Walk in the woods

There’s not much happening in the PNW garden in late December, so a walk in the woods around Westwood Lake just up the ravine from us restores the soul and smells divine.  Damp, misty, moody, balmy…makes for a lovely day outside. 

Path through the woods leads to my favourite moss grove
Rising out of the mist.
Arbutus menziesii
Spider capital of Canada!!
Path