Posts Tagged ‘giant fleeceflower’


Last Sunday, we welcomed friends and neighbours to an Open Garden day. By mid July, the garden is reaching its peak and RailGuy and I were happy to invite others to share its beauty. In spite of a very hot day, with the temperature in the 90s (35C), we had a good number of visitors and appreciated that they braved the hot sun to take a stroll through the flower beds.


Photographs never capture the full experience of a garden, the birds singing, a breeze blowing, the quiet calm, but here is a selection of photos that I hope you will enjoy.


The Giant Fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha), which dominates the June garden, is still handsome, but other tall plants, such as the Giant Maiden Grass (Miscanthus gigantus) have overtaken it.


Various monarda, or beebalm species provide colourful highlights.


This path at the far southwest corner of the yard leads past hostas to a corner filled with agastache and monarda planted for the bees.


Astilbes star along the path beside the hay barn.


Some hosta species are just beginning to bloom. This bird bath was added this spring.


Here’s the dragon Emrys, guarding the path by the yellow Verbascum nigrum.


Elf Galen dozes in dappled shade.


The frog pond is lush with growth.


The shady tamarack tunnel remains cool on a hot day.


The red-and-gold bed features Tiger Eye sumacs (Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’ Tiger Eyes®).


We found this Cardinal whirligig while visiting Pennsylvania and brought it back to mark the new rose trail.


Finally, here are daylilies making a show. Next post, I’ll highlight some beautiful hemerocallis faces for daylily addicts.


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The miracle of spring never grows old or loses its wonder. Just a few short months ago, our yard was bleak and empty. By the end of June, the garden is unrecognizable as that same blank canvas.


The queen of the June garden is surely the giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha) A hardy perennial, it dies back to the ground each year, but by the end of June, its sturdy, plume-topped stalks stand over seven feet tall. What a marvel.


Another wonder of the early summer garden is the Giant Sea Kale (Crambe cordifolia), which produces huge airy sprays of dainty, sweetly scented flowers that are adored by pollinators. This plant is sometimes compared to baby’s-breath on steroids.


The development of a path through the east border has been one of this year’s projects. A spiral juniper marks the entrance to the path.


The path is lined with young perennials that will make a colourful display as they fill in. The bright red spots are the flowers of a little rose, Oso Easy Cherry Pie. I don’t have many roses as I am unprepared to fuss with temperamental plants that need special attention. The Oso Easy series are reputed to be carefree, and I have been pleased with Cherry Pie so far.


Here’s another new addition, Campanula ‘Sarastro’, a handsome hybrid bellflower.


The silvery stems and white flowers of Lychnis coronaria ‘Rose Blush’ are very graceful. Some of the flowers do have a light pink blush, as suggested by the name, but many appear pure white. Still pretty.


These little daisy-like flowers belong to feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium).


The hostas are slow to get underway in the spring but are reaching their full stature.


Another shady walk is watched over by St. Francis of the bird feeder.


Geranium ‘Karmina’ joined the garden late last summer and has performed well this spring.


Clematis ‘Piilu’ (Little Duckling) tumbles over an old stump.


This Serbian Bellflower (Campanula poscharskyana ‘Blue Waterfall’) sits in a puddle of its own blue blooms that spray over the ground.


Another new project this year is this shady path through the east border. Its construction was preceded by a whole lot of weed and grass removal, admirably completed by RailGuy.


The purple flowers of the reliable catmint Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’ contrast nicely with the yellow of Lysimachia punctata ‘Golden Alexander’.


The rosy blooms of Knautia macedonica are waiting for the thistle-like flowers of Echinops bannaticus ‘Star Frost’ to catch up.


That’s a little sampling of the late June garden. I leave you with this picture of Joe Crow watching over the west border.


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In spite of a paucity of attention from the head gardener this spring, the garden is looking beautiful. The late June garden is dominated by the Giant Fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha). This is its third year, and it has now achieved impressive dimensions. It’s over 6 feet tall and about the same wide. The white plumes are at their most eye-catching in the morning and the evening, when backlit by the low sun. Persicaria polymorpha is well-behaved, not given to sprawling onto its neighbours nor intent on invading garden spaces farther afield. If you have enough space, it is highly recommended.


This spring, I dug out an additional couple of feet around one edge of the persicaria bed in order to improve the flow of the pathway sight line. Railguy has been very helpful in other garden expansion work and was primarily responsible for clearing out a section of overgrown shade garden and installing a pathway.


The garden angel looks quite at home in her new location. She holds a shallow dish where insects can find water without risk of drowning.


Railguy has also been working on redefining and clearing out the overgrown east border garden. This weekend, the corgis were visiting, and Remy took an active interest in the digging process. He attempts to catch each clod as it is tossed out of the garden.



