Plant World

Dwarf Iris

New Iris!

I went to a different nursery this weekend: Plant World, up in Etobicoke. It’s HUGE and fantastic. And very dangerous. I went for herbs and I came back with an alarming selection of plants. My garden is jam-packed now. And I had the self-discipline to put some of my selections back on their shelves.

I really love my spirea – its foliage is a fantastic yellow-green colour, and when you brush it, it has a wonderful peppery smell. A definite winner. The cats, on the other hand, think the catnip was the best addition.

Annuals And Other Stuff

Rainbow's End With Polka Dot Plants And Spiralis

Rainbow’s End With Polka-Dot Plants And Spiralis

I went to the nursery to pick up some annuals, to fill in the spaces in my garden with a dash of colour. I came out with my annuals, and a selection of perennials:

I learned that a flat of sweet alyssum goes farther than you think (or want). But I love my specimen hostas scattered about the garden, and the pink Polka-dot plants.

My Vesey’s Order Arrived

Blanc de Coubert Rose

Soon my pretty!

No pictures from me for this post, bare roots aren’t very interesting. The pic to the right is “aspirational” as I’m hoping that’s what my rose will look like in a month.

I ordered a few things from the lovely Vesey’s in Prince Edward Island, and they were waiting for me when I got home from work:

The Liatris were a nice touch, but I was a bit pressed to find a spot for them. My garden is small and they are threatening to be three feet tall. I put most of them around the AC unit to try to hide it. The others I nestled in the back where I don’t THINK I put any seeds.

I always do this to myself, throw seeds in the ground and don’t label where they are, convinced that I will remember. Then I forget before I make it back into the house. The situation is exacerbated when things start to sprout, since I can’t tell weeds from flowers.

Anyway – it fits well with my garden, it’s native and apparently hummingbirds and butterflies love it. So – welcome unexpected flowers! We’re glad you joined us!

On Garden Microclimates

A microclimate is a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. Microclimates can have microclimates, which can have microclimates.

I live in the Beaches in Toronto, very close to Lake Ontario. This puts my yard in a microclimate caused by the lake – 6a surrounded by the 5b of the Greater Toronto Area. Being really, really close to the lake, and having a tiny yard sheltered by tall fences that gets quite a bit of western sun – my garden’s really more a 6b.

But even within the tiny confines of my yard, small micro-climates reveal themselves.  The photo below is of three identical hostas. All Royal Standard, all planted at the exact same time, in the exact same manner, last summer. All within 12 inches of each other.

Microclimate Hostas

You guys don’t match at all.

Hosta Number One broke the soil over three weeks ago, and is full and lush and lovely. Hosta Number Two broke the soil about five days ago, and is about two inches tall. Hosta Number Three finally showed its head three days ago and is about one inch tall.

The image below shows what’s around them (the Astilbe and Blood Grass in the photo don’t count – they’ve only been there a week or two.

Hosta Map

Hosta Map!

So – Hosta Number One sits out in front – unshaded by the apple tree, and getting a bit more of the hot afternoon sun before the shadow from the fence falls across it. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference – I’ve never measured the extra time that Hosta Number One spends in the sun, but I imagine it’s measured in minutes. Still – it made over three weeks’ difference to the hostas.  That puts them in completely different growing zones, despite being about one foot apart.

So, when exploring your yard for microclimates, realise that it’s not just a matter of front yard vs. back yard – little things can make big differences.

This is a very simple example – microclimates can be caused by many factors, including soil and drainage. I’ve included some links below to more information from wiser people than me.

 

More Perennial Planting

Japanese Blood Grass - Imperata cylindrica - Red Baron

Invasive eh? You jerk.

Up and out early to Sheridan Nurseries, and then back to plant:

I also threw around some seeds, for the hell of it, we’ll see what happens. I planted matching seeds next to my coneflowers, astilbe and rudbeckia – plus sunflowers, sweet peas, chinese lanterns, cosmos, bellflower and nasturtiums.

I bought the Wisteria, despite having one, because it actually has flower buds on it. I’m amazed by that, getting them to bloom here is/was rare, I’ve never managed, anyway. I think some types just WON’T bloom until they are 10+ years old.

Invasive!?

I’m more than a little bit horrified to read at Wikipedia that the Japanese Blood Grass is one of the most noxious invasive weeds IN THE WORLD!  Further research has made me feel a little better – seems like our cold winters keep it spreading so slowly that it can’t take over.  But when you read that a plant is more invasive in the U.S. south than kudzu, you feel a little bit bad for planting it. I’ll keep a close eye on it. Apparently the real risk is that the fancy red will revert to wild green, then take off.

It’s interesting though, and you see how these species can take hold and keep hold. I’m an inexperienced gardener, and I went to my local, reputable, nursery, and I bought a plant that I liked the look of, with no notion that it could possibly be a risk.

So much for my nice, mostly native, bird, butterfly and bee garden…