Six on Saturday – 23/05/2020 – Ifs, Ands and Butts

Summer is definitively on its way to southeastern Ontario. Although overnight temperatures are still in the single digits (which makes me a tad nervous about leaving my tomatoes out on the porch – I’m mid way through the hardening off process…), it’s regularly reaching 20 or 21 in the afternoon. That means early and mid spring bulbs are going, going, gone while early summer perennials and spring flowering shrubs are starting to show their glory.

Every Saturday, The Propagator encourages gardeners around the world to share six things that are happening in their garden. Here are my six this week.

First up – the ‘Ifs’ – if it had been, perhaps, a touch warmer earlier this week, this Cercis canadensis – Canada Redbud – may have opened yesterday, in time for this post. Alas, it was not to be. Instead, here are a trio of photos in anticipation of the tiny red flowers opening – maybe today!

If I had planned a bit better, I would have planted a few more of these Pittsburgh tulips last fall. This tulip variety flowers last in my garden, and I love the deep purple blooms. They’ve been there for a few years now and, although still tall, are starting to diminish in both size and quantity…I need to refresh the stock this year!

Now the ‘Ands.’ Yellow and white. I know some people may be annoyed, but I love it when I’m surprised by an unexpected interloper in a bag of bulbs. In my bundle of creamy white fringed Daytona tulips was this surprise – an unknown yellow beauty – looks like a lily flowered tulip. AND – doubling the pleasure is how this one stem split into two, as well as the bulb sending up a mini stalk in addition to the main one, providing a triple dose of cheery beauty.

When I’m planning a micro garden within my larger garden or yard, I try to think of relationships – the context each bloom will be in when the time is right. Colour combinations, texture and form differences and, or course, points of view. What you might see from different parts of the yard and, more important, from various windows in the house. I make HUGE mistakes but that’s kinda the fun of it all, I think.

Two more ‘Ands’ are combos. The first is this dwarf sour cherry tree planted beside a dense row of Narcissus Quail. There’s actually two cherry trees, one on each side of the daffs, both dwarf and sour, but different varieties and one blooms about a week after the other so it’s not quite the look I was after. However…

I know, this tree is pruned weirdly…forgive me Tony! You might be able to see the second tree on the right, just starting to bloom…

And here is the same tree, with the photo taken from further away, with the white blooms of an Amelanchier – Serviceberry – in the forefront, and a blob of white tulips just beyond the cherry tree. And, and, and…

The final of my Six this week is a ‘Butt’ – water butt that is! A neighbour delivered this 1,000 litre rain barrel last Sunday, before the rains fell. My tomatoes will definitely get watered this summer!

I wasted no time prettying up and hooking up an overflow system on the new butt!

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend – I think Americans have a holiday on Monday, right? No tourists crossing the border this year though – not yet anyway, so it will be another quiet weekend here in The County. Please, stay safe.


  1. I should have grown a cercis canadensis rather than a siliquastrum … I should have had flowers earlier … Do you have a trick to prevent the water in your water butt from turning green? Mine ( which is the same as yours) is full north but I still have mosses inside …Need to empty et clean it once a year.

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    1. I’m hoping to algae in the butt but it’s the first time I’ve had one like this…it’s one of the reasons I put that trellis on the sides – to try and grow some sort of vine to prevent sun from hitting it. How on early do you clean it???

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      1. My brother-in-law grows a clematis and a jasmine on both sides of his. It also has algae … Nothing better than a black water tank … I have to empty it entirely of water (usually in autumn), turn it upside down and put the Kärcher inside. I put nylon tights to filter what comes from the gutter and it’s already better.

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  2. A surprise amongst bulbs would always be worth having in my view! I think the photo of the two white trees with white and yellow bulbs is a super combination.

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  3. Love the theme of ifs and butts. I too have one of those large water butts. It’s in the shade and I have boxed it with slats. So far no algae. The if is a great one too. Always so many ifs and buts and should haves!

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  4. The serviceberry is a great small tree. Unfortunately, mine is mature now, and the fruit is pretty much out of my reach. The birds usually get to the, first, anyway. 😟

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