Posts Tagged ‘fall’

It’s Crabapple Time

 

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You wouldn’t know it, but today is the Autumnal equinox, the first day of fall. Though the unseasonably warm spell may make you want to head to the beach, it is actually a good time for to start taking advantage of the fruits of the season; grapes, squash and apples are all coming to maturity now, and one of the lesser-esteemed fruit trees, found almost everywhere in our urban forest  is the crabapple. Continue »



Filling in the Cracks with Hardy Sedums

Sedums can fill unusual spaces in the garden, like this V-shaped gap in the garden.

Sedums can fill unusual spaces in the garden, like this V-shaped gap in the garden.

Perennial Sedums, the winter hardy version of succulents, are tough. Remember, if you like succulents, there are two kinds, the tender ones that can’t survive freezing temperatures—like echeveria, jade plants, burro’s tail—and these, commonly called Hens and Chicks or stonecrop, which are perfectly able to withstand Canadian winters. There is always a space where you can fit a few in your garden. And there are so many named varieties of hardy sedum to choose from. Colours range from green, blue-green, and pink all the way to deep purple. One of my favourite new varieties that does well in dry shade is bright yellow-green ‘Angelina’, which turns orange in the fall.

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‘Angelina’ sedum turning orange in September.

 

The sustainable approach to gardening is to make sure you have growing plants covering soil, rather than on relying on mulch. Avoid bare soil at any cost. Instead, use low ground covers for any garden bare spots. Sedums work especially well in garden crevices, as seen in the picture above. They are true ground huggers and help to stop erosion on slopes. This sedum patch above, is growing on a slope, where even mulch would be regularly washed away.

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Fall Glory: Japanese Maple

Glowing fall colour of Japanese Maple.

Glowing fall colour of Japanese Maple.

When I named this photo I almost wrote “Japanese Maple in Bloom”, as that’s what the fiery red leaves seem to be: fiery flowers. A Japanese maple in the fall truly appears to be a tree in full bloom. Every garden should have a specimen if you have the room. The bronze coloured leaves are great all season but when the leaves turn red in fall they are spectacular, and the intense red leaf colour tends to last a long time. Sun shining through the leaves is a sight to behold that few other trees can match. We were lucky to have a remarkably warm November this year, when the picture above was taken.

There are a tremendous variety of Japanese Maples, around 700: some are yellow-green, some have interesting bark, and some of the dwarf ones are quite compact, growing only to 8 feet. There are threadleaf, and chunky leaved cultivars. Fall in love with Japanese Maples by checking out this Pinterest page of Japanese Maples. Better Homes and Gardens also has a good slideshow of Japanese Maple varieties here.



Old Reliable: Hydrangeas

Two hydrangeas in full bloom flank an entrance .

Two hydrangeas in full bloom flanking an entrance .

We’ve had one of the strangest summers in Toronto. A cool wet spring followed by the driest July and August in decades. Those months gave us rain in the form of torrential downpours, but the problem with a hard rain is that doesn’t penetrate the soil, and much water tends to run off. Spring is a prime time to planting a tree as it gives the tree ample time to get properly established before the colder seasons. While many factors play into the overall health and prosperous life of trees, below are ones that can have a substantial impact on the survival of the tree you select to add to your property.

A couple of day-long gentle rains came as a relief in what was mostly a broiling September; however the rain wasn’t much of a consolation for the dead-looking brown sticks in the ground, aka the clump of Joe Pye Weed in my garden. (Surprisingly, my swamp milkweed fared better in the summer drought.)

Which garden plants can stand up to the feast and famine that drought and climate weirdness bring? Hydrangeas are one. My Limelight Hydrangea came through with flying colours. Hydrangeas prefer moist soil, however they are tough, once established. Mine has been in place for three years, and this summer has never looked better.

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Snowdrops Start Off A New Garden Season

snowdrops in bloom

Snowdrops are always the first to emerge. Galanthus elwesii. Crocus shoots are showing green tips.

With above zero temps and rain instead of snow, it’s safe to believe it’s spring. Although we had some well-past-their-welcome snowflakes in early April—causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth from gardeners—the growing season is now upon us and can only get better from here on in.

A new garden season always gets the blood pumping in a gardener’s veins. Now, it’s daily checking to see what’s popping up, scanning for green shoots—any green shoots!

Spring bulbs are the first shoots we spy, and snowdrops show their faces first. The large flowered variety, Galanthus elwesii, are the best in my garden: they pack a bigger punch, even in a small group. I’d love to have a huge swath of snowdrops, but in my tough, sandy garden full of competitive Norway maple tree roots, I am lucky to see a few snowdrops here and there. To behold a real flower emerging from the soil, after the winter we’ve had is an exquisite thrill. Plus it’s good exercise to bend low—in the case of snowdrops, very low—in order to see the delicate flowers close up. Consider it your gardener’s spring warm up?