Flowers

This is a new daylily, the ‘Niki Jabbour’, named after local gardener, Niki Jabbour. It was grown by Harbour Breezes in Jeddore, Nova Scotia. Shown here are 8 different blooms from 8 different days from July 28-August 12. There appears to still be 2-3 buds to go.

Then there’s the ubiquitous Echinacea purpurea, also known as Purple Coneflower. The bees go crazy for these, sometimes just sleeping in them (or so it seems to me). Butterflies and hummingbirds also love them and they’re a good herb for humans as well.

And speaking of hummingbirds, their favourite actually seems to be the scarlet Bee Balm. At this point, they’re nearly finished but both the bees and the hummers are still visiting.

A bit of a wilder view below… that tall white flower in the back (L) is Yucca and the tall pink flower in the back (R) is filipendula. Monarda, aka bee balm, and some kind of daisy in front.

I’m all about the food growing but what I love about the flowers is not only their beauty but the fact that they’re food for the pollinators. Whatever feeds the pollinators ultimately feeds us.

Top left to right: Iris, ‘Oscar Peterson’ Rose, pink tubular flower (?), a bee hugs a bean, lupins, dahlia, hops.

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Covering New Ground

Someone asked me about the process I went through to replace the front lawn with different kinds of ground cover. How did I choose the plants? The truth is the plants really chose me. All I knew was that I wanted something that I wouldn’t have to mow all the time. Suddenly other gardeners started gifting me with plants. I took everything with great excitement and gratitude. Then I started frequenting fundraisers and yard sales and bought plants there. I would come home with plants, hide them in a shady corner somewhere with lots of water while I did some basic research to find out what each plant liked. The most difficult part was digging the holes and preparing the soil since the “soil” was pretty much big rocks, roots from the street-side maple, and dirt. Initially I went for plants that literally hugged the ground or had a reputation for spreading quickly. Bonus if they had flowers.

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Veronica filiformis

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I think this is a variety of fleeceflower.

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Cranesbill geraniums have the most fantastically delightful smell. Touch the leaves for a sensory surprise.

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Dianthus, aka ‘pinks’.

But then I realized there were lots of different kinds of plants that would add height and texture… That’s where the hostas and lilies came in, not to mention irises, teasel, and violas closer to the ground again.

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Day lilies, hostas, burning bush

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Mostly lilies and some irises to shake things up a bit.

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I think this is the blue flag iris. Tends to do well in shade and wet.

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These violas were just planted which is why they look so scraggly. It’s a temporary thing. We planted them up front near the street to honour Viola Desmond.

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I love the delicacy of Columbine.

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Astilbe, prior to flowering, spreading its beautiful leaves. Actually, last year wasps built a nest under this plant which I didn’t realize until one of them stung me, punishment for weeding too close to their home.

IMG_2516 OK, enough for now. I have so much more but I’ll be back later…

Everything Grows

Well, almost everything grows. Unless it doesn’t. The cucumber has refused to grow this year. First it was too cold, then it was too wet. That was immediately followed by it being too hot. And when it did start to show its beautiful viney self, the slugs ate it. So till next year, no cukes from the garden.

That all said, if I make it to August I’m cruising. This might be my favourite gardening time because it’s a little bit of everything going on: planting, harvesting, clean-up all happening at the same time. And if you have flowers, that’s just a bonus.

Perennial bed back of the house.

Perennial bed back of the house.

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Yucca plant, 1 of 3 given to us by neighbours, in bloom.

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Evening Primrose.

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A Comma butterfly slurping up the echinacea pollen.

We’ve been harvesting for awhile. All kinds of greens, peas, beans, carrots, onions and on the last day of July we harvested the garlic. We’ve now turned the living room into a drying shed or, as we like to call it, our barn.

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Garlic drying in the living room.

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Thinning the carrots. This year I planted carrots every few weeks so we’d have a steady stream of them.

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This is the first time I planted tomatillos and, to be honest, I’m not even sure how to tell when they’re ripe.

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Peach tree (!) from a friend who pulled it out of the compost.

 

Flowers and Ground Cover

There are 10 vegetable beds installed now, 9 of which are active. The 10th is new and waiting for soil. The truth is that once veggies are planted every spring, I have a responsibility to be vigilant and maintain (weed as needed, hunt slugs and other pests, harvest, etc.) but they pretty much take care of themselves. There’s only so much I can do … which has freed me to focus on flowers and ground cover. To that end, we’ve been working very hard, slowly but surely (emphasis on slowly), to remove lawn and replace it with flowers and ground cover.

Front yard, lawn is slowly being replaced with various types of ground cover.

Front yard, lawn is slowly being replaced with various types of ground cover.

To each their own tool. I'm more of a shovel and pick kind of person.

To each their own tool. I’m more of a shovel and pick kind of person. But hey, a trowel will get the job done too and it’s a much more meditative process!

Flowers are a whole new area for me and other gardeners have been wonderful, gifting me both with plants and their knowledge.

This was planted last summer as a tiny little one flower plant. It's now fulfilling its job as a rapidly spreading ground cover whose name I am embarrassed to have forgotten. Anybody?

This was planted last summer as a tiny little one flower plant. It’s now fulfilling its job as a rapidly spreading ground cover whose name I am embarrassed to have forgotten. Anybody?

Here’s how the front is progressing. Would be a lot faster if we could hire a landscaper but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun!

The hostas from Ed that I planted last year.

The hostas from Ed that I planted last year.

Beautiful fragile little flowers starting.

Beautiful fragile little flowers starting, also courtesy Ed.

Also from Ed last fall. First blooms of Thrift. At least first in our yard.

First blooms of Thrift. At least first in our yard. They likely bloomed in Ed’s before.

 

Japanese Maple.

Japanese Maple. Oh, and that’s a little guardian fairy on the left that a mysterious stranger left in our yard one dark and stormy night.

We’re also taking up lawn and planting flowers in the back alongside all the veggies.

This phlox was given to us by a gardener friend. The rocks on the right are what I had to dig up before I could plant it!

This phlox was given to us by a gardener friend. The rocks on the right are what I had to dig up before I could plant it!

Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem

The blueberries I planted this spring. Ideally I would be removing the flowers so the plant could focus on settling in but I just couldn't bear it. What can I say? It's been a long hard winter.

The blueberries I planted this spring. Ideally I would be removing the flowers so the plant could focus on settling in but I just couldn’t bear it. What can I say? It’s been a long hard winter.

 

Divide and Plant

I realized after the fact that, while Ed had gone to a whole lot of sweaty trouble to divide well-established lilies and irises, I dug one big hole on the front lawn and put them all together again. So right now they look something like this…

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The hole is probably 4’x3′, give or take, and there are numerous day lilies and irises thrown in together. I think that’s probably not exactly what Ed had in mind. So when it came to planting the hostas, also divided in a helter skelter of serious grunting and digging, I decided I should keep them divided and give them some room to spread out. Each of the divisions is very heavy since they came from Ed’s in pretty wet clay. In fact I felt like I could make pots out of the soil, it was so clayey. About a third of the way through they’re looking like this…that’s a burning bush getting temporarily trampled by the hostas.

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