Posted in blog, gardening, loreeebee.wordpress.com

Late October Blooms in Gardens4me

Due to the beautiful weather we have experienced so far this fall, (yesterday we hit 25 degrees C or 77 F) I still have blooms in late October in Gardens4me. Not many, but a few.

Still Blooming

Roses, in particular, are still pretty cheerful, one of the reasons I love and plant roses of all types in my gardens; many of the new varieties bloom from June until the ground freezes. One of my hardy hibiscus is still producing blossoms too, as are the daisies, sage, silver lace vine, and perennial geraniums.

Our Canadian winters are typically long (cold and icy) enough without an early freeze up, so hopefully, that won’t happen too soon. I do still have a few gardens to put to bed for the season.

Gorgeous Seed Heads

Even though the foliage on most perennials has yellowed (time to tidy it up), I love the look of the seed heads many produce. Especially the ornamental grasses; the cool season varieties are (still) gorgeous!

Fall Maintenance

Some grasses I leave as is over the winter, to let the seed heads blow in the wind. Others, particularly the ones I cannot see from my windows, I chop back to 6 inches from the ground. This gives me one less chore to get to in the spring.

Most of the annuals I have around Gardens4me have seen better days and need to be put out of their misery, but the colours in this coleus are still brilliantly beautiful. The sedge grass, heuchera and lamium around the coleus are all perennials whose foliage continues to look nice until covered in snow. I will leave the coleus there for a bit longer…

Late October Blooms
coleus top, sedge bottom left, heuchera bottom center, lamium bottom right

Looking Ahead

With the temperature much more fall-like today and in the forecast this coming week and next month, I am pretty sure this will be my last post about my Gardens4me. One of the best things about the restrictions surrounding the coronavirus is the increased amount of time I spent in my own gardens this 2020 season. I hope you enjoyed my pictures as much as I loved taking them. What did we ever do before cell phones and their ever-accessible cameras? Even my grandkids are getting proficient at using mine.

Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.wordpress.com

Garden Renovation at Ruddy Shenkman Hospice

Recently Gardens4u expanded the front garden at the Ruddy Shenkman Hospice (RSH) in Kanata. I have been volunteering my (gardening) services at RSH for several years now, shortly after it moved to my neighbourhood.

Only the Good Die Young

This project has been a vision in my brain for a while; I just had to wait until all parties were onboard and permission was granted. As a non-profit organization there are always lots of hoops to jump through.

A few existing shrubs were left in place, in particular the burning bush which is gorgeous this time of year. Two large spreading junipers were trimmed and shaped, but will remain in the garden, mainly because they would be much too difficult (for me) to remove. They also provide winter interest as they are evergreen in our climate.

The first step was to mark out the shape of the new garden using a garden hose and black spray paint. My granddaughter was on hand as the inspector for that job…

Next, to save time as well as my back, I enlisted the help of Tim Driscoll of TD Small Loads who scraped the sod and carted it away.

When that chore was complete, we spread the composted manure donated and delivered by Ritchies Feed & Seed on Carp Road in Stittsville.

After the soil amendment came the plants, many of which were donated by other members of the RSH garden team as well as some of my neighbours. The large shrubs were also selected from and donated by Ritchies. I placed the shrubs and perennials strategically in the garden, still in their pots, according to their bloom time and colour, foliage shape as well as their mature size. A few tweaks here and there are always the norm before holes are dug and actual planting takes place.

The final step is to fill any blank spots in with contributions from my own gardens. Then a layer of cedar mulch (also donated and delivered from Ritchies) finishes the garden off…

I can’t wait until this garden matures, it should look beautiful!!

Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.wordpress.com

October blooms in Gardens4me

Who can believe that October is here already? Not me. Not Gardens4me either as they are still producing lots of blooms.

New this month is the silver lace vine I have adorning my garden shelves/work bench. What a mess this shelving unit is, another job for my fall to do list.

Another fall blooming perennial is the aster, a little soggy in this picture, cheerful none the less…

October blooms
aster

Also putting in a (late) appearance is my beautiful white and red hibiscus…

Roses are still blooming beautifully…

…as is tickseed. Did you know if you cut tickseed back immediately after it first blooms in the summer it will rebloom? This picture is my proof..

October blooms
tickseed

Also reblooming for the third (!!!) time this season is my weigela. It requires no maintenance to make it rebloom, just warm weather…

Annuals in containers are still eye catching, including a gorgeous pal blush pink hibiscus, even though we have had a few frosty nights.

One annual I was disappointed in this summer was the cardinal flower vine on my bamboo teepees. Although the foliage is unique, the blooms (other than a sporadic one mentioned earlier) have only just shown up in earnest….

