31 August 2012


 Home Sweet Home - welcome to our new house
 It has great potential...but you'll see a lot of work ahead for me too.  Notice in the next few photos how close the shrubs are planted to the deck.  They are snug up against it and must be moved soon!
 A poor little mugho pine planted in full shade.
 Poplar suckers are growing up through the floor boards in the deck along with thistles.
 Screening the back yard from the neighbours are three poplars.  Not just Swedish Columnar Aspen, but poplars!!  Do you think I should have them removed?  (remember the shoots coming through the deck?)
 Beautiful Little Lamb Hydrangea and lilies sharing this tiny bed with thistle.
 Again, the poor shrubs are reaching out to grow.  
 The raised bed has lettuce (bolted), chives and dill planted in it.  I may keep it for garden space or perhaps a waterfall with a stream?  The yard does have a natural slope...hmmm.....
 This cute little columbine was peeking out from behind a yellow potentilla.  I adore it.  The yellow potentilla, on the other hand, will likely be on its way out.  I have memories of spending entire days deadheading potentilla in the heat of the day when I worked at the greenhouse/nursery.  These are not fond memories!
 Spirea, unknown.  I believe they have pink flowers.  I am not sure about their fate either.  Notice the weed behind?  It was quickly removed as it had grown throughout this bed, entangling itself on the Virginia Creeper and neighbouring plants.  It was found in several other areas of the yard too.
 The cedars are coming out for sure!!  Poor things probably didn't get enough water and are badly desiccated.
 I am happy to have discovered a Purple Leaf Sandcherry!  I've wanted one of these for years!!
 Rhubarb!   Yay!  Beside it I will plant the raspberry that grows in a corner behind a 3 foot high Colorado Spruce.
 An ornamental crabapple.
 A Swedish Columnar Aspen, the raspberry bush mentioned previously and the Colorado Spruce  -potential growth is 60 feet!  - not in this yard!  That is much too large for a city landscape.  Perhaps I will have to find an acreage or park for this lovely evergreen.
 Two dead Swedish Columnar Aspens (crocodile tears) and a black elder.
 Another dead/dying cedar.  Note, the neighbour has poplars too!!

 In the upper right hand corner you can see the leaves of Snowbird Hawthorne.  Sadly, it is covered in galls.
 Above, spirea.

 The front yard view.  I removed a lot of tall grass from within this Mugho pine.

 View of the side yard looking towards the garden gate (our property is on the left).

The neighbour has a gazebo!!!!!  Here again is the hawthorne and a Swedish Columnar Aspen.  I have a lot to do back here and I am so happy!!!  I look forward to making changes to this landscape to make it home.  I learned a lot with our previous garden and hope to incorporate some of my favourite plants here such as the Three-flowered Maple, Mock Orange, rhododendron and a birch.  Perhaps we'll put in a lamp in the front yard and place some rock and evergreens around it.  The back yard is open to a lot of contemplation.  My son M (who built the pond and waterfall and assisted with a great deal of the landscaping) is working on a design for me.  Good news:  he plans to go to school to become a landscape architect technician!!!  He has a great eye and a lot of talent and I am so thrilled to see him come back to what was once his aspiration during high school.  

So what's new with you?

25 August 2012

Beautiful Historic Finds in the Garneau Area

Today is moving day so I am posting some photos I took Thursday night while walking back to the vehicle after attending a play at the Fringe Festival with my friend Kim.  She was a tour guide for me in this historic and lovely mature area of our city.  These homes and their gardens are magnificent!  Enjoy!!!

The oldest tree living in Edmonton is this willow which is one years old and counting.

A beautiful ligularia!  I must try growing this specimen!

Have a terrific weekend everyone!!!

11 August 2012

In the Spotlight: Young's Twisted Birch

The above collage is a compilation of photos taken of our Young's Twisted Birch.  The peeling bark is an appealing feature as is the colour of the bark in contrast to the deep green shiny foliage.  I thought the black and white photo showed off the peeling effect to advantage.  This is one tree that I would plant again and totally recommend, particularly for a wet area of the garden.  It does love moisture, as all birches and willows do.

The Young's Twisted Birch does not grow with a curved trunk naturally, but rather it is trained while young using wires and stakes to create the effect.  Once it had reached the grower's desired height of just over six feet, it was allowed to trail down from there.  It will never grow taller but certainly will grow wider.

The above two photos were taken before I pruned the tree.  If you notice, it looks as though the birch has two arms and it is going to go for a walk just like the trees in Lord of the Rings.  (so my son said).

