It’s Bloom Day!!

See that dark green plant under the cherry tree? That is ONE Seboldiana Elegans. It has been divided and divided and divided. I have given divisions to friends in the hopes that it would control its growth. Wrong. It’s crowding out a Dreamweaver. The purple in the foreground is Walker’s Low Catmint. I love it and so do my 3 cats who go a little bit crazy when I bring them leaves and flowers.

Bloom Day always seems to come too quickly.  But that’s a good thing because I have to pause and pay attention to what is, well, blooming.  It’s June which means there is lots of blooming yet to come.  I still haven’t gotten some annuals planted.

It’s nice to see the white dawn climbing rose with so many blooms.
I love the tall allium and truly wish they would bloom a little longer. But the seed heads provide an interesting “architectural” element.
This is the entrance to the Secret Garden, and, again, there isn’t a lot of blooming going on, but there will be. The lavender in the foreground hasn’t quite opened up.
In the Secret Garden the current theme is green. That Japanese Maple must have loved our strange spring because I have never seen it that lush. I love this view of the Secret Garden, even if nothing at the moment is blooming.
The entrance garden features Walker’s Low catmint and that takes the eye in a narrow bed that draws my eye to the two large catmint plantings in the Lower Garden and to the entrance of the Secret Garden.

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My hair is beginning to grow back and I think it is going to be curly. Cool.

I spent a year away from my garden and my blog, focusing instead on endometrial cancer.  That explains my bald head. I can’t say that i sailed through chemo and radiation, but I made the best of things. I was through with treatment and eager to get back into  a life that didn’t involve toxic drugs, radiation, and endless doctors’ appointments  But I needed one more procedure.  In March I lost my gallbladder because there was a slim chance there was a cancerous polyp hiding in there.  But, there was no cancer.  And now I’m suffering from the lack of a gallbladder.

 

Such a lovely little hellebore.

Nothing is going to keep me from enjoying my garden this summer.

There isn’t much blooming yet, but the garden is full of green anticipation.  At the moment everything that blooms is pink.

What I love about the hellebore here is that it gets darker and “moodier” as it ages.  A friend gave me this little beauty and it sits right outside my back door.

And, I cannot resist falling in love with my pink bleeding hearts.  This one outside my back door is always ahead of the one planted in a lush corner of the Secret Garden.

My garden friend saw a redbud at a garden center so he borrowed a truck, and I now  have a lovely redbud that will give my hydrangeas some desperately needed shade. Someday.

These lovely chains of flowers are so lovely. Each spring they greet me.
Hello, Redbud. Welcome to my garden.
Several years ago I went to a gardener’s conference in Toronto. That is where I fell in love with allium.

Bloom Day, May 15, 2017: In the Pink

Ok.  It’s a cheesy title.  But, everything that is blooming right now is pink.  The most prominent of today’s blooms are the globe allium.  The two year olds are the most dramatic, and I’m hoping the allium that I planted last fall will be as tall next year.  Or, I’ll know I bought the wrong variety.  Always thankful for May Dreams Gardens for this meme.

These allium are in their second year. I love the way they stand above the boxwood.
These are like pink ballerinas. This clump greets me at my back door.
Columbine at the back door.
This new allium lives in the lower garden. I love that deep pink.
One of the new allium that was planted last fall. It’s a work in progress.

July 15: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

What a frustrating day!  I should be in Minneapolis enjoying the camaraderie of fellow bloggers and some amazing gardens.  But, I’m stuck in Chicago because of travel problems.  I can’t blame the airlines, though.  I missed my flight, and tried to get to Minneapolis on standby via Chicago.  As it turns out, I just can’t get a break on flights out of Chicago.  So, I’m staying in my niece’s apartment in the loop and hoping my luggage gets to me.  Unlike me, my luggage is in Minneapolis.

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I planted a number of gazania in the Secret Garden and I’m enjoying the grey foliage and lovely pink and white blooms.

