Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Pictures from early October, I believe, for the record.


Complete with sleepy bees:


Nice burst of height and colour in the landscape, too, albeit only for a week or two:


Friday, October 19, 2012

Feeling more or less human again in the wake of a cold, I lurched outside to take advantage of an hour or two while Corey took the girls grocery shopping.  Results:

Scraggly-ass mockorange removed from the front yard (and without any damage to my face this time)!!  Tiger Eyes cutleaf sumac planted in its place - well, a few feet forward from where it stood, actually, because half the reason the mockorange was so scraggly was that it was standing in the deepest part of the drought-shadow of the house.  How it managed to survive there at all I have no idea; the soil is powder.

I also planted another lespedeza, this time much bigger and better-established, since the itsy-bitsy one I ordered online keeled over after a few days (note to self: midsummer is SO NOT the time to plant shrubs!!) - hopefully this one will fare better given a few months of cool weather to establish itself.

Took a stab at planting primroses and cleaning up, as well; long way to go on both those tasks yet, but progress is nonetheless encouraging.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Progress in the back yard


A few months ago:




With the slate thus wiped blank, it becomes much easier to picture how the deck will look back here.  SO EXCITED ZOMG.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall to do list

...with what project time? That is the question. Sigh.

* plant primroses in twos and threes throughout shadier beds
* plant bulbs (not too crazy this year, since I'm not sure how much of last year's extravaganza will come back...nonetheless will add lots of itty bitty daffodils in the side yard, since my dry shade book claims that they fare reasonably well in those conditions, and some crocuses in the sunnier parts of the back yard)
* weeding: roadside, driveway border, side yard path
* hit up Rideau Woodland Ramble for another shrimpy evergreen
* hit up Artistic Landscaping Design for a cutleaf sumac - having marvelled at the gorgeousness of one I saw in a former colleague's garden, I've decided that I really do need one
* top up river rocks around side yard path
* clean up side yard path and carport, AGAIN

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Our recent trip to San Francisco inspired me to poke around (...hee) for some hardy cacti, because I had a vague idea that they were out there.  Discovered the highly informative website of a fellow Ottawa gardener, which pointed me to a BC distributor that ships plants.  With, alas, a $60 minimum order, which should kind of seriously not be in the cards right now.

But but but but but...!

Opuntia Mesa Melon!  Look at that!!!

And they offer a selection of 10 miscellaneous opuntia for $60, too.  This catalogue is entirely too helpful.  Y U WANT ALL MY MONEEZ, PLANT SHIPPERZ.

Insanely Overdue Picture Post

Pictures of the backyard to follow next week when I get the cardboard/fabric/mulch setup completed!


Damn, I love my ornamental grasses!  Really need to do something about that scraggly-ass mockorange at the back, though.  Need something else with some height back there.  Also disappointed with the performance (or lack thereof) from the sweet autumn clematis.   Too dry this year, probably.  We'll see if it comes back.

Other things I'm enjoying out here lately:


Check out the Powis Castle artemisia!  Kaboom!  And that's after I pruned it back at the beginning of the year.  Canna lilies are not as tall as last year, alas, and blooming much later, but I'm glad to see them anyway.


Alyssum of doom.  As previously mentioned, definitely replanting lots of these next year.


Agastache cana, started from seed - w00t!  Looking forward to (hopefully!) seeing this in clumps.


Nicotiana, likewise started from seed.  Nice persistent colour is definitely tipping the scales in favour of trying these again.


Emily Carr roses, valiantly surviving beetles and drought to keep on blooming.


Monkshood, which I definitely need more of; it's so purple it makes my eyes water.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Seed report!

To be repeated
* Digitalis (obvs - always need more of these!)
* primroses (following encouraging success this year)
* alyssum (somewhat unexpectedly - it takes a while to get going, but it actually weathered the drought, and by this point in the summer is a rather lovely edging)
* sunflowers (SO COOL - pictures to follow - need more next time!)