The frosty nights have caused the leaves to start their colour transformation. From green to red with various shades in between. The vine on my back deck (or green room) is no exception…

We can’t complain about the advancing calendar too much though as our summer here in Eastern Ontario has been awesome. A tad too hot and dry for our lawns, but awesome for we humans. With one daughter-in-law on maternity leave, I was able to spend more time than usual at the lake with her and two of my grandchildren. With pandemic restrictions in place we were not allowed to do much else, so cottage life was the perfect answer.

The rain this week has been great for the fall lawn repair my yard so badly needs. The temperature has been warm too, so my Gardens4me blooms should last a while longer.

Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.wordpress.com

Mid September Blooms in Gardens4me

Cooler days and nights in mid September makes for much easier gardening. One of my favourite perennial plants this time of year are the cool season ornamental grasses. There are so many varieties to choose from these days, but my favourite is still what I call “fireworks,” for obvious reasons. Its real name is Maiden Grass Silberfeder or Miscanthus Sinensis. Whatever you call it, it is gorgeous!

 There is not much new in Gardens4me this time, but many perennials are still looking dapper. For example, the roses, coneflowers (I love its seed heads too), geraniums and butterfly bushes just won’t quit, not that I’m complaining, and the Turtlehead I mentioned at the beginning of the month has produced even more unique blossoms…

Oh, and my hibiscus is finally making an appearance, a bit later than usual.  I figure my magnolia tree has shaded the hibiscus too much so I plan to trim a few of the lower branches from the magnolia to restore the full sun conditions in that bed.

I’m feeling left out; everyone elses’s hibiscus have been blooming for weeks now.

The coleus I planted are also still beautiful in containers at my local hospice and in my own garden. I love the way the vivid colours appear to be randomly splattered across the leaves…

 

With frost in the forecast a few nights this week, who knows what next week will bring……..stay tuned!

Posted in family, gardening, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.wordpress.com

Early September in Gardens4me

Although the calendar says early September, the summer weather (heat and humidity) is still going strong. That means many of the perennials blooming last month are still looking good…

Coming into their own this month are the seedheads of the fall grasses that look awesome in the garden or in containers on a deck or veranda…

…as well as another perennial called Turtlehead (I had never heard of it, but it looked promising at the nursery), and an annual vine called Cardinal Climber…

I have lots of roses thriving in Gardens4me, in many different varieties and colours. I love the roses because they bloom off and on all summer and well into the fall. They are also (believe it or not!) relatively low maintenance. Last month I posted a picture of one such rose just starting a second bloom. Here it is (first pic) this week with (just) a few more of its thorny cousins…

My two and a half year old granddaughter loves to play hide and seek in Gardens4me. Now that she has discovered the stepping stones leading into each corner and was taught how to gently move the plants out of the way, she runs from one corner to the next. She is still young enough to think that if she can’t see all of me I can’t see her. So precious!

One of my clients was disenchanted with the statues in his garden, (at least his wife was) so I brought them home and added them to mine knowing my grandkids would love them. The black bear is a favourite; this granddaughter likes to pet it and give it a bath with the hose while my three-and-a-half year old, bug-loving grandson searches for the bugs hiding underneath the bear!

The frog (a mothers day gift from my son years ago), the racoon family (from my father’s garden), and the heron are well loved too. The rabbit hiding in the hostas is pretty banged up now as this same granddaughter used to carry (and drop it) it around everywhere.

Coming into focus soon are the fall favourites such as sedum “Autumn Joy” and more grasses. Although this grass is an annual, I plant it in containers each year and am never disappointed with its pinky-purple plumes this time of year.

Stay tuned for more pictures later this month!

Posted in family, gardening, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.wordpress.com

Love of Gardening is Contagious

My (almost) seven year old granddaughter has been asking me to make a flower garden at her house to surprise her mom. She has been spending one day a week with me recently; we decided today was the day, now that it has cooled off a bit.

Before

My son was to dig out the sod, but was not working locally today to get home at lunch to do it, so we girls had to do that tedious job ourselves.

After the digging was done we took a break for lunch.

Next we added composted manure, then the plants…

The finishing touch was the mulch…

I was impressed at my granddaughter’s perseverance, she lasted 4.5 hours with only one short break at lunch time. I guess I should have had her sign a waiver in case anyone reports me for abusing the child labor laws.

Posted in business, gardening, gardens4u

Next Gardens4U Project

My most recent Gardens4U project involved two new garden beds for the back corners of a large, pie-shaped lot. The yard has a large swimming pool so the corner beds were placed far enough way that pool water will not splash onto the plantings. The clients’ own three dogs, so my plans also had to allow for a running area between the flower beds and the pool. Check out the before and after shots…

To save my time (not to mention my back) and the expense involved, the client dug out the beds after I marked them out. I added composted manure to improve the clay-laden soil, then arranged the perennials and shrubs according to their potential sizes at maturity as well as their bloom time and colour.