But the garden is in full bloom even though I’m a little bit wilted

This is Red Pinnacle and isn't she gorgeous.  This is another daylily I planted late last summer.
This is Red Pinnacle and isn’t she gorgeous. This is another daylily I planted late last summer.
Purple Coneflowers in the Secret Garden.  The white in the distance is Fragrant Angel.  I do not recall what the purple ones are.  That is Grosso Lavende behind the purple coneflowers.
Purple Coneflowers in the Secret Garden. The white in the distance is Fragrant Angel. I do not recall what the purple ones are. That is Grosso Lavende behind the purple coneflowers.
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I’m not sure what variety the purple coneflowers in the foreground are, but the white ones behind it are Fragrant Angel. That is Grosso lavender next to the purple.
And, then there is Bridget, here looking proud amongst the daylilies in the ecret Garden.  That is Crystal Pinot near her nose and Barbara Mitchell to the left.  Behind her is a purple coneflower that I thought did not survive.  But, there it is.
Bridget, my Standard Poodle, looking proud amongst the daylilies in the Secret Garden. That is Crystal Pinot near her nose and Barbara Mitchell to the left. Behind her is a purple coneflower that I thought did not survive. But, there it is.
The crocosmia is starting to bloom.  I seriously thinned this patch late last summer to give the day lilies breathing room.
The crocosmia is starting to bloom. I seriously thinned this patch late last summer to give the day lilies breathing room.
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In the little nook outside the dining room and sun porch this finicky variated lace cap hydrangea is enjoying a bumper crop of blooms. This is evidence that hydrangeas love cool, wet springs.
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The carpet rose is flourishing in the rosebed.
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Love this riot of daylily blooms. Zagreb and Moonbeam coreopsis are in the bottom right, followed by Rosey Returns daylily. That is supposed to be Crystal Pinot in the lower left, but it either reverted to a parent or self seeded into something else. Next to it is Sea Urchin. The yellow is First Knight. The peachy flower mid-right is Siloam, one of last summer’s additions.
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I’m loving this Euphorbia Perkinensis in the Secret Garden.
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Despite my liberal and multiple applications of acid, my Endless Summer hydrangea in the lower garden is only partially and lukewarm-edly blue.
Another one of last summer's purchases, drumstick allium. I can't wait for these to multiply and fill a space in the Secret Garden.
Another one of last summer’s purchases, drumstick allium. I can’t wait for these to multiply and fill a space in the Secret Garden.
Meet Strutters' Ball, a daylily I planted late last summer.
Meet Strutters’ Ball, a daylily I planted late last summer.

GBBD: Spring 2016

It’s been a long time coming.  A week ago there were five inches of snow on the ground.  The hellebores, though in full bloom, bent double under the weight of the snow.  But those hearty plants are built for Michigan springs.  They are the only thing in bloom right now.

I do have an addition to the garden, a four footed helper. Say hello to Bridget, an 8-year old standard poodle.
I do have an addition to the garden, a four footed helper. Say hello to Bridget, an 8-year old standard poodle.
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This Painted Hellebore has always been a welcomed spot of spring.
A friend gave me this hellebore, a division from his garden. I think it is a Heronswood Purple, but there are a number of deep purple hellebores.
A friend gave me this hellebore, a division from his garden. I think it is a Heronswood Purple, but there are a number of deep purple hellebores.
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Most of the faded hydrangeas get trimmed in late fall, but a few limelights were left behind. I like the way the sun catches them.

September Bloom Day

September Bloom Day

There is something about the light in September, especially at magic hour before sunset when the sun is bright but lower in the sky.  The gardens are bathed in golden light and petals are backlit.

Here is what is blooming today in the garden.

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The potted geranium lights up against the early evening sun.
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What would a late season garden be without annuals. These provide the bulk of the color in September. But, enough catmint is blooming to feed the native bees and butterflies.
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I tend not to keep track of annual plant tags. So, I will just have to appreciate this nameless marigold for being hardy and lovely.
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I am always amazed at the fragrance of Sweet Autumn clematis. It has been looking fairly puny this summer, and though I wish it had grown farther up the arbor, I have to love the abundance of white fragrant flowers.
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A friend gave me this pink anemone years ago. It’s been moved a couple times, but continues to thrive against the garage.
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The queen of the garden might just be this hibiscus. It is at least seven feet tall.