Pookie takes the sensible position that gardens should be restful places where one can refresh one’s soul.


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One of the most difficult challenges in photography is capturing the essence of a garden. No matter how lovely the pictures are, they rarely evoke the same experience as being there in person. I’m in awe of photographers who do this for a living! And of course, no photograph includes the song of the birds, the buzz of the bees, the sweet scent of roses as you brush by them, the relief of cooler air as you move out of the sun onto a shady path…

One of my favorite views of the garden can be seen from an upstairs window in the house. I like to look out at the garden when I get up in the morning and see it at its freshest, before the heat of the day sets in.


Once the horses are looked after, I take a stroll around the yard and see what changes the new day has brought.  Pictured above is Geraniium phaeum ‘Samobor‘ and catmint Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’.


The slanting rays of the morning sun offer softer lighting than the midday sun.  Here are some of the first blooms of Morden Sunrise.


This view shows one of the garden’s three birdbaths, set off by Salvia “May Night” (Salvia nemerosa ‘Mainacht’). To the left is the Giant Fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha). It’s about five feet tall this year, and putting on a beautiful display. I hope that in another year or two, it will get to be another foot taller. To the right are daylilies, still a few weeks or a month away from their bloom time.


The old-fashioned shrub roses, ‘Dart’s Dash’ scent the air with a fragrance as beautiful as their brilliant flowers. Here, the roses are set off by the blue of False Indigo (Baptisia australis).


I’ve been keeping an eye out for a gnome to live in the garden for some time, and when I found this birdbath, I thought that this fellow would be just right for a shady spot at the edge of a garden path. I’ll close this post with a view of the path that leads into the garden from the driveway. You can spot the gnome just to the right of the path.


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A rainy Monday. Still, there is plenty to see in the garden and after months and months of a blanket of snow, the sight of green growth is a gift to lift the spirit. The photograph above shows the view from the front door. The yellow-flowered bushy plant is Euphorbia polychroma or Cushion Spurge. It would have benefitted from a division this year, but at the time when the plant was an appropriate size, it was raining, raining, raining. Maybe in the fall. Or next year.


Part of the garden is sitting on the porch! I have a selection of plants waiting to be released from their pots. Some I just purchased this weekend while on a grocery shopping trip. It seems every major store from Walmart to Canadian Tire has a tempting selection of plants available right now, and of course, nurseries are also gearing up for their traditionally busiest weekend, the Victoria Day holiday.


Scattered throughout the garden, an assortment of tulips and daffodils are blooming gamely, but the rain is taking a toll on their pretty flowers.


It’s so satisfying to walk through the garden and see plants that were new last year looking strong and healthy. These two geraniums are Geraniium phaeum “Samobor” (right) and Geranium phaeum “Springtime”. They are starting to form buds and will be blooming soon.


The new roses that I wrote about last July have survived the winter and are putting out plenty of new growth.


And here is Persicaria polymorpha, Giant Fleeceflower, off to a good start. I planted it late in the season in 2009. It grew pretty well last year, but only achieved a modest height of about 3 feet. I hope that this summer it will come closer to meeting its potential of 6 to 7 feet tall.


All of the heucheras that I wrote about last year in a post entitled “Little Gems” are doing well. This one is Heuchera “Tiramisu”.


This Astrantia major “Sunningdale Variegated” (Masterwort) was new to the garden last year and is looking very striking this spring, with its splashy leaves. I may have to look into adding a few more of these interesting plants.


Sadly, not everything survived the ravages of winter. These twiggy remains are all there is to be seen of Gaura “Karalee Petite”, which last summer put on a gorgeous display.


I devoted the few sunny days we had last week to cleaning up an overgrown patch of hostas, part of the neglected former garden that I have slowly been working on rejuvenating since arriving at Willow House. I added a path of wood shavings, weeded around the many hosta spikes, and laid down a thick layer of mulch. It looks much better. To the upper right, you can see the “before” version of this woodland patch, still waiting to be attended to. Some of the plants on the porch are shade lovers that will be added to this garden when the weather allows.


In the riverside garden, the ostrich ferns are unfurling their fiddleheads. In the foreground are some heucheras, and to the left, geraniums. The touch of pink behind the ferns is a patch of bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis).


I wrote about bleeding heart last May in an entry titled “Old Fashioned“.


Edging the patch of bleeding heart is a little cluster of primroses (Primula ‘Pacific Giant’). I was delighted with how well they have done this spring. Their colours, pink and purple and yellow are startlingly brilliant on a gloomy day.

I’ll end today’s tour with this view of the Solomon’s Seal, just about to open the dainty little flowers that line its arching stems. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) is native to Ontario and makes a lovely spring-blooming garden plant. It is appreciated by hummingbirds and they can be seen moving along the row of dangling flowers, visiting each one in turn.


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