Things have been humming along quietly, but nicely here in beautiful southern Ontario. I've spent most days outdoors last week (except for a rainy day), and was a bit shocked to see I hadn't posted anything here since last Wednesday!! At least I've been visiting lots of blogs in the meantime.
Not much happening here except for changes in the garden. The lilacs are finished now ...
And the finished blossoms covered the ground and birdbath. The warm weather has made the birdbath a popular spot for my feathered friends. It gets a scrub every day since the birds won't use it if the water is dirty (I took the photo of the blossoms on the water before I cleaned it here).
The iris are still in full bloom, and I've been enjoying these beauties every day. If one gets bent over (as a few did in the heavy rain last week), I cut them off and bring them indoors. The blooms last for quite a few days indoors, which has been nice.
My mom's favourite "black" iris came into bloom as well. Here's the bud all tightly curled ... love this!
... and the bloom (a bit covered in pollen from the pine tree) ...
The columbine are doing well as always. I let the flowers go to seed so that they'll come back next year. I'm not all that fond of the miniature columbine flowers, but now I never see the large columbines which I really do love. This pink variety (below) is a pretty plant because all the flowers face upwards.
It sits in the garden in front of the shed.
The miniature varieties all have heads hanging down, which is a shame because you can't see the flowers as well unless you take a photo lying on the ground.
Here's a shady character!
As you can see (above) there's been lots of pruning going on around here. I've cut out nine evergreen bushes from different gardens (four trips to the dump!). I was getting so tired of trimming up evergreens (junipers, boxwood, and others with names unknown to me), and I'm just not that crazy about them anymore. I decided to be ruthless and put in plants that I really love instead.
Below is one bush I cut out (on the right). I don't remember the name of the bush, but it wasn't as thick and full as it used to be, and was looking a bit scraggly. The photo is from last summer.
In its place I transplanted some ferns and bought a scented astilbe (below). I've been using bark nuggets for ground cover in a few places in the backyard. I really like these nuggets as the big chunks of bark don't disintegrate over winter. This is the third summer for these nuggets and they're still holding up. They look nice after a rain, and they keep weeds down as well as a more mulchy ground cover. As you can see in the photo, I think I'll need to put some of that black edging inside the rock border to keep the dirt from washing away every time I water here.
There were more bushes taken out of the front yard, and silly me didn't take a before photo so I'll have to rely on these winter shots to show the changes (sorry ... I know no one wants to see snow right now). These were from the great ice storm, and you'll see the junipers in front and a couple of taller evergreens flanking the front window.
Another before shot.
And this is what it looks like now ...
Although the evergreen bushes looked nice in the winter, they were starting to give the house a sort of choking feel to it in the summertime. I wanted the front to look a little more airy and light. I like that we can now actually see the front garden from our sunken driveway. The bushes were hiding the garden completely unless you stood right in front of it on the lawn.
The top wall had quite a lean outwards, and my husband thankfully took off all the stones and reset them in a straight line again (the steps are in desperate need of straightening now too).
Although it's difficult to see in the above photo, I planted a weeping lilac at the top of the steps on the left. I'm not sure how tall this will grow, but hopefully at least 5 or 6 feet (the tag didn't mention height). I like the openness of this plant, and it won't interfere with the view of the front garden.
I planted some lavender to eventually become a lavender hedge just in front of the remaining evergreen tree. I followed Judith's (Lavender Cottage) suggestion and put a layer of pea gravel in the hole dug for the lavender, put some dirt on top of that and then put in the lavender plants. Lavender likes it hot, and boy will they like it in this, the hottest spot of my yard! I hope it all goes to plan and these little plants fluff up well over the years ... they look a little lost at the moment. I have one more plant that I'll put in the very end there. I had picked up three small plants from one gardening store, and then found some slightly larger plants at another store. I decided to use them all, but now that I see the way I planted them, I think I'll change it and put them all in a straight line despite their different sizes.
I'm quite excited about this turning into a lavender hedge! Last summer I planted two lavender plants in the back yard beside my compost bin. It seemed a good hot place for it to grow, and I thought it might combat any smells coming from the compost bin :) They've grown quite a lot since last summer, and there are even a few little sprouts coming up in that area, so I'm very happy about that!
Here's another view of the front yard garden. Now we can see our lilies, and the mock orange has come into blossom too. I was tempted to chop down the mock orange because it always gets aphids (same for the mock orange beside my patio), and they do quite a lot of damage to the bushes and I'm tired of battling aphids every summer on just these two bushes for some reason.
However, the powerful aroma of these bushes is wonderful, and every time it comes into flower, I change my mind and decide to give it one more chance.
Here's the mock orange beside my patio, it keeps getting smaller and smaller each year because of aphids (and yes, I know you can squirt soapy water on them, but they still come back each year).
My peony in the front garden (below). I bought this peony because it originally was tinged with pale red in the centre ... now that red is almost non-existent, and they're just white peonies (not quite as showy, but still nice).
More plants in the front garden ... lupins (which used to be yellow, but have reverted to purple).
And some more iris which are doing great in this very sunny spot.
This little planter (below) was made by my great-grandfather the potter. One of the little branches was broken off long, long ago, but it looks nice in this "woodland" setting, don't you think? I put some fuchsia and lobelia in it, and they're both doing great.
We have another fuchsia in a hanging basket in this colour combo ...
And some vine plant growing in pots beside the shed door ... and more lobelia in the window box there.
This is one of the plants that I moved today ... it must've weighed 30 lbs when I got it all dug out!!
I hope it likes its new spot in the front garden. The other plant I dug out was beside this one, but I don't have a photo of it (cranesbill).
So that's my garden tour today ... I'm beat :P
Linking up with Fishtail Cottage Garden Party