To be considered
* zinnias, only don't start them so ridiculously early this time
* nicotiana (not very smelly, but nice and floriferous)
* verbena (saw them in a city bed this summer - so gorgeous! although reputedly slow and irregular in germination...maybe better off purchased as bedding plants...)
* nepeta
* chicory (do I dare??  So gorgeous, but given its wild and woolly natural state I'm a little afraid it might turn into a thug)
* Jerusalem sage (phlomis tuberosa)

To not be bothered with
* cosmos, unless direct seeding - does not work well started indoors
* cleome - needs to be heated, apparently, which explains my lack of success with them

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back Garden Post-Side-Yard Pre-Deck To Do

For the long weekend, or as much as possible:

* Consolidate the various dirt-piles from the backyard into a heap on the driveway
* Load up mom's trailer with above-mentioned dirt heap, deliver to dump
* Load up mom's trailer with rubble, old deck boards, and misc yard waste, deliver to dump
* On return trip, collect trailer load of cedar mulch
* Dig up hydrangeas, mockorange, and weeds as necessary for de-junglification; rip up as much goddamn creeping jenny as possible while I'm at it
* Finish laying down cardboard
* Lay down landscape fabric
* Distribute mulch
* Find a use for the rest of the river rocks (edging east bed?)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Posting mostly to bookmark this promising-sounding attack against japanese beetles, which continue to plague the roses out front.

I am broke and should not buy plants, but that doesn't keep me from speculating/coveting.  Hopefully by the time fall plant sales roll around there will be more $$$ available for lavishing on the garden.

The hunt for a columnar conifer continues - a Degroot's Spire cedar might work.  Have been unexpectedly successful enough with my shrimpy $12 Tsuga canadensis that I might go back to the Rideau Woodland Ramble to repeat the experiment with something else.

"Tiger Eyes" cutleaf sumac keeps catching my eye.  Apparently drought tolerant.  Possible replacement for the bedraggled mockorange that I need to dig out of the front bed at some point?  Opinions seem to differ on how much it suckers, but presumeably the dry-as-bone conditions would keep it in check.

I should really plant some Walker's Low nepeta, since it's supposed to bloom profusely, smell heavenly, and tolerate drought.  Although apparently I'll have to keep it under an overturned hanging basket or something to keep the young plant from being squashed by stoned felines.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not a whole lot of posting going on here lately.  A few things behind that: (1) I just returned to work and project time is therefore at a serious premium; (2) what little project time I've got has mostly been devoted to deck scheming for the last few weeks; and (3) it was SO INSANELY DRY for so long that the garden was looking pretty wretched.  Definitely not picture-worthy for a houseiversary post, for example.

I eventually got around to deploying some more mad Lee Valley irrigation - mostly soaker hoses this time, with some extra outlets around more finicky plants like roses and rhododendrons - and between that and the rain returning things are starting to perk up.  Nothing like what they ought to be, but oh well, there's always next year.

Now that my deck schemes - or at least this iteration of them - are mostly complete, I am starting to address the increasing jungle-itude, half an hour to an hour at a time.  This evening fer instance I ripped up an alarming pile of extra-determined lilac suckers and the bits of root they sprang from.  This time they'd just better not come back, dammit.

Most pressing on the to do list, really, is to get rid of the monstrous piles of crap that were generated by this year's construction project.  Substantial heap of dirt, less substantial heap of broken concrete, pile of old rotten deck boards, and heap of gigantor fieldstones.  At a bit of a loss as to wtf to do with it all (with the exception of the rocks, which I should be able to dispose of via kijiji in notime flat.)  Getting the rest of it schlepped away costs more serious $$$ than I have at the moment.  Best option is probably borrowing mom's trailer, but that might be a few weeks in the organizing.

Other miscellaneous chores to tackle between now and when the snow flies:

* Prune out dead canes on Prairie Joy rose
* Sweep up spiral path
* Pot up primroses, which are looking pretty sad and straggly in their little newspaper packets - half done
* Use up remaining small heap of mulch in the driveway (around pieris, probably, since the bare ground there breeds weeds like whoa)
* Sweep more sand into joints in walkway and do something about the weeds growing there
* Continue to de-jungleify the back half of the yard
* Put down cardboard and weed fabric and cover with mulch (another heap thereof, probably cedar, to be acquired) - half done
* Dig up remaining grass around the edges of the patio and replace with river stones/a few fieldstones/mulch
* When junk is hauled away, clean up the damn carport finally

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Deck schemes!

I recently got my hands on Google SketchUp, and have been madly deck designing ever since.  INTERNETS, FEAST YOUR EYES!!


This is lacking only a few details - pickets on the stair railings, for instance, because they were just too damn fussy to be bothered rendering, and trellis on the fence along the west side leading up to the arbour, because SketchUp didn't want to make those surfaces a paintable "face" for some reason.  I think - I think - I've taken everything else I've been reading about into account, down to the 1" a freestanding deck is supposed to be set back from the building.

