29.10.14

I need to get this plant: Dwarf fothergilla

Horticultural lust for Fothergilla gardenii


I'm starting a new series of special posts  titled "I need to get this plant:" with strong feelings of masochism, (zone) denial and greed. All gardeners (yes, you included, dear reader) feel these emotions walking through the garden center during the first blush of spring. during a garden visit of better (wealthier) homes and gardens or, for me, ambling through the Toronto Botanical Garden recently.

Here's the object of my affection:



Fall foliage Fothergilla gardenii dwarf fothergilla Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Fall foliage of Fothergilla gardenii
(Dwarf fothergilla) at the
 Toronto Botanical Garden 


You may know from previous posts like "Common witch hazel not common at all!" and "When Arnold (Promise) met Jelenathat I get weak-kneed for all things witch hazel (and actually all things Hamamelidaceae) so when I gazed at this Fothergilla's fall foliage (unintended alliteration), (a) I had to get out my camera and (b) said to myself "I need to get this plant!"


Fall foliage dwarf fothergilla Fothergilla gardenii Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Fall foliage of dwarf fothergilla
(Fothergilla gardenii)
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 

Dwarf fothergilla Fothergilla gardenii fall foliage Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii)
fall foliage at the Toronto Botanical Garden  

Dwarf fothergilla Fothergilla gardenii fall foliage at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii )
fall foliage at the Toronto Botanical Garden 



Fothergilla gardenii Dwarf fothergilla  fall foliage at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf fothergilla)
fall foliage at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Hence, the garden muse struck and suggested this post.


Here's a picture of the fragrant spring bottle-brush blooms:


Fothergilla gardenii  (Dwarf fothergilla) spring blooms by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Fothergilla gardenii  (Dwarf fothergilla)
spring blooms


Good information sourced from the Missouri Botanical Garden website (apologies in advance, I don't think of plant sizes in metric):

Common Name: dwarf fothergilla
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall

Culture:

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils which have good drainage. Best flowers in full sun. May spread by root suckers to form colonies if suckers are not promptly removed.


Why the lust?


  • Amazing fall foliage
  • Cute spring flowers
  • Somewhat harder to find and expensive = snob appeal

If I get this plant, I don't have to get:

  • Burning bush (Euonymus alatus





22.10.14

The Allan Gardens Conservatory 2014 Fall Chrysanthemum Show

I swear on me (fall) mum, it's a fantastic show!


Each fall,  the Allan Gardens Conservatory puts on its Chrysanthemum Flower Show to the delight of visitors, local and tourists. I recently dropped by to see what the floral artists envisioned and executed for this year's show. I have mixed feelings about "mums" as common folk like me call non-hardy florist chrysanthemums on sale now at big box stores and stuffed into containers with the requisite kale and ornamental peppers one sees all over the city. On one hand, these cold hardy plants will last into December and look better than the wilting potato vines and begonias from summer's containers. But I find the big mounds of orange, yellow and red a little too robust. And then what happens after the flowers fade? Now you have a grey mound to deal with...

(Maybe the bias I have against non-hardy "annuals" in general stems from my reluctance to pay for them in May and chuck them out in October. With fall mums, we buy them in October,  throw them out in December and not bat an eyelash: truly disposable plants!)

Now the chrysanthemums (no one would dare call these "mums" said the hybridizer) on display at the Conservatory aren't, for the most part, what you'd normally see on the streets. I suspect that many aren't cold-hardy, assuming this trait has been bred right out of them in exchange for frilly petals, massive blooms, etc. But let's not quibble over plant hardiness (who cares, you're in a greenhouse!) and enjoy the show with me:

Allan Gardens Conservatory 2014 Fall Chrysanthemum Show by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 2014
Fall Chrysanthemum Show 

Allan Gardens Conservatory 2014 Fall Chrysanthemum Show red mum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 2014
Fall Chrysanthemum Show red mum 

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 pink frilly mum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 pink frilly mum  

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 pink frilly mums by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
 Chrysanthemum Show 2014 pink frilly mums 

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 pink mum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 pink mum

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 pink mum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 pink mum 

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 fairy gardening by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 fairy gardening 

Looks like the Conservatory has succumbed to the Fairy Gardening craze this year (or the gardener was channeling Lewis Carroll.)

