October 8, 2011
This blog has been slowly withering over the last few months, my posts infrequent and lacking oomph. I have neglected Zone 3b and some of other blogs in about the same proportion as I have been trying to develop in other areas. This is my last post, but I’ll let the blog remain until stray visits dry up. If you care about bugs, please visit Splendour Awaits, where garden bugs will still be displayed and where your can find links to other blogs and other online entomology resources.
Gardening is important for our lives and for the lives of the many species that share our environment. Gardening is a part of life, not a fad or a bit of bling to impress friends and the neighbors. For urban dwellers, it is one of the few things that can connect us to nature on a regular basis. For that reason we will keep gardening, and I hope you will too.
Cheers everyone. Keep gardening and remember the little guys that share our lives.
P.S. – Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or find me on Google +.
PPS. – Posted from my iPod…pls frgv errors.
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.
May 30, 2011
This the slide show I whipped together for the information booth I had at the Blooming Art and Garden Sale a few weeks ago. The photographs were taken between 2008 and 2010, with a few from earlier years. It is generally (but not precisely) layed out in a seasonally progressive way, and it features more of the diversity of the garden–the bugs and birds–than the last slide show. It is almost 10 minutes long, and it can be watched full screen if you select the HD mode.
Photographs by Adrian Thysse and Yuet Chan. Music by Gu Zeung, a section from “Watching the Moon”.
May 23, 2011
Spring has been good at the home garden. The Siberian squill (Scilla sibirica) and marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) have done their bit for the year, and the daffodils are fading. Golden Spurge (Euphorbia polychoroma) and Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) are now the highlight of the gardens. Globeflower (Trollius sp.) are brightening the pond border, filling in where the marsh marigolds have left off. In dappled shade the hosta spears are beginning to open, but in the full shade of our back garden spruce, the spear-tips are just starting to show. Our humble group of trilliums (Trillium grandiflorum), now reduced to two, have a single flower developing. Lording over all, the apple tree is in full bloom, making the east-facing patio a particularly pleasurable place to sit in the early morning light.
My major chores this year are on two fronts: complete renovation of the kitchen garden, and a reworking of the front west-facing garden.
IN 1994 our kitchen garden was first developed with raised beds–beds retained with scaffolding planks that I had scavenged. Over the years these have slowly begun to rot, and slumping soil and has forced me to tear the beds apart and to begin afresh. I am abandoning the concept of retained raised beds and going back to the simpler unrestrained Chinese (or French?) style of kitchen garden. After years of amending the soil and composting turf we now actually have an excess of soil, and I am using this soil, amended with our compost, to refresh areas of the front garden.
So what needs to be ‘refreshed’ in front garden? We have no lawn there–it is composed of two large beds on either side of the walk way to our house. They are mixed beds, with a blend of trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses and perennials. Over the years, walking through the beds to do garden clean-up and to plant new specimens has led to compacted soil. Not only that, but my Shasta daisies were behaving more like weeds than the upright citizens of the garden they are meant to be. Frustrated with their smell, and their tatty appearance after bloom, have decided to rid the garden of them completely. I also had to remove one large specimen of golden knapweed (Centaurea macrocephala), which is now listed as a noxious weed. The gaps left by these plants, and the areas that have been compacted, can now be refreshed by spading them over and mixing in the soil/compost mix from the kitchen garden. Once they are replanted, I will add mulch and we will be ready for the season ahead.