily blooms are long lasting with a wide variety of colours available ranging from lemon to golden yellow, peach to pink and purple to red. They are also available in a variety of height to suit all your needs.
Modern perennials: Ornamental grasses
Ornamental grasses are my “go to perennial” for hot dry areas in gardens. With many heights, colors and seed heads to choose from, you can plant several varieties. Just be sure to choose those that are suitable fir your garden’s hardiness zone or they will not survive the winter.
Shrubs: Purple smoke tree
Vines: climbing hydrangea
Hydrangea vines are slow growing, but once established look beautiful on a wall or fence. Just do not let it get into your soffits or eavestroughing as it can cause damage.
Annuals: Cleome or spiderflower
I love Cleomes (AKA spiderflowers) They come in white and several shades of pink. They look great planted in a container or in the garden in a hot dry spot.