Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pine Ridge Winter Games

Maybe not as exciting as the Olympics, but hey, we can't all go to Sochi! In between watching Canada collect medals, give the things below a read - they'll make February go away that much faster.

Know and Grow

First, you may notice I've done a little housekeeping on the blog's appearance. Now there will regularly be an entry to the right called 'Know and Grow' which will link to a page (or so) about one of my favourite native plants. Older entries will stay available by clicking on the plant's name under the pages tab on the left.

I'd love for the 'Know and Grow' to become a dialogue so we can all learn more about how to grow these plants. If you disagree with something I say, or have something to add, please leave a comment and we will all be able to see it, and learn from it. Over time, we should end up with a good archive of practical information.

Ottawa Botanical Garden Society

Secondly, the Ottawa Botanical Garden Society, now called simply 'Canadensis', is planning some very exciting activities this summer. They have a Facebook page (click the name above) and you can click on 'like' or 'follow' to get notified whenever they post an update.

The most exciting event is a brand-new outdoor environmental art exhibition called 'Beyond the Edge'. Six artists have been invited to create gardens at the Botanic Garden site on Prince of Wales Drive. The exhibition will run from June 27 to Sept. 27. A grand opening, and artists' talks are planned as well. I may not be first in line when it opens, but I'll be near the front!

Then they are hosting a series of garden talks, the most interesting of which is Alexander Reford giving a lecture about Reford Gardens/Jardins des Metis on Thursday, May 1st. This will be held in the Cereal Barn on the Experimental Farm from 7:00 to 8:30pm.

There's more, but those are the highlights for me.

Garden Design Thinking

I've been doing quite a bit of reading this winter, including some on blogs such as Thomas Rainer's Grounded Design. There seems to be a lot of talk about ideas such as 'intermingling', 'contemporary naturalistic design', and 'the new perennial garden'. Buzz words..... which make your head buzz.... but interesting ideas. I can summarize pretty quick by saying, 'using native plants, grasses and various previously under-valued perennials to make structurally interesting gardens' but really you need to read this stuff yourself to get the full flavour. One comment I will make, though, is that all these ideas are better suited to public gardens, especially large ones, than home gardens. Intermingling, for example, only looks great if you have a large enough area. Intermingling 6 grass plants, 3 perennial plants and a weed or two doesn't cut it! And the biggest 'new' idea I notice in the new perennial gardens is using grasses to set off the flowering plants. I think American gardeners have finally come to grips with the fact that plants that bloom for weeks in Britain do not bloom for weeks in the US....

If you go to Thomas's blog, he has lots of links which will take you on a landscape design tour of the world. Great fun, relaxing, eye-opening, thought-provoking, and you don't have to dig anything up.

A really good book, by the way, about some of this is 'Plant-Driven Design' by Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden. The pictures are inspiring and the ideas are interesting. You do have to be patient as you read, though.  I think they must have been in bad moods when they were writing the text because there is rather too much criticism of other designers, but the pictures are so good it is worth making that allowance.

Tree Following

Some bloggers are having fun 'tree following'. The idea is that you adopt some particular tree and see what it does over the year. I'm adopting a stump, so we will be 'stump following'. Seems appropriate for a garden with so many trees I could never select only one!

Right now my stump is totally buried under the snow.

Perfect for the Pine Ridge Winter Games.

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