Flowers made up of flowers....very trippy.



Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 Fairy House by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
 Chrysanthemum Show 2014 Fairy House 


I won't be a curmudgeon and offend Fairy Gardeners out there. I admire the artist who put this together: to design and create on such small scale are qualities I lack, along with the patience.

Kudos to you, sir or madame!


Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 Fairy House walls by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 Fairy House Wall


The Fairy House from the side. It must be LEED certified with the green roof and living walls...


Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 red mum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 red mum 

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 red orange mums by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 red orange mums

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 white margin purple mum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 white margin purple mum

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 white pink frilled mum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 white pink frilled mum 

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 white purple mum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 white purple mum

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 yellow frilly mum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
 Chrysanthemum Show 2014 yellow frilly mum 

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 yellow frilly mums by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
 Chrysanthemum Show 2014 yellow frilly mums

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 yellow mum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 yellow mum

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 

Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall Chrysanthemum Show 2014 orange mums by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Fall
Chrysanthemum Show 2014 orange mums

14.10.14

A new garden in the Danforth/Greektown area of Toronto: a case study

Formally informal or informally formal...you decide


As you, gentle reader, may know, I occasionally design gardens and when I do, I remember and implement the design principles I learned as a student of landscape design, oh, about ten years ago. We (the students) were taught the process of:

  • creating a preliminary scaled site drawing
  • site review of existing conditions and deficiencies
  • speaking with the client to determine needs, wants and budget
  • drawing a functional diagram with "bubbles"based on specific uses and activities
  • considering certain geometric styles (square, rectilinear, circular or free-form)
  • considering certain garden styles (informal, formal, Western, Eastern)
  • creating several preliminary designs, one of which will be selected
  • creating a planting plan
  • creating a final master plan


Oh, and a last point not usually included in textbooks: getting paid in full.

Of course, to roughly paraphrase German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke, no landscape plan survives contact with the client. (His quote was "no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.") Assumptions surface and promptly blown out of the water. Material and plant lists change depending on budgets or lack of them. And on and on...

But creating the final plan wasn't painful with these clients at all. They're really sweet people!

Since I'm not a landscape architect, landscape gardener, landscape designer, or their variations, I haven't gone through this formal checklist since my final landscape design assignment. But they are ingrained and I recalled them more or less automatically when I was asked to create a planting plan for this garden:


the danforth Toronto garden design before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
the danforth Toronto garden design before by Paul Jung Gardening Services



Greektown Toronto garden design before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Greektown Toronto garden design before by Paul Jung Gardening Services

the danforth garden design before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
the danforth garden design before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto

the danforth new garden design before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
the danforth new garden design before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto

Greektown garden design before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Greektown garden design before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto


Here's my thought process:


A) Site analysis:

The area:


  • is a 16' x 14' rectangle with the side bed measuring about 2 ' by 25'
  • has compacted clay, mainly due to construction equipment
  • receives full sun until mid-afternoon so about 6 hours of direct sunlight
  • is in front of the new garage, wall colour is a dark grey or charcoal if you want to get fancy
  • bounded by, as you can see, grey concrete pavers making up the patio and path to garage


B) The clients want:

  • perennials with a specimen tree or standard
  • a green and white motif (green leaves, white flowers only)
  • lower garden maintenance, and agree to water with a hose regularly
  • an informal garden design (after rejecting my first formal style plan)


C): Functional bubble diagrams not required

 This area was the last piece of the puzzle when the backyard was rebuilt. I imagine the owners viewing the garden mainly from the patio table when entertaining or from the kitchen door. Creating a bio-diverse garden environment isn't important to them.


