Monday, July 13, 2015
Our little world is changing. People are giving over their front lawns to growing veggies and herbs. Gardeners everywhere are thinking about growing for the future and doing it organically. If a child learns about gardening at a young age, she will have a healthy future that doesn't involve foods grown with genetically modified seed or with pesticides. Teach them a love of gardening and the healthiest methods will take care of themselves in time. The key is to inspire.
The Kid-Gardener's Planting Book for Parents by Chris Eirschele will show you how to nurture this love of gardening in children. It is filled with inspirational ideas that will spark your child's interest and curiosity.
Eirschele's book makes gardening fun (and not just for the kiddies). I've been a gardener most of my life, but I still learned a few things from this book, so this might also be a good read for beginning gardeners as well.
This planting book talks about everything from handling small garden tools, to making gardens that will interest children such as fairy gardens, gardens filled with bold-shaped and colorful flowers, indoor gardens. It teaches them a respect for nature, its sounds, touch, scent and taste, along with a respect for the pollinating insects so important to our future. It makes growing veggies fun.
Chris Eirschele is a Master Gardener and respected garden writer with a bounty of plant knowledge. For more information, please see her Stay Gardening blog.
The Kid-Gardener's Planting Book for Parents is published by Decoded Science and is available in print and e-book forms, via Amazon and Smashwords.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
|The original Rosa multiflora|
I've been propagating it successfully for a few years now by seed and by cuttings. (Many American rose growers cringed when they read those words.) In April of this year I began transplanting the new plants from the nursery bed to the rose walk and one is in bloom. Not only is it in bloom, it is a beautiful sport. It's most curious because I always believed species roses remained true to the mother plant whichever way they are propagated. But I know now there are many sports of species roses, perhaps a different shade of pink, or a double version etc. I'm very excited to see this sport as it's quite impressive. While all the other R. multifloras have tiny pinkish buds, this one has slightly larger and plumper, creamy yellow buds. While the original has single white flowers in clusters, this one has double white flowers in clusters. And the bloom is much larger ... approximately 1-1/2 across. All the other features of this rose are as one would expect from R. multiflora.
It has the scent and appearance of an old rose, flowering on the previous or first seasons canes.
|R. multiflora Sport|
|Double R.multiflora sport|
Because I always believed propagation of species would result in true plants to the original, I didn't think to mark which was by seed and which was by cutting. I regret that now.
The cutting or seed was taken and potted up in the summer of 2013, then brought inside to grow on during the winter. It went into the nursery bed last spring, where it remained with all the other R. multiflora cuttings and seedlings, and it came through last summer and winter outdoors with flying colors.
A little background. This rose started out as root stock for either a tea or floribunda in my father's garden many years ago. It reverted to root stock probably due to a bad graft. And although this "sport" appears to be an old rose type, I wonder if some of the tea or floribunda genes transferred (this is why I'm leaning to it being propagated by seed) ... keeping in mind that many of the modern roses we have today have long pedigrees, a past which included the crossing of old roses. Sports are gene mutations and I wonder if there is a sort of transfer or passing along. I would imagine the odds of gene transfer are higher when propagated via seed. Time to pull out my books, I think.
I don't know yet how it will grow. Will it send out long canes (it's starting to) like the other R. multifloras I have? Will the little genetic mutation it presently has remain in the rose, or will it revert to its species type? Will it bloom intermittently throughout the summer? I doubt that part, but you never know. As a sport, it's a new rose. Anything could happen. I'm going to mark it for propagation and hope for the best. It is just ... that ... lovely.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
|Lovely arbor walk|
|Beautiful twig arbor, gate and garden seat|
|Lovely open arbor design|
|Twiggy Bridge of "Sigh"|
|Rustic garden gazebo|
|Stunning twiggy fence|
|Rustic deck fence|
|Fallen branches country fence|
|Rustic Gothic Chair|
|Branch Rustic Gate|
Friday, January 23, 2015
Armchair Gardening with the Best Garden Writers: Vita Sackville-West, Thalasso Cruso and Eleanor Perenyi
|The author's garden in winter. Copyright L. Syratt 2013|
When winter is in its full glory, all a gardener can see of her garden is the skeletal shapes of plants poking up through a blanket of snow. Gardening is out of the question. But reading a good book about gardening written by a garden writer is a pleasurable replacement during the long period between December and March.
