Sunday, July 6, 2014


Hello all! Just to let you know I will be taking a hiatus from this gardening blog for an indefinite period of time. No health problems or anything serious - just lots and lots of stuff going on at the moment.

I will still try to read your gardening blogs when I can and hopefully will have time to make some comments but for awhile it's arrivaderci!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' is one of my favourite perennials ever. I have a small area of them now - I used to have lots and lots in quite a few spots around the garden.

'Husker Red' is a clump-forming plant that grows 2-3' high. In the spring, all that's visible at first are its dark burgundy leaves.

White flowers with a faint pink blush appear on long, erect stalks in late spring to early summer.  They make fabulous cut flowers for vases. People need to touch them to believe they are real - they look like silk.

The tubular flowers attract butterflies and birds.

'Husker Red' grows in average soil, dry to medium moisture soil. It must be in full sun.

Penstemon 'Husker Red' has no serious pest or disease problems. It looks wonderful when massed.

No wonder it won Perennial Plant of the Year in 1996.

Please check my latest food blog post…an interesting summer salad Boston Cottage Cheese Toss.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


As you may be aware, I run 2 blogs: this one and a food blog where I post tried-and-true recipes.
This year, instead of planting tomatoes in the back raised beds, I decided to plant my herbs (I usually plant them in pots on the deck.) I realize that it will take more time to trek to the back 40 to get a handful of dill or parsley when I need it, but oh well. Always a pleasant walk.

It hit me this morning that it might be interesting to overlap the blogs because not all readers of one are readers of the other. I grow herbs for the sole purpose of cooking with them so here comes a post that mentions a specific herb and then a recipe to go with it!












Hope you enjoyed this combo-blog post! Happy gardening and happy eating!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2014

I realize I am a few days early - Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is on Sunday - but I have a very busy weekend coming up so I thought I'd post early rather than late.

Well, it's a typical June after all in my garden. After months of snow and horrid cold, it got warmer and warmer and all of a sudden my garden is lush and green and loaded with colour. Yay!!

My peonies are blooming and look stunning.

The pale pink shrub rose is in full bloom

The dainty deep purple Siberian Iris has appeared in numerous places around the yard

I have several lovely yellow bearded iris that have fought off borer year after year

Ladies Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) is fresh with wide serrated leaves and bright chartreuse flowers

Yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata) popped up out of nowhere!

Gleaming screaming RED POPPIES!!

The weigela bush suffered quite a bit of die back so I pruned it back harder than usual - is that why I am being treated to such a mass of fuchsia flowers???

The Himalayan cinquefoil (Potentilla atrosnaguinea) has only two scarlet blooms but at least it hasn't died out. It's been around ever since I started this garden 27 years ago…...

I am so happy that my spring garden bounced back from a harsh winter and can provide me and my gardening friends with such a lush, wonderful show now in mid-June.

Please check my food blog for a delicious tart Chocolate Apricot Torte.

Friday, May 30, 2014


I have a number of different types of Viburnum in my garden. One has bloomed already but the other 3 are in full bloom now.

Viburnum opulus (Snowball Bush) is a large shrub growing at least 10' by 10'. It is hardy to Zone 3. It's extremely versatile - it will grow in pretty much any type of soil and doesn't mind sun or part shade.

The flower heads are dense but not fragrant. When the blossoms start to fall apart, it looks like there's confetti on the ground.

Very close by the V. opulus, I have Viburnum plicatum 'Popcorn' (Japanese Snowball). This shrub has nearly identical flowerheads, but is much smaller in size growing 5-8' high and 4-7' wide. It grows Zones 5-8.  'Popcorn' has strongly veined leaves which has, no doubt, prevented it from succumbing to a rotten little insect - the Viburnum Leaf beetle - which has eaten all the leaves from opulus in years past.

Doublefile Viburnum - Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Mariesii' - is one of the loveliest shrubs in my garden.

It produces white blossoms in May and obviously survives in deep shade (which is where mine is) but prefers sun to partial shade. The neatest part of this plant is that flowers bloom on distinct tiered horizontal branches. The leaves turn a lovely burgundy colour in the fall. Its a Zone 5-8 and grows 10-12' high and 12-15' wide.

The last Viburnum that I'd like to mention is the one that actually bloomed first! Viburnum x burkwoodii already bloomed in early May and is done.

Viburnum x burkwoodii grows well in full sun, Zones 4-8 and at full size is 8-10' high and 6-7' wide.
It is gorgeously fragrant and definitely one of the first delicious scents of spring.

Please check my food blog which features The (nearly perfect) Burger….:) Try it during BBQ season!