Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hamamelis virginiana in bloom

[Photo: Hamamelis virginiana flowers © Nicky Sztybel.]Although he photographed these flowers in High Park last Monday, Nicky wanted me to post this plant today in honour of Hallowe'en. Hamamelis virginiana, known in English as "American witchhazel" and in French as hamamélis de Virginie, is a deciduous tree native to eastern and central North America. Unlike most of our native trees, witchhazel blooms in autumn, possibly to take advantage of the lack of other flowers vying for pollinators attention. I was thrilled to see this interesting tree for the first time in real life!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Phlox paniculata 'Katherine': bare root plant

[Photo: Phlox paniculata 'Katherine' bare root plant.]Phlox paniculata, known in English as "garden phlox", "fall phlox", or "summer phlox", and in French as phlox paniculée, is a perennial native to eastern and central United States. It bears clusters of showy five-petalled flowers in shades of pink, purple, or white. This cultivar will have lavender flowers with white eyes.

Garden phlox looks similar to dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis, julienne des dames). You can distinguish the two by counting petals: phlox has five petals, dame's rocket has four. It's important to be able to distinguish them because dame's rocket is seriously invasive here in southern Ontario according to the Invasive Exotic Species Ranking for Southern Ontario (PDF). Since dame's rocket is considered "a threat to natural areas wherever they occur because they can reproduce by means that allow them to move long distances," I hope that other Toronto gardeners will join me in growing the equally pretty but non-invasive garden phlox instead.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Iris × hollandica 'Blue Pearl' bulbs

[Photo: Iris x hollandica 'Blue Pearl' bulbs.]Iris × hollandica, known in English as "Dutch iris" and in French as iris de Hollande, is a bulbous perennial available in a variety of colours including blue violet (e.g. 'Blue Magic'), white (e.g. 'Casa Blanca'), yellow (e.g. 'Crown Jewel'), bronze (e.g. 'Bronze Beauty'), and more. These ones should be a rich blue violet.

Tulipa tarda bulbs

[Photo: Tulipa tarda]Tulipa tarda, known in English as "tarda tulip" or "species tulip" and in French as tulipe tarda or tulipe botanique, are bulbous perennials native to Turkey and the surrounding area. Unlike the usual hybrid tulips, species tulips will self-sow and are more perennial in nature (hybrids may come back in future years but often decline). Tarda tulips are petite plants with showy 6-petalled star-shaped flowers in yellow with white tips.

Galanthus nivalis bulbs

[Photo: Galanthus nivalis bulbs.]Last year snowdrops (perce-neige) were the very first flowers up in our neighbourhood, and very welcome after the long winter. (Last year, Helen's first snowdrop came up in late February!

Cyclamen hederifolium tubers

[Photo: Cyclamen hederifolium tubers.]

The plants I ordered from Veseys have arrived (except the phlox, which is back-ordered), so I have a busy weekend ahead!

You can see that one of these tubers seems to have sprouted already. I do hope it will be okay.

Cyclamens are sometimes wild-collected for the horticultural trade, and some species have become endangered because of this. So when you buy cyclamens, make sure that they are nursery propagated!

Crocus chrysanthus corms

[Photo: Crocus chyrsanthus 'Romance' corms.]Crocus chrysanthus, known in English as "snow crocus" and in French as crocus de printemps, are bulbous perennials native to Eurasia. A variety of cultivars are available, in colours ranging from white (e.g. 'Snow Bunting', pale lavender blue (e.g. 'Blue Pearl', and pale yellow (e.g. 'Romance') to dark purple (e.g. 'Lady Killer') and bronze ('Zwanenburg Bronze').

[Photo: Crocus chrysanthus 'Blue Pearl' corms.]Of course at this stage they all look pretty much the same. The top photo shows 'Romance' (light yellow blooms) and the bottom photo shows 'Blue Pearl' (very pale blue).

