It's Spring! Better late than never...

Spring is always the busiest time in the garden, and this year has been no exception.  We started off slow and continued at a snail’s pace for a very long time…the weather was just not cooperating.  We finally turned the corner a couple of weeks ago and it’s been full speed ahead ever since (minus the few odd days of incessant wind and/or cold and/or rain – can’t have it all now, can you?).

Spring blooms started off with crocuses, daffodils and the hellebore I purchased this past spring and have now progressed to a few mainstays in the garden including tulips, forget-me-nots & bleeding hearts.

The tulips were lovely but short lived this year; the heavy rains
we've had since I took this photo didn't do them any favours.

I absolutely adore forget-me-nots.  The pale blue is so lovely,
as is the odd surprise when they bloom in pinks or whites.

My favourite bleeding heart (a mother's day gift from years ago) is white & it was growing right next to the
front walkway that was redone last year.  Thankfully, it wasn't a casualty of the demolition.

I’ve been so looking forward to the lilacs this year & they are budding so it won’t be long now.

Anticipating the fragrant blooms from 'Miss Canada'
(Syringa × prestoniae 'Miss Canada')

I planted two Preston lilacs in the west border in the fall of 2017 (Miss Canada & Isabella) & I’m hoping this will be their "leap" year when they really put on a lot of growth.

Another newcomer to the garden was a Rose of Sharon & for a while there, I was worried that it had not made it through the winter.  Thankfully it's showing signs of life now, so I suppose it just takes a while to wake up in the spring.

Hibiscus syriacus 'Diana'

The Siberian peashrub (which we inherited when we moved here) is a literal hive of activity.  The bumble bees love this guy and for a couple of years their numbers were way down but thankfully, they seem to have bounced back somewhat:

Siberian peashrub (Caragana arborescens) making the bees very happy

The eastern redbud has graced us with its more-pink-than-red buds for a few weeks but it's now finishing up.

Only a few blooms left on the eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)

The red leaf sand cherry, though, is at its peak:

Prunus × cisterna

Many of the fruit trees have also bloomed, although I’ve learned from past experience that this does not always ensure a bumper crop – or any crop.  I’ve yet to harvest a nectarine & cherries have been elusive in the past couple of years (darn birds!!)

A gazillion fading flowers on the nectarine (AC Harovin Rouge),
but we'll have to wait and see if any fruit follows.

The cherry tree (Vandalay) once again is loaded with cherries;
the question is who will get to them or the birds?

The Granny Smith apple tree is loaded with blooms, but I'm concerned about pollination as neither of my other two trees have flowered yet.  There are a few apple trees in our neighbourhood & hopefully they help out.

I’m enjoying the bit of colour in the garden, as I do every spring, but this year I’m working hard to ensure there is a LOT more in the years to come.  In the past couple of years, I planted several shrubs & cedar trees in our west border - perhaps half of what I ultimately wanted to include.  These take a while to size up, so I wanted to get at least a few in as quickly as possible.  I only planted a handful of perennials, such as daylilies and echinacea, as I wanted to finish the side yard expansion before really getting serious about planting up the border.  Well, the time is now - and I'm having a blast!

2019 is Year of the Salvia Nemorosa and I'm doing my part.
I'm including 4 different varieties in the west border including 'Snowhill'
which, as it's name implies, has white blooms.

I purchased a total of *clears throat* 72 shrubs, trees and perennials this spring.  I was a woman possessed - once I started, I just couldn't stop. This wasn't all for the west border, mind you.  I'm also planting up a bed in our backyard that currently has a mature ash tree that needs to be removed as it's succumbed to the emerald ash border.  Then there's a shady bed beside our driveway that will be getting a bit of love - this was a spur of the moment addition to my plan after SO many wonderful hostas ended up in my cart during one of my shopping trips.

Latest shopping trip this past weekend while my husband was away in Ohio...
what's that saying about a cat being away & mice playing??  😁

You'll notice some coleus in the above photo.  I did grow a few from seed this year, but only had one variety left in my seed stash.  I couldn't resist getting a few more that caught my eye.

The coleus are all destined for pots so no problems there, but planting everything else up is not an easy task.  The problem is not the soil, which is actually pretty good, but the rocks - they slow things down considerably:

From pebbles to fist sized rocks to boulders.
I never know what I'm going to hit when I'm digging.

