8.11.11

Garden muses' Toronto garden in the fall



Fall colour in a downtown city garden (mine)


My posts usually deal with OPG (other people's gardens) since OPG are usually neat, manicured, tidy; at least, well looked after by myself or the homeowner. These adjectives, alas, don't apply to my garden which is part nursery and part trial garden. It's kind of like the cobbler's kids and their shoes.

But the missus and I do love our little patch of paradise right downtown, even with the lack of privacy and two (!) monstrous Tree(s?) of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) dispensing their seeds everywhere. And the suckers...ugh! Through careful site analysis, bubble diagrams outlining functionalities, and the well-executed master plan (i.e., buying what looked nice at the nurseries and plonking them where there was room), garden muses and his muse have wrought Sissinghurst out of Sanford and Son, to mix metaphors.


Well, not exactly Sissinghurst or another paragon of a fine garden, but a yard that is showing its best right now. There is little emphasis on flowers because of the squirrels (who love to decapitate any bud exactly 2 days before bloom) and the surrounding houses (which provide us with precisely 3.289 hours of direct sunlight a day). I prefer woody shrubs and small trees anyway for structure, shade, and fall colour as these pictures show.
ukigumo Japanese maple and other shrubs in autumn by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
I really do love my "Ukigumo" but I love them all!

Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum cv) are nice enough the rest of the year but during autumn they really shine. This shot shows a yellow "Ukigumo" behind a seedling Eastern Redbud, a small potted "Bloodgood" to its right, and then a coral pink "Butterfly". At the top, from left to right, we have an "Arnold Promise" witchhazel, "Summer Snowflake" Doublefile Viburnum, and "Onondaga" Sargent Viburnum. In the lower left corner is a "Grace" smokebush which oddly has been disappointing in the fall colour department this year. The "Halcyon" hosta in the lower right area hasn't turned an orange-yellow yet but will, soon enough.

Seiryu and Crimson Queen Japanese maples in autumn by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Acer palmatum "Crimson Queen" and "Seiryu" among an "Onodaga" viburnum

Here's a look from the opposite view. Other Japanese maples in this view include "Crimson Queen" in the lower left corner and an orangey "Seiryu"in the centre. Yes, there is actually a path somewhere leading to the garage. Now you can appreciate the lack of privacy concern with the apartment next to us in the background. At least there's a nice show if anyone bothered looking out.


katsuratree and kousa dogwood in autumn by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Cornus kousa on the left hasn't turned colour yet but the Katsuratree has
Not the best picture I can manage but the colours are/will be nice anyway. From left, there's a Kousa Dogwood which is slowly turning red and purple, a Pagoda Dogwood that's lost most of its leaves already but you can still make out its horizontal branching, a "baby" Katsuratree with its mellow-yellow foliage, and a rather large Arrowwood Viburnum at the right. There's yellow peeking behind from a neighbour's serviceberry and the trunk of the aforementioned Ailanthus. I won't discuss the white lattice so don't ask.



Rudbeckia and doublefile viburnum in autumn by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Everyone likes Rudbeckia or that's what I read
I love perennials, I really do! And to prove it, here's a shot of the Rudbeckia that's still holding up well in front of another doublefile viburnum (a cultivar called "Popcorn"), more Arrowwood Viburnum, some solomon seal and astilbe, and the orange "Seiryu" Japanese maple. There was once a gravel path on the left side leading from the patio to the garage but somehow over the years my two children have displaced a ton of crushed granite. I mean, really, where did it go?

By Paul Jung, author of "garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog"
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