Six on Saturday – 5 Peonies and an Iris

mauve Peony June 15 2018 sm

# 1 – I have no recollection of planting such a spectacular double peony.  I haven’t played with the colour on this shot – it’s a bit pinker in person but the bright afternoon sun yesterday translated into this marvelous mauve.

I was going to write about vegetables today — all appearances to the contrary I do grow a few in the garden.  I’m not very good at it though so I’ve been putting it off, and when I walked about yesterday and realized that the peonies were at their height of glory I decided to delay once again so that we can revel in the colour, fragrance and mystery of these giant, wondrous blooms.  Plus  a shot of a solitary ‘black’ Iris growing on a hill surrounded by daisies.

If you’d like to see more Sixes from around the world, head on over to The Propagator, who devised this wonderful theme.

#2 – I stumbled across  this solitary Duchesse de Nemours in the back garden.  It’s the only peony I have with a cultivar I know!  I must have planted it years ago in a small garden that has since been totally overtaken by tall grasses and goldenrod.  The photo on the let was taken mid afternoon, on the right a few hours later at dusk.  Lovely how the petals close around the flower, even with such a large bloom.

large red Peony June 15 2018 sm

# 3a – Red peony # 1 – wide open, about six inches across, stout stems. Gorgeous.

red Peony and daisy June 15 2018 sm

#3b – Red peony # 2 – I think the same cultivar but in a different part of the yard, not fully open, but looking great next to a patch of daisies.

pale pink Peony June 15 2018 sm

#4 – Perhaps my favourite – single and simple with a light, distinctive fragrance.  Perfect in a vase.

pink Peony June 15 2018 sm

#5 – Another pink peony – slightly pinker, more petals, not as much fragrance.

black Iris June 15 2018

#6 – this lovely tall bearded Iris in the daisy patch.

Six on Saturday – Awash in Colour!

Oriental Poppy in the wind June 8 2018 sm

Oriental Poppy blowin’ in the wind

Late spring/early summer brings an entirely new palette of colour, texture and shape to the garden.  What was flat with stands of bulbs poking through brown soil or mulch is now rolling waves of greenery crested by a multitude of different experiences.  Things are growing so quickly every day brings a new wonder.  Here are six wonders from my garden today (and a few from yesterday).  If you’d like to see more Sixes from around the world, head on over to The Propagator, who devised this wonderful theme.

1:  I love this oriental poppy – this one is larger than the others in my garden and has  lovely black highlights.  On the underside of the petals you can see black veins; inside pure black.

2: Bridlewreath Spirea are quite spectacular all over this year.  So many flowers not a hint of a leaf can be seen.  I took two photos of the same bush – one yesterday mid afternoon (on the left), with the bright sun all but blinding me, and the other early this morning.   This is an example, I guess, of why all the ‘How To’ books say the morning light is so much better.

3: The Fernleaf Peony finished blooming a while ago – now the other herbaceous peonies have started.  Here’s the first of mine:

first Peony June 8 2018 sm sq

4: The white tall bearded Iris I wrote about last week are still going strong.  Adding to their splendour are other varieties:

hill of Iris June 8 2018 sm


Violet iris in the sun June 8 2018 sm sq b

this truly is the colour of an amazing Iris that found its way into my garden.

5: Siberian Iris:

Siberian Iris June 8 2018 sm

6: Finally – Lupins are still going strong, bees are still loving them:

bee and Lupin June 9 2018 sm

Six on Saturday – Spring becomes Summer

buttercup, Iris, Lamb's Ear, Columbine June 2 2018 sm

1: Buttercup is a weed, right?  Not here, when it’s joined by Siberian Iris, Lamb’s Ear and Columbine.

It’s seasonably cool today but a week of really warm temperatures and yesterday’s rain has given the yard and gardens a lushness (euphemism for rampant growth, overgrown, grass needs cutting again…) that is sometimes hard to take in.  It’s like living in a temperate tropicalness.  Or a kind of tropical temperateness. Right now the Iris are in full bloom – oh my goodness…as are Lupin and Bridlewreath Spirea.

It was hard to chose six shots to represent the garden today – but here are my wonders.  To see more collections of Six this Saturday, head on over to The Propagator‘s site.  He’s the guy who started it all!

white Iris May 28 2018 closeup small

2: Just when you think it’s a white Iris, you notice that the fuzzy bits (the beard) are actually yellow!  I love the veins in the petals too (on this Iris, technically called falls)…such a beautiful pattern.

white Lilac bush May 28 2018

3a and 3b: I wrote last week about how my Lilacs, for unknown reasons,  produced next to no blooms this year.  That’s not entirely true – this white variety, one of the very first shrubs I purchased and planted, is quite pretty.  I transplanted it last spring from the back field, where it spent alternating years growing and dying back (hence its continued small size) to the Island bed, where I think it’s a lot happier.  Lesson learned: don’t hesitate to transplant things for either aesthetic or cultural (growing culture) reasons.

white Lilac blossoms May 228 2018 small

Aronia melanocarpa flowers June 2 2018 b sq

4: Aronia melanocarpa – Back Chokeberry.  Lovely berries for the birds because I never get to them on time!