When I’m not in the garden, a whole lot of planning has been going on.  Between plant size/shape, leaf colour/shape, flower colour/size/shape & timing of bloom as well as sun & moisture preference (whew!) there is a lot to consider when planning a garden bed and I'll undoubtedly make my fair share of mistakes.

Catalogues and online sources are helpful, but there is often a huge variation or range when it comes to how large plants will grow, both in height and width as well as when flowering varieties will bloom.  Much of this, of course, has to do with your location & the conditions in your garden – while one plant may grow to stately heights & bloom early in a zone 7 garden with full sun and rich soil, it may end up half that size & bloom a month later in a zone 5 garden with part-sun & lean soil.  I have a feeling there will be a lot of trial and error going on in my garden over the next few years…which is just fine by me.

So far, I’ve planted about 2/3 of my purchases but I’m planning on getting another half dozen or so into the ground today....hopefully more, but that all depends on how many rocks I hit 🙄.  As for the veg garden, it’s moving along, especially now that warmer weather is finally here to stay.  I transplanted all of the warm weather veg this past weekend & it looks like I'll finally be harvesting a few greens soon….I’ll be posting about that next.


  1. I used to think that pinks and oranges clash but I think it's a fabulous colour combination now, as your tulips show. My bleeding heart has disappeared this year, an over winter casualty or Mick's overzealous pruning? Well, I've had it years and it was well established so I know which I'm going with! I do like your white variety though. It so easy to get carried away when you start plant shopping, isn't it? Take a look at this post I wrote on my old blog if you're a fan of coleus -
    I can see your garden being a mass of colour as well as veggies with all those lovely new plants.

    1. Wow - what an amazing collection of coleus! It's amazing how much diversity there is beyond the standard ones that you often find in the shops. I'm totally hooked! As I was browsing your post, I couldn't help admire those borders too - that is exactly the feeling I'm hoping to create in my garden, albeit much smaller in scale obviously ;) Ha! Overzealous pruning is how we lost a couple of weeping cyprus shrubs - which is when my husband was thereafter banned from any but the most rudimentary of yard work ;)

      It definitely is easy to get swept up at the garden centre, especially the ones with row upon row of interesting varieties. I could have easily purchased twice what I did - hard as it may be to believe, there was actually some restraint going on lol :)

  2. Wow! To say you've been busy would be a gross understatement. Seventy-two shrubs, trees and perennials would be a lot for a crew of gardeners not to speak of an individual gardener (even if she manages to corral family members on occasion). Add planting out your vegetable garden and clearing rocks and I'm exhausted just reading about it. I envy you all those fruit trees. We inherited several with our garden but some died and others struggled so much with our increasingly warm winter climate that I pulled many of them, giving some away. All I've got left is a peach tree (which has yet to produce edible fruit) and a fig, guava and 2 persimmons, all of which with the exception of the guava are generally stripped by the critters well before the fruit ripens.

    1. When I'm at the garden centre, thoughts of the actual amount of work that getting the plants into the ground will entail take a back seat. In fact, those thoughts are often locked in the trunk ;) But in all honesty, when I stand back and see the border slowly filling up, it's such a fantastic feeling. I can't wait to see everything take off...I'm one of those people that is out there each day seeing if there has been any new growth, even on the plants I plopped into the ground the day before ;) If I'm being realistic, not everything will do well or behave as I expect, but hopefully most of them will!

      When it comes to fruit, while we do have many fruit trees that grow well here, we have our fair share (more actually!) of critters or insect pests that either reduce or completely decimate the harvest. Apples, for example, need to be individually covered in order to avoid coddling moth & plum curculio issues. I have to admit, though, they are worth the trouble.

  3. Spring has certainly sprung in your garden, and it's looking very colourful.
    Yes, those bees must be very happy on the Siberian peashrub …
    You've been very busy, but it's so rewarding.
    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

    1. Thanks Jan - it really is very rewarding, especially as I've been looking forward to this stage of the plan for a few years now. Who doesn't like going a bit overboard at the garden centre? ;)

  4. Oh my goodness, that Siberian Peashrub is special! I'm with you on the Coleus--I always have to have a few in pots around the garden. The colors and forms are so fascinating. You have been busy, busy!

    1. It's been crazy busy, but in spurts - in between the rain showers & wind storms! At least all the rain is great for the new plants. Looking forward to relaxing & hanging out with you in Denver!

  5. You have been working hard. Isn't it lovely, though to come back from the garden centre with a boot full of plants and then to start planning and planting up the borders.