A good gardening book can inspire garden designs and plant choices to implement after the great thaw. Some of the best books are still in print and easily ordered through bookshops or found online.
Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden
Green Thoughts, A Writer in the Garden, by Eleanor Perenyi, is a book of first-person essays on gardening, based on the author's own experiences. Readers will learn they should put ash from the fire onto the garden bed for a natural source of potassium, which helps plants become more disease-resistant, as well as strengthen the plants' root systems.
Perenyi's essays are very thorough, provocative and easy to read – written with both wit and charm. Since its first printing in 1981, Green Thoughts has become a classic armchair gardening book – to be read and savored.
To Everything There is a Season: The Gardening Year
To Everything There is a Season, the Gardening Year, by Thalassa Cruso, is another book that belongs on every gardener's bookshelf. It is written in first person, and as with Eleanor Perenyi's Green Thoughts, this too, is filled with helpful essays. The essays are organized by month with related information pertaining to gardening at that time of year. December, for example, includes essays about the waste of discarded Christmas trees, and another essay about holly.
Cruso has written her essays with strong sensitivity toward caring for the natural world. It is full of wise philosophies about gardening as well as offering snippets of her personal journey in gardening and her love of gardens and nature. Published in 1972, To Everything there is a Season, is still an important work for those interested in eco-gardening.
Vita Sackville-West's Garden Book
Vita Sackville-West's Garden Book is a small collection of essays put together by her daughter-in-law, Philippa Nicolson in the late 1960s. The essays in the collection were gleaned from Vita Sackville-West's own books of essays published in the 1950s, including, In Your Garden, In Your Garden Again, More for your Garden, and Even More for your Garden. And these essays were gathered from Sackville-West's weekly articles in Britain's Observer magazine, written from 1947 to 1961. Some of the original collections have been reprinted. First editions from the 1950s are rare, collectible and expensive.
Vita Sackville-West, along with her husband, Harold Nicolson were the creators of Sissinghurst, a world famous garden in Kent, England. Vita was a writer first, having had great success with several novels and poetry since the 1920s. It was only when she and her husband moved to Sissinghurst a decade later and began creating the gardens there that Vita started to write about gardening. She had a brilliant creative mind and offered her ideas readily to her readers every week.
Vita Sackville-West's Garden Book brings together some of those most popular essays and gives the reader a good perspective on English garden style. She writes about her famous white garden, protecting plants against frost, about roses andgroundcover plants, about keeping garden notes, and much more, and she does it with humor and charm.
Gardeners are passionate about their gardens. Writers who garden love to write about their own gardens. A little armchair gardening will help you pass the winter without missing the digging, planting, pruning, watering, weeding and mulching. It will come soon enough.
Monday, July 7, 2014
|Regale Lily |
Photo Taken in a year the chipmunks didn't eat the three buds.
Copyright Lorraine Syratt
Barring anything that upsets the balance between the garden and garden maker, there is only abundance, grace, peace and patience. As gardeners, we accept the garden's ever-changing and ever-evolving cycles ... its slow growth. We are on a long journey with our gardens. They teach us patience from the time we first take up our spades.
Each new growing season brings more splendor. The three-foot tall trees planted a decade ago are now 20 feet tall. The climbing roses reach over the balcony railing. The self-seeders have self-seeded in all the right places. The cedar hedges started at 12 inches are now 10 feet tall. The garden we imagined, designed on paper and planted out years earlier slowly awakens and we begin to believe it has always been this way; it becomes what we hoped it would become.