Blue Spruce new growth June 2 2018 sm


5a and 5b: I love how conifers of all kind send out bright new growth in the spring.  I’m told the current year’s growth is dependent on conditions the previous year.  Judging by the various spruce (like this Picea pungens glauca), pine and fir in the yard last year was good!



Shileau and Blue Spruce June 2 2018

Shileau’s enjoying the morning sun!

Solomon Seal June 2 2018 sm

6:  It’s also a good year for Solomon Seal (Polygonatum) – although it generally reaches two or two and a half feet this year I have some that are almost five feet high.  Remarkable.  Tropical temperateness.

Six on Saturday – Suddenly Summer

Camassia and Sorbaria May26 2018 small

Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’ & Camassia quamash.  These two are both new to me – I’m loving both the deep blue of these bulbs, native to North America and once a food staple for Indigenous Peoples’ diet, and the rosy hue on this variety of Sorbaria.

Officially we’ve nearly a month left of spring but with temps close to 30 yesterday it was suddenly shorts and sandals weather.   Most of the spring bulbs have had their days of glory, and now that the Camassia are swooning around in all their blue splendour there’s only the Alliums left to bloom (Purple Sensation has started but karataviense and the Globemasters are still swelling up).

Allium karataviense May 21 2018 closeup small

Allium karataviense.  Unique amongst the Alliums in that its striped foliage is at least as attractive and interesting as its flower – which will likely open this week.

I hope to get all my seedlings in the ground over the next three or four days – still have annuals (Cosmos, Marigolds) and lots of perennials (Liatris, Echinacea, Alcea) to plant – some may wind up being given to neighbours or the community gardens if I can’t figure out proper homes for them all here.  (That’s kind of hard to believe, but true!)

Viburnum carlesii May 20 2018 small

On still, warm days this week you could smell the fragrance from this Viburnum carlesii all over the Island garden.  The distinctive clove aroma makes me think it’s Christmas in May.  I need to plant more!

Most of my Lilac bushes have not produced very many flowers this year – I need to research why (didn’t add fertilizer; didn’t prune at all…it’s a mystery).  But I’m happy that my native Redbuds – Cercis canadensis – have survived the ravages of rabbit and deer to give us more than a few blossoms.  No fragrance, unfortunately, but it’s so neat to have watched the buds spring out from seemingly smooth hard trunks and branches and produce such lovely purply flowers.

Redbud May 26 2018

Canada Redbud – Cercis canadensis

It’s going to be a great year for Irises!  My row of re-blooming white Iris, just in its second spring, has a gazillion flowers stalks and should be spectacular in a week or so, as should the Siberian and flag Iris that seem to love the soil here, even when the summers are so dry.

Dwarf Iris and Leucojum May 26 2018 small

I transplanted a bunch of dwarf Iris – just plain yellow and purple ones – two years ago to the top of this stone ridge and they’ve hit their stride this spring.  I’ll be adding to the row a few other varieties from other parts of the garden this week, I think.

I had a Tree Peony in my previous garden.  It grew quickly and became relatively huge but it was one of many things I wasn’t able to bring with me here to the County.  It’s on my wish list for this year – I’m hoping to find one with a single, yellow flower. The large, pink, many petaled flowers on my last one often were too heavy and I needed to tie branches to each other to prevent them from snapping off when the flowers were in full bloom.  I do have  a dozen or so ‘regular’ peonies though (the blooming has just begun with the Fernleaf Peony); pictures to come in the weeks ahead!

Fern Leaf Peony May 26 2018

This beautiful Fern Leaf Peony – Paeonia tenuifolia – is always first t bloom.

Head on over to The Propagator’s site to see Six on Saturday from all around the world!

Six on Saturday – blooms fit for a Royal Wedding

red Tulips May 18 2018 b small

I sat for many minutes yesterday afternoon, and could have spent many more, just gazing into the luscious velvety red of these most gorgeous Tulips.

Confession: there’s a gorgeous pink sunrise at the moment, but it appears the weather forecast was accurate and it’ll be raining within an hour or so; my Six photos today were taken yesterday or Wednesday.  Just as well, really, since for once, I’d rather be inside watching TV (Horrors!) than out in the garden, laying on my dew tarp taking early morning photos.  It’s Royal Wedding day in England – so as I type I’ve got an eye on the arrivals to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

Cherry Blossom May 18 2018 small

I have only a dozen or so blossom’s on my dwarf cherry trees this year.  They’re pretty, nonetheless.  My trees are from the ‘Romance’ series of trees bred here in Canada, at the University of Saskatchewan.  I have a Romeo and a Juliet.

