View through the library window

View from the library window

Windows

The Toronto Reference Library is the main branch of  ” the world’s busiest urban library system,” with more than 1.2 million library cardholders and 30 million website visits per year.  It’s on Yonge Street north of Bloor Street – uptown Toronto, on the edge of Yorkville, the glitziest (and most expensive) shopping neighbourhood in the city.  The exterior is unremarkable – passerby would never know that on the other side of the brick wall is an expansive atrium, a multitude of computer stations, areas for reading, studying, researching, 3D printing, drinking really good coffee and, of course, stacks and stacks of books.

On the second floor facing west are a row of rectangular windows, each with two vertical panes jutting out and joining in a ‘V’ shape. This photo is the view straight through one of these windows to the construction site opposite (itself with its own empty frames of windows from a bygone era); it also captures reflections created on the angled windows of streets beside the library and a view of a lounge below the window.

 

7 Early Fall Favourites

In this first week of autumn I realize there’s nothing new left to come up in the garden – no new flower buds to open, no new unfurling of leaves, no more sudden growth spurts of stalk and stem.  The final Hollyhock flowers – those at the very tip of six or seven foot spikes – are blooming; Goldenrod is going to seed; Hosta leaves are yellowing and somewhat bedraggled.

Before I start to think and rave about the changing colours in our forest canopies and tree lines (or about raking up fallen leaves!), and before I set about in earnest collecting seeds for next year’s garden, I want to savour the beauty of these early fall favourites.  Thanks to Chloris in England who writes The Blooming Garden for encouraging this regular check-in of favourite flowers!

1 – Turtlehead – Chelone glabra — I’ve struggled but so far failed to get a good picture of this native perennial. Not too sure why, but all the close-ups turn out fuzzy so I can’t show you how bees love to force their way into the purple, snap dragon-like flowers, buzz around for a bit then force their way out again.  I’ve had to move this clump around a few times so it’s not that large;  hoping it’ll be happy in this spot, shaded by variegated Dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’):IMG_3067_edited-1

2 – Garlic Chives – Allium tuberosum – like regular chives but with flat leaves and a more garlicky than oniony flavour.  I love them because the white flowers open late in the year and are often swarmed by bees.  I started this clump from seed – this is its second year, much slower to get going than regular chives – and will collect seed to start more clumps all over:Garlic Chives Sept 20 2017

3 & 4 – Evening Primrose – Oenothera biennis – this is the native species, not the domesticated  variety often sold in garden centres.  They can get very tall or sprawl close to the ground.  A beautiful, vibrant yellow to contrast nicely with New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae).  They spring up all over here because I often let them go to seed – but they’re easy to pull up where not wanted:Evening Primrose & New Englanfd Aster Sept 19 2017 3

5 – Colchicum – this is the ‘The Giant’ variety – I’ve posted before about them – just can’t stop myself.  This time next year the Veronica ‘Whitley’s Speedwell’ (the low growing ground cover on the left) will have spread over the mulch, providing a gorgeous bed for the purple petals:Colchicum Sept 20 2017

 

6 – Sedum spectabile “Autumn Joy” – not a native but bees of all sorts still love ’em!  A staple of my garden with its many very dry areas:Sedum spectbile - morning dew

7 – Reblooming tall bearded Iris – new to me this year thanks to a generous friend — I don’t know the variety of this Iris (does anyone??) but it had a huge show, as expected, in the spring.  It’s been sending up flower stalks again for the past three weeks with enough buds to last another month:reblooming white Iris Sept 20 2017

Autumn 2017

Last Day of Summer…

Here in the County September has been even more lovely than usual. The vacationers have mostly gone home, beaches are clean and quiet, it’s been sunny every day and the temperatures have been in the mid to high twenties – warmer than most weeks this past summer!

Perfect for people – a bit too dry for the garden though. Every morning, it seems, a long ‘branch’ from one of the tall sunflowers breaks off – too weak, without water, to carry the growing weight of expanding seeds. The Hostas and Hemerocallis (Daylilies) are starting to wither away; leaves from several tree species are turning brown and falling. Everything is looking really, really, droopy. And although temperatures are due to fall back to normal soon, there’s no appreciable rain in the 14 day forecast. Just when trees and shrubs need it to shore up strength in anticipation of winter dormancy.

Although I’ve been enjoying these languid days, swimming in Lake Ontario after an hour or two of relaxed yard work, small creature activity in the garden has become somewhat frenetic as bees and butterflies try to capture as much nectar and pollen as they can before it’s too late. I’ve been fascinated, in particular, by the Swallowtail butterflies this year. Swallowtale on Zinnia Aug 27 2017Far more numerous than I can ever recall, their wings are divided so that, unlike a monarch that will land and sit still while feasting, the front half of a Swallowtail wing flutters continuously while the bottom half seem to remain motionless. This habit makes them appear to be forever on the move, anxious to move onto the next Zinnia or Echinacea bloom.

Looking forward to some rain (and who thought anyone around here would be saying that, after our record breaking spring and early summer rainfalls!) and wishing you a slow luxurious fall into the colder months.

Tuteur Take Two!

Can you believe it?!

I was doing this and that in the garden yesterday, looked up and spotted this!  My one and only Morning Glory, the most beautiful sky blue shade ever!  Sure hope there’s a few more blooms before the whole structure comes toppling down — it’s leaning quite precariously now, and I’m not sure if the vines are holding it up or pulling it down!

 

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