When the temperatures cooled off a bit, and I was happy with the placement of plants, I spent half a day planting them in their new beds. Note the drain in one corner bed, a low point in the area that rainwater from several adjacent lots drain into. It is imperative that this drainage site not be adversely affected when adding soil and plants. Although this consideration makes the one bed appear oddly shaped and lacking soil, the drain will not be visible when the plants grow to mature size. After planting, the garden beds were then edged to leave a clear demarcation line between the gardens and the lawn…

Once the perennials and shrubs were watered in well, (every day for a week) I added dark brown, cedar mulch for the finishing touch. The plantings may look a bit sparse right now, but in a few seasons from now they will have reached their full, mature size. If I plant too many plants and too close together, I will have unhappy clients in a few years…

I also talked the clients into outlining the perimeter of their above-ground pool with river rock. They did this project themselves; I think it looks great!

pool edged with river rock

You can see the one corner garden at the back left, peeking out from behind the pool. Onto the next project! Now that the weather has cooled off I can get more done before garden fall cleanups start.

Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.wordpress.com

Late August Blooms in Gardens4me

With September fast (unfortunately) approaching my Gardens4me are changing yet again. That is the beauty of perennial gardens though, they change constantly.

Some things featured in early August are still shining brightly…

While new blooms are now strutting their stuff…

Now that we have received more rain, evenings are cooler and dew keeps the lawn damp for hours each morning, my grass is (amazingly) recovering. Even my south facing, previously scorched lawn in my front yard has recovered. These pictures actually include the lawn in my backyard that I was embarrassed to photograph earlier this summer….

The vines I planted at the base of my garden work bench (scaffolding constructed by my son years ago) have scrambled up the poles…

Gardens4me has a handsome inspector that likes to perch atop one of the planters on my back deck…

At one of my favourite gardens recently (check out the evolution of this garden on my website) I snapped some photos of the containers I planted there in May…

My personal favourites for containers this summer have been hibiscus and coleus for sun and shade respectively.

I love the coleus so much I think I will attempt to take cuttings of each variety this fall before frost kills them off. Unfortunately they are only annuals in my climate, so have to be replanted at the beginning of each season. That makes them perfect for containers though…

These yellow rose buds (my absolute favourite of my roses) are a sign of things to come…

Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.wordpress.com

Recent Gardens4U Project

Gardens4U recently finished another project. As projects go, this was a fairly simple one. The client had an existing garden in her front yard, but wanted to add some pizazz to it. With lack of sun exposure the predominant issue, my challenge was to find a larger and unique variety of perennials that would perform well in those conditions.

The old garden featured a pair of shade-loving hostas as well as a pair of peonies that were stretching for the sun. While I am not overly fond of hostas (I am a bit of a plant snob afterall) I did reuse these pretty lime green ones.

The new version offers a wider variety of shade loving, colorful perennials as well as a more attractive shape. The new additions are spaced to accommodate the mature size they will reach in a few seasons. Of course the plants in the back row will grow taller than the ones in the middle and front rows. The peonies were also reused, moved forward to benefit from more sunshine. The foliage wilted when I moved them, so I cut them back, assuring the client that they (the peonies) will return next season.

gardens4u
after

One month later, this is what the garden looks like. Despite the incredible heat wave we have been experiencing here in the Ottawa area, the plants have survived and are thriving…

Next season it should look absolutely gorgeous as the plants in the back will have grown taller and all plants will be fuller. I am especially anxious to see the progress of the vivid pink rhododendron I planted in the back left corner. It was chosen as an ideal candidate to anchor the garden, perfect for the part sun conditions that corner has to offer, with a mature height of five feet.

Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca, zone 4

Early August Blooms in Gardens4Me

The summer is flying by, August is upon us. We were fortunate to receive some much needed rain last week so my Gardens4me are looking pretty luscious this week.

A few blossoms pictured in my late July post are still hanging around, surprisingly. A perennial geranium is reblooming, even though I did not get around to cutting it back as I usually do to encourage a repeat performance…

New this month are the heliopsis or false sunflowers, providing splashes of vivid yellow at my gate and amongst the greenery of my “jungle” as my 6 year old granddaughter calls it.

Also new this month are the garden phlox (as opposed to the creeping variety) in bright pink and white…

as well as tickseed…

Also thriving after our heavy rains are the weeds in my lawn. My granddaughter (the same one that loves my “jungle”) helped me mow the weeds one day, until a thunderstorm sent us running into the house…

I love the fact that my grandchildren enjoy my gardens, hopefully they will remember these days in years to come. I know I cherished the time spent in my own grandmothers’ gardens.

Today I stopped by the hospice that I volunteer at to check out the gardens and containers I planted. I am particularly thrilled with the progress of the coleus spilling out of these containers in the shade. Every year there appears to be more varieties available; their colours are striking!

What’s happening in your gardens?