26 October 2016

Vancouver Island - a photo montage of some of the best moments of summer vacation

Summer 2016 we vacationed to Vancouver Island with our son, his wife and our grandson.  We had gorgeous weather and had a blast!  Here are some of my favourites from the vacation.

The ocean near Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island

In the forests in the Port Renfrew area (above)

Sunset at Port Renfrew, above

Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island (above)

Miscellaneous shots from Vancouver Island (above)

The Laughing Men Statues of Vancouver (above)

Some of the best moments.....


17 October 2016

The Teal Pumpkin

photo taken at Salisbury Greenhouse (Sherwood Park, AB)
Have you seen these?  Teal is the new colour of Halloween folks.  That is, a teal pumpkin.  When placed on your doorstep on Halloween it indicates you have non-food items to offer.  The Teal Pumpkin Project is an inspired initiative that started in 2014 by Food Allergy Research and Education to educate the public and promote the inclusion of individuals with food allergies and sensitivities and those who cannot eat candy.

You can go to foodallergycanada.ca to download a copy of the Teal Pumpkin Project poster to place in your window on Halloween to let children/families know you have non-food treats available.  Halloween should be fun for all children and by participating, you make it that much easier.

16 October 2016

Images of What Fall Should Look Like but Doesn't

October 15:  As I stare out the window here by the computer small white flakes are falling in abundance. While it's not abnormal for snow to fall this early here in Alberta, we have become accustomed to long pleasant autumns.  The previous two years were bliss!

So today I planted a small maple shrub, "Elf", amidst the snow in partially frozen ground, only the first inch was really frozen. I am wondering when I will get my bulbs planted. Will it quit snowing and actually melt enough so I can accomplish this last task? I wonder. Honestly, I can just push aside the snow, and if necessary grab a drill to make holes, right? With this early snowfall, many of us gardeners are hustling about trying to winterize.  This morning I was the rude neighbour, out early in the day bringing in two rattan chairs and the umbrella.  I knew it was coming and I was determined to beat the snow and I did, just barely!

I took a lot of photos, as usual and figured I'd post some a little more in keeping with the season than that above and what I see out my window today. 

Earlier this month:

Some fun shots while shopping with A:

We enjoyed Thanksgiving here in the snow, a light snowfall which began to melt just before this dumping we have now.  All the kids were here but one who was in London. 

Following Thanksgiving it was back to work in this....I cannot complain at all.

Last week at the greenhouse: the mums are in bloom and the poinsettias are growing well.

A Halloween Fairy Garden, above.

We left the fountains running overnight to prevent the pumps from freezing.  It made for some pretty ice sculptures.  

The poinsettias are growing well.

Mums are in all shades...pink, red, yellow, white, burgundy....

Getting ready for Christmas.

October 16:  I'm finishing this post today, Sunday.  We had freezing rain early this morning and the walks are a sheet of ice.  I don't much feel like driving anywhere on a skating rink so reading and movies is where it's at today.  Maybe I'll make that butternut squash soup recipe for tomorrow.  It feels like soup weather.

Hope this finds you well.  Cheers!!


20 September 2016

In the Spotlight: Limelight Hydrangea (hydrangea paniculata limelight)

Hydrangea lovers want three basic things from their plant:  abundant flowers, colour and hardiness.  Limelight hydrangeas fulfill all three requirements spectacularly.  Limelight hydrangeas are extremely hardy for the zone 3 garden, will reward you with plentiful lime tinted panicle flowers that turn white in July and then, often turn pink in late summer.  

Plant your hydrangea in rich moist soil.  Mix in a bit of compost such as Sea Soil to enrich the planting site.  Limelight can handle full sun but morning sun until 1 pm is favourable for most hydrangeas.  A generous mulch of wood chips will help keep the roots cool and help maintain moisture.  

Limelight hydrangeas grow about a metre tall and wide.  They flower on new wood.  This hydrangea offers easy care and stunning displays of blooms beginning in the summer.  Hardy zones 3-8.

19 September 2016

Autumn Leaves

It's the most colourful time of the year when the chlorophyll breaks down and the green recedes in the leaves.  The colours that remain dazzle the eye.  The air is cool and filled with the scent of fall.  Leaves crunch underfoot, the sunflower that sought the sun now feeds the birds, the mums and rudbeckia compliment the season.  

It's so pretty, isn't it?  Yet it's a tender goodbye to summer.

17 September 2016

In the Spotlight: Little Lime Hydrangea (hydrangea paniculata Little Lime)

Little Lime sits on my front porch prior to planting
Little Lime Hydrangea is a compact hardy plant that grows approximately 3-4 feet tall and wide in the prairie region of Canada.  Limelight hydrangea is Little Lime's "sibling."  Little Lime looks like Limelight in a slightly more diminutive form.