Narcissus recurvis May 18 2018 vintage camera small

Narcissus recurvis – the last of my daffodil varieties to bloom – has just started to open.  So dainty, so beautiful.  Also called Narcissus poeticus, or the Poet’s Narcissus.  Wikipedia, quoting many sources, says: “Linnaeus, who gave the flower its name, quite possibly did so because he believed it was the one that inspired the tale of Narcissus, handed down by poets since ancient times.”

Serviceberry and Rock May 16 2018 small

This Serviceberry, Amelanchier canadensis, now in full bloom behind The Rock (which I wrote about earlier this week). It’s the best year ever for my Serviceberries.  Pollinators are very happy!

Bleeding Heart May 16 2018 small

Bleeding Hearts do not do that well in my soil.  Too dry, perhaps.  Or too much limestone affecting the Ph.  Nonetheless, this one has hung on since I brought it here about five years ago.  It’s not called a Dicentra any more, but rather Lamprocapnos spectabilis.  It’s the sole species within the genus!

Shileau and F. persica May 16 2018

And finally, looking regal, here’s Shileau admiring the dark purple bells of Fritillaria persica.

That’s it for this rainy Royal Wedding day;  I wish everyone a splendid long Victoria Day weekend, with thanks to The Propagator for starting this lovely garden post theme.


Six on Saturday – White Ephemerals and a Heavy Sigh

white Trout Lily May 12 2018 small

White Trout Lily — Erythronium albidum

The spring ephemerals continue to enthrall — here one week and gone the next.  The yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) I wrote about last week has all but disappeared.  In its place, but not in nearly as great a number, is the white Trout Lily. Very pretty when you can spot them.


The Canada Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) has leaped out of the ground in the past week.  Like the Trout Lily, it appears to form colonies.  Unlike the Trout Lily, this is about the only time during its life cycle you can clearly see the flower bud.  In a few days the leaves will have unfurled and enlarged to cover the downward facing white bloom.  Also unlike the Trout Lily – the Mayapple foliage persists well into early summer, making a lovely ground cover at the forest edge.


Tw more native ephemerals:  white Trillium grandiflorum and Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis).   Bloodroot petals can be bloown away by a gently breeze so I’m happy these have lasted as long as they have, given the high winds this past week.  the root of Bloodroot has been used to make a dye and also is said to have many medicinal attributes.  You can easily research the many uses of this tiny plant.

Those are five of my six (and if you would like to see more collections of six gardening shots please head over to The Propagator’s site) – all lovely spring ephemerals I’m fortunate enough to have growing in the woodlands that border our property.  The final picture represents a disappointment.  I wrote several months ago about the expanding buds of a Chestnut tree I had started from seed about a decade ago.  I keep waiting for it to flower and thought this may be the year, given how fat the buds were.  Alas, it is not to be so.  The buds have broken, no flowers.  My sadness will be brief, however, since I know that in the coming weeks, months and years I will continue to marvel at and admire this beautiful tree, its extraordinary leaves and, in particular, its glossy, fat, sticky buds.

Horse Chestnut leaves opening May 1 2018 small

Six on Saturday – and all of a sudden…

daffs and Hyacinth May 5 2018 small

Daffs and Hyacinth

All of a sudden, it seems, we’re in the middle of spring.  A few days of 20 degree temps and sunshine means the bulbs are bursting, buds are opening, dandelions are blooming and there’s way too much gardening to do in a day!  Here’s a quick Six taken this morning, with a nod to The Propagator, who started this theme.

Hardening Off May 5 2018

Flats of Hollyhock, Echinacea, Liatris, chard, parsley, basil and a few other things got their first taste of the great outdoors this morning as the hardening off process begins.  So exciting!!!

Frtillaria persica May 5 2018

Fritillaria persica are looking good this year.

emerging fern Peony May 5 2018

I really love fern leaf Peony – it’s always the first Peony to bloom and the foliage is really romantic.

emerging Chestnut bud May 5 2018 small

Expanding buds of the chestnut tree I started from seed 10 or so years ago — in a few days I’ll know if this will be its first year to bloom…report next week!

emerging Solomon Seal May 5 2018

I know I’m behind schedule when the Solomon Seal is this high and I haven’t yet transplanted any!  My goal in life is to have this magnificent woodland perennial throughout the property – all starting from a single small clump a neighbour gave me many years ago.  Tomorrow’s project. (Well, one of tomorrow’s projects!)