Arctic Wildflowers

I recently had an opportunity to travel to the Arctic for work.  While I didn’t spot many living things in the barren and open landscape, there were still flowers! Most were very tiny, but still quite beautiful.

The photos are from a few different places in Nunavut, including Baker Lake, Iqaluit and Resolute.  Its amazing that there are still wildflowers in Resolute when its less than 1000km from the North Pole!

If you click on the photos, you should be able to view them as a slideshow.


New additions to the perennial garden :)

So despite having some plants on my wish list, I ended up with a few impulse purchases on a trip to Canadian Tire the other day.  Most of the plants were at least 20% off so I used that as justification 🙂

Here’s a summary of what I bought, with links to more info from elsewhere on the web.
Artemisia camphorata ‘Powis Castle’ – I did want an artemisia, so this one was kinda on the list.  It already looks beautiful in the garden and its gray leaves complement the lambs ears and spotted deadnettle.  I’m just a bit worried because although the tag on the plant says zone 2-3, the lowest zone rating I’ve seen online is USDA zone 4 and most say 6. I hope it survives the winter! It should also get a bit taller (up to 3 ft).

Campanula persicifolia ‘Grandiflora Alba’ – Also known as peach leaf bell flower, it is a June-July bloomer with very tall white flowers on a short compact plant.  Can’t wait for it to flower next year 🙂

Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’ – Also known as striped mallow, it has beautiful pink flowers with purple stripes on long stalks. Flowers from June to Sept, so I’m still happy even if Canadian Tire misled me on the zone for this plant as well.  It says zone 3 but according to most websites, its zone 6.  Apparently it rarely comes back the following year, but freely seeds (we’ll have to see if this is a good thing!).  I guess finding all this out afterwards is the price you pay for impulse buying.

Aster dumosus ‘Pink Bouquet’ – Supposed to get about 1 foot tall and be covered in pale pink flowers.  It’s already about 2 feet though, so maybe that’s with pruning.  Should hopefully bloom this year in the fall.

Veronica spicata – Also known as speedwell.  I have a dwarf version already, but wanted a bigger one for the garden.  Its supposed to bloom from June to Aug, and it has been blooming for 2 weeks now. The plant tag didn’t give the specific variety name, but it is supposed to get up to 60 cm tall so I think it might be ‘Blue charm’.

Geranium macrorrhizum Walter Ingwersen – Blooms in spring, and has bright pink flowers. Supposed to be good in the front of borders and as a ground cover. It supposedly turns a vibrant orangey red color in the fall as well.

Delphinium elatum ‘Aurora Light Purple’ – I wanted more tall plants, and this one should be a good one for the back of the flower bed to fill in some of the holes.  Its supposed to get up to 90 cm tall with big bushy blue flowers.  Although it supposedly blooms in early summer, looks like I might get some late summer blooms, but definitely not on 90 cm stalks!

And here are a few shots of the rest of the garden taken July 30.

Some gardening inspiration from our trip to the Mediterranean

I can’t even attempt to name the plants in these pictures (about all I can identify are the orange, lemon and olive trees), but they were pretty spectacular. The gardens we spotted in Dubrovnik while walking along the town walls and the pink flowering vines in Mykonos and Santorini were probably the most memorable. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Zucchini! (Veggie update – July 15)

This week we harvested the first zucchini of the season! It was pretty big and starting to turn green, so we figured it was ready to eat.  It was delicious – we cooked it in a stir fry and ate some raw.

We also tasted our first ground cherries.  They are pretty small right now when you take them out of their husks, but sweet and delicious just like candy:). And we now have some purple beans which are also quite good.  They are smaller than the scarlet runner beans and the yellow wax beans we had last year, but the color is amazing. They weren’t as prolific as most beans I’ve planted, so might need to plant a fall crop somewhere else in the yard.

And in other gardening news, the tomatoes are starting to ripen with all the 30 degree+ weather we’ve been having and the pepper plants are starting to produce peppers.

Perhaps the most entertaining thing is that Brian decided to build a protective cage around his rubarb plant, because Mika has stepped on it a few times.  The size of the cage is the amusing part… He really thinks it is going to grow to that size this season.  I think it might take a few seasons to get to that point though ;)Oh well, we can use the cage to hold extra leaves and compost this fall 🙂

Here are some pics from this week. If you click on the pictures you should be able to view them in a larger size as part of a slide show.