D) Plant selection:

Based on the green leaf and white flower request, I suggested:



There's a flowering sequence from late spring (the astilbes) until fall (the Japanese anemones). The specimen Japanese maple has green foliage until turning a lovely crimson/orange in the fall.

There's a contrast in foliage texture as well between the finely dissected foliage of the "Seiryu", the hostas' bold lime green and rough, almost hairy, astilbe leaves. 

The maiden grass would accentuate the length of the path, spills over nicely and softens the paver edge and requires very little care.


E) Garden style:

  • clients prefer the plants sited informally, no rows or quadrants
  • I sited them ad hoc, based on intuition and feel.

F): Soil amended:

25 bags of triple mix dug into the compacted clay. A 2-3" inch of black mulch (clients' preference) applied on top after planting.


Here are the immediate results:


the danforth Toronto garden design after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
the danforth Toronto garden design after by Paul Jung Gardening Services

Greektown Toronto garden design after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Greektown Toronto garden design after by Paul Jung Gardening Services

the danforth garden design after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
the danforth garden design after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto

the danforth new garden design after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
the danforth new garden design after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto

Greektown garden design after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Greektown garden design after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto


The monochromatic colour scheme lends to a formal style but the plant placement (in small groups co-mingling with one another) feels more informal.


I returned recently to clean up the gardens a little (weeded and trimmed away the wilting hosta leaves) and had a perfect opportunity to see the Japanese anemones on full display. The clear white blooms contrast so well against the dark grey garage wall. The "Seiryu" Japanese maple is just starting to change colour but won't peak until November. Lastly, the maiden grass is just forming its seedheads. They will not be cut back until net spring, providing winter interest until, yikes, March.


the danforth Toronto garden design after autumn by Paul Jung Gardening Services
the danforth Toronto garden design after autumn by Paul Jung Gardening Services

Greektown Toronto garden design after autumn by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Greektown Toronto garden design after autumn by Paul Jung Gardening Services

the danforth new garden design after autumn by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
the danforth new garden design after autumn by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto

Greektown garden design after autumn by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Greektown garden design after autumn by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto





It will be interesting to see how this garden evolves over the years. I imagine the plantings will get bigger and lusher to balance the hard edges and surfaces of the pavers. And just maybe the clients will invite me over for dinner outside one evening so that I can truly admire the design!




7.10.14

Autumn blooms and foliage at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Impending death and decay at a public Toronto garden


Is the post's title gloomy enough for you? Autumn is a time for contradictions with big swings in temperatures. One day it's pleasant and sunny and then blustery and cold the next. We know what's around the corner and given how absolutely brutal it was last winter (my gas bills prove this), there's good reason to be gloomy.

But when I visited the Toronto Botanical Garden ("TBG") recently, the weather was anything but gloomy. It was a relatively warm and humid day, for October, as I meandered through the paved and mulched paths. While there were certainly blooms to admire, especially in the containers, my overall impression was "man, I see a lot of brown." But isn't this to be expected in the garden at this time of the year?

With the emphasis less on flowers (compared to the fireworks occurring in May-July), a garden's weaknesses will soon be exposed if hardscaping (industry jargon for paving, retaining wall, etc.) and plant structure aren't considered. If your gardens consist of a monoculture of annuals, well, I can understand if you're not out there pottering around until late May 2015!

It's a good lesson to learn after a visit to the TBG in autumn: think plant structure (forms) to get you through a Toronto winter, garden-wise. (When I design gardens occasionally, I try to to imagine what the garden will look like in the dead of winter. Winter for a Toronto gardener lasts about 6 months.) 

The shapes and forms I picked up on were spires, fountains, umbrellas, and spikes among the ornamental grasses, shrubs and other fall blooming perennials. It's a good garden design practice to include a few of these forms into the mix to break up the monotony and create a bit of contrast.

