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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

Wednesday
Feb182009

Illuminating the Shade Garden

There must be over two thousand varieties of Hosta for us to choose from. I find it difficult to select newer varieties for my garden because I am overwhelmed by the choices; each seems to be a variation on another. However, a recent update that I received from Garden Gate eNotes, changed all that. Garden Gate draws our attention to a new mini Hosta called "Trifecta".The moment I saw it, I knew that, someday soon, I would be making room for it in my garden.

This miniature Hosta is clearly different. I am impressed with the distribution of its three colors. Each leaf has a clearly defined color zone.There is pure white in the center, dark green on the margins and a brush stroke of olive-chartreuse separating the two.

The plant grows only 6 inches in height and 12 inches in width, with soft lavender flowers in midsummer. Like most hostas, it is hardy from zones 3 to 9 and requires no attention. It is an easy-care perennial - just plant it and forget it. It’s a pity its so small, though. I hope the growers who developed it will now work on tweaking its DNA in order to produce a larger variety.

As you can see from the photo, this Hosta does make a difference. Because of Its unique coloration, it will illuminate a shady spot in a garden.And of course, the visual interest it creates is always welcome to the perennial gardener. At the moment, Hosta "Trifecta" is only available from Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery. Click here to access their site.

Wednesday
Feb182009

Tuesday
Feb172009

An Interesting Perennial Combination

Before clicking on the image to see more plant combinations from Jan and Mieke Bastiaens make sure that your pop-up blocker is working!Jan and Mieke Bastiaens garden on 35 acres in a small village south east of Flanders in Belgium. Their web photos of perennial combinations are the most inspiring to be found anywhere on the internet. I first used this photo to accompany my introductory blog but decided to move it here instead because it deserves special attention.This is one of the most powerful perennial combinations I have seen online. What you see here is exactly what most of my clients ask for when I plan their gardens. Unfortunately, the combination in this photo is not suitable for most of them.

The pink perennial in the foreground is Peony "Bowl of Beauty". Like all peonies, this is an easy care plant that deserves a blog posting all to itself. The purple-blue plant in the background is Hesperis matronalis. Hesperis is a perennial that grows to 3 or 4 feet tall, in zones 3 to 8 and blooms in late spring. Most gardeners avoid it because it is a vigorous self seeder and once its seeds become established in the garden, it will pop up everywhere for years to come. After it has bloomed, this perennial loses its leaves.If you are planning to use it, in spite of its vigor, it is best to plant it behind later- blooming perennials that will fill the void or, as in this case, behind a plant whose leaves create a camouflage.

Most of my clients do not tend to their gardens themselves so it would be unfair to plant Hesperis for them. That is unfortunate because there are very few blue perennials that will bloom exactly when the peonies do, and blend so well with them.

Hesperis is for the adventurous gardener who is not afraid to take on a challenge and whose garden is large enough to accomodate its wild nature.

Tuesday
Feb172009

Annuals for Perennials

Impatiens Accent Rose is an annual that I use to complete a newly planted perennial garden. My clients expect instant color the moment my work is done and Impatiens is perfect to meet that need. What I like about the color Accent Rose is that it blends well with most of the color schemes that I use. It is luminous in a shade garden, does not fade in the sun and projects its color brilliantly. If planted in full sun, though, it will require daily watering to maintain its vigor during the brutal heat of midsummer. Griffin Greenhouse and Nursery Supplies has the most extensive and beautiful photo selection of impatiens on the web. Click here to see their slide show. Visit their website at griffins.com

Monday
Feb162009

Web Photos That I Like

 

ARTIST/ PHOTOGRAPHER STUART KOSLOV FINDS ABSTRACT COMPOSITIONS IN NATURE.THIS PHOTO IS TITLED "AUTUMN MARSHGRASS" AND WAS TAKEN AT HARRIMAN STATE PARK IN NEW YORK, U.S.A. TO PURCHASE THIS PICTURE FOR YOUR COLLECTION AND TO SEE MORE OF THIS ARTIST'S WORK, CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE.