Friday, June 28, 2024

Pollinators and Milkweeds

Enough is happening in the garden these days that I could fill the blog with just garden posts.  And we're just getting close to Day Lily season!  Let me know if you get sick of flower pictures!

We have several quite showy big Clematis plants, but this is my favourite, with very small flowers.  Planted against the Sugar Maple tree on a small trellis, it's a shower of tiny white stars.  I remember the one in our previous garden quite clearly, where it rambled over boulders.  I think the tree provides a great backdrop for it.

There are a couple of pretty pink Cosmos.

The first of the big bright Michaelmas daisies are in bloom.

Our first Milkweed are in bloom and Mrs. F.G. got intrigued with the number of pollinators visiting them.  Here, just a single fly.

But here - how many can you count?  We see at least four.

And on this bloom there were even more, seemingly almost on top of each other.  Mrs. F.G. wondered if some of these were parasitic wasps, targetting the flies.  I'm just not enough of an entomologist to know, but certainly for a plant usually seen as a weed, it attracts a lot of pollinators.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Blue Blooms

I looked out the window one day and was struck by the number of blue flowers I saw!   Some are quite small, but they seemed to be everywhere.  I had to ask Mrs. F.G. the names of several, and she had to stop and think more than once.  Here they are, enjoy.

Petunias are the obvious ones, and probably the most flowery among these.  Mrs. F.G. uses these for inter-planting among the tomatoes; they do add a bit of colour.

And these are miniature Petunias.

These are Salvia, straight purple spikes that look amazing in the morning sunlight. 

A super duper close-up, hard to even hold still, give you a closer look at these intriguing flowers.

Of course the Columbine is still blooming, a totally different shade of pale blue.  I like the look of the long seed pods at this stage.

The Jacob's Ladder, though it's slowing down, is also still blooming.

I've always loved the deep royal blue of the Spiderwort.

And of course the Lavender, of which we have a lot, is just about in full flower.  And it's growing luxuriantly!

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Back in the Garden

The garden continues to put forth new blooms, and the other day there was a butterfly, a White Admiral.  It was hovering around the Red Valerian and the Lamb's Ears, and it did sit still long enough for me to get a picture!

The Red Valerian in the background and the gray leaves of Lamb's Ears where the White Admiral is perched.

Our small yellow rose has also bloomed, quite early for it as I recall.

I don't think we've ever had more than two blossoms on it before and it has remained quite small.  Now it not only is spreading out quite well, it's got 7 blossoms and numerous buds!

A totally different plant is this white Penstemon right outside the window where it makes a big splash.

Also known as a Beardtongue, it has quite an intricate flower and comes in a variety of colours.

Finally, the Hostas have started blooming.  Since we have about 30 of these, their blooms will be with us for quite a lot of the summer!

Friday, June 21, 2024

Ash Trees Part II

After  I took a break and returned they had one tree cut down to near the ground, and were working on the second tree.  At that point I left to go downtown for lunch.  This is fascinating but it's a slow process.  I wasn't going to sit and watch for 6 hours!

The first tree is gone and the top of the second tree.

I returned from lunch two hours later and this is all that was left.  And that was quickly removed.

We were down to the point where the three trees were just high stumps.

The owner of the golf course had requested the logs, so those lay on the grass for a week before disappearing.

Looking from across the street this left a pretty big gap in our fencerow of big trees!  This was before the leaves had emerged on the other ash trees.

However, more than two weeks later, when all the leaves were out, I looked up at our neighbour's big White Ash and wondered.  This tree appeared healthy last year and is now half dead.  I'm amazed at how quickly this has happened and I fear more trees will be coming down over the next year or two.

I stole this photo off the internet to show you the insect itself, the Emerald Ash Borer.  It burrows under the bark and kills the tree while you're not noticing.


Monday, June 17, 2024

Emerald Ash Borer and our Ash Trees

I'm sure you've heard of the Emerald Ash Borer.  It's a tiny little insect from East Asia, and it's slowly but relentlessly killing off all the Ash trees in the northeast and southern Canada.  The trees die quickly once infected, and in built up areas have to be removed for safety.  Both homeowners and cities will be paying big bills for tree removal.

Our neighbours decided to be pro-active and have three big trees removed before they died.  The crew from Arboreal, a firm we have also used, arrived one day earlier in the spring.  They had trouble getting the cherry picker started, but then they were able to head into the sky.

They climb trees if branches are available for safety, but these trees were remarkably free of branches, so a cherry picker it was.  And it was fascinating to watch.

The three trees behind the shed are the ones they're removing, and you can see how far up they got the cherry picker.

This crew does not cut a tree at the base and watch it fall, they cut branch by branch and rope those branches down to the ground.  The top of the tree is gone now and you can see the rope to the immediate left of the tree.

Here's one of the large branches suspended in mid-air as it's roped down to the ground.

Where another guy was waiting beside the wood chipper, the loudest of loud machines.  Tomorrow a bit more about the results.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Garden Update

There's a steady progression of things blooming in our garden, and Mrs. F.G. is always out there making little adjustments to various things - particularly her tomatoes.  We're moving into Lavender season and there'll be pictures soon, but in the meantime these will catch you up.

The Lavender plants on the right are swelling into the path, so I have to be careful driving down to our patio!

We have only one large yellow Peony, and it doesn't even start blooming until the others are done.

Three of the Clematis are in bloom now.  I particularly like this deep red one growing up against the shed.

There's a large patch of red Valerian glowing beside the path; its colour will last a long time.

We also have a surprising new group of yellow and blue Iris.  Mrs. F.G. says she doesn't remember planting them!

She also got this pretty view of the pale mauve Meadowrue against the stump.

When you look closely the blooms are amazingly intricate.  We got this at the Grange Hollow Nursey, the only place we've seen it.

One day when I was tilted all the way back to raise my broken leg, I got this view of the leaves above my head.  My favourite place when I was young was my tree fort.

Mrs. F.G. is keeping a close eye on all her tomatoes.  She must have memories of all the tomatoes in their back garden, grown by her father.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Around Town

I have been out riding, though not as much as I'd like with this broken leg.  The past few days though I have been stuck at home or out to medical appointments.  Today we're headed to the Fracture Clinic again, to make sure my leg is healing properly.  But I have accumulated a very few nice pictures from around town.

Two or three weeks ago this big Bridal Veil Spirea was in full bloom.  Certainly one of our most beautiful flowering shrubs.

When you look closely the blooms are just so dense!

Around the corner, filling a long ditch, have been these beautiful bright Buttercups.  I went by two days later and the town had mowed it down - can't have these weeds taking over the place!

This beautiful Iris, found at the front of a house around the block, is certainly not a weed, and it was just glorious when I photographed it.

Finally, the three Horse Chestnut trees I know of are out in bloom.  I can't think of another tree flower that is so large and yet intricate.