GBBD: August 2015

One of the great things about Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is that it keeps you honest.  If you are going to post pictures of your garden, then you need to make sure the garden looks well tended.  It also sends you back to your blog.  And, because a community has arisen around this meme, you get to visit other gardens and get a peek at other aesthetics.

This month I decided not to focus so much on close ups.  Today my hope is to give visitors a feel for what I experience when I go out into the gardens. Sadly, WordPress would not cooperate with me today. The images below simply would not go in the order that I wanted them to.

Another view of the magnolia hosta bed. Here you will find Golden Tiara, Guacamole, more Lakeside Beach Captain, Bressingham Blue, and Elegans.
 Here in the magnolia bed in the front garden, you will find Golden Tiara, Guacamole, more Lakeside Beach Captain, Bressingham Blue, and Elegans.
Though nothing is blooming here, the hosta bed under the old magnolia tree always catches my eye. I think I need to think the Frances Williams. The very light hosta on the right is Pineapple Upsidedown Cake. The hosta with the pale stripe in the center is Lakeside Beach Captain.
Another view of the hosta bed underneath the old magnolia, this time showing off Francis Williams, Lakeside Beach Captain, and one of my favs, Pineapple Upside Down Cake.
The Nikko Blue in the foreground is the first bloom this plant has sent out in years. I'm not sure why it only produces foliage. Next to it are several favorite hostas: High O Silver seedlings a friend gave me, My Friend Nancy, and Deep Blue Sea.
This Nikko Blue in the foreground is sending up the first bloom this plant has had in years. I’m not sure why it only produces foliage. Next to it are several favorite hostas: High Oh Silver seedlings a friend gave me, My Friend Nancy, and Deep Blue Sea.
Stained Glass, one of my favorite hostas, is sending out its fragrant blooms. Not all hosta flowers are fragrant, but Stained Glass makes up for those.
Stained Glass, one of my favorite hostas, is sending out its fragrant blooms. Not all hosta flowers are fragrant, but Stained Glass makes up for those.
The day lilies have finished blooming and the last of the canes will come out this week. I'm in the process of taming the Tardiva hydrangea, so it looks a bit lopsided. As soon as the flowers fade, I'm going to give it a hard prune in the hopes of getting a bit more symmetrical.
The day lilies have finished blooming and the last of the canes will come out this week. I’m in the process of taming this Tardiva hydrangea because it looks a bit lopsided. As soon as the flowers fade, I’m going to give it a hard prune in the hopes of getting it a bit more symmetrical.
The sunny border by the garage in the Secret Garden has gone through some revisions this summer. I took out a lot of the Zagreb coreopsis and complete removed the Friesland salvia. It just got too floppy, no matter how I staked it. So, marigolds and annual salvia are filling in the bare spots. I'm hoping the blanket flower takes off
The sunny border by the garage in the Secret Garden has gone through some revisions this summer. I took out a lot of the Zagreb coreopsis and complete removed the Friesland salvia. It just got too floppy, no matter how I staked it. So, marigolds and annual salvia are filling in the bare spots. I’m hoping the blanket flower takes off. That is Moonbeam coreopsis in the upper part of the picture.
This gorgeous hosta went in late last summer. It is On Stage and the foliage is particularly lovely.
This gorgeous hosta went in late last summer. It is On Stage and the foliage is particularly lovely.
Looking east toward the Kousa Dogwood in the Secret Garden shows the power of snapdragons. I didn't plant these this year. They are volunteers from last year, and I rather like their tenacity.
Looking east toward the Kousa Dogwood in the Secret Garden shows the power of snapdragons. I didn’t plant these this year. They are volunteers from last year, and I rather like their tenacity.
In the Secret Garden the echinaceas are finishing up. That is white phlox in the back.
In the Secret Garden the echinaceas are finishing up. That is white phlox in the back.
I've been using the rose medallion as a watering spot for various potted plants that I bought early in the summer. That began when I went to a conference and wanted to make sure everything got watered. And there those pots have remained for the rest of the summer.
I’ve been using the rose medallion as a watering spot for various potted plants that I bought early in the summer. That began when I went to a conference and wanted to make sure everything got watered. And there those pots have remained for the rest of the summer. That is a Limelight hydrangea sending out more blooms than it has ever produced before.  The red you see in the foreground are the wonderful hips on the hansa roses.
In the lower garden behind the house are more hostas and catmint. I love that the bees love the catmint. And its long bloom season provides a constant supply of nourishment for both native bees and honey bees. The rose of sharon is still blooming.
In the lower garden behind the house are more hostas and catmint. I love that the bees love the catmint. And its long bloom season provides a constant supply of nourishment for both native bees and honey bees. The rose of sharon is still blooming.
The red Knockout Rose and the red Carpet Rose provided consistent color in the rose medallion.
The red Knockout Rose and the red Carpet Rose provide consistent color in the rose medallion.
Looking east from the lower garden to the entrance of the Secret Garden. The Annabelle hydrangea blooms are turning green and in a month I will pick them for winter bouquets.
Looking east from the lower garden to the entrance of the Secret Garden you’ll find the Annabelle hydrangea blooms turning green. In a month I will pick them for winter bouquets.  This week the Zagreb Coreopsis will get deadheaded.
Again, though nothing is blooming here (except the rose of sharon and a couple of stems on the white dome hydrangeas) I'm quite intrigued by my lewd hosta bed. It includes Seducer, Obscene Gesture, Naked Lady, Boyz Toy, Stiletto...I'm looking forward to watching this bed mature.
Again, though nothing is blooming here (except the rose of sharon and a couple of stems on the white dome hydrangeas) I want to show off my lewd hosta bed. It includes Seducer, Obscene Gesture, Naked Lady, Boyz Toy, Stiletto…I’m looking forward to watching this bed mature.
Looking west and into the entrance to the Secret Garden is another border with Walker's Low catmint.
Looking west and into the entrance to the Secret Garden is another border with Walker’s Low catmint. The white asiatic lilies are spent, but they were so wonderfully fragrant when they were in bloom.
I trimmed Walker's Low catmint a couple of weeks ago in the hopes that it would sent up new blooms. It is starting to do that. In the meantime, I am enjoying the Rudbekia and the blackberry lily.
I trimmed Walker’s Low catmint in the entrance garden a couple of weeks ago in the hopes that it would sent up new blooms. It is starting to do that. In the meantime, I am enjoying the Rudbekia and the blackberry lily.

