Annual flowers complete their life cycle – vegetative plant, bloom, setting seed, death of the plant – in one growing season. Most annuals need to be replanted each year, though there are some that easily re-sow themselves. Their seed which could be scattered by wind, weather and wildlife, will pop up the next season when conditions are favourable. These unexpected visitors are usually called “volunteers” and can be a delight to see again or a source of frustration, depending on your outlook and how rigidly you follow the garden’s original design! Larkspur, cornflower, poppies, desert marigold, calendula, scarlet flax, gaillardia and Johnnyjump-ups are a few flowers that are easy to grow and readily reseed.
I love my celosia plumosa blooms this year. They are performing wonderfully.
Annuals are loved for their riotous colours, they are very quick to perform [especially if transplants are used], and provide relatively long periods of bloom – usually all season until the first frost. Annuals are particularly useful to conceal bare spots while landscape plants become established; create masses of color as a focal point; or fill containers to establish a cheerful presence at entryways and entertainment areas of the yard. At the end of the annual’s growing season, the entire plant tossed away and the spot is ready for another annual to take its place following the season.
Many of us gardeners find it fun to experiment with different annuals. Simply, if you don’t like the colour combinations you chose, plant something else next season. You have all winter to plan what’s next.
My ruffled pansies have been ever so reliable this year… and so cute, too.
I am a little surprised at myself for letting these pansies stay in the garden past spring. These flowers have never been a real favourite, but I’m liking them more and more each time I look at them and how well they are complimenting my garden this year.
If you have ever been to Filoli Gardens in Woodside, California, you know how breathtaking the landscape and architecture of this beautiful estate is. I can only dream of getting a chance to visit.
Inspired by European influences, the 16-acre garden is a series of garden rooms containing parterres, terraces, lawns and pools, arranged between the two parallel north-south walks. A variety of plants abound include camellias, rhododendrons, roses and magnolias. In the spring, bulbs such as hyacinths, tulips and daffodils are the queen of the show. Lined in perfect rows throughout the gardens or in gorgeous planters around the estate.
What I find most interesting is the meaning of the name Filoli - William B. Bourn and wife Agnes Moody Bourn lived at the 654-acre estate from 1917 to 1936. The estate’s name is a combination of the first two letters from the key words of Bourn’s credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.”
The estate was purchased in 1937 by Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth, who owned the Matson Navigation Company. Under the Roths’ supervision the property was maintained and the formal garden gained worldwide recognition. Mrs. Roth made Filoli her home until 1975 when she donated 125 acres, which included the House and formal garden, to the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the enjoyment and inspiration of future generations. The remaining acreage was given to Filoli Center.
Now fully operated by Filoli Center, the estate is a California State Historic Landmark and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. This outstanding showcase of early twentieth-century architecture and garden design can be enjoyed by the public during much of the year.
photos from the filoli website
When I was visiting the garden show last month I picked up a booklet about the gardens on Vancouver Island. The garden themes range from traditional to contemporary, tropical to woodland, edible to educational, each garden is distinctive and offers visual pleasure to every visitor. One that I was particularly interested in was Abkhazi Garden.
This garden was created in 1946 by Prince and Princess Abkhazi and located in Victoria, British Columbia, a city known for its wonderful gardens, and is a heritage garden famous for its majestic trees and dramatic site.
The garden is very discreet from the street, with only hints of what exists beyond the hornbeam hedge. What the visitor does find is a garden that embraces a natural landscape that is unique to Victoria. The garden is blessed with dramatic glaciated rocky slopes, magnificent native Garry oaks and gorgeous vistas. The garden is designed to make the most of these remarkable features and it is the Abkhazis’ response to their landscape that qualifies it as a stunning example of West Coast design. The garden flows around the rock, taking advantage of deeper pockets of soil for conifers, Japanese maples and rhododendrons which over the last 50 years have grown to an impressive maturity. Carpets of naturalized bulbs, choice alpines and woodland companions provide interest throughout the year to the discerning plantsman, but it is the overall design that leaves the greatest impression.
The Abkhazis worked together on their creation for over 40 years, referring to it as “their child”. After their deaths the Garden changed hands, and in February 2000, The Land Conservancy purchased the property to save it from becoming a townhouse development. Once a private garden is now open daily to the public.
This lovely palace and garden was built in 1606 by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau for the greatest love in his life, Salome Alt, and their 15 children. As a member of the clergy, he could not marry her so he had the palace and garden built for her in hopes that it would make up for being excluded from social events and their children being considered illegitimate. Originally named Altenau in Salome’s honour, was later renamed Mirabell by his successor.
Located in Salzburg, Austria, Mirabell is considered one of Europe’s most beautiful Baroque gardens and is visited by many each day.
Sculptures and water fountains are positioned throughout the garden. Adding in colour with seasonal flowers which are planted in geometrically designed beds. The flower beds, hedges, water features and statues are set amidst generous grassy plots separated by paved pathways that permit visitors to easily wander throughout the garden. These are all surrounded by an inner and outer marble balustrade topped with elaborately decorated marble vases sculpted by Johann Berhnard Fischer von Erlach who was trained as a sculptor but is best known as Austria’s Father of Baroque Architecture.
