Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Re-e-e-verse, Wa-a-alk Your Ponies..... the Trowel Speaks.

As some of you will remember, I was pretty annoyed last fall when She bought a new trowel. 'What am I,' I thought, 'chopped Daisy stems?' About the only thing I could do was ease my feelings a bit by hiding on her. I went down to, no, I'm not going to say. It was not under the weeds around the Pitcher Plants down by the bog. I might need to go there again. We older trowels can hide like that, we're not so shiny anymore.

Then one day She was growlin' around because She couldn't find me and wanted me for re-potting some ferns. Somebody (not my friend) suggested she use the new one, but she said, no, she wanted the old, experienced one. It was, she said, just right for those pots.

'Experienced???' What the hey does she think, what an insult, what nerve... after all my dedication, hard work, loyalty... wait. Isn't 'experience' a good thing?

Anyway, I stayed hidden. The two-foot deep layer of snow may have been a factor.

Then I kind of forgot about it and got back to work. There was a lot to do in the spring, you know how that goes in a garden. And since then I've been so doggoned busy I haven't even had time to check out the new inmate.

Yesterday I was sort of having a rest, down near the bottom of the potting soil bin. Not hiding, you know, just restin' up a bit after potting up about a million little Aquilegias. Maybe not a million, maybe only about 30, but you know I never went to school. Anyway, there I was having a well-deserved kip when I heard a little, gentle, voice say 'Hi there'. What??? I sat up, shook off the peat crumbs and looked around. Oh, my..... well, isn't that the cutest thing you ever saw.... Slim, shiny, with inches marked (shows intelligence, must have gone to school and studied science) and, get this, RED HAIR.

OK, that changes things. Re-e-e-verse.

We had a little chat. We older guys know how to do that. I explained about how there are always an awful lot of baby ferns and native plants around here, and they always seem to need re-potting. I mentioned that I had told Her several times that there were just too many of them these days, she really ought to have another Sale and get rid of some of them, but she didn't seem to be listening. Anyway, I was able to give my new acquaintance some important tips about how to enjoy working here. She seemed to appreciate it.

Seems a little shy, though. Unless that is just natural born caution. Not a bad thing in a girl, especially a red head. I'll just have to move slow. You can come along, watch an expert, but remember, . wa-a-a-lk your ponies....

Friday, July 19, 2013


An early morning walkabout in the wet garden. Some of the wet is rain because we did get a shower last night, but the rest is dew. I'm in my pj's. You can do that when you live in the woods.

The wild area behind the Studio, which I haven't gotten to at all yet this summer, draws me.

Brushing through the wet grasses and weeds hanging over the path, I go and take a look.

 A bright orange-red lily catches my eye. It is well over three feet tall, and looks wonderful in among the grasses. The grass is (I think) Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', or at least that was its name when I got it, don't know what it is now, and it is my favourite ornamental grass. Actually, favourite grass of any kind. It is always different, but always beautiful and always graceful.

The lily must be that free bulb some company gave me. I just stuck it in when I was planting grasses and forgot about it.


Not far away I see a Mullein which doesn't look quite like the usual wild one, nor does it look like the two ornamental ones I have around here somewhere . The leaves are narrower than the wild one and the flowers are much better. A closer look shows me that the stalk is also branched.

Must be a hybrid that seeded itself. I can never understand the British gardeners' enthusiasm for Mulleins, but this is sort of interesting......


Good grief. What's this at the edge where I have been digging up rocks and starting a place for Goldenrods? I had potatoes there last year..... got a good crop in spite of the drought, thank you.

Right. Potato plants. Lots of them.

Must have missed a few last year!


In among the grasses I see some soft blue flowers.

I have Tradescantia ohioensis in several places in the garden. I like the large deep blue flowers which open one a day like daylilies, and the oddball foliage.

But this one is a very soft mauvy-blue, quite different. Another seedling, no doubt.


The yuccas in the corner are gorgeous. Huge. The stalks are taller than I am. Don't know what species it is, but I can tell you who gave it to me, so it is Sheila's yucca.

Guess I forgot to cut a seed stalk last fall.


The flowers are gorgeous too, especially with the dew on them.

Something is catching my ankles, and not just my wet pj bottoms. Look down. Oops, the invasive plant bell is going off, ding, ding, ding.....

What the heck, even Bindweed is beautiful this morning.


OK, that's pretty funny. The Daylily root I tossed on the compost pile turns out to be the rust-red one I like. The one I kept and planted is blah yellow....


Some years ago I got a package of seeds of Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susan, which were supposed to include double flowers. Of course, lots of plants, lots of flowers, but nary a double to be seen.

Now here's one.


And here's a Delphinium, at least it looks like one. Many of them, but every stem has only a few flowers. The colour is that indescribable Delphinium blue....

Wait, I did toss some old seeds here, of  what was supposed to be a short, sturdy, and perennial Larkspur.


My pj's are soaked, the bottom half from the wet grasses and such, and the top from the perspiration that I suddenly realize is rolling down my back. It is only 7am, but it is already over 30C.

Looks like I had better plan to work indoors today. I do have something fairly important to do on the computer, so now I have no excuse not to work on it.... except that I seem to writing a blog entry instead....


Friday, July 5, 2013

Smilax herbacea.....

Smilax herbacea..... Greenbrier.....

Do you smell something? No? Maybe you will when I tell you another name for this vine is Carrion Flower.

Kip and I were walking in the back of our woods and stopped briefly because, with all the growth due to the cool rainy summer and the fact that our trail has had to be re-routed around a massive blow-down, we were a little disoriented and not sure where we were. At least I wasn't. Kip, being a Dog, probably always knows where he is. Anyway, we were standing there and I became aware of an Odor. I looked around, because it was the sort of Odor that dogs love to roll in and I had no desire to wash a dog when I got back home. But he was just standing there, looking up at me and waiting for me to go on.

Another whiff came my way.

Turning my head, I nearly bumped into a round cluster of odd yellow and green flowers. I looked more closely. "Carrion Flower", I thought to myself. I had never seen it before, but had read about it, and as soon as I saw the bloom I knew.

Here is a closer look at the flower cluster. It reminds me a bit of Milkweed.

Of the seven or eight species of Smilax  found in Ontario, this is the only soft vine. The others are woody and have prickles. But they all have clusters of greenish flowers, followed by dark blue or brownish berries.

This one was draped over a Prickly Ash. It was growing in a damp and well-shaded area, and obviously pretty happy there. The vine was already a good 15' long and there were numerous flowers.

Also numerous mosquitoes, so we kept walking.

Kip approved.