Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Late Garden

Living in a cool, arid climate (in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains) means that gardening is a serious effort!  Our season is late and short.  I am an avid gardener, but doing battle with the climate can be rather exasperating.  However, with a lot of patience and experience, one can get a garden to prosper by say...late June!

For the curious (all those of you with peonies and hydrangea already), I thought I would share with you our truly SPRINGTIME garden, just come into bloom...

The last of the snowdrops:

My clematis is going strong now that the sun has come 'round this side.  This is a Group C clematis, the kind you cut back almost to the ground each spring.  We really need to install a proper trellis (next year I will get my gardener to do it!).  Yes, that is a hydrangea struggling in the foreground:

Clever little chives have seeded themselves on the wrong side of the fence.  I think they are wonderful, so I will leave them here:

This poor little Masterwort has finally come to life after I moved it out of the shade.  I love the almost ancient-looking Masterwort flowers, so pretty in a cut arrangement:

Next are some pots of annuals.  Due to my terribly bad back, David does most of the "potting up" for me.  Oddly, I like to put smaller flowers in the big urn as they are elevated and I can see them better!

One of my favorite annuals is the English daisy, which I call English Daveys as David loves them. These will overwinter (supposedly), so I will move them to a bed come autumn:

My favorite pot in the yard was handmade by a potter friend.  It weighs an absolute ton and sits in front of the potting shed.  The red flowers in the basket on the shelf were not chosen by me (I don't care for reds) but are loved by someone else who lives here:

Our shade bed is thriving.  It is full of several varieties of ferns and hostas, including Japanese painted fern and Ostrich fern (from which fiddleheads come...).  There are pink bleeding hearts at the near end:

One of my favorite perennials is the tiny Sweet Woodruff (the little white flowers), a meadowland ground-cover that does phenomenally well for me.  It does NOT like to be trampled underfoot (and will promptly die off and not return next year if you do):

This columbine has arisen from the dead.  I planted it four years ago and it did nothing (no flowers, almost no growth) and now has suddenly sprung to life, flowered, and seeded itself in a few other places in the bed (the lesson here...don't give up)! 

I planted a couple of white bleeding hearts last year in hopes of giving some interest to the space beside the tree.  I like that the shade bed is mostly green and white!:

I love this little pot of bright annuals in the Mayday tree.  If you look closely you can see David's rhubarb behind the tree and goatsbeard (not yet bloomed!) to the left:

Here's another batch of chives in our herb bed.  So far I've only planted basil and rosemary but must plant more next weekend.  Behind the chives is our long cedar box full of dwarf conifer shrubs planted for winter colour (an ornamental graft caragana sits in the middle):

Here's a final happy container, on the window sill of the garage.  I convinced David to let me buy a white geranium (which he thinks is boring) we snazzed it up with some pink double-flowered petunias (which are absolutely bulletproof)...

I hope you've enjoyed your little tour of our back yard!  Happy gardening...and special thanks to David who keeps everything watered and fed while I come home with something new every week...


  1. Your garden is lovely. I love the colors. Your clematis looks strong and she will do well. Terri when you go to the coffee stores, like Starbucks for example, they have coffee grounds that they give for free to gardeners. They are the wet coffee grounds after they use them. What you do is toss them in your soil and then mix them in. That and a bit of miracle grow and you are going to be amazed how everything grows doubly big. Try it. I promise you, you won't be disappointed. Plus when it rains your surroundings will smell like coffee. Heavenly. peace and love xoxo Lisa

  2. What a completely charming backyard. I'm shocked that so many things overwinter. I lost my clematis in that crazy March weather that woke them up, then killed them when the weather turned bad again.

    I rather like a spot of red in a garden. Every room and every garden needs a wee touch of red.

  3. I'm amazed at how late the seasons are over there Terri. I've just been bemoaning the fact that the weather here in the UK has been so cold and wet this spring. It's set to continue through June and seeds have failed to germinate (in my garden at least). Everything is looking very green and lush however!

    Your back yard looks lovely. I adore ferns. You will see some on my blog, a few posts back, they are doing incredibly well of course in all the rain we're having!

    I enjoyed the tour very much.

    Hope your back is improving now.


  4. Hey Terri,

    Thanks for sharing your lovely garden with us! And, thanks to David for all his work :-)

    Even though your season is later and shorter, you can grow many plants that I wish we could grow here. Our summers are too hot and humid.

    All your containers and pots are beautiful. I love them. I do not have many potted plants outside as they require watering so much during the summer.

    Happy gardening!

  5. We moved from Vancouver Island to Okotoks last year, and my oh my, this gardening change has taken some getting used to! I am surprised by how many of my beloved plants I can grow here too, but they are rather late to come into their prime. We are just starting to transform our 3 acres of grass into gardens. Lots of fun!

  6. It's okay to be late to a party when you come looking so beautiful. Everything is looking great.

    I love having potted arrangments; I should do more. The do take a lot of attention with the frequent watering but I love when they start spilling over the sides.

  7. Anonymous11:00 am

    Thank you for sharing your gorgeous garden! Where I live in Montana we are in a similar climate and I hope that my garden looks as beautiful as yours someday! Rachael

  8. The surprise comebacks are the best part of gardening as far as I am concerned. I also love sweet woodruff. Lovely photos - thanks for sharing! Phyllis

  9. You garden is very charming ! and I like the color of the fence very well. It's a nice contrast to the green plants. I think I can relate to a colder climate, as we live here in Norway. Flowers and plants are always progressing a little later than further south in Europe. But spring arrived early this year, so many of the flowers and the plants are already in full bloom.

    Enjoy a beautiful summer ~ Aina

  10. What a wonderful pot! I love white bleeding heart, nice pairing with the hosta. It's nice to see it is still spring somewhere. We are now about 3 weeks ahead of last year. The lilies are almost gone.

  11. i did indeed enjoy the garden tour terri.

    amazing the difference in regions, here in illinois, your flowers in full bloom are long gone here. temps here are facing the high 90's this weekend, tough for gardening. oh, and NO rain!

  12. You indeed have a beautiful garden. I simply loved the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. wow, these flowers ar ebeautiful:)
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