The blooms open a lime green colour in short panicles on strong stems in the summer then turn a shade between beige and pink/burgundy for late summer and autumn.

Extremely hardy, Little Lime is hardy zones 3-8. This hydrangea grows best in part sun to sun and blooms on new wood.

A light trim to Little Lime in late winter to early spring is all the pruning necessary. Fertilize with a slow release balanced fertilizer once new growth is evident.  Supplemental feedings of a fertilizer with a higher middle number, phosphorus, is beneficial until the second week in August.  

Little Lime's flowers make terrific long-lasting cut flowers which can be dried indoors if desired.

14 August 2016

In the Spotlight: Bobo Hydrangea (hydrangea paniculata Bobo)

Continuing my feature on hydrangeas that are hardy in zone 3 gardens and have proven themselves worthy of your garden.  Here's Bobo Hydrangea.

Bobo Hydrangea is a paniculata, meaning it has elongated clusters of flowers (a panicle).  It is dwarf and hardy with abundant flowers.

Height: 30 - 36 inches
Width: 36 - 48 inches
Spacing: 48 - 60 inches
Blooms: summer to autumn
Exposure:  part sun to sun

Flowers borne in elongated clusters, start white and turn pink in the autumn.  The bush is literally covered top to bottom in blooms.  Blooms on new wood.  Reliable bloomer.

Soil:  good loam, moderate moisture, well-drained.

Hardy zones 3 - 8

The flowers are upright on strong stems, with panicles continuing to lengthen through the growing season.  

Bobo Hydrangea is a show-stopper.  It was awarded the 2010 Gold FLORALL Medal for best novelty plant.

13 August 2016

In the Spotlight: Bombshell Hydrangea (hydrangea paniculata Bombshell)

Bombshell Hydrangea (hydrangea paniculata Bombshell)  Discovered in May 2003 in the Netherlands.  

Paniculata hydrangea meaning it grows flowers in pyramid shaped clusters known as panicles.  Bombshell Hydrangea is aptly named because the numerous panicles of white blooms seem to explode from the bush.  It is said to have more flowers per plant than any other paniculata hydrangea.  (though Bobo gives it a challenge).  Each flower within the cluster is a star shape and is sterile.  The fertile flowers are not noticeable within the cluster.

Bombshell hydrangea is a dwarf shrub reaching heights of 2-3 feet and widths of 3-4 feet.  Well-branched.  It is a long-blooming shrub, flowering from July through September.  No drooping.  Flowers are white maturing slowly to a rosy pink before turning brown. Leaves are dark green, ovate and serrated, about 2 1/2 inches long.  Leaves are yellow with a purplish tinge in the fall.  Flowers persist somewhat through winter.

Hardy to zone 3, -40 C or -40 F.

Exposure:  part sun to full sun.

Soil:  moist, well-drained.  Add compost to the hole before planting.  Mulch planted hydrangea to retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.

Blooms on new wood.  It may take a couple years to come into its own but will then provide a nice showing of blooms.  No pruning necessary.

11 August 2016

Brilliant Days of Summer Blooms

The colours of summer blooms are vibrant and pop in the garden, well most of them anyway.  There are a few muted tones in the campanula and some delphiniums and hollyhocks but then there are those that are sizzling hot, just like summer days.  Echinacea, for instance, consists of many cultivars that are brilliant shades of yellow, orange and pink.  As spring begets summer, summer soon begets fall and often the flowers of August continue to bloom right through September.  Some just linger on the stem, drying in place.  They liven the garden landscape wherever they are found.

 Echinacea Hot Papaya (coneflower)

 Echinacea Pow Wow Wild Berry (coneflower)

Delphinium 'Guinevere'

Echinacea 'Cantaloupe' (coneflower)

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Endless Summer'

Osteospermum 'Blue Eyed Beauty' (annual African daisy)

Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver's Root) cultivar unknown

Veronica spicata 'Royal Candles' (Dwarf spike speedwell)

 Alcea rosea (Hollyhock) - cultivar unknown

Larkspur (Delphinium) - cultivar unknown

Lychnis (Maltese Cross)

Rosa 'Campfire' (Campfire Rose)

Rudbeckia ' Cherokee Sunset' (gloriosa daisy)

Veronica spicata (possibly Red Fox)

Campanula 'Light Blue Clips' (bellflower)



 Alcea rosea (Hollyhock) cultivar unknown

Trollius 'Orange Globe' (globeflower) 

Digitalis 'Dalmation Purple' (foxglove)

Digitalis 'Dalmation Peach' (foxglove)

Alcea rosea 'Queeny Purple' (Hollyhock )

Phlox and Monarda (bee balm)

Hydrangea macrophylla (mop head) (possibly 'Endless Summer')  photo by SWM

#Augustblooms  #zone3summerflowers 



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