Friday, May 24, 2013

Flowering Shrubs and other lovelies

We returned from vacation last Tuesday, and as I stepped out of the car, all I could smell was lilacs! Mmmmmmmmm…….divine…...
I have 3 lilac bushes in bloom right now. Two are the common lilac Syringa vulgaris and one is a Korean lilac Syringa meyeri 'Palibim'.

The common lilac is in the Olive tree family. One of mine is about 12' feet high and the other one at least 18' tall.

The buds of one are pale mauve, opening to a whitish mauve.

The tall one at the side of the house are a deep pinky-purple opening to mauve. Both are delightfully fragrant.

Did you know that the best way to make lilac branches last in a vase is to smash up the bottoms of the stems with a hammer before placing in water?  Lilacs have a woody stem and this gives the water more surface area to enter up into the stems.

The Korean lilac is an almost perfect plant: it has fragrant flowers, it has a manageable size (5' x 5'), it's winter hardy and easy to grow.

It's grown over the years but never outgrown its spot.

Several types of viburnum are also in bloom right now. Above is Viburnum plicatum 'Popcorn', a tough plant whose corrugated leaves have never succumbed to the rotten beetle that's eaten my other viburnum leaves over the past years.

The flowers are not fragrant but very lovely nonetheless.

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Mariesii' is a gorgeous shrub, whose flowers bloom HORIZONTALLY along its branches. I had a lot of die-back this year (probably due to last summer's drought) but even though it's not as full, it's still one of my favourites.

It's a large shrub averaging 8-10' high and 9-12' wide. I have three side by side so it's quite a show.

Also blooming right now are my Giant Ornamental Onions Allium giganteum. These beauties have self "seeded" all over the front area (they are actually bulbs). They make great cut flowers and make a terrific bouquet when added to lilacs and bleeding hearts.

And be sure to drop by my recipe blog to check out tried-and-true recipes plus restaurant reviews!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day May 2013

Today is Garden Blogger's Bloom Day! Here's what's blooming in my garden:

Tulip 'Queen of the Night'


The Forsythia are still hanging on

Darwin tulips 'Apeldoorn'


Parrot tulip

White Triumphator tulips, Queen of the Night and ferns

Tiny daffodil 'Hawera'

New growth on the spruce tree

Hellebore 'Winter Queen'

Bleeding Hearts

Crabapple 'Profusion'

Solomon's Seal

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day is a Meme created by May Dreams Garden
Gardeners post images of what's blooming in their garden on the 15th day of every month. All are welcome to participate.

Also, please check out my recipe blog Astrid's Home - the latest post is Bumbleberry Pie.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lovely Tulips and Daffodils

Tulips and daffodils! They are so….so…..Spring-y! That sounds lame but how else can I describe the way they make me feel? They represent warm weather and being able to garden after a cold, snowy winter. They look lovely paired with other spring flowers like Bleeding Hearts and Brunnera (above).
they are sensational on their own and massed.

I look through my old Garden Journals and I have planted lots of bulbs since 1991. I should have THOUSANDS but that is hardly the case. Early in my gardening career, many died and rotted in lower areas because I didn't realize that water would collect there. Tulips really only last 3-4 years because they are so highly hybridized these days but where are the rest? A gardening conundrum, that's for sure. Even the daffodils which should multiply in great numbers have not done so. Sigh…....

Oh well - let's enjoy the ones I have:

Estella Rijnfeld - the loveliest of parrot tulips and stunningly gorgeous as cut flowers in a vase

Apeldoorn - a classic old Dutch Darwin tulip in the brightest red

Pink Triumph: an interesting colour - a cross between pink and lilac

Used to have 10 or 12 of these but now only 3 are left: Lustige Witwe

I have two "black" tulips - above is Black Parrot…….

and the famous Queen of the Night

White Triumphator (which looks quite yellow in this photo but is actually white)

I am not averse to having orange in the garden (in small doses) - this is General de Wet

And now for a few of my favourite daffs. These babies (4" tall) are Hawera

Dainty, nodding Thalia

Pale-yellow centred Ice Follies

And my ULTIMATE favourite - Tahiti.

Please check my recipe blog - latest post is Strozzapreti with Spicy Italian Sausage, Broccoli and Garlic Crema 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Guess who got a MICRO LENS????

Ever since I started following a number of garden blogs that feature fantastic photography, it has made me want to be able to photograph really up close like they do. So I saved my pennies and bought myself a micro lens - I am so excited! I have to learn literally everything about it but I couldn't help "taking it out for a spin" this evening.

Viburnum x burkwoodii


Red Twig Dogwood




Climbing Hydrangea

Pretty cool, eh? Now - bring on the bugs and bees!!

Please check out my recipe blog - last post was Guinness-braised Short Ribs.