GBBD: July 15, 2015

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Sweet William, marigolds, and Walker’s Low Catmint in the little nook between the  sun room and dining room.
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White Dome Hydrangea, hardy geranium, and Zagreb Coreopsis in the lower garden. I almost yanked the coreopsis early this spring but am so glad I didn’t.
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This is my new “lewd” hosta bed. At the moment the euphorbia and rose campion can stay, but as soon as the new hostas mature those two plants are going to need a new spot in the garden. What do I mean by “lewd?” This bed includes Seducer, Obscene Gesture, Naked Lady, Stiletto, Midnight at the Oasis, Boys Toy, She’s Got the Moves…You get the idea
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This Wild Spice Hansa rose is on its second bloom cycle. This shrub rose give off such a wonderful fragrance.
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Limelight hydrangea and Rosie Returns day lily in the lower garden.
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Knock Out rose in the rose medallion.
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I clumped a bunch of pots together so that the in-ground sprinkling system could water them while I was at a conference. I haven’t moved them back to their original spots and kind of like all the riot of color they bring to the rose medallion. That is Endless Summer hydrangea in the background.
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Walker’s Low Catmint with Annabelle Hydrangea at the entrance to the Secret Garden.
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Just inside the Secret Garden is Kim’s Knee High Echinacea next to Annabelle.
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It’s day lily season!! Rosie Returns is putting on quite a show, but it’s not the only one. Next to Rosie Returns is Moonlight Coreopsis and Zagreb.
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First Knight, the yellow day lily to the right, is one of my favorites. To the left is Sea Urchin. And, the crocosmia is doing its wonderful scarlet thing.
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I keep thinking that I have gotten all of Pandora’s Box day lilies out of the Secret Garden, but I am continually wrong. Next to Pandora’s Box is my nameless dark, dark red day lily.
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Echinacea from a garden buddy with Fragrant Angel Echinacea.
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Sea Urchin day lily in the Secret Garden
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The Garden Lady is surrounded by crocosmia and day lilies.
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First Knight
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Rosie Returns
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Stokesia
This is one of my favorite spots in the garden. Great Expectations has finished blooming, but Stained Glass has new scapes and will bloom in a week or so. To the left are Cherry Berry and Allegan Fog.
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That’s Deep Blue Sea on the left with Creamscicle just to its right. Little Aurora is in the foreground.
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Crocosmia.
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Fragrant Angel Echinacea
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Grosso lavender and pink echinacea. I’m looking forward to seeing and smelling the asiatic lilies that are in bud.
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I have an ever-growing love of native pollinators like bumble bees and am so pleased that so many native bee species visit my gardens.
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A pretty little bend in the path in the Secret Garden.
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New this season is White Pow Wow echinacea.