Chionodoxa forbesii bulbs

[Photo: Chionodoxa forbesii bulbs.] More treasures from Veseys: Chionodoxa forbesii (glory-of-the-snow, gloire des neiges). These little beauties, native to Turkey, bear six-petalled light blue flowers in early spring—here are some photos at Dave's Garden. I've seen these in real life so I know they really are as pretty as the pictures!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, October 2009

It's definitely autumn now, and most of the flowering plants are either finished or on their last legs. Here are the brave hangers-on: [Photo: Antirrhinum majus.] Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon, muflier) volunteers in the front garden.

[Photo: Chrysanthemum sp.] Chrysanthemum sp. (chrysanthème), courtesy of my landlord.

[Photo: Helianthus annuus.] Helianthus annuus (sunflower, tournesol) volunteer.

[Photo: Impatiens walleriana 'Accent Lavender Blue.] Impatiens walleriana 'Accent Lavender Blue' (impatience).

[Photo: Lobularia maritima.]Lobularia maritima (alyssum, alysse odorante), volunteer offspring of 'Rosie O'Day'.

[Photo: Myosotis sp.]Cynoglossum sp. (forget-me-not, souvenez-vous-de-moi).

[Photo: Rudbeckia hirta.]Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan, rudbeckie dressée).

[Photo: Sutera cordata with Sedum spurium.]Sutera cordata (bacopa, bacopa) volunteer in the Sedum spurium (rock cress, orpin bâtard).

And here are some plants that are not blooming now but are looking pretty:

[Photo: Heuchera 'Bressingham Hybrid'.]Heuchera 'Bressingham Hybrid' (coral bells, heuchère).

[Photo: Solidago canadensis gone to seed.]Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod, verge d'or du Canada).

[Photo: Tiarella cordifolia.]Tiarella cordifolia (foamflower, tiarelle cordifoliée).

[Photo: Waldsteinia fragaroides.]Waldsteinia fragaroides (barren strawberry, waldsteinie faux-fraisier).

Visit May Dreams Gardens to see what's blooming in gardens around the world!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Grower admits photos are falsified to sell plants!

I guess Casa Flora assumed only other industry people would be reading their website, not ordinary gardeners. Check out this page for Heuchera 'Cathedral Windows'. They actually admit
Cathedral Windows was published on the front cover of a popular plant catalog and was an instant success. Even though the photo may have been computer colored enhanced, it caught the public eye and is still asked for by its intriguing name. It’s a nice selection with a network of silver veins and purple patches between veins, but it is not nearly as nice as the cover. Merchandising works!
May have been colour-enhanced? The photos used to market 'Cathedral Windows' show rich deep purple leaves. The photos taken by regular gardeners at Dave's Garden show much less striking dull dark green foliage with a slight purplish cast, with purple undersides and stems.

Casa Flora may think that this type of merchandising works. In the short run, sure, but in the long run, you're disappointing customers and teaching us to never ever buy a plant based on a photo, since unethical companies can easily photoshop a plant into something it's not.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Glorious autumn colour in eastern Ontario

[Photo: where I grew up.]When I was growing up, autumn was my favourite season. The weather was good, not too hot and not too cold, and the forests surrounding our house erupted in glorious oranges, yellows, and reds. The photo to the left shows the land where I grew up, although the house I lived in has been replaced by the new owner.

[Photo: tree with yellow autumn foliage © Nicky Sztybel.]Since moving to Toronto over 20 years ago, I've found autumn disappointing. Our fall colours just don't seems as rich and varied as those in eastern Ontario. Obviously living in a city is not going to provide the same number of trees as living surrounded by forest, but in eastern Ontario even in the more built up areas the trees seem more vivid. (This tree was photographed on Church Street in Almonte.)

[Photo: trees on Wolf Grove Road.]My very favourites are these maples, don't know which species, which turn a gorgeous red-orange (these photos do not do the colours justice). [Photo: trees on Wolf Grove Road.]

[Photo: sprouting maple stump with exuberant fall colours © Nicky Sztybel.]My son discovered these gorgeous leaves on a sprouting maple stump, also on Church Street in Almonte. [Photo: trees beside marsh on Wolf Grove Road.]It seems to me that the best fall colours are by water.

[Photo: red maple leaf © Nicky Sztybel.]I think this was the first time I was home at the right time to see autumn leaves in 20 years! I'll have to make this a regular autumn pilgrimage.

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