Still on holiday...

 Spring growth? Or a golden variety anyway?
Larch Needles

We've driven up the northeastern USA to Canada on Memorial Day. I think this is the unofficial beginning of summer. Back home the weather in my garden is lurching into winter. Eek!

Monday 25th May

We are in Canada. I don't feel much like writing - have received a sad message that four of my hens have died. Oh dear. They're old - seven or eight years old - but all at once? Sorry for this gloomy news - and for poor Son of Moosey, back home looking after things in the wintry cold.


We've just been for a walk along the escarpment, and I've been peeping into private gardens. Spring as I know it comes late - the peonies are blooming, some still in bud, and everywhere there are lilacs, tulips, blue perennial centaurea... I keep seeing shrubs and trees that I really like (for example, a golden needled Larch) and know little about.

 Some fluffy red and white ones.
Peonies in Flower

In fact, in the horticultural sense, I don't even know what I don't know. Aargh! We won't go there...

Canadian Dandelion :
Hee hee. One of the greatest flowering weeds in the whole wide gardening world...

Great excitement, or so I thought - a patch of white flowering trilliums in the woodland by the escarpment stone wall. Yippee! Oops. Just small paper napkin litter, folded in cute triangles... So I took a picture of a Canadian dandelion flower, just for fun and some local colour...

My latest 'New Resolution for When I Get Home' is to vary my routes when I take Rusty the dog out for a cycle ride. Experiencing the variety, I will appreciate my local roads and rural surroundings more. I need to come all the way to the other side of the world to work this out? Hmm...

Tuesday 26th May

Another new resolution - I'm going to tidy all my gardening magazines into folders when I return home. I can't properly re-read all my Fine Garden magazines because they're stashed here and there, all over the place. This sudden interest in filing results from being online, checking Fine Gardener's magazine articles.

'Thrillers, fillers, and spillers.'
-Steve Silk.

Steve Silk's recipe for container planting is brilliant - he calls his recipe 'Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers'. And New Zealand Phormium hybrids are considered 'thrillers' - nice. I'm going to follow it next spring. Ha! Yet another new resolution.

Today we went to visit two local nurseries with small display gardens. At the iris garden only the dwarf irises were flowering, but it was just great to talk to a real gardener again.

 Pumping Iron, Ruby Eruption, Fast Forward.
Dwarf Irises from Trails End Iris Garden

The owner was so welcoming - we talked about weather (a late frost had nipped at many of her plants), and how she started her garden. The way she'd planted irises in the rockery setting was so pretty.

 Hee hee...
A Hammerbird


The second garden was attached to a specialist perennial nursery. Mounds of perennial greenery suggested we were probably three weeks too early for flower colour (I knew that). But the gardens were full of sweet things - little sedums in a rockery, little paths, quaint structures, and sculptures.

Rusty Birds

Hee hee. I now have a series of photographs of rusty bird sculptures for Non-Gardening Partner to assemble from bits of old tools - rakes, hammers, shovels and such. They are soooooo groovy! The Hammer Bird is NGP's favourite, so it seems sensible for me to feature his picture here. What a cutie!

So as a result of today's visiting I'd like more dwarf irises, some hybrid lilacs like the sensational 'Sensation', and some rusty birds. Hmm... Not bad for one day!


We visited Trails End Iris Garden (a huge thank you to Anne the gardener) and Canning Perennials, both near Hamilton, Ontario.

 I liked these graduated planting boxes.
Canning Perennials Garden

Wednesday 27th May

I'm feeling dreadfully homesick. How silly - home is cold and wintry. But I'm still enjoying myself, if that makes any sense.

 In the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hamilton.
Lilac Sign - Lilac Walk

Botanical Garden Visiting

Today we paid a short visit to Hamilton's Royal Botanical Gardens where I finally saw the famous Rock Garden. The new growth on the conifers was just so pretty - putting the artificial Moosey Christmas tree foliage to shame (as it should).

Nature 'does' rockeries better, too, but the Rock Garden was well worth a visit. The contrast between solid flat-faced grey slabs of rock and grids of one-colour tulip flowers was amusing but effective. And now I want some mass tulip plantings for the Moosey Garden. I have the mentality of a sweet-toothed five year-old in a cake shop.

We'll Gather Lilacs...

We also walked around the Lilac collection (over 600 varieties) in the Arboretum. Such pretty colours - all the dilutions and saturations of the colour 'lilac'. Now I'd like some white hybrids for my garden. Ha! My list of things to buy when I get home gets even larger.

Thinking of Home

Thinking of home (as I am), I wonder what shape Tiger the Moosey fat cat is by now? Having a feeding station forever full of dried food in the kitchen will be her idea of cat-heaven. And Rusty the dog will be over-eating at his kennels.

 Lovely colours.
Tulips in the Rock Garden

Meanwhile, Non-Gardening Partner is eating far too many North American donuts and sticky buns. A mass semi-diet will be required for the whole household.

Friday 29th May

Wow. We are back in Washington DC, having driven all day. Being mature adults, we have been playing car games - the 'Name the USA States Game' (all of them), and then 'I Spy' a number plate from each. It might interest the non-gardening reader to know our results. On the road from Buffalo to Rockville, Maryland we got all the state names, and saw 32 different state number plates - including an unlikely one from Alaska. That's 64%! Ha!

Goodbye North America!

Tomorrow we fly home. I am not allowing myself to write any gardening lists until I'm tucked into my seat on that first plane. I should be happily occupied for quite a while. I'll be back when I'm back, so to speak.