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.
- Pacino Alpine Poppy – Papaver nudicaule ‘Pacino‘
- Dwarf Arctic Iris – Iris setosa var. arctica
- Lion King Japanese Iris – Iris ensata ‘Lion King’
- Hint of Gold Blue Mist Spirea – Caryopteris ‘Hint of Gold’
- Sonic Bloom Pearl Reblooming Weigela – ‘Weigela florida’
- Snowcap Shasta Daisy – Leucanthemum superbum ‘Snowcap’
- Solenia Begonia: Apricot
- Everlasting Sweet Pea – Lathyrus latifolius
- Lilies: Four Tiger, Three Oriental
- Herbs: Catnip, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme
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.
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:
- Dwarf Hosta (1) – Hosta ‘Rainforest sunrise’
- First Frost Hosta (1)
- Rainbow’s End Hosta (1)
- Sun Power Hosta (1) – (maybe)
- Autumn Charm Stonecrop (1) – Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Charm’
- Japanese Painted Fern (1) – Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum‘
- Cobweb Hen & Chicks (1) – Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Cobweb’
- More Honey Hens-and-Chicks (1) – Sempervivum ‘More Honey’
- Virgil Hen-and-Chicks (1) – Sempervivum ‘Virgil’
- Sweet Alyssum (flat) – Lobularia maritima
- Regatta Midnight Blue Lobelia (flat) – Lobelia erinus ‘Midnight blue’
- Water Sedge (3) – Juncus Spiralis
- Polka-Dot Plant (5) – Hypoestes Confetti XL ‘Carmine Rose’
- Polka-Dot Plant (2) – Hypoestes ‘Confetti White’
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.
- Spring Temptation (beachesgardening.com)
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:
- Blanc de Coubert Rose – Rosa x Rugosa ‘Blanc de Coubert’
- Fire Flames Potentilla (3) – Cinquefoil ‘Fire Flames’
- Bonus! A package of 25 mixed Liatris spicata
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!
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.
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.
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.
- Canada Plant Hardiness Zones
- Observing Natural Microclimates And Creating Microclimates
- Cornell Gardening Resources – Microclimates