A Good Home, Acts of Friendship, Canadian Gardens, Flowers, Gardens, Keeping the Faith

The Glory of Late Summer

So much beauty.

Late summer, but the garden is still resplendent with colour. 

Blog Photo - September 2018 Lovely Backyard tree to woods

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Ligularia Yellow Blooms in border

The bees are plentiful and hard at work, drawn to fragrant hosta and almost everything else, it seems.

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Bee on Hosta Bloom 2

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Hosta White ECU

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Bee ECU

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Very wide shot with bee in one lily

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Bee in Lily Med Wide

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Bee CU in Lily

The trees are still green.

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - Under the Dogwood tree

And there are blooms everywhere.

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - late blooms1

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Single Blue clem

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - Zucchini and Flower

I give thanks for this season and the ability to enjoy it. Last summer, I had a bad concussion and broken bones from a sudden fall.  Luckily, my husband and an old friend both took photos so I could see bits of the garden.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 benches and blue pot by pool

This summer, life has again challenged me greatly at times — as it does to many of us.  Loved ones get seriously ill or die.  Another fall.  A lengthy medical assessment kicks off horrible nightmares and indescribable pain; I’m shocked to find myself again staring into the abyss.  I shake my head and have a few frank words with God.

But weep ye not!

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Sunface

I’m determined to dwell, not on the bad, but on the good that’s around me. And there is so much good, so much beauty, to be thankful for.

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Yellowish Hosta fersn and wall

My husband and children are healthy. They are caringly present, especially in rough times. 

Most days I am, according to my husband, “strimping along”. (I insist I’m striding or strolling, not limping.) 

My relatives, neighbours and friends are never far away.

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - Hosta in front

We support each other.

I surprised one dear friend with a funny birthday gift and kept a promise to another.  (Tiny acts, but I know they matter.)

My sisters and daughters called; we shared words of hope, love and reassurance.

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Bee on Blue shrub

And I’m still keeping the faith.

And the sun still shines in abundance.

Blog Photo - Phillipians 4 Whatever is True

~~

 

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A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Carol and Wayne Shaw's Gardens Summer 2018

Wayne and Carol – The Garden

You may remember Wayne and Carol from my post “What A Project!” 

Blog Photo - Wayne Building

Wayne’s always building something, and my family is always intrigued with his projects. 

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Kitchen ws

His latest ones were their new kitchen, and the exterior of  “The Coach House”, below, with plans to finish the interior next.

Blog Photo - Carol Garden coach house beautiful exterior

“Has Wayne completed The Coach House yet?” I asked Carol a few weeks ago.

“He will, but right now I’ve got him mulching the garden beds,” she replied.

Their garden in Warkworth, and others elsewhere in southern Ontario needed mulching this summer.  It’s been hot and dry.

Blog Photo - Carol garden delphiniums over fence - gorgeous

So while we wait for Wayne to return to the splendid Coach House, let’s take a photo tour of Carol’s garden, starting with the beautiful blue delphinium over the front fence.

Blog Photo - Carol garden glorious photo of delphinium over fence

Blog Photo - Carol garden delphinium over street

And lilies and daisies and other blooming stuff.

Blog Photo - Carol garden pink lilies and sign about flowers

Blog Photo - Carol Garden orange lilies - picket fence in bg

Blog Photo - Carol garden beautiful potted arrangement on front patio

Blog Photo - Carol garden at front with plants and house front

Blog Photo - Carol garden daisies etc

Moving along the side towards the back…

Blog Photo - Carol garden wide shot of fence and rocks and flowers from street

By way of the paths…

Blog Photo - Carol garden lovely side path and blooms

Blog Photo - Carol garden path from other view

We see mulched beds and flowers – the results of both Wayne’s and Carol’s hard work…

Blog Photo - Carol Garden from coach house view

Blog Photo - Carol garden with barometer over flower pot

Blog Photo - Carol garden bed well mulched

 beside and between the main house and Coach House.

Blog Photo - Carol garden lovely shot of the coach house and back of house and garden bed

And it’s all lovely, of course.  We expect nothing less.

We’ll check back in with Carol and Wayne when the Coach House is complete.

Blog Photo - Carol garden back garden bed

Meanwhile, I hope your summer goes well, unless you’re in the part of the world where it’s winter — in which case, I hope winter is short and spring is near.

Photos by Wayne and Carol Shaw

A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Gardening, White gardens

Exterior Design – Gardening for Impact

 

I’m an amateur gardener. Many of you know more about gardening than I do.

But I’ve learned a few things over the years and I shared some in my previous post on affordable gardening. 

This post is about creating impact.

Blog Photo - Hosta green around tree

The first thing I’ve learned is that you can create impactful garden scenes with a fairly small range of plants – if that’s your preference. At the farmhouse, we had many kinds of plants. At this new garden, we have far fewer. So we use a lot of hosta, hydrangea, ferns, and boxwood throughout our garden.

