September 24, 2011

Summer's end at High Park

Spending an afternoon at Grenadier Pond

During the last days of summer, we had some sunny and gorgeous weather in Toronto. While we see a lot of green tree canopies, there are other unmistakable signs of autumn around us. The oaks and maples in High Park have not turned crimson and violet yet but the goldenrods are in full force.

High Park goldenrods in bloom by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Goldenrods exploding

I took the kids for a nice walk along one of the park's many trails starting at the north end. Our intention was to wind up at the southern boundary at the bottom of Grenadier Pond. We saw many other folks enjoying the sunny beautiful weather having picnics, fishing and good old fashioned loitering.

Bullrushes and lily pads at north end of Grenadier Pond by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
The north end of Grenadier Pond

It's hard to believe that a very busy highway (the Gardiner Expressway) is about a kilometer due south of this location. You can imagine the view from the houses behind the cattails. The perfect example of borrowed scenery. I seriously regretted not bringing my fishing rod as this is bass heaven! (For those inclined, fishing is allowed from shore. There are pike, bullheads and panfish to be caught, although eating your catch isn't advisable.)

Unidentified weed flower detail in High Park by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Highly ornamental, for a "weed"

I don't know what attracted me to this flower. Obviously, it wasn't about the colour. I mean, a green flower?These were weeds growing among the naturalized goldenrods, asters and gray dogwood. Perhaps I didn't expect a green rosette and my brain was trying to fill in the centre with another colour. "Cabbagey" is the made up word that crosses my mind. I find the structure and symmetry intriguing.

September 16, 2011

Second place peeps!

You like really like me!

I'm gonna toot my own horn so if you're not into reading about self-congratulatory slaps on the back, just exit. (But this is gardening related so it could be illuminating or humourous at the very least.) If you read my earlier post about entering in the Canadian National Exhibition's Patio Planters competition last month, you might have concluded that the planter I submitted on behalf of the Riverdale Horticultural Society had very little chance of winning. And as it turned out, it didn't!

Second prize ribbon Canadian National Exhibition 2011 patio planter competition by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
No, I didn't steal this!

But I did garner second place, to my surprise and shock. As a reminder, the planter had no flowers (now, how can that be?) and didn't follow the "thriller-filler-spiller in Maniller" formula you read about in better gardening magazines. Given the resounding passive support (i.e., silence) given to me by the other members of the garden club, I can only conclude that they all "got it" or are mortified that the RHS' good name is attached to the container. Nevertheless, I thought that you, gentle reader, should hear the good news straight from the source.

I shall keep the ribbon and rosette in a safe spot to remind me that it wasn't all a dream. The kids think the prize is very cool and have absconded it and pinned it on their stuffed domo toys I got them at the Ex on Labour Day. I'm very proud of the result although, truth be told, the first place winner container was a trifle monochromatic, a sleep-inducing green on green on green creation.

Yes, that was the smell of sour grapes in the air.

September 11, 2011

Anemone x hybrida "September Charm": Awww, they didn't name this after me?

I'm in love with a Japanese anemone called "September Charm"

She's charming indeed! Fall-flowering anemones or Japanese windflowers (Anemone x hybrida) shine this time of the year. The little clump shown below is a cultivar called "September Charm" that does its thing reliably every August and September under an oak tree at my clients A and M's garden. I love recommending these fall bloomers (varieties include the classic "Honorine Jobert" and "Queen Charlotte") for their height, transparency and lightness.

September Charm Japanese anemone in a dappled shade garden by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Anemone x hybrida "September Charm"

The cute flowers are a bonus to me, even after they become seedheads left for winter interest. Everything about this plant is graceful, refined, and classy. (You can accuse me for being anthropomorphic, there's more to come!)

Anemones tend to prefer moist and fertile soil to allow them to "run" but this clump is well-behaved because it shares this bed with the spring blooming snowdrop anemone (Anemone sylvestris). 

It's like a death match between variegated goutweed vs. spearmint (true thugs!) but more refined. Yes, gardeners have a little bloodlust at times!

If the title of the post is a little cryptic, let me explain. My birthday is on the 18th and my wife will be the first to tell anyone that I'm her "September Charm", gag! Well wishes to fellow Virgos and Snakes among you!

A bee feeding on a September Charm Japanese anemone flower by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
A hungry visitor on a Japanese anemone flower