Fall again – the northern third of the Conservatory Garden finally shines with a riot of mums. Glad that even though there will probably be no tulips here in the spring, at least this tradition continues. Could they do lots of other things in this space? Yes. But I have to say it’s an impressive jumble and certainly preferable to some of the highly trained chrysanthemum displays you see. I’m in awe of what people can do with some members of the family but the thousand-flowered plants and wired cascades don’t speak to me in the same visceral way.
I’ve been to a number of gardens in the last few weeks, all inspiring in various ways. There’s so many pictures that I thought I would highlight a few ideas/plants I plan to steal for my own future garden.
1. The use of dahlias intermingled in blousy beds, particularly with grasses. The above photo is from the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, outside of Victoria. I loved it and would recommend a visit! Below is a shot from the Seasonal Walk at the NYBG. Really inspiring planting from Piet Oudolf and Jacqueline van der Kloet.
2. Gaura in the Seasonal Walk at NYBG and at HCP. I appreciate how it softens the lines, which seems fitting for the end of the season disorder.
3. Actaea simplex. Love the deep purple foliage on some of them and the extremely fragrant flowers. It blooms dramatically when the garden is starting to quiet. The first photo from Butchart Gardens outside of Victoria. The second two from the Seasonal Walk at NYBG.
4. Amsonia hubrichtii, Amsonia tabernaemontana and Amsonia montana ‘Short Stack’. Love the beautiful blue flowers in spring and the lush foliage the rest of the year. All used liberally in the native garden at NYBG.
5. Combining Angelica sylvestris (??) and japanese anemones in the Abkhazi Garden in Victoria.
6. SOLIDAGO! Ok, I probably won’t put this in my garden because I don’t have room for yellows yet, but still, some of it is pretty epic. Although some members of the family look unfortunately weedy… (sorry Solidago caesia, I know some people like you). Choose wisely I guess. First two pictures are from Butchart.
7. More hydrangeas – I didn’t really appreciate hydrangea before. I always associated them with that horrific baby blue stuff. There’s definitely some great ones out there. Uncle D has pretty hydrangea paniculata ‘Kyushu’ in his front yard that he promises to take cuttings of for me. I also fell in love with some Hydrangea serrata at HCP but I’m pretty sure those won’t grow in zone 3. The bluish hydrangea below is an unidentified variety that mom really liked at Butchart.
Our annual trip to the west coast was once again spectacular. Beautiful weather, great boogie boarding, wonderful food and an overabundance of plants. And the smell… the smell of Tofino is a richness like nothing else. Rainforest, open coast and fog. The few pictures here hardly sum up what is one of my favourite weeks of the year, but that’s fair when most of the pleasure comes from spending time with my parents, aunt and uncle, and assorted friends.
My aunt spoiled me and filled our days together in Comox with plants and her friends’ gardens. The things they can grow out there are enough to make an Albertan gardener cry. I spent most of the nursery trips trying to convince her to buy all the things I’m desperate for: meadow rues, stewartia, every japanese maple, camellias, more epimediums, etc. While our views sometimes clash, we agree wholeheartedly on the important things, namely that gunnera should be eradicated. The only place I appreciate it is in a ditch between the highway into Tofino and a gas station where it manages to flourish where little else would.