Patience is one of many virtues I aspire to possess, but unlike the great oak, our lives are short. As gardeners, we want to get the best out of all that love and nurturing we do with our gardens. We can only watch things refuse to grow for so long. Sometimes we have to remove plants that have no chance of succeeding; they grow ugly to their core, hither and yonning in every direction. They tease us with one surprising bloom and quickly snatch it away, or their blooms refuse to open and they wilt and wither on their stems. We try to keep them alive, always patient, always hopeful. But when they continue to fail us, they have no place in our gardens. We have to prune them out for the health and well-being of the other plants, as well as the garden's beauty. The garden teaches us patience, but it also teaches us when to let go. And when we do let go, there is only harmony in the garden, as well that peace, abundance and grace.
|Image created by RomanticGardening.com|
Thursday, March 20, 2014
|Rosa multiflora is used as hardy rootstock in Canada|
Photo by Lorraine Syratt ... All Rights Reserved
Before ordering any roses from Canadian nurseries or even when purchasing them at garden centers in spring, learn what rootstock was used. See the listing for David Austin Roses to understand why.
Corn Hill Nursery
Corn Hill Nursery specializes in own-root hardy roses ... in their words "acclimated nursery stock." I like that. Their roses will survive some extremely cold winters. They don't have a massive catalogue, but they do have a great selection including some species roses. Prices range from $20 for a two-stemmed (caned) rose to $39 for a 3-year old potted rose.
|David Austin's first introduction, "Constance Spry" |
Photo by Lorraine Syratt ... All Rights Reserved
David Austin Roses
This is not a Canadian nursery, but they do have information on ordering from Canada. Keep in mind, the roses in David Austin Roses catalog are actually grown in and coming from the US, and as US-grown roses, they are grafted onto Dr. Huey rootstock. Dr. Huey is only hardy in plant hardiness zone 7 or at least 6 or higher. That means they will only grow well on the west coast or in southern Ontario regions such as Niagara-on-the-Lake, Toronto or even Belleville and Prince Edward County (that's the county, not the island). Most roses grown in Canada are grafted onto hardy Rosa multiflora or Rosa laxa rootstock. American bred roses will eventually fail or never really flourish as they should when grown in Canadian gardens. And that's ... well, the root of the matter ... why some roses fail for us.
The David Austin site is a terrific source for images and information, but if you're in Canada, it's best to purchase your English roses from a Canadian source who buys bud stock from the US and grafts their own.
Hortico is located in Waterdown, Ontario. Many of their roses are grown on Rosa multiflora rootstock and the rootstock itself is grown from seed to avoid the spread of disease, particularly rose mosaic virus. This is a common practice among most rosarians in Canada. Hortico has a massive catalogue available online with close to 1000 varieties listed. There are over 100 climbing roses alone. Prices in their 2016 catalogue are $17.99.
Thimble Farms is located in BC (Salt Spring Island) and they do mail-order. They have a small variety of own-root roses, including some species and David Austin roses. Prices range from $10 to $29. I haven't heard of this nursery before, but I like the selection of natives and species roses they have for $10 to $12.
Palantine Roses This is a recent discovery. Palantine does not have the huge lists of old roses and climbers Hortico has, but the selection is good. I've read good things about the quality of their roses and looking at their list, they seem to have some lovely gallicas and multifloras I've not seen elsewhere. Prices range from approx. $15 to over $20. They are located in Ontario's Niagara Region.
I have not added Botanus to the 2016 list because I don't see any roses listed in their 2016 catalogue. Besides which, my memory suggests they are grown on Dr. Huey rootstock and ordered from the US. They would not be all that hardy in most parts of the country. I'll leave the link because I could be missing something, but even an on-site search revealed nothing. It's possible a list will show up in mid-winter for early spring delivery. I'll update once I find out for sure.
It saddens me the number of Canadian mail-order nurseries that have gone out of business. We are losing such a wonderful collection of roses. What fun it used to be to open a Pickering catalogue in front of the fire and tick off all those lovely old roses, rare species', and fantastic ramblers. I will miss them forever.