Many thanks to May Dreams Gardens for creating a space for garden bloggers to record what is bloom on the 15th of each month.

Here is what is blooming in Garden337.  It’s been a great gardening summer so far…



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What more could you want: A cat statue, Rudbekia, and Walker's Low Catmint in the entrance garden.
What more could you want: A cat statue, Rudbekia, and Walker’s Low Catmint in the entrance garden.
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Halcyon in the back door garden. That is Rhino Hide in the little pot to its right. This is it’s third year in that pot and it’s doing better and better. Rhino Hide gets much bigger so I will need to move it to a better spot when it decides to grow up.

2015 Garden Bloggers’ Fling: Toronto

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This amazing “backyard garden” was a visual feast. There was such lovely attention paid to height, texture, and color. The owner said she had been tending this garden for 40 years. Amazing.
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This deco fountain is part of Parkwood, the former home of a General Motors Canada president that was built in the early 1900’s. The estate features magnificent deco gardens and is the venue for weddings and other gatherings. There were two weddings happening on the day we toured. Parkwood staff served us a lovely luncheon in and around the tea house.
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The owner of this private garden has a number of native bee houses. A log drilled with holes can attract mason bees, and there are a number of companies that sell bee houses. Scroll down to learn more about native bees.

When my friend Stef asked me if I was interested in attending the Garden Bloggers’ Fling in Toronto, I immediately said yes.  It was absolutely the right answer.  What more could a gardener ask for–great people, beautiful gardens, and terrific swag. I’m a social kind of girl, so being surrounded by so many friendly and knowledgable people was the biggest plus.  But I am still marveling at the wonderful gifts I received from Lee Valley Tools.  The long bladed trowel is fabulous and the hand rake is going to be so helpful now that the mulch has been spread in all the gardens.  Yes, I still have planting to do.  Later we were blessed with Corona garden tools.  I’m going to need a bigger tool box and maybe a garden tool belt!

We began our fling at High Park, a 400 acre recreational and conservation space.  There is a continuing effort to save native plants and raise public awareness of the fragile nature and tremendous value of those plants.  We saw introduced species that have invaded other parts of the park and learned about the efforts to restore places in the park to native plants and animals that depend on those plants.  Because non-native invasive species are crowding out natives, there is a dangerous decline in native pollinators.  More about that below.

That evening we learned more about the Fairmont Hotel’s efforts to provide habitats for native bees. There is a rooftop chef’s garden and a number of honeybee hives.  But more importantly there are solitary bee houses. I’ve had my suspicions that our efforts to save our declining honey bee population have been a bit misguided and prompted by corporate interests rather than conservation.  The little presentation we saw that night affirmed my suspicions.  I recognize the value of honey bees, but the truth is that they are not indigenous to North America and have crowded out native bees.  As we diminish native bee habitats, we diminish our knowledge that the bulk of the pollination work in our natural world is carried out by native solitary bees.

