August 19, 2011
One of the better plants for attracting pollinators and nectaring insects is the Blazingstar or Gayfeather, Liatris spicata. Even grasshoppers seem to like ‘em.
A native alternative for Alberta gardens would be the Dotted Blazingstar, Liatris punctata.
July 31, 2011
This clematis is doing extremely well this season, chock-full of large violet-blue hand-sized blooms. Besides the peonies, and some of the (overblown) German irises, the large-flowered clematis varieties are some of the few flowering plants that survive Zone 3b and still manage to provide a tropical atmosphere to the garden. H. F. Young requires a sunny location but it can tolerate morning shade. It grows to about 3m in height.
June 19, 2011
Of all the plants that grow in our garden, it is the humble and unpretentious Bigroot Geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) that is the most appreciated. Working quietly in the background, it serves as our most dependable and adaptable groundcover. From full sun to full shade, in soil dry to moist, this plant thrives and slowly spreads in all zones from 2 to 9. It begins blooming in the beginning of June and it will continue through to mid-July. The leaves are attractive and fragrant when touched, and as a buggy bonus, the flowers appeal to bumblebees. There are a few varieties available, from the showy magenta pink, ’Bevan’s Variety’; through pale pink ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’ to the blushing white ‘Alba’. The bigroot geranium can find a place in most gardens as a groundcover around the base of shrubs and larger perennials. They are particularly good around roses and other leggy shrubs. There is even a variety with variegated leaves, Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Variegatum’, that tends to be a bit more fussy in its requirements (it does best in richer soil and keep it out of full sun), but it can begin to revert, so attention must be paid to pinch-out new all-green growth†.
In the back garden.
A generous groundcover...
Geranium macrorrhizum, the Bigroot or Cranesbill geranium–a garden stalwart that is an essential perennial in our landscape.
† not a quality desirable in the low-maintenance garden.
June 17, 2011
This is probably the most common german iris seen in the Edmonton area, a purple-violet with white.
Someone once called the more over-bred and frilled german irises “…a flower designed by a cow.”, but this one is still within the bounds of decency. All the more so before it opens fully, while the raindrops are still glistening on the petals, and the beard is still modestly tucked away.
I opted not to make this image soft, hazy and romantic. Sharp and crisp rules when it comes to bearded irises. I’ll save the glow for the more elegant Siberian iris…