Update on the Perennial Garden – July 7

The new perennial garden is looking good.  Unfortunately I haven’t kept up with the pictures to track its progress though! I don’t have any pictures of the rose blooming, but it did have a lot of fuchsia flowers in early June.  The Royal Candles Spike Speedwell and the Perennial Sage Salvia Nemorosa Marcus also flowered, as did the White Bloody Cranesbill (hardy gerananium) and Spotted Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum ‘Pink Pewter’).  The peonies didn’t flower this spring, probably because they are a very early blooming plant and I planted them too late in the year.  Right now though, the hydrangeas are blooming and they look great. As good or better than I expected.  I am glad I went with the Annabelle Hydrangea instead of the Endless Summer Hydrangea.  It turns out that I like the white flowers and that it is a bit bigger.  Also, it was a third of the price :). It looks good next to the Red Monarda, which is also blooming.

I am keeping my eye out for deals and discounts at garden centres so that I can fill in some of the gaps.  I also am trying to track when there’s not a lot in bloom so that I can find new plants that will bloom when the plants I already have do not.  So far on my list for early July are daisies and phlox.  For fall, I am thinking about asters.  For more silvery foliage I am debating Russian sage (or something smaller).  I suspect that next year it will fill out more as well because the plants will be more established.

Veggie update – July 7

So its been a while since I’ve last posted anything.  We were away for a couple weeks and we spent the previous weekends vacation planning instead of gardening:)

Our gardens have exploded in the last few weeks.  At least it felt like it when we walked into the backyard when we got home from our vacation.  I unfortunately only have one pic taken right before we left for vacation.  It is a pic of my garden.  Here’s a before shot and some after shots:



The tomatoes grew a few feet, and the tallest on opposite side of the fence are probably between 4 and 5 feet. Before we left my tomatoes were looking kinda small and pathetic compared to Brian’s because I planted them quite deep, but they seem to have caught up.  Some of the turnips in my garden are also ready to eat, and the purple green beans are just starting to flower.


Brian’s veggies have also grown exponentially – the yellow zucchini in particular.  Brian’s getting some zucchinis in his garden already.  His tomatoes, ground cherries, cucumbers and peas are also looking good.  We now have some snap peas that are ready to eat in Brian’s garden and the back garden, and have been munching on those.   Here are some pictures of his garden:


In the back garden we have a lot of lettuce and kale.   I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of the arugula early in June. We had a lot of it, but either we weren’t eating it quickly enough or it got too hot, because it went to seed before we left in mid June.  The spinach did poorly again this year.  Just a few small leaves and then it went to seed.  Disappointing since it was planted quite early and we did a good job of watering it this year.  Maybe its just too hot in Ottawa for it, or we need to find some super star variety to try.  Before we left I ripped out what was left and planted more lettuce instead.  The lettuce tastes quite good and we’ve already made a few salads with it. Here’s a pic:


Here are some photos of the potted plants on our patio.  The tomatoes have only a bit of damage from bugs, and they seem to be doing quite well.  Maybe a little wilty from the heat (hopefully nothing more serious).  We have tomatoes, peppers and ground cherries starting to form, and we really want them to ripen soon so that we can try them.  The ground cherries in particular turned out to be a good potted plant.  Relatively compact and doesn’t need support, and the fruit are interesting to look at.  Definitely something we will have to plant again next year.  I have to admit that Brian’s impulse buy turned out quite well…


And last but not least, we owe a big thank you to Patricia and Lars for looking after things while we were away! There were a couple heat waves while we were gone, and the plants definitely wouldn’t be looking so great without their help!


Here’s one last picture of all three gardens:)

Videos on pruning and training climbing roses

I’m quite excited about my new John Cabot Explorer rose, which can apparently be trained as a climber.  I wanted to find out more about how to prune and train climbing roses, and my research let me to the following vidoes from AshdownRoses. Now I just need my rose to grow some longer so I can start to train it!

Pruning & Controlling a Climbing Rose

Training a Rose on a Trellis

Pegging a Rose

How to Pillar a Rose

And an inspiration photo of a John Cabot Explorer Rose growing on a trellis.