October 28, 2013

Common witch hazel not common at all!

Hamamelis virginiana in a very urban Toronto setting


I think maybe 3 out of 100 people who walk by  a grouping of common witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) in a downtown Toronto "parkette" (teeny tiny park/green space) would notice the flowers on display now. And even this number is optimistic. But as your intrepid shrub freak, I gladly took these pictures of this very late blooming shrub on display. It was kind of risky, standing on a subway air grate, with the pungent and distinctive smell of pot wafting from some locals enjoying the sunny and chilly afternoon (and eyeing me suspiciously as I admired the witch hazel). H. virginiana's flowers are not as fragrant, to me, as my "Arnold Promise" witch hazel in February and the scent of marijuana didn't help matters.


Ahh, downtown gardening at its finest!


Witch hazels really get you coming and going, blooming when very little else is (shrub-wise). If I had the space, I would fill it up with members of the Hamamelidaceae family.

H. virginiana is a native species to the Toronto area as well (and most of eastern North America) and, unfortunately, not common at all in most residential landscapes. It takes a more refined sense of horticultural taste to appreciate their understated beauty compared to a mass of "Knock Out" roses. 


Here's H. virginiana in bloom in Toronto, with November around the corner:



Hamamelis virginiana Witch hazel late fall blooms and seed capsules by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Hamamelis virginiana Witch hazel late fall blooms and seed capsules



Hamamelis virginiana Witch hazel late fall blooms by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Hamamelis virginiana Witch hazel late fall blooms



Hamamelis virginiana Witch hazel late fall blooms foliage by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Hamamelis virginiana Witch hazel late fall blooms and foliage 



Hamamelis virginiana Witch hazel late fall flowers foliage against blue sky by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Hamamelis virginiana Witch hazel late fall flowers
and foliage against a brilliant blue sky 






If this makes me a plant snob, I'm cool with that!




By Paul Jung, author of "garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog"
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October 21, 2013

Allan Gardens Conservatory Chrysanthemum Show 2013

Mum's the word!


Well, it was very quiet in the Conservatory during my visit this afternoon. The staff tend to ignore you anyway and no one bothered me as I was clicking away taking these pictures of the current fall flower show.

According to the Conservatory's Facebook page, there are over 100 varieties of mums at the show. Here are a few examples I photographed.

I really must read up on the history of chrysanthemums being hybridized over the centuries in China. The flowers just remind me of a bad tasting tea!

So....bring yer mum to see the mums!

Allan Gardens Conservatory Chrysanthemum Show 2013 fall mums by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory Chrysanthemum Show 2013 fall mums 



October 16, 2013

Lake Muskoka fall colours

More Thanksgiving memories from a visit to the cottage

The Canadian Thanksgiving holiday came a little later this year but the foliage "up north" from Toronto (about a 2 hour drive) was still beautiful as ever. Our family dinner was atypical (Korean pork bone soup and sushi) but delicious! I had no luck with the fishing but with these colours, I couldn't really complain:

Muskoka fall colours boathouse by garden muses--a Toronto gardening blog
A typical lake Muskoka autumn morning

October 11, 2013

Fall foliage fetish!

Some fall colours in October


Maybe fetish isn't the right word but alliteration ruled the day when it came to titling this post.

Readers might assume that since I rarely post about veggies that growing them isn't very interesting to me: and they're right! I just don't find growing heirloom tomatoes, for example, terribly exciting (and apparently this was a lousy summer for such crops.) 

I guess I'm an unreformed ornamentalist (nice blog name, by the way!) when it comes to things horticultural.

And in the fall, shrubs and trees become extremely ornamental!

Here are some examples (more to come!)--photos taken on my way home from a client visit:


Arnold Promise witch hazel Hamamelis x intermedia fall foliage by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
"Arnold Promise" witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) fall foliage