I love the bumble bees that visit my gardens, though these are not solitary bees. The carpenter bees are solitary and there are lots of them nuzzling anything that blooms.  I didn’t know about mason bees who are also indigenous and excellent pollinators.

Carpenter Bee on Tardiva in my Secret Garden
Carpenter Bee on Tardiva in my Secret Garden

There are hundreds of native bee species and I’m starting to learn about the role they play in our own survival.  We will disappear when the bees do.  And if we do not pay closer attention to the needs of native bees, we will pay a tragic price for our ignorance and our carelessness.  You can learn more about the Fairmont’s efforts here.  And you can read more about the role native bees play in our own survival here and here.  Native bees do a better job of pollinating than honey bees.  Who knew!?

This amazing private garden is so much more than a back yard!
This amazing private garden is so much more than a back yard!

We also toured a private garden that has been in the making for 40 years. The owner has paid such careful attention to height, texture, color, and the needs of the plants.  There was a lovely water feature full of tadpoles.  I tried to find parents, but they must have been nestled into a moist safe place waiting for dusk.

We feasted in several ways at the former estate of General Motors Canada’s first president–Parkwood, now a national historic site.  It is a wonderful example of art deco garden design and is the venue for weddings and other events.  There were two wedding parties on the estate the day we toured.  We were treated to a lovely luncheon in the tea house next to a long reflecting pool.  The swan pictured above was one of two fountains at the top of the pool.

We toured more private gardens that afternoon, so many that they have begun to merge in my memory.  Cabbagetown, though, was a stand out.  Initially a neighborhood settled by Irish imigrants, the neighborhood is now in the midst of restoration and home to some lovely gardens.  Narrow lots have become eclectic gardens that maximize space. And we toured Evergreen Brickworks, the site of a large brick making company that has been repurposed into a farmers’ market, wetlands, and window into Toronto’s past.

A map of Toronto!
A map of Toronto at Evergreen Brickworks
Aga Kahn Museum reflecting pools arranged around a center pool.
Aga Kahn Museum reflecting pools arranged around a center pool.

We also looked at a garden the nestles into a slope that goes to one of Toronto’s ravines carved by a stream system that feeds into rivers that in turn empty into Lake Ontario.  And we visited the Aga Kahn Museum that has the most amazing reflecting pools.

It’s been a rough winter for me.  My rheumatoid arthritis flared up big time and there were days when it was a struggle just to get out of bed.  I made arrangements to get a wheel chair just in case things flared up.  But, I didn’t need it.  Those with fitness monitors reported that we were walking upwards to 14,000 steps in a day and I trudged along.  I didn’t break any speed records and I was pretty slow getting on and off the bus that took us to all those wonderful gardens, but, damn, I did it.

Part of the machinery for making bricks.
Part of the machinery for making bricks.
Allium!  I need allium in my garden!
Allium! I need allium in my garden!
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I love those hostas!
One of the private gardens we saw.  What a serene place.
One of the private gardens we saw. What a serene place.
Here is Helen, one of our organizers, doing a blue thing.  The tree in the background was discovered at a curb.  The owners of this private garden rescued it, painted it blue, and called it garden art.  Talk about re-purposing!
Here is Helen, one of our organizers, doing a blue thing. The tree in the background was discovered at a curb. The owners of this private garden rescued it, painted it blue, and called it garden art. Talk about re-purposing!A special thank you has to go to the Helen and and Sarah Battersby for all the planning.  The pre-conference reception at Lee Valley Tools, the Buzztini where I learned more about native bees, the buses, the gardens, the dinner, the lunches, the snacks all took such careful planning. Never underestimate the power of smart women!!We began our “fling” at a private garden that was amazing.  In what could have been an ordinary urban back yard, the owners created amazing beds punctuated by swaths of grass.
Information about bees at the Toronto Botanical Gardens, the smallest botanical garden in North America at just 5 acres.
Information about bees at the Toronto Botanical Gardens, the smallest botanical garden in North America at just 5 acres.