And the Winner is…

 White Rock used to participate in the national Communities in Bloom program, but as far as I can see they haven’t done so for a number of years. It’s a shame because there are so many lovely gardens in our pretty little City by the Sea.

The long growing season, the lovely sunshine, the (normally) ample moisture all contribute to copious blooms and rich green foliage. Not everybody knows how to harness and choreograph all those elements, it’s a true art and takes lots of time, energy and patience. 

If I was awarding the prize for the best condo garden display in White Rock, hands down it would go to this building on Merklin. Bold color, changes of height, and the use of texture all convene to make one of the finest displays in town. With both staple perennials and the addition of carefully placed annuals this wall of blooms has been flowering incessantly for the past two months. I love to walk by and see what’s new every week.

   

  

 Whomever is responsible should be proud of what s/he has accomplished. You get five stars from me.

   
   
   
 

Not so Yucca

  The yucca plant is another garden staple in the lower mainland of BC. I doesn’t require a lot of attention and can withstand both heat and drought. In White Rock they show up on boulevards, in flower beds and parking lots. In early spring they send up flower stalks which bloom in June with lovely white blossoms.

   
 

Fifty Shades of Hydrangea 

Hydrangea are hugely popular here on the West Coast, and for good reason. They grow prolifically and produce an abundance of large colorful blooms that last for weeks. Almost every garden has at least one hydrangea and condos seem to rely on their easy-go-lucky personality as a landscaping staple.

What amazes me as I wander the streets of White Rock (which I do on a regular bases thanks to Lucy and her dog needs) is the multitude of colors of hydrangea. With over 600 cultivars, most of the hydrangea in this region are of the species Hydrangea macrophylla. I’ve seen both the Mophead type (with large flowering blooms) and the less common Lacecap style (with a central flatter area of subdued flowers)

  Although some of the diversity in color can be attributed to the different hybrids – there are all sorts of cultivars like Limelight (green), Maltisse (red) and Annabelle (white) – much of what makes the colors so variable are the soil conditions. Some hydrangea will vary in color depending on the pH of the soil, resulting in a range of hues from a light pink to a deep blue. The more aluminum in the soil the more blue the flowers. In order to absorb the aluminum the soil pH must be low or acid (5.2-5.5), so by lowering the pH you can shift the color of your hydrangea to the blue end of the spectrum. Even the same plant can produce a range of shades, as seen in some of the photos I captured this week.
Hydrangea can be grown in containers, so it could potentially be a balcony plant. In a container it’s much easier to toy with soil conditions in order to achieve that perfect shade of bluish-pink.
Enjoy the hydrangeas of White Rock:

   

                             

The Roses of White Rock

So…I’ve not posted anything for a long time and it’s time to fess up. I’m not in Edmonton anymore, I’ve moved to White Rock, BC. 

It’s been a busy spring for gardeninggrrl, having sold my house packed up and moved all over the past three months. I stayed in four different homes while waiting to take occupancy of my condo on the west coast. I’m finally (more or less) settled and ready to post to the blog again. My apologies for the absence.

Now that I’m in zone 8 my posts will undoubtedly take a different course. I’ve never lived anywhere but zone 2/3 so this is an entirely new experience for me. 

I thought I’d start by sharing photos of some of the lovely roses I’ve seen while walking the streets of White Rock. Because roses grow much more readily here than they do on the prairies there are many more varieties on display. I don’t know much about roses, having only been exposed to the most hardy of specimens (thinking of John Cabot or the Morden series for example).

So for my first post of 2015, my first post from BC, here are some photos I took this morning.

   
                     

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

I believe I’ve been invaded by a wild cucumber plant. What do you think? I planted a number of squash and melons in my front garden and when this plant began to grow I thought it must be one of those. I left for a two week holiday and came back to THIS.

It has spiky green fruit, which if I have identified the plant correctly are inedible. It can become invasive if left to reproduce, so my plan is to rip it out and find the original tuber and dig that out as well.

IMG_2297.JPG

IMG_2294.JPG

IMG_2296.JPG

Clematis Jackmanii

Clematis Jackmanii is one of the most popular and widely grown clematis culitvars in Canada. Hardy to zone 4a, I’ve found it to be not only successful but prolific in my zone 3 garden.

20140728-135645-50205582.jpg

It prefers cool roots but flourishes in direct sun, blooming from mid summer into the fall. Mine is at its prime this week, already more than 8 feet tall and covered in luscious 5-6″ purple blossoms.

I trim my Jackmanii to 24″ above the soil in the late fall once it has finished flowering, but if I forget or don’t get it done before snow falls I can do the same in the spring before the new sprouts emerge.

20140728-135644-50204515.jpg

Clematis Jackmanii was originally developed by horticulturist George Jackman of Surrey England in 1862. It can be purchased at virtually any garden center in North America.

Art in the Garden

I participated in a garage sale a few weeks ago and sold off a bunch of artwork I no longer wanted to display. One of the paintings was an acrylic folk art piece by an American teen artist. It didn’t sell, but one shopper told me that she often shellacked similar paintings and hung them in her garden.

Hmm. Since It was destined for the thrift shop I decided, “what the heck” and hung in on my fence among some planters and climbing vines. I like how it ties in the colors and I think it’ll look even lovelier once the morning glories start blooming.

20140720-134759-49679592.jpg