Showing posts with label Toronto Botanical Garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toronto Botanical Garden. Show all posts


Peonies Envy at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Bigger is better

When it comes to peonies, there's no point being subtle. You want big and heavy flowers for those two magical weeks of the year (the leaves and woody stems aren't exactly ornamental.) 

The timing was right for me and my lovely family to visit the Toronto Botanical Garden on Father's Day for an impromptu picnic. The weather was fabulous and the peonies were in full force when I took these pictures. 

Love them or hate them, the gaudy blooms can't be ignored. And when the flowers disintegrate, they'll be a fleeting memory.

I'm envious of those who have the full sun and space to grow peonies. My backyard is way too shady for their liking and, anyway, I don't want to bother with hoops and stakes. Better to admire them without any of the care!

Paeonia Kopper Kettle Hybrid Itoh Peony Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Paeonia "Kopper Kettle" Hybrid Itoh Peony
 Toronto Botanical Garden 


Toronto Botanical Garden spring blooms

Crocus, tulips, narcissus and others at the TBG

I took advantage of the beginning of a stretch of warmer than average days (about time!) in Toronto and visited the TBG for the first time this season. Only the crocuses were blooming but the tulips and narcissus are emerging quickly so photos for these bloomers will follow.

If you're like me, you're starved for colour outside so enjoy the crocus for now, along with a shrubby friend (can you guess the genus?)

Pale blue crocus spring blooms Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Pale blue crocus spring blooms
Toronto Botanical Garden


November at the Toronto Botanical Garden

No "fall yard cleanup" here!

Brown is a colour too!
Most of the leaves are off the trees in the city and as a result, the whine of gas-powered leaf blowers shatters any peace one seeks  in one of our public parks or our private yards. Not many seem to use rakes these days. Is such usage too low-tech and pedestrian? Where's the wow factor?

No leaf blowers at the TBG when I visited a couple days ago mercifully. No crowds either but hardly surprising.  The halcyon days of late spring and early summer are long gone when it seems everything is blooming its pretty head off. Gardens now emit a different level of energy which likely few find inspiring. 

Who finds brown interesting?

Well, I do!

Since we in Toronto aren't surrounded by pretty flowers for 5 or 6 months (holy moly, that's half the friggen year!), those who have an eye for things horticultural rely on the structure of, um, dead parts of perennials and dormant shrubs and trees to get us through the winter. "Winter interest" is an euphemism to describe our supposed appreciation of botanical brown bits like seedheads, tree bark, or dead grass stalks. I do believe it's a valid concept when choosing plants for a garden but on more than one occasion, a client/garden owner has looked at me with deeply distrustful eyes a I fawn over the virtues of a pagoda dogwood "holding" a fresh layer of snow as the sun rises on a crisp January morning, etc....

I'm sure some viewers will take out their pruners right about now
Non-believers of the "winter interest" concept may experience a change of opinion if not a horti-religious conversion by visiting places like the TBG in which ornamental grasses and other "brown dead things" are not hacked to the ground the day after Halloween. I truly believe this "scorched earth" approach under the guise of a "fall cleanup" represents some deep psychological need to impose control and order on the external world.

Luckily, I haven't met many clients with such a neurosis but you see them removing every offending leaf from their front lawn, daily, with their blowers!

autumn_ornamental_grasses_entry_walk_toronto_botanical_garden_by_garden_muses: a_Toronto_gardening_blog
As low(er) maintenance as you can get

autumn_maiden_grass_Miscanthus_toronto_botanical_garden_by_garden_muses: a_toronto_gardening_blog
Backlit Miscanthus

autumn_backlit_maiden_grass_miscanthus_toronto_botanical_garden_by_garden_muses: a_toronto_gardening_blog
This will be even nicer once it snows
I don't want to give the impression that all things botanical were shades of brown, tan, wheat, khaki, etc. I saw this nice composition of fall beauty- and winterberries (Callicarpa and Ilex) which my crappy camera doesn't do justice to. The red (more scarlet) and purple really grab you visually. Alas, it lasts 2 weeks a year like magnolias, rhodos, etc., but what a two weeks!

A montage of Beautyberry, Winterberry and a Thuja

When nothing else is flowering, depend on Colchicum

Nestled among some bearberry  (I think), some autumn crocus were in full bloom. This was a nice way to end my visit, don't you think?

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