Friday, May 15, 2015

Five on Friday

I'm linking up with Amy of Love Made My Home for her Five on Friday this evening. Amy is unable to get a post up for today, but has very kindly set up the link for everyone to still join.

Here are five areas in my garden that I've been improving over the past couple of years:

1. The garden alongside the patio. I ripped out quite a few bushes last summer. I finally had to admit that there were a lot of bushes in my gardens that took a long time to trim, and I didn't love any of them. This garden had two such bushes, and I'm really pleased that the bleeding heart, hosta, ferns and astilbe have filled in so well. There's a really nice lily peeking up behind the hosta too, but it doesn't bloom till later in the summer. I still have a bit more space to fill up, but haven't decided on any plants for there just yet. 

I've spent many years collecting rocks from all over, and I line my gardens with the rocks. Sometimes, when no one is looking, I'll take the garden hose and water the rocks so that all their pretty colours suddenly come to life!! Such fun, but keep this to yourself so I don't sound like a nut ;)

The ferns have sprouted up new shoots this year, so I know they like this spot!

2.  The pond garden. Sigh. This is my son's pond, and he tells me not to do anything with 'his' garden. But he neglects the garden himself. For quite a few summers now, I've not been very happy with the way this area looks. I've put some annuals around, some grasses, hens and chicks, but nothing ever really survives here. This spot gets really hot all through the summer, so any plant that goes in here needs to be able to tolerate the heat. And I'm tired of waiting for my son to do something with it. This summer the gardens here are going to be kicked into shape!! 

My son is celebrating his birthday this weekend, and since he never reads my blog, I can tell you that one improvement here will be our gift to him of a Japanese maple to plant beside the pond. I think it will be OK in this garden because the stinky bush (more on that in No. 3) will shade the spot where the tree will go (where that log & pond electric box can be seen in the lower right corner). The maple is hiding beside my garden shed right now :)

Since this garden surrounds the patio, it needs to look better!

3. The stinky bush. I don't know what kind of bush this really is. I've sometimes looked for it in the garden centres, but have never seen another. The flowers really have an obnoxious odour to them, and in the fall the leaves have the same horrid smell. But despite all that, the flowers are in bloom for only a short time, and this bush has a nice shape. Most importantly it hides my neighbour's dining room window which looks directly onto our patio (we also put up some lattice boards to block their window ... see first photo in No. 1). It's now up as high as the roof, and I've noticed that where I have trimmed it back, the leaves are bigger and bushier. I've considered trimming the centre of it, but can't reach it very well. I have to keep trimming it so that people coming in the back gate don't walk into the branches.

All the white blossoms you see are part of the stinky bush.

4. Bleeding hearts do really well in my yard in the springtime. Some of them were in gardens that got too much sun, and they were dying off half-way through the hot summer. Finally, I tore them all up from the areas that were too hot and transplanted them to shady areas. This spot is in a north corner outside our kitchen window. Nothing much will grow here, and when I moved the bleeding hearts to this spot, I just let them alone and allowed them to spread. They've done fantastic here, and I really like how well they have filled up this once vacant garden. The low green ground cover beneath them was transplanted as well. I can't remember what it's called, but it has a purple flower. I'm quite happy that both the transplants continue to get better every year.

Below is another bleeding heart that was transplanted and doing great. It gets a little bit of sun in the morning, then shade for the rest of the day. It's under the canopy of the pine tree, so it gets a lot of needles dumped around (and on) it. More of the ground cover and hosta was transplanted here too.

5. This is the north garden beside the patio. This area needs some revamping. I used to have lambs ear in this space together with the hosta, but my husband hates lambs ear, and I finally tore it all out (although it was doing well, it was actually growing out into the patio stones). Lambs ear never quits. I'm finding tiny little sprouts every spring even though I ripped it all out a couple of years ago now. I have Solomon's seal here now, but it doesn't like this spot very well, and I'm going to move it. There's a mock orange bush here on the left too ... you can just see a tiny branch in the top left corner. It's going to be chopped because every year it gets aphids and looks horrendous. There's a lilac a little further to the left and that will fill in this space eventually. So I need to come up with new plants for this garden too. The lenten rose is in the bottom right corner. I don't know if this plant is supposed to spread, but it's looked the same for about four years now.

This is another group of Solomon's seal alongside the fence ... you can see how well it does there! I thought this plant did well in shade, but here along the fence it gets sun almost all day long. Perhaps I'll move the other bunch over here too. I love this plant, it's so sturdy and it never looks ragged.

... and since No. 3 wasn't really an improvement, but just a bush, I'm adding No. 6!