The list above does offer a good selection; I just wish there were more. But as rose gardeners we should be propagating some of the older roses ourselves before we lose them. A little rose rustling is always fun, but I don't suggest taking cuttings like a rogue in the night. Gardeners are always happy to share. I think I'll keep a kit in the car ... just in case.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
| The Herbaceous Border at Rockingham Castle,|
Northamptonshire, England is designed with
careful attention to distinguishing contrast, subject and ground.
Image © Copyright Marion Haworth
Well-grounded gardens are designed using figure-ground theory, whether intentional or not.
|This image taken at Sissinghurst, Kent shows the positive|
space (subject/figure) against the negative space
(background/ground).The positive space draws your eye.
Photo image © Copyright Lorraine Syratt
So What is Figure-Ground Theory?
Figure-Ground theory has its roots in psychology — Gestalt therapy, but it is also used in architecture, landscape design and art. It is based on visual perception, an important design concept that distinguishes the subject (figure) from its background (ground). The background helps to define the subject, so the subject will be our focus. Our eyes are drawn to it. It's achieved by using contrasting colors, shapes, and reference points. In most instances, the figure or subject is the main ingredient — the element that stands out.
Figure-ground also relates to positive and negative space. Negative space is the space surrounding the subject or positive space. This can get confusing because in design, in this case, garden design, the negative space or background may also be the subject. A good example is seen in the image (top right) of the Rockingham Castle garden. While the flowers are the subject, we can't help but notice their backgrounds — the beautiful evergreen arches and hedges (clearly in the making) that contrast with to the colorful flora. As we walk through the garden, we don't just "see" the flowers; we "see" their backgrounds as well. Nothing is visually missed, and all is relevant to the overall balanced composition.
Using Figure-Ground Theory in Garden Design
I don't know when the term "grounding" was first coined in garden design, but it was certainly in use over one-hundred years ago. Garden writer and designer, Gertrude Jekyll used it in her 1902 book, Roses.
|These roses planted en masse at Alexandra Park in East Sussex, England|
stand out beautifully because they are surrounded by a neatly-clipped
dark green hedge at the edge of a forest.
Image © Copyright Oast House Archive
Jekyll, known today as one of the great rosarians, garden writers and designers of her time, did "persist" on advocating dark backgrounds and contrasts in design throughout that book. While this particular book was focused only on roses, her other gardening books and several articles also gave a nod to the concept of grounding with dark green trees, hedges and foliage. "The wisdom of this treatment is well-known in all other kinds of gardening ..." She went on to suggest that " ... even walls should be clothed in dark greenery."
Figure-ground is also about grounding each individual plant or plant mass in your flower bed. This is done by separating them with a neutral plant. Neutral plants have contrasting textures, shapes or colors.
|The herbaceous border at Kirby House, West Berkshire, England|
— a fine example of a well-grounded garden.
Image © Copyright Stuart Logan
Each plant or plant mass is clearly separated from the others by using an assortment of contrasting plants such as Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis), silvery leaf plants such as artemisia or Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) and plants with sword-shaped leaves — bold shapes and neutral colors that create those separations. To top it off, it's a border in front of a dark green background. Each plant pops with color and interest. Nothing is missed.
Without grounding, the plant subjects have no distinguishing forms. They unite in a blurry jumble of color with no rhyme or reason, no contrasting separation and no restful focus. In a mixed or herbaceous border, you won't see the garden for the flowers. There's nothing wrong with pretty flower jumbles, particularly in wild gardens or wild parts of the garden, but if you want all your hard work to pay off in the more formal parts of your garden, avoid over-jumbling. Add a little contrast. Make each plant count.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
| Plan ahead and pot ahead if you're relocating with your |
garden plants ... Image © Copyright Oast House Archive
With a little dialog with the new owners of the garden, owners who aren't "into" gardening, as well as a mention in the contract, it's possible to move all your plants when you relocate. This is rare in a real estate contract, but it can be done. You can move some plants without a mention, and you can certainly divide them, leaving the garden to the new owner.