Likewise there are only a couple of items whose code compliance I am uncertain of (I've assumed, for instance, that the pergola posts can double as railing posts and be framed into the floor system in the same way as railing posts, but I'm not actually sure if that will be adequate for the extra weight of the pergola AND the safety requirements of the railing...)

Design-wise, I'm not sure if this might not be too cluttered, but mostly it's stuff I couldn't figure out how to avoid - hadn't originally planned on the stair railings, but as it turns out I need four risers, which calls for them; don't need railings on the perimeter of the lower deck, but then the stair railings looked weird sitting there by themselves; a railing connecting the stair railing with the top level somehow would block in the strip of garden on the east side, so I threw in some built-in seating to fill out the line.  The little trellised-in jog in the back west corner is to disguise the a/c unit.  If anyone can see ways to generate a little more smooth continuity, I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Picture post!

Images accumulated over the last week or two.

Front yard!


Featuring roses!



Must get a shot of the John Davis rose in its current state, i.e. ZOMG blooming like mad.  As things are starting to settle in it's starting to get gratifyingly colourful out there!

I have been busily filling in beds in the side yard - starring a Red Dragon japanese maple:


I had meant to plant some sort of vine to climb up the fence here, but lo and behold there's one creeping over from the neighbour's carport, and it looks very much like a dutchman's pipe - sweet!

Back yard (the half of it that's interesting at the moment)!


Again: ZOMG roses.  This is also the first time the salvia has really bloomed, and it's SO GORGEOUS, especially with said roses.

Some more detailed shots:

Shade bed:



Sun bed:


ZOMG roses:

I have been enchanted a few times this spring by the presence of this lovely visitor, who chilled obligingly in the hydrangeas while I ran and got my camera:


Today I ran into a passerby taking some pictures of flowers in the front border, and she pointed out this critter in the rue:


Upon closer inspection there were at least half a dozen of them munching away in there.  A bit of googling reveals that (a) these are the caterpillars of the lovely visitor above, namely an old world swallowtail, and (b) they looooove rue.  Who knew??  I bought the stuff because I liked the foliage.  Not sure whether the butterfly's presence explains the caterpillars or the other way around, but either way, I think I need a couple more of those plants!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Two picture posts in one!

Here's a few snapshots from mid-May:

In the front yard, the tulip colour scheme gradually changed to mostly ivory and dark purple.

Backyard, with tulips in full swing in the sun bed and the corner bed looking all spiffy with colour and texture - note Rose's bird feeder!



Aaaaaaand a couple weeks later!

Front yard!

Many things I am chuffed about just now, including:

Irises purchased from the plant sale a couple years back are now blooming!  Not what I thought I was buying, alas, but pretty nonetheless.

Poppies are blooming too, for a nice splash of neon colour.  This plant has something like 15 buds on it.

Baptisia is also clearly in its element here.  It's half again as big as the peonies with a zillion beautiful flower stalks.

Jade Frost sea holly is apparently about to bloom!  Squee!

Interesting little plant called "Red Feathers", or echium amoenum - apparently recently introduced.  Have to water it a lot to keep it going just now, hence the flopping over in the picture, but once established it should be a little less demanding.

Gentsch White hemlock is proving a lot more tolerant of heat and drought than advertised!  Much whiter in the sun, too, I think.

Smokebush, having finally leafed out, is gorgeous.

John Davis rose is about to explode into bloom.  I've been battling spider mites and god knows what other insect plagues on most of the other roses, but this one makes up for all of it.

I forget what these little short alliums are called, but aren't they funky!

This is the back third of the front yard and is the only piece of it I'm not quite happy with.  Somehow it is failing to come together.  Some of these plants will be more impressive when they get established (i.e. dittany) but there's this very big BLAH blank patch front and center, and no colour to boot.  Needs work!

Brand spankin new side yard, featuring a few plants!

Closer look at the Nova Zembla rhododendron, because dayumn.


Going round the beds:

Shade bed has been edited and added to somewhat and I'm already happier with it.  Mockorange is also about to explode into bloom, to my delight.

Sun bed, looking slightly wild and woolly but pretty swank for all that.

Another view of the previously mentioned two beds.  Also featured in all three pictures are repurposed flagstones making the paths much swankier.

Corner bed again, featuring rhododendron still going strong.

Textures in the corner bed that make me happy.

East bed - need to beat back the hydrangeas and the grass, and maybe restrain the enthusiasm of the bee balm a bit.