Sunday, August 31, 2008

So today I visited the previously linked garden centres with my mom. It was lovely, although I continue to curse my inability to so much as walk around for 45 minutes without needing a meal and a nap afterwards :P

Magnolias, it seems, run about $200, more if I want someone to come and plant it all expertly for me. The shrub version is much cheaper - $70 - but I really like the trees. Biggish, fairly well-established dappled willows, on the other hand, are $20-$25.

One other thing that caught my eye was a hibiscus-rosemallow hybrid:

They are HUGE and very showy, with flowers as big as your hand, and they bloom around this time, which is awesome because everyone needs late summer colour. The question is whether I have anywhere to put one, since they need both sun and moist soil. Will have to ponder this question. These were seriously gorgeous plants, but enough so that I would be reluctant to bring one home only to have it die on me.

I did buy fall-blooming waterlily colchium, since I had been meaning to anyway, and a couple of monster "globemaster" alliums:

Mostly just because I can now, since I have both sun and shelter from the wind (being monsters, these are easily knocked over).

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Azaleas x 2
Digitalis x 5 or 6
Bleeding heart

To plant tomorrow:

Roses x 2
Last peony
Columbines x 2
Last bunch of phlox
Sweet woodruff
Creeping phlox
Random but vigorously growing seedlings (can't remember if they're digitalis or canterbury bells)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tonight with the help of the brute squad, a.k.a. my husband, I dug one of the big clumps of hydrangea roots out of the back corner. I was getting eaten alive and it seemed prudent not to overdo it anyway, so I left it at that, but my brain is all fizzing with plans for this corner now, so I am chillaxing on the couch and posting.

At the very back I'm thinking I may leave the straggly remnants of the hydrangeas of insanity to grow back into bigger clumps, since they do get nice and tall. The only trick will be to keep them from flopping over on top of the stuff in front of them. The next tier can consist of rhododendron, bleeding heart, and digitalis, which all top out at 3'ish. Astilbes, azaleas, and evening primroses can go next, followed by all the shorties (trillium, forget-me-nots, periwinkle). I can also fill in some space with ferns, which I can interplant with impatiens and begonias for some nice all-season colour.

One of these days I should go on another mini-roadtrip out to Galetta Nurseries, where they're selling off all their perennials to focus on roses and shrubs. Who knows what they'll have left by this point, but I'm all about the plant sales!

Editing to also note the Peter Knippel nursery, a place way down on Bank Street which to my delight apparently stocks flowering almond, and Artistic Landscape Designs, also helpfully located on Bank Street. Hmmmm! Wonder if either of these places carry magnolia trees.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So here's a quick tour of the new yard, such as it is. As you can see, I have my work cut out for me.

Coming into the backyard from the carport:

Right, so the overgrown shaggy-bottomed tree is the lilac. To the far left is the garden shed. Will have to set up some sort of trellis screen to hide the ugly-ass air conditioner on the right.

Back of the house:

This is going to be a tricky area because while the deep overhang of the eaves means we don't have to worry about water pooling at the foundation, it also means that it is bone-dry next to the house and nothing grows there for a good two feet out. To the left you see hydrangeas of insanity; not sure what the other shrub is.

Better view of the lilac:

I wonder how old this thing is. What's particularly awesome is that it blooms right outside the upstairs windows, so the baby will have lilacs smelling up his or her room in the spring.

West side of the yard, behind the shed:

This is so overgrown it's hard to pick out individual plants. There are some daylilies, and invading grape vines from the neighbour's yard, but that's about all I can identify. Nice and sunny in this corner, though, once you get out of the shadow of the shed.

Back of the yard, west side:

Something to disguise the compost buckets would be nice (also, why two of them...?) To the right is an insanely massive anonymous shrub that I will be pruning the hell out of.

Next to the massive anonymous shrub, hydrangeas of insanity:

On the other side of the big white pine, though, I have started to beat them back:

They are much less intimidating once you actually chop them down to the base. Soil is deep and soft, which makes it relatively easy to pull them up after digging around them with a pitchfork. This area will make a good shade garden, I figure; the rhododendron and azaleas should love the pine needles, and the thriving of the hydrangeas of insanity proves that the tree doesn't rob the area of too much moisture. Now I just need to find something tall and shade-tolerant to put right against the fence, because otherwise I will have rather a lot of empty vertical space back there. Or else maybe I could crib from the Empress of Dirt and hang some mirrors and/or garden art.

This spot on the east side of the yard also used to be occupied by hydrangeas of insanity:

Despite the chopping down of hydrangeas, there's lots of digging up of stuff to do yet along here - other than some ferns, the only thing I've been able to identify along this side is rhubarb, which I should chop down soon and make into something yummy. There's also something that looks like goldenrod, but I'm not sure if that's actually what it is or if it's a more deliberate/domestic cousin. I'm thinking I might put the roses here, since there's dappled but fairly constant sunshine. Probably a good place for the honeysuckle to climb, too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The internets tell me that the Hydrangeas of Insanity are in fact Annabelle hydrangeas. This is awesome: it means that even if I want to keep them, I can prune them right down the ground, because they bloom on new growth. So, armed with a nice new pair of stainless steel pruning shears from Lee Valley, I plan to muster out there this weekend to attempt it. Depending on how big they are at the base, I may leave them to regrow - since they will undoubtedly be smaller than they are now - or I may dig some of them up to make more room. But in any case it will certainly be less labour-intensive than digging up entire massive overgrown shrubs.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So now we are homeowners. Wheeeeeeheeheeheeheeheeee!

Walkthrough yesterday revealed that the garden is (reassuringly) just as overgrown a disaster as my current one. As predicted, the planting areas in the back are just a border around a grassy yard. Mostly said planting areas are populated by The Hydrangeas of Insanity (seriously - just wait till I have pictures to post) and ferns, with one ginormous but anonymous shrub and a lovely white pine along the back fence. It is fabulously wind-sheltered and gets at least partial sun; will have to verify just how much over the course of the next sunny day that comes along. I think I should have space for just about all my plants for now, so I can probably wait to undertake expansion until next year, but in any case the first order of business will be a crapload of digging up hydrangeas. Sooooo...I have my work cut out for me!! My week of holidays will be divided between unpacking and wrestling with the jungle, both there and here. It will be awesome.