After pruning, it looks far better shaped.  It should stay put now.  ;)

Young's Weeping Birch (betula pendula 'Youngii')
Height: 20-30 feet  (determined through training)
Width:  15 - 20 feet (determined through training)
Fruit:  cone-like seed heads in fall
Flowers:  catkins (early spring)
Growth rate:  moderate to fast
Lifespan:  average
Fall foliage:  yellow
White peeling bark (may need protection from sun scald in the winter - wrap with a tree wrap)
Soil:  some sand to clay; moist and well-drained
Fertilizer:  while young, a birch should be fertilized with a higher phosphorus number (the second number listed) to encourage root development.  Trees should be fertilized every few years.  Do not fertilize after August 15 in zone 3/4 to ensure hardening off prior to winter.
Training to different shapes is possible
Also available in a twisted trunk form (as in photos above)
Excellent specimen

Zone 2 hardiness

As with all birches, those grown in lawns usually lack in water therefore extra care must be taken to provide water for this tree.  As with any birch, inadequate watering or a period of drought can cause the die back of the tree from the top down.  It isn't necessarily immediate, but may be seen a year or more after the drought period.  Once the tree is weakened and die back begins, problems with pests such as borers is potentially greater.  The key is prevention.  Plant birches in an area of the yard where the soil is the last to dry.  Water liberally to compensate for rainfall shortages.

Birches are also susceptible to warm soil temperatures.  They are somewhat shallow rooted trees, so I recommend mulching a few inches deep to keep soil cool and to help maintain a moist soil.  I use a shredded bark mulch around mine and it is planted in an area of the yard where it stays moist longer and receives shade in the late afternoon.  Warm soil temperatures can cause the outer leaves of the branches to turn yellow, also at the top of the tree, and then drop leaves, leaving the tree looking sparse.  The key is prevention, again.  Mulch and water.

Pruning is best done in July, when sap runs less heavily.  This is for aesthetic reasons, as earlier pruning can result in "bleeding" of sap, which will in turn attract insects.  It doesn't necessarily harm the tree to prune before July, nor after, but I always try to prune during July, unless I need to remove dead or broken branches.  Remember the rule of thumb:  no more than 1/3 of the overall tree is to be pruned during one year.  More results in a stressed tree.

Birch seeds are a good food source in fall and early winter, attracting birds such as: blue jays, chickadees, common redpolls, goldfinches, grosbeaks, pine siskins, and waxwings.  Note:  some people are allergic to the 'catkins' the birch produces early spring.

All in all, this is a beautiful specimen tree that I would highly recommend.

10 August 2012

Foggy Wednesday

Mosaic and Participation in Memes

I thought I'd put together a mosaic of photos I've taken lately in the garden, around town and in the sky.  I am participating in:

Fertilizer Friday and Flaunt Your Blooms
Sky Watch Friday
Weekend Reflections
Watery Wednesday
Shadow Shot Sunday
Blooming Tuesday
Mosaic Monday

Heritage Festival Fun!!!

 After work Monday, my husband, a couple of our sons and a friend and I attended the Heritage Festival here in Edmonton.  It is an annual event held at Hawrelak Park, which is an enormous venue complete with a lake and mature trees.  As you can see from the photos, it was packed and it was at least 32 Celsius, not including the humidex rating!  It was a sweltering good time!!
 A friend of ours told us we had to visit the Scandinavian tent for the food, and friends of his were running it. Coincidentally, it ranked the #1 tent at the festival!  Above is a charming horse statue that was situated just outside the tent.

 Hubby and a troll statue.
 Here we are, sticking our heads through in front of the ship.  Vikings we be?  Of course, some of us play nicer than others!
 Outside a tent from Taiwan.  I love the colourful costumes, don't you?
 We have developed an addiction of sorts to green onion cakes and had to try these.  They came plated with breaded chicken in a sweet and sour sauce, ginger beef and a side of hot chili sauce.  They were quite good.

 This is such an elaborate tattoo that I just had to shoot a photo of it.  Too bad it isn't more clear but you get the idea.

 I think this was located near a tent from Africa.  So many dancers in this heat!  Take a look at the mane on this performer.  It must have been very hot under that!
 Ah, yes!  The tent from Britain!!  I just love the double decker buses and the traditional phone booths!  A friend of mine just returned from vacation in Germany and London and surprised me with the most delicious German ginger cookies and biscuits and....the perfect fridge magnet which encompasses all the "statements" of England and a palace guard to boot!  I love it!  Thanks K!!!!

 Ah, the Beatles!  Can you tell which is which?  I recognize John Lennon and Paul McCartney but don't know the other two apart.  Perhaps you can help me out with this one?

At the British tent I had a scone with cream (clotted?) and a strawberry preserve.  Delicious!
 Ah, captured!!!  My son, K, wanted a photo of himself in this!  A perfect photo opp and I must send him a copy!
 These dancers were magnificent!  I'm not sure which country of Europe they were representing.

 In Japan's tent, I saw this costume and had to snap a photo.  And, of course, loving Japanese gardens, I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a life-size rendition of one!

 The above photo and the following three were taken just outside the Russia tent.  We were zapped by the heat, squelched even, and ready to head out.  The statue is a permanent structure at Hawrelak Park and I love the significance of it, being a mother myself.

On the shuttle back, we were totally done.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...