    1. It is fabulous! I very well may have just started an annual ritual :)

  6. Hello there Margaret ! .. I have been a bit MIA .. between the bad weather and a second eye surgery, which is going to hold me up a week now (of course in the midst of EVERYTHING !) .. before that happened I managed another Japanese maple, Tamukeyana, I just couldn't help myself ? and even when not in physical action I managed to make two "healthy" Spring bulb orders for this Fall which I will probably wonder WHY ?????
    I so get you about the mouse playing while the cat is away .. that made me LAUGH !! thanks ! .. It looks like your gardens are humming along and YES to that going from a snail's pace to all out roadrunner when the weather is gracious and our plants JUMP forward like mad .. it is EXHAUSTING and you have way more than I do to handle !
    I love your quote .. it is TOTALLY true ;-)
    PS .. I stuck with bulbs, especially tulips that are weather resistant , after this so called Spring I want to be prepared ? haha
    BTY ... Pretty pictures !! gorgeous combo on the tulips
    PS .. I also went mad for hydrangea when they had a "how could you resist sale" at Canadian Tire .. go figure, shrubs are easier than too many perennials to baby ?

    1. Who can resist a gorgeous hydrangea? Not me! I'm adding two this year and have my eye on a couple more varieties.

      Ha! All of the plants I purchased were sitting on the driveway beside the garage when my husband got home from his trip - he's so used to that by now that when I ask "did you notice my purchases?", he has no idea what I'm talking about - guess I should consider myself lucky on that he leans more towards the oblivious on front :)

      YES! to ordering bulbs to plant up this fall! I was just looking at the flowerbulbsrus website last week & you can get a 10% discount if you order before the end of August - well, I'm ALL about the deals, so I figure this is a good opportunity to stop procrastinating (I've been saying I'll add more bulbs to the garden for YEARS now!) and just order. I'll deal with the "Why on earth did I do that??" once fall rolls around - lol. I bet that both you and I will be thrilled next spring, though!

      The weather seems to finally be more consistently spring/summer like - I hope you heal up quickly and are back to it next week enjoying your garden & the summer that's finally arrived :)

  7. Crikey, I thought I was bad enough when let loose in a garden centre but compared to you I am an amateur. You have some lovely flowers. We have a fairly deep blue forget-me-not that I love. Our weather had turned cold and wet today not very summer like at all.

    1. I tend to go a bit overboard sometimes & this was no exception. I love forget-me-nots, both up close and from a distance - they form such a delicate swath of baby blue. They're one of the few plants that I don't mind when they self-seed everywhere :)

  8. Like the Bumblebees, I really like the Siberian peashrubs, though I've never heard of them before. The sand cherry looks good, also. Happy gardening!

    1. Thanks Jason! I love the peashrub & will probably incorporate another into the garden at some point.

  9. Hey there again Margaret .. I left a lengthy answer about the Japanese maples back on my site .. but it really does come down to, YES .. protection and truly watering well during a hot summer (I learned the hard with that .. I got lazy and left it all to the sprinkler system) especially newly planted trees, they NEED a lot of TLC .. but the pay back is wonderful when they look gorgeous ! .. I too am all about a "deal" so like you I ordered early because I got deals ? LOL .. and orange is the predominant colour for next Spring .. couldn't help myself with that either ..
    The weather is back to cool and rainy today but before it started hubby helped me with a few things .. I had to get some more summer blooming bulbs, that came late, in .. so fingers crossed that pays off.
    Any time you want to chat about gardening .. just drop an email .. I love having more in depth conversations on plants or anything gardening .. our season is so short it becomes a bit of a madhouse trying to keep up with the blog and the garden at the same time and I can well imagine you are way too busy to have a moment to yourself that isn't about gardening ? LOL

    1. A madhouse is right - there's just so much to do in such a short time (especially if you are a weather wimp like me!). I love talking gardening & have actually just arrived in Denver for the Garden Bloggers Fling (see the link in my sidebar). It's such a fun time - all gardens and garden talk - and you are surrounded by like-minded, garden-crazy bloggers from all over North year it's being held in Madison, Wisconsin (a similar climate to ours) should really consider going!

      Thanks for the Japanese maple tips. I would love to get one - or three;) - into the garden but I'll have to find a good, protected spot (and keep them well watered!). I'll definitely stick to one of the less expensive varieties while I'm on the steep part of the learning curve :)


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