Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer's End

I decided to spend my last weekend of the summer returning to Montreal to visit the Montreal Botanic garden. I first visited the gardens here in April of 2015. At the time, it was still cold in Montreal and much of the garden was covered by snow. Although beautiful, I knew then that I would have to return to see both the Chinese and Japanese gardens in their full summer splendor.

Montreal is just over three hours away from where I live in central New York, so I didn't put much effort into planning the weekend trip. That proved to be a bit of a mistake. Had I checked the website, I would have seen that the Chinese garden was under a major renovation, one that would not be complete until September of 2017. 

As a result, I was unable to tour the Chinese garden, but only look at it from the edges behind fencing. Much work remains to be done, and I am sure it will be much improved next year. 

I was taken back by all the colorful lanterns that were spread around. 

Apparently lighting up the garden with these lights is a tradition from September to October, the Garden of Lights. Honestly, this aspect of the garden did not appeal to me. It takes away from the beauty of  the garden itself - maybe I am becoming a garden snob, but the lights seem a bit too ticky-tacky tourist. It could be that I am just getting old. I will plan my future visit for mid summer so as to avoid these features.

The Japanese Garden was open, so I took full advantage of my early arrival to see what the garden looked like without a covering of snow and ice.

click here to see panoramic image

click here to see panoramic image

click here to see panoramic image

The garden is worthy of its reputation as one of the best in North America. The only drawback I could see was that the pond was created by using a large waterproof tarp as its base. Its unfortunate, but in many places along the edge and throughout its clear water, the tarp is visiable. 

There is also a Tea Garden along the side of the Japanese Pavilion.

Additionally, a  Stone Garden provides a nice Zen atmosphere comprised of eleven peridotite stones that stand as islands is a sea of what shirakawa sand.

There is also a large Bonsai Courtyard containing as many as thirty bonsai that range in age from 25 to 350 years of age. The one below is 250 years old - amazing!

click here to see panoramic image

I was really glad I returned. In the future I will return to see the completed Chinese garden and stroll once more through the Japanese garden.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Planting Azalea

just as wonderful
as the expensive garden stone...
- Issa 

I haven't been around much this summer to take care of the garden - stuck in Oklahoma for a while and visiting other gardens (see other Augusts posts). 

Now that I'm back home, it was time to straighten up the garden. First, I purchased some plants to replace those that had died or were eaten. 

I started with the removal of a long-term plant, Daylily (Hemerocallis “Black Eyed Stella’). These Daylily had been in the central part of the garden since 2010. 

Although they never received as much sunlight as I had hoped, they always flowered and added a nice burst of yellow color to the overwhelmingly green garden. Unfortunately, after almost seven years, something decided to eat the bulbs of the plants, leaving them completely decimated. This has been a persistent problem these last couple of years, but it mostly impacted Hosta. Now I have lost a prized set of plants. 

In order to avoid this problem in the future, I have decided to plant this spot with a small Azalea (Rhododendron 'Farrow')

It will need sun to part shade, and should grow to only about 24" x 24", a perfect fit for this location. I can also control its growth so it does not crowd out other nearby plants. If all goes well, I should be able to get a red-pink flower in the spring. 

I also need to clean up the space directly in front and below the moon window fence panel. In the past I had planted Mouse Ear Coreopsis 'Nana' in this location and they looked great, especially when they flowered. 

However, over time they failed to spread and instead diminished. This spring I was forced to remove what was left. In their place, I planted some Tickseed 'Presto' (Coreopsis grandiflora)

They should grow no more than 6-8" in height. We will have to see how they do in the spring and if they will receive enough light in this space. 

Finally, the two Carex 'Silver Scepter' Japanese Sedge Grass plants I placed in front of the gate entryway did not return this year. 

One completely died, while the other only produced a few strands of grass. I even waited most of the summer to give them time to grow, but in the end, it was a lost cause. I bucketed what remains of the remnant and will try to salvage it for future use. 

Unable to find the same plants (I really liked the structure), I instead replaced them with a Japanese Sedge Grass 'Evergold' (Carex oshimenis)

Not actually my favorite in terms of structure or color, but still similar. Most importantly, they were on sale. I will give these a try and see how they do after a year. 

I still have one more Azalea to plant, but I have not yet determined where it will go - I will save it for a future post.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Strolling Around

After traveling home from Philadelphia and New Jersey, I found myself passing New York City, at which point I decided to take a detour to visit the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Locust Valley, on Long Island.

John P. Humes, a former ambassador to Austria (1969-1975) had been inspired by sites he had visited in Kyoto, Japan. In 1960, he decided to build a stroll garden on his estate. In 1985, following his death, the garden was open to the public. 

Parking area and gateway:

Bamboo forest along the edge of the parking area:

Trail leading across a small stream, over bridge, and up to a ridge from parking area:

Gateway to the teahouse:

Front view of the Japanese teahouse:

Side & back view of the teahouse:

Back corner of the teahouse with rain chain:

 Other plantings and stone lanterns within the garden:

Overall, the stroll garden was very nice.