Blog Photo - Hosta around tree

I’ve learned that structure matters. Plants of the same variety massed together in a circle or  semi-circle make a strong structural statement.

When we lived at the farmhouse, a neighbour was throwing out clumps of green-and-white hosta. We gladly took some.  We divided and planted them around this tree, below.  They formed a lush circle in just two gardening seasons.

Blog Photo - Afternoon Tea guest in garden

My husband created two circles, above – one with hosta and one with boxwood. Look closely and you’ll see a taller boxwood semi-circle too.

Boxwood is perfect for creating structure. We buy them small (aka inexpensive) and let them grow. These ones, curving along our present garden path, are now two years old and will be trimmed and shaped soon.

Blog Photo - Boxwood along path

Contrast is another way of creating impact. The hosta and Japanese forest grasses, below — planted along another curve in the path — make a nice contrast.

Blog Photo - Hosta and Forest Grass

 Meanwhile, ligularia’s dark leaves, below, contrast well with almost anything.

Blog Photo - Ligularia

It’s a backdrop for the light-green hosta. But notice the green-and-white grass, below left.  Alone, the shape and colour of its blades would contrast nicely with the leaves of that hosta too. 

Blog Photo - Hosta and contrast

Contrast can also be created using varieties of the same genus of plants. Note the different kinds of hosta used below.

Blog Photo - Hostas of different colours

While contrasts are striking, we also like the harmony that comes from repeating a single colour throughout the garden at certain times of the year.

The red blooms of bee balm, below, echo the red of the chairs.

Blog Photo - Red Bee Balm and Bird Bath

Blog Photo - Red Bee Balm and Red Chairs

And the white blooms of bridal wreath spirea reinforce the white-stained arbour, below.

Blog Photo - White garden Bridal Wreath and Arbour

Sticking with colour, let’s talk about single-colour gardens and borders. 

Blog Photo - White garden Hollyhock single

Blog Photo - White garden Daisies

The white hollyhocks and daisies (above) and Annabelle hydrangea, below, are striking when grown en masse.

Blog Photo - White garden Hydrangea CU

Blog Photo - White garden Hydrangea several

Fast-growing and easy to divide, they are popular in all-white gardens. (Vita Sackville-West’s white garden at Sissinghurst in the UK is most famous, but many gardens, both private and public, have these plants in their white borders.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Courtesy: Parkwood Estate, Oshawa, Ontario

Of course, we’ve also learned that a single plant can make a magnificent statement, as does this giant Sum and Substance hosta.

Blog Photo - Hosta Giant Sum and Substance

And this equally striking goatsbeard.

Size, form, texture, contrast and colour: all can make a strong impact in your garden.

A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Gardening, Low-Cost Gardening

8 Tips for Lovely, Low-Cost Gardens

Our gardens are usually lovely because my husband and I take good care of them. 

Blog Photo - Garden - Beautiful long shot to wall

But there’s another reason we’re pleased: nothing we add costs us much. Some gardening tips to share:

  1. Look for end-of-season sales. Blog Photo - Hostas and bird bathMany plants in our garden were bought in late June or early July. Remember: water generously that first summer.
  2. Divide mature plants. Blog Photo - Garden Path and HostaHosta, hydrangea, phlox, bee balm — most perennials, in fact — may be divided within 2 to 4 years of planting, instantly creating more mature plants for other spaces in your garden. We got these green-and-white hosta from our neighbours’ garden and have divided them repeatedly in two years.
  3. Consider gift certificates. Blog Photo - Red Bee Balm and Red ChairsIf you have a big anniversary and friends ask “What would you really like?”, suggest gift certificates from one centrally-located and reputable nursery. I never remember this until it’s too late.  But with a few certificates, you could get a shrub, tree, or even garden furniture.
  4. Bargain. Blog Photo - Clematis pink and lavenderWe had beautiful clematis plants at the farmhouse garden. Most were straggly-looking at the garden-centre, so we negotiated, got great deals and loved them back to health.
  5. Keep the good stuff. Blog Photo - Pool long shotOne of our most cherished pieces was a gift from friends: a cedar bench made especially for us. We’ve lived in three homes since then, and it always comes along.
  6. Paint the Old Stuff.Blog Photo - Blue Metal TablesOur metal tables were old and rusty. Blue paint brought them back to life.
  7. Work with what you have. Blog Photo - Muskoka chairs and UmbrellaWe never wanted a pool. But the house-with-the-pool cost much less than the houses-that-had-no-pool. So we bought it. Then a neighbour gave us his old paving stones; my husband created another paved area for seating.
  8. When you can’t afford what you want, consider a substitute.Blog Photo - Red Chairs and White Bench
    Blog Photo - Red chairs and white bench front shotI’d like a certain kind of chaises longues for my garden, but cannot afford them. So every spring in the last three years, I’ve bought one of these zero-gravity loungers. Solid and durable, each costs about one tenth of the chair I’d like and is very comfortable too!    Happy saving to you!
8 low-cost garden tips
8 low-cost Garden Tips