Spring beauties

Wandering through my gardens this past weekend, I found these spring beauties…

Spring is my favourite time of year.  It has arrived a bit late here in Ottawa this year, but has finally arrived. You can see the exciting changes in the gardens daily as the bulbs burst into bloom and the perennials poke through the soil.

 

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Latest garden project by Gardens4u

.As our fall weather was too nice to start garden cleanups and winter preparation, Gardens4u took on another garden project last week.  This client lives on the same street as two other clients for whom I have recently reconstructed front gardens.  This client wanted a smaller footprint for the new garden with plants that require no maintenance and stay tidy looking all season.  I started by removing all of the existing plants, leaving the large rock as the focal point…

"Gardens4u

Gardens4u after the clean out
after the clean out

 

I replanted a ring of groundcover (lamium) around the tree to include the tree in the garden.  I added heuchera in various colors around the perimeter of the garden to define its new edge, including around the outer edges of the rock. Both of these inclusions make it easier for the lawnmower, removing the chore of trimming around the tree and rock.  The large and overgrown clump of Solomon’s seal was dug out from around the rock.  It was overpowering the rock and looked messy.  In its place, I planted three different varieties of ornamental grass.  These were strategically placed around the edges of the rock.  Two tall ones went at the corners closest to the house and a shorter one at the front, outer edge.  This will draw the eye to the rock, making it an integral part of the garden.

New plants included the heuchera, a dwarf shrub rose, a varigated and reblooming weigela, as well as several colorful and long blooming perennials.  I reused a few daylilies, some (a very small portion) of the lamium, and none of the aggressive Solomon’s seal.  Unused plants have been potted up in my ICU (home inventory of plants) for recycling (use in someone else’s gardens).  Grass seed was sprinkled on the bare spots where the garden used to extend to.  The grass seed should be well watered after the past few days of rainy weather.  If the mild weather holds, the grass may even grow before spring.

The end result was a smaller, tidier garden between the rock and the tree.  The client will have to wait until next summer, unfortunately, to fully appreciate the new look…

Gardens4u after pictureGardens4u after picture

 

Unfortunately, this current week looks like our great weather is behind us.  That means Gardens4u will be starting that cleanup and winterizing this morning after it warms up a bit.  Cleanup is not nearly as much fun as designing a new garden project!

In bloom this second week of August in my Ottawa zone 4 to 5 gardens

Here are the newest perennial blooms in my own zone 4 to 5 gardens this second week of August;

 

This ornamental grass is my favourite although it is only an annual here in zone 4 or 5.  It makes a beautiful centerpiece for a container or it can be planted right in the garden!

August
annual ornamental grass

 

Still strutting their stuff, these perennials are still looking great:

 

On their way out (unfortunately) are my gorgeous lilies.  They will return bigger and better than ever next year though!  Every client I have planted some of these lily trees for have commented on how spectacular they are, well worth the price.

 

I hope you are enjoying these weekly walks through my gardens…

whole garden

In bloom this third week of July

More pictures from my zone 4 to 5 garden in Ottawa; these perennial flowers are blooming this third week of July…

new bloomers:

 

Many perennials that were blooming last week are still going strong…

 

…while others are showing promise of things to come…

 

The annuals I planted in containers and bare spots in the garden are also still blooming well.  I always choose annuals that offer interesting foliage as well as flowers…

 

This next plant with the large leaves is a mystery to me.  I did not plant it, I believe it has come from the vegetable garden in the backyard next door.  Any ideas?…

third week of July
mystery plant,

 

Gardens4u garden project including before and after pictures

These pictures are of Gardens4u’s most recent garden project:

befores:

 

and afters:

 

All new plants are perennials, meaning they come back every year.  All are pretty much maintenance free too, a common request from my clients these days.   The brown cedar mulch helps keep moisture in and weeds out.

I can’t wait to see what the gardens look like by the end of summer when all of the perennials have settled into their new homes.

Purple passion

I have a passion for purple, especially when choosing flowers.  It is such a vibrant colour with so many shades available.  When my daughter-in-law decided she wanted shades of purple flowers in her bouquets and floral decorations, I was excited as I have lots of in my gardens.  I even planted extra perennials just in case I didn’t have enough…

 

Too bad many of them didn’t bloom in time for the wedding thanks to the wet and cool spring Mother Nature gifted us with this year.  To improvise,  I borrowed blossoms from my clients’ garden to supplement the ones I did have in bloom to make bouquets and flower arrangements.

For the past week (now almost two weeks after the wedding)  my passion for purple has been blooming in profusion in my gardens!

 

Garden centers are open!

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.

Happy gardening!

Mirror mirror on the wall…

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

Awesome autumn

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:

annual-containerscoleus-containers-3coleus-containerspig 1

 

and in the gardens:

 

late blooming perennials are still glorious:

 

and ornamental grasses are at their showiest:

 

I hope we have a few more weeks of this awesome weather to enjoy the gardens before the cold weather hits.

July garden pictures

Welcome to my gardens:

 

As you go through the gate, my “ICU” is on the right side along the fence and beside the steps.  Any unwanted plants I rescue from clients’ gardens get potted up and live here until I can recycle them into other gardens.  My son built the shelving unit on the right to use as a potting bench as well as a spot to store my pots, soil, tools etc.

 

 

 

As my children grew, so did my gardens; there is very little lawn left these days.  Beyond the white arbor is my compost corner.  The fences are covered with vines and the beds chock full of perennials.  Two apple trees and a lilac on one side and two plum trees on the other add shady spots with dappled sun, while the center offers full sun conditions. This variation in growing conditions allows for a wide range of perennials…

 

The pond was put in years ago as a Mother’s Day gift.  The racoons came from my father’s garden and the frog is a new visitor.  Unfortunately, the real racoons that visit frequently like to knock over these guys; I often find one or all of them in the pond!…

 

The front yard has lots of sun, so it is great for roses, lilies and succulents.  The focus of the front garden is the “dwarf” blue spruce that was supposed to reach 5 feet.  It is currently at least 12 feet tall…

 

 

Various pots and containers offer added color throughout the gardens…

 

What I love most about the gardens is how they change from week to week from spring to fall.