Though Mirabell Gardens has gone through many remodels and reconstructing it is just as gorgeous today as it was in the 1600′s. First opened to the public in 1854 by Emperor Franz Joseph, the garden, palace and many other features are open all year round. The Marble Hall, which has the ballroom and concert venue, and where Wolfgang Mozart performed, is considered one of the most beautiful wedding halls in the world. Now, if only I had the time to travel to Austria tomorrow…
photo credit – gardenvisit.com
image from Canadian Press
On Sunday I attended Canada Blooms which is Canada’s largest flower and garden festival. They teamed up with the National Home Show this year and we had free admission for buying tickets to Blooms. In its 16th year, the theme was ‘City Culture’ for 2012. It definitely smelled like spring with hyacinths and tulips planted throughout the show room. And many rhododendrons were in full bloom as well. One of the greatest features was the 6 acres of stunningly creative gardens that displayed tons of colour, texture and fragrance. This was the first year Canada Blooms designed an international garden, too, which was Taipei, but it wasn’t traditional Chinese. It was more of a contemporary attempt at an urban garden that you might see in Taipei. Bamboos, orchids, lotus and kwanzan cherry were among the feature plants, but it was the Medinilla from the Philippines that stole the show. This plant was everywhere and I got a lesson in how to care for these magnificent plants. I was very miffed at myself for not bringing one home with me. I completely regret this. The pink, pendulous flowers bloom for over 2 months and will bloom continuously throughout the year. A great indoor plant to have, I’m still bummed about not getting one. The plant you see in the first photo is the Medinilla.
Unfortunately, it was dim inside the building and my camera does not like dim lighting so many of my photos were extra blurry. The shots of the beautiful garden layouts did not turn out at all.
New hardy roses coming spring 2013 !
There were so many fabulous floral displays. The top florists around create stunning, eye-popping arrangements. They were all absolutely amazing with their generous use of very rare tropical plants and some found right in the Ontario garden. Neat ideas for creating a vertical garden and how to make the most of water features in the garden. There were also lots of hands-on workshops that taught you how to pot up your own wonderful planter. So much fun activities, even the kids got their own jungle gym. This will for sure be an event I attend every year.
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece” – Claude Monet, 1840-1926
One of the world’s most famous painters had a horticultural side which inspired many of his paintings. Monet pursued gardening as passionately as he pursued painting – planting, weeding and watering the densely packed flowers himself. In 1890, he was able to purchase the home and gardens outright, at which time he employed six gardeners to assist him in creating one of the most beautiful floral landscapes in the world. The garden consists of two parts – the Clos Normand flower garden near the house and the Oriental water garden which is just across the street. The main garden is set out on a grid with herbaceous plants such as roses, delphiniums, nasturtiums, foxgloves and vegetables allowed to grow and flower in super-abundance. Now, the 5 acre garden is maintained by 8 gardeners throughout the year.
In Giverny, France, artists and gardeners alike can enjoy Monet’s house, three studios and gardens from April through to October. Off-limits is his greenhouse, however, which he built himself and cultivated orchids, exotic ferns and grew his seedlings.
Another garden on my ‘must visit’ list.
Monet’s pink house and the colorful area of parallel flower beds he designed.
In October, the tall flowers of late season mix their pinks, blues, yellows, oranges and reds and their different textures and shapes, creating a living painting that moves in the breeze. Sages, dahlias, asters, cosmos, roses, black eyed Susan, tithonias are all enchanting in September and October.
The famous Japanese Bridge that Monet painted so often. There are 272 canvases by Monet featuring his water garden.
Claude Monet in his garden.
photos from giverny-impression.com
The Exbury Gardens is located in New Forest, England and is counted in the most beautiful and exuberant gardens in the world. The gardens here are spread out over 200 acres of woodland. Depending on the season you visit, you are bound to see many different varieties of flowers, plants and shrubs in the Exbury Gardens. The spring season will fill the garden with daffodils, bluebells, azaleas. In the summer the gardens are in a very vibrant mood with grasses and shrubs covering a great part of the garden. Spring is definitely the best time to visit as the main attraction of the gardens are the azaleas and rhododendrons.
The Exbury Gardens are also a source of some of the rarest of plants today and they are all taken special care of to protect the look and feel of the gardens for visitors. Whatever the season you happen to visit Exbury Gardens, you are sure to enjoy its sheer beauty and serene environment.
A cousin in England emailed me recently about Exbury since she knows of my love for gardens. Looks like I need to plan a trip over there (to visit family, of course) and see this lovely place in person. Such vivid colours in this shady woodland garden.
photo credit – exbury.co.uk
I find this concept intriguing.
I found a few that I especially like, but I was remembering one that I saw in my hometown last summer. It caught my eye, of course. It looked like a tropical oasis from the street and I was very tempted to knock on the owners door for a visit through the garden. Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time I randomly stopped at someone’s house to admire their garden. Heh.
Now if only I had a flat rooftop…
Rooftop garden in Seattle, Washington.
St. Luke’s International Hospital in Akashi, Tokyo.
These London residents turned an ugly parking lot into a lovely place to gather.
This garden is part of a spa/health club complex in San Francisco, California.