Distractions - VERY photo heavy....

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)September 25, 2009

While waiting around for things to happen on the medical front, we've been distracting ourselves with both routine stuff like house repairs

and garden work, mixed with lots of day-trips. I thought I'd share some pictures of some of the things we've been up to...

Misty has made a few new friends, both canine

and human

and sleeps a lot.

We've done a fair bit of walking on local walking trails and gardens such as Hamilton beach

and Gairloch.

We've been in to Toronto several times, both for medical events and recreation. One day we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Kensington Market

where this Community Vehicular Reclamation Project caught our eye!

One day we went to Spadina House

to check out the garden there. (Mary - if you are visiting Toronto next year in gardening season, do visit Casa Loma and then go across the street to Spadina house too. Casa Loma was built on property purchased from the Spadina House estate. Spadina House is a much more modest property but there is still a suprising 5 acres or so in the heart of an upscale residental part of central Toronto. The garden isn't big but well worth a visit.)

There's an impressive stone wall draped in wisteria and sweet autume clematis - I think there are roses and likely honeysuckle in there too...) I got stung by a Yellow Jacket within 2 minutes of entering the garden! Those beasts just LOVE me for some reason!!

There's an attractive greenhouse beside the orchard.

We've been to a few smaller gardens in the nearby areas. Unfortunately we didn't get any good pictures from the Old Seedhouse garden. The Canadians here would be familiar with Dominion Seeds. The company was sold in the 1990s to a Quebec company which moved the operations to Quebec and essentially abandoned the growing fields. The story of what happened after that is quite interesting - see link below. There's now a quite nice small garden, tended by volunteers, in what is now a public park in a residential area.

Yesterday we visited another small garden and ecology area. There was an absolutely fascinating sundial there! There was an nice ordinary one

but the real attraction was the

There is a stone marked with the months and the north arrow.

You stand on the stone in the appropriate month and your shadow tells the time on the wall in front of you.

There was a flower garden outside the wall that included, appropiately enough, a lot of Mother of Thyme where it met the stone of the sundial's floor

There was also the best-looking clump of gaura I've ever seen! For a ruputedly iffy-hardy plant, they were thriving in an area that is colder than here.

The garden here is looking the best it ever has at this time of the year. We've got a great crop of European Highbush Cranberries this year that should provide nice winter interest by the gardage

The Heptacodium is also putting on a great show this year

(This is just after it started blooming and before we cut down the coneflowers.)

The hardy hibiscuses are also doing great this year although the dark red ones are still fairly young and haven't really clumped up yet. The pale pink ones with a deeper pink eye produced some seedlings, that don't have the dark eye, that are very attractive. I haven't got any really good pictures of the hibiscuses though so these ones don't really illustrate how much of a show they make.

Asters are the other big show at the moment but I can also never get any decent pictures of them either...

Walkies time.. gotta go...

Here is a link that might be useful: Old Seedhouse Garden

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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

What a terrific photo tour Woody! I love all of them but especially that beautiful stone wall with the arches and windowboxes. wonderful! and that car planter!!!!!Amazing. That picture of Misty snuggled in that pillow is as cute as it gets. Love it. Thanks for sharing.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 8:06PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It annoys me that Toronto is so much warmer than our place and can grow things like wisteria and gaura! Oh well, both are wonderful! I do hope my heptacodium survives its transplanting here. It looks mighty sad today. I remember yours from before and seeing it again makes me hope even more that mine makes it. If not, I'll try again!

Good you are keeping busy with all the canine and human visitors. Are you re-roofing the house mow? Ours is looking mighty weak and it hasn't been all that long since we did it either. Maddening!

Particularly enjoyed the sundial shots!

Thanks Woody!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 8:47PM
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I have planted a sad heptacodium, too, after seeing Woody's last year, as well as a few on garden tours.

I love the analammetic sundial! I really want one just for the fun of it...I wonder if it can be easily created - I will have to research this....

I have a theory that most of those plants like Gaura die from our wet cold springs. I often see things that look like they've made it through the winter only to be taken out with the weather of March and April. I would like to try a raised bed rock garden and see if that helps.

Your days seem jam packed, Woody! Thank you for sharing them with us!


    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 9:36PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

gb - we're still waiting for a date for the roofers to come - hopefully soon before we get a lot of rain and they can't work!

Randy just pointed out that the sundial sign was misspelled and it should read analemmatic sundial. Searching on the right spelling turns up information on how to construct one - see link.

Here is a link that might be useful: how to build analemmatic sundial

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 10:12PM
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How fun to go travel along with you this morning Woody..what a beautiful stone wall, cool sundial, and wonderful pics from your garden too. Thanks so much for keeping us up to date !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 1:02PM
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Ah yes Woody I love garden hopping with you. You find such interesting things.

I had a Gaura winter over a couple of different times when planted high and dry.