6. This is a little corner of the yard that used to have my compost box. I moved the box out of here since it was too shady. Then I filled in the corner with some good earth, some ferns and hosta. There's a Virginia bluebell that got transplanted here too (but I didn't transplant it, and I had originally planted it about 15 feet over). Weird. I don't know if this is the best spot for the bluebell ... but it's mostly shady here. I had a bucket of rocks that were just dug up in the gardens here. I kept throwing them into a bucket and then thought they would make a nice addition to this garden. The pile needs cleaning up again (I see a fern has sprouted up there so I'll move that), but the rocks looked a little like the dry creek beds that people add to their gardens. I'll work a bit more on this space this summer. My large lilac overhangs this area, but it's not shown in the photo.

And that's it! Well, that's all I'm showing you today ;) The more I look at my gardens, the more I see that needs "fixing". There are iris to move, dead bushes to chop out, lavender hedge to revive ... sigh ... and only three and a half months to get it all sorted!!

Thanks for stopping by today!


up close and stinky ... yes, stinky bush blossoms!

a beautiful pink geranium that I kept in my kitchen all winter :)


  1. Thanks for sharing your garden with is. We r always critical of our own gardens. Yours r lovely. Cheers

  2. All so beautiful Wendy! Your plants are gorgeous and so healthy and lush!!! And I think that Japanese Maple is going to be stunning by the pond! Such a great choice! I hope that he has a wonderful birthday! And like you I have been making notes of what to do in certain spots of the garden...I need to take more photos but my time is always so pressed with the beans running circles around me! Cant wait to garden along with you this summer! Happy weekend buddy! Nicole xo

  3. It all looks so lush, isn't the spring green so fresh. I've got lots of areas of my garden looking very sad at the moment as we revamp it. It's to be expected really, during the upheaval but I don't like it! My hope is that it will become a low maintenance, body friendly space...well that's my hope!!! ;) xxx

  4. I do enjoyed this tour of your lovely garden. It's beauty shows the many hours of hard work you've done. My best wishes to you.

  5. I think your garden looks great. I totally understand about how you want to change and adapt if it doesn't feel right for you though. That's what we are in the middle if here also. You have so much planting in your garden which is lovely

  6. Happy Birthday to you son! I think he will love his gift. The pond looks pretty. I love the Bleeding Hearts. You have a lovely yard and gardens.. Have a happy weekend!

  7. You have many of the same plants that I do in my gardens, facing north I choose shade loving plants. Everything is looking wonderful.

  8. Lovely, lovely, lovely!!! I bought flowers, but won't plant for a few days yet. Supposed to be only 32 degrees by Monday morning.


  9. Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!


    Beijos Marie.

  10. Lovely garden, great hostas, what kind of fern are you growing I really like it? And I like your son's pond, untidy though it may be.

  11. I am a fellow rock collector too! lol.. You have a great foundation of plants. I know we all have a lot of tweeking to do in the spring. The to do projects run rampant in our minds! I have never seen the stinky bush either. You would think those beautiful flowers would be so fragrant, to bad thats not the case!

  12. Your garden photos are lovely, and I liked you talking about the things you are doing in the gardens. Your bleeding heart is so pretty! The stinky bush has pretty flowers too. Happy Spring!

  13. Your garden is so beautiful, Wendy. You must really hard at it, I think it's just perfect. I love rocks as well; we always drag home interesting rocks with us. We're even thinking about ripping out an old juniper along our front walk and replacing it with a couple of huge landscaping rocks. I think it would be a cleaner, more interesting look. Thanks for sharing your garden. :)

  14. Your Flowers are beautiful....especially the stinky one! heehee! And I love that you've collected rocks to use in your flower garden. What a neat idea! Enjoy your weekend my friend. Sweet hugs, Diane

  15. Lovely images of lovely gardens, Wendy!
    I am amazed no one has yet identified your stinky bush...I will have to come back later and check for further comments ;)

  16. Oh Wendy!! Everything looks so beautiful! I love how the shrubs and ferns look next to your house and I love that you water the rocks to bring out their color! Lol

    And you're so right about the potential for your son's pond garden. It's so pretty already, but a little more love and that could be a crowning glory garden!!

    But oh those gorgeous bleeding hearts!!! i love those delicate little flowers so much. They're so pretty and yours are positively thriving everywhere!!

    Love it all - thanks for sharing. xoxo

  17. Wendy, I have really enjoyed this post. I have never seen such magnificent bleeding hearts! I think we call it love-lies-bleeding in the UK. And watering rocks to see their colours appear sounds perfectly normal to me. x

  18. Wonderfull garden and flowers,

    Greeting from Belgium in Mons

  19. I loved taking a stroll through your property today, I`m trying to think what that stinky bush is...
    I think it`s great you allowed your son to have his own space, perhaps when it warms up some he could put a couple of fish in his pond or decorate it, have a wonderful day & thanks for visiting me,phyllis


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