Tuesday, March 27, 2012

James Gardens... A Hidden Gem

All Photographs by Paul Gellatly  "Sanguinaria canadensis" 
Nestled in Etobicoke, (in the west end of Toronto) is a beautiful garden that shouldn't be missed!  It has long been known for its beautiful annual beds, and is a destination for wedding photographs throughout the summer.

This past weekend I decided to take a walk and see what spring in the park had to offer.  Still too early to enjoy the annual plantings, there was no shortage of beauty around... including naturalized flowering bulbs,  wildflowers, perennials, and walking paths throughout the entire park to enjoy.

Beautiful Magnolia Trees, azaleas, spring bulbs, blooming forsythias and more awaited our visit this week.  I managed to take a few pictures to share on the blog.

(Symplocarpus foetidus)
Rustic Bridges, Gazebo's, ponds and creeks make for interesting discoveries around every corner.  One of my favorite wild flowers The Eastern Skunk Cabbage is in bloom all over the park.  Many water iris' are poking through the streams and ponds, which will be a beautiful spectacle of purple and yellow in the weeks to come.

Originally a private estate owned by Fred James, purchased in 1908, this garden was his passion and was developed for over 40 years.  When he passed away, the family sold the property to the City of Toronto with the agreement that it remain a park. With history of over 100 years, there is sure to be something for everyone at James Gardens.

After you're done walking through the gardens, be sure to explore the trail into Lambton Woods, and Scarlett Mills Park along the Humber River.  You will forget for a moment you are in a big city.

James Gardens is a great way to spend an afternoon at any time of year... and don't forget your camera!

Located on Edenbridge Drive, just East of Royal York  Road.

How to get there...
Map data ©2012 Google - Terms of Use

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring...

Photograph by Paul Gellatly "Bacopa"

Photograph by Paul Gellatly
Photo by Paul Gellatly
Although we have had a very mild Winter, and it has felt like Spring for weeks; today marks the first official day of Spring.  One of my favorite things to do at this time of year is walk around and see first hand plants coming to life.  I spent the day at High Park in Toronto on Sunday.  Trees are already starting to flower, bulbs showing their colour, and there is a warmness in the air that only Spring can bring.

Over the past few weeks I've been working in a greenhouse, its truly amazing how quickly plants are growing at this time of year. All of the recently planted window and hanging baskets are starting to put out their first flowers of the season.

Photograph by Paul Gellatly
Its not too late to start some seeds indoors to plant out once the danger of frost has passed.  I started some Datura seeds last week, and a few are starting to sprout already.  It can be very exciting watching seeds sprout and grow into plants!  I stopped by a garden centre today and was really impressed at the variety of annual seeds and summer bulbs available.

Photograph by Paul Gellatly
If you're looking for something educational and inspirational to do this week... visit Canada Blooms which wraps up March 25th.  I'd definitely recommend taking the time to to attend  North America's Largest Home and Garden Event.  It started in 1996 it has continued to grow and be an event not to miss!  I'll be there this weekend.
Photograph by Paul Gellatly

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Coleus... "Under the Sea" Collection... Making a Splash in 2012

Photograph by Paul Gellatly (Coleus "Kong" collection)
One of my all-time favorite annuals is the colourful coleus.  Grown for their beautiful vibrant foliage, they are a great addition to your home or garden. The varieties, colours and textures are endless.  Coleus are sold primarily as annual plants for a partially shaded location in your garden; however they also make a very unique and beautiful houseplant.  I have had "Henna" as a house plant for several years now.

Photograph by Paul Gellatly Coleus "Henna"
Coleus "Henna"
Coleus are very easy to grow and take care of, both indoors and out.  The usual height and width is anywhere from 12"- 18".  Although there are smaller varieties available.  If a coleus gets spindly, pinch it back, and it will start to fill out nicely. They are very easy to start from cuttings in water, or soil.

Although most of the coleus I have seen are beautiful in one way or another, a couple of varieties stand out as exceptional. I'll discuss a few of them in this blog.

The "Kong" collection: This large leafed multi-coloured coleus has become very popular over the last couple of seasons.  They make excellent container plants, and can really spice up a dark corner in your garden or balcony.

Photograph by Paul Gellatly
 Coleus "Fishnet Stockings"
Fishnet Stockings: This is a beautiful specimen.  Lime green leaves with purple veins can be complimented in a basket or pot with other purple, or white annuals.

Photograph by Paul Gellatly
Coleus "Under the Sea" Collection
Henna: This has long been my favorite Coleus.  The frilled edges and stunning colour contrast is the main reason I've kept this as a houseplant for so long.
Photograph by Paul Gellatly
Coleus "Under the Sea" Collection

New for 2012 is a particularly nice collection of Coleus that will be available in select garden centers.  The "Under the Sea" collection consists of 8 new and exciting plants produced and distributed by Hort Couture;  it's sure to make a splash in your garden, your balcony, or your home.  I discovered this collection and have been eagerly awaiting its release this year.  I'm sure this is one I'll be growing for years to come.  If you happen to find a garden centre that is carrying this collection I would definitely suggest picking up a couple.

This company has never failed to impress me with the quality, and uniqueness of their product line... this collection is no exception.

For more detailed pictures of the "Under the Sea" collection, check out the website listed below.

Photograph by Paul Gellatly
Coleus "Under the Sea" Collection