Nice to see Misty with new friends. Your garden is looking good.
I hope you and Randy continue your treks while the weather is fit.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 2:17PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Susan, I enjoyed your tours, both at home and elsewhere. I am so happy that you are doing all these things. I think you are a braver lady than I.
The highway depts seed a Gaura variety along the right-a-ways here. They were in full bloom not long ago. I kept wishing I had my camera with me when I went out. There has been a wonderful display of a sunflower along the roads also. I haven't researched to find out what species. Where the roadsides have been mowed, and grew back up, the plants are much shorter, but bushier and more full of blooms.
I have been working on bringing in my potted plants. The utility room is almose full, but several of the larger hardier plants are still outside. Nolon was just asking me today about how I plan on getting the huge tub with the Cannas in it inside. I managed to last fall, and am hoping to do it again this fall. It is the biggest challenge. :-)
I am hoping we will have a spell of drier weather before a freeze, so it will not be so water-logged....as it is now.

My thought will continue to be with you. And my hopes are that all will turn out for the best.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 9:59PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Not surprising that Misty makes a lot of friends. She is so cute! You are so lucky to live near the water and be able to walk there so often. We drive about an hour when we want to see the ocean. ...That car that is planted is wild, isn't it?! lol I really like the Spadina house. I imagine it is very roomy inside. I would especially like to see the view from the top floor. ...Wow, what a great wall. Love the Clematis and Wisteria on it. Good combo for different bloom times.... I love your highbush cranberries and the way you have limbed them up. I would not have guessed that was what they were. Looks like a bumper crop of berries this year. Love that color blue aster....You are certainly staying busy! Glad you are enjoying the fall. :-)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 6:44AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Hi Marian! The roadside plantings sound very interesting - to bad you didn't get pictures... I've not grown cannas - do you need to bring the whole tub in or can you do what I do with the elephant ears - i.e. remove them from the pots, get rid of tee soil, bring the roots/bulbs (whatever they are botanically speaking...) in to dry off, then restart them in new soil in mid-winter so they are off to a good start by the time it's warm enough to move them back outdoors ? Actaully, as I write all that, it sounds almost as much work as bringing in the pots! But it does refresh the soil once a year.

PM2 - Unfortunately the third floor was not open as it is undergoing some restoration. One of the interesting things about the house is that there are still functioning gaslights in it. It belonged 'way back when' the person who started Consumers Gas, so it had a lot of gas things that were modern in their day (e.g. a gas refridgerator) I found that the house didn't feel that spacious inside, largely I think bebause of a lot of dark wallpaper, and the rooms had high ceilings so the proportions kept the space from looking as big. Also, because the curtains were drawn to keep light from damaging the antique wall covering etc., the low lighting contributed to the spaces feeling smaller. The highbush cranberries are the remnant of the row of them we originally planted along the garage. Only the ones at the driveway end got enough light to bloom properly so we removed all the rest and replaced them with hydrangeas. The limbing up is necessary to keep the path along the garage accessible but we also like the effect as it sort of creates an arching canopy that mirrors the arbour nearby.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 8:58AM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Good morning, Woody! What a wonderful walk-about for a Sunday morning!
Gaura is one of those plants I covet every time I see it. I assume it's our heavy clay soil, rather than the cold that makes it not work here.
The analemmatic sundial is very cool, no matter how you spell it ;)
Community Vehicular Reclamation Project!? Very interesting use of a junk car. I don't know if I want Jim to get a good look at it...we have a pick-up truck that needs to go to the junkyard, and I hate to encourage him to give it a home any longer, lol!
You and Randy are in my thoughts..take care

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 9:30AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I am in agreement with you on removing the canna roots and storing them for the wimter. I actually think it would be harder for me to do than to bring the large container in. It enjoyed being inside last winter, and grew most of the winter. Besides, if I dug them, I am likely to forget to replant them :-(
I top the pot with fresh enriched potting soil when I put them back out. And if need be, I will fertilize them.

BTW, I think Misty is very cute, and I am amused by the 'friends' that visit. I am afraid our cats would not be happy with 'strange' cats visiting. It would take them much longer to accept them, and there would be much unhappiness while they did so. :-(

A local friend, who is also on my Facebook as a friend, sent me a message hoping I would take a mama cat, and 2 kittens, of theirs. They are moving and have to give them away. I declined. If Tommy and Trubby pass before we do, I would only want older cats, so I would not have to be concerned about them if we became unable to care for them.
Tim said he would take our 2 if that happens, but they would not survive long where he lives, and he would not tolerate their indoor outdoor activities all night every night! (It is pretty hard on me, too. But I started it, so I will stick with it.) If we should get any more, they will be strictly outdoor cats. All this cat hair is a real mess! I am just not up to doing much housework anymore. :-(

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 9:35AM
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What a lot to see, Woody. Amazing the yellow jacket found you within minutes! I'm guessing your Mexican lunch was a chili relleno -- don't know what else that could be! Of my two gauras, one has been pulled, infested at the root with scale, probably vulnerable from too much shade. The other is in more sun and is resprouting at the base after a severe haircut. Like Saucy notes, the real test is if it comes back in spring.

Thanks for the tour!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 2:16PM
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Hi Woody! i really enjoyed the walk with you! Nice pictures, and Toronto is always a fun place to go. I did not know Gaura was difficult to grow. I have had one for three years now. It is blooming right now, just started about a week ago. Maybe it is reseeded? I can't grow coneflowers or anything that has daisy like petals. Hope all goes well with you!


    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 9:04PM
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