Well, enough lecturing on my part. You're here for the flowers and foliage so let's go!


Pink asters at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Pink asters at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Symphyotrichum novae-anglicae New england aster Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Symphyotrichum novae-anglicae (New England aster)
 at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Verbena bonariensis tall verbena ornamental grass at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Verbena bonariensis (tall verbena) and ornamental grass
 at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Hamamelis × intermedia 'Diane'  witch hazel fall foliage Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Hamamelis × intermedia 'Diane'  witch hazel
fall foliage at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Golden Full Moon Maple Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum' Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Golden Full Moon Maple (Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum')
at the  Toronto Botanical Garden 

 Toronto Botanical Garden Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’ grapeleaf anemone by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
 Toronto Botanical Garden's
 Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’
(grapeleaf anemone)

Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’ grapeleaf anemone Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’
(grapeleaf anemone) at the Toronto Botanical Garden

 
Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' Anise scented sage at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' (Anise-scented sage)
at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Ilex verticillata Nana Winterberry at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Ilex verticillata "Nana" (Winterberry)
at theToronto Botanical Garden

Euonymus phellomanus corktree spindletree Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Euonymus phellomanus (corktree or spindletree)
at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Toronto Botanical Garden  Euonymus phellomanus corktree spindletree by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Toronto Botanical Garden's  Euonymus phellomanus
(corktree or spindletree)

Cardinal Candy linden Viburnum dilatatum Henneke berries Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Cardinal Candy" Linden Viburnum
(Viburnum dilatatum "Henneke") berries
at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Yellow yarrow Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Yellow yarrow at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Gaillardia aristata Gallo Dark Bicolor Blanketflower Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Gaillardia aristata "Gallo Dark Bicolor"
 Blanketflower at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Rosa bonica Meidomonac at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Rosa bonica "Meidomonac"
at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Nipponanthemum nipponicum Nippon daisy Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Nipponanthemum nipponicum (Nippon daisy)
at the Toronto Botanical Garden

 
Nippon daisy purple asters at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Nippon daisy and purple asters
at the Toronto Botanical Garden
 

Tricyrtis formosana ‘Samurai’ toad lily at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Tricyrtis formosana ‘Samurai’ toad lily
at the Toronto Botanical Garden

‘Samurai’ toad lily Tricyrtis formosana at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
‘Samurai’ toad lily (Tricyrtis formosana "Samurai")
at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Anemone hupehensis ‘Pretty Lady Susan’ Japanese anemone Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Anemone hupehensis ‘Pretty Lady Susan’
Japanese anemone at the Toronto Botanical Garden

 
Toronto Botanical Garden Entry Walk Verbena bonariensis tall verbena by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Toronto Botanical Garden's Entry Walk
with Verbena bonariensis (tall verbena)
'Pretty Lady Susan’ Japanese anemone Anemone hupehensis  Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
'Pretty Lady Susan’ Japanese anemone
(Anemone hupehensis "Pretty Lady Susan")
 at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Verbena bonariensis tall verbena Toronto Botanical Garden Entry Walk by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Verbena bonariensis (tall verbena)
at the Toronto Botanical Garden's  Entry Walk

 
Toronto Botanical Garden Entry Walk Verbena bonariensis tall verbena by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Toronto Botanical Garden's  Entry Walk
with Verbena bonariensis (tall verbena)

Amsonia hubrichtii Arkansas blue star at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Amsonia hubrichtii (Arkansas blue star)
at the Toronto Botanical Garden

 Autumn crocus colchicum autumnale at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
 Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale)
at the Toronto Botanical Garden

 
 Toronto Botanical Garden  Autumn crocus colchicum autumnale by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
 Toronto Botanical Garden's
Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale)

 
colchicum autumnale Autumn crocus at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Colchicum autumnale (Autumn crocus)
 at Toronto Botanical Garden

Giant hyssop Agastache foeniculum Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Giant hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) at the Toronto Botanical Garden 





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