July 29, 2013

A shade garden in Toronto

Why I love Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra "Aureola")


It's been a topsy-turvy kind of summer so far in Toronto. We're experiencing cooler temperatures now, mercifully, after being blasted with humidex readings of over 40 over most of a week. Not very comfortable working conditions!

So when you're able to work in the shade during a heatwave and the scene looks like this below, it's really not too bad.

I first posted about this shade garden in a post titled "Green is a colour too, in dappled shade" and work here once a month. It just gets better and prettier as time moves on.

This client absolutely loves H.m "Aureola" and why not? I'm using it more in my designs and there are more than few cultivars to choose from like "All Gold", "Albostriata", "Nicolas" and "Sunny Delight." 

Criticisms? Mild ones at best:  this grass is slow to form substantial clumps, a little pricey (but then again, didn't you blow a wad of cash buying all those annuals back in May?) and does best in part-sun (gets bleached-out, I find, in full sun) but the form always is a winner. 

Want to soften a hard line of interlocking paving or really make a garden bed curve more curvey? Try massing Hakonechloa.


The site is under some majestic red oaks so the shade is light and dappled. Soil is "clayey" with some amendments over the years.

Hakonechloa macra "Albostriata" on the left, "Aureola" on the right by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Hakonechloa macra "Albostriata" on the left, "Aureola" on the right


July 09, 2013

The Naples Botanical Garden: Some Like It Hot!

A Toronto gardener's visit to a Florida botanical garden (in the summer!)



My family and I recently spent a much-deserved week's vacation in Bonita Springs, Florida which is located on the Gulf Coast side of Florida between Fort Myers to the north and Naples to the south. We did the silly touristy things like outlet mall shopping, getting used to larger restaurant portions and collecting shells on the beach. 

(By the way, "Happy Fourth" seems to be the way of wishing someone a Happy Fourth of July around here. Something tells me that if I wished a fellow Canadian a "Happy First" on Canada Day, I'd likely get a blank look.)

Anyway, back to gardening...

Of course, being on vacation, I didn't do any but I managed to find a few hours to visit a near botanical garden in Naples called, well, the Naples Botanical Garden

Here are some pictures on the way from the parking lot and outside the admissions office to give you a taste of things to come:

Naples Botanical Garden entrance walkway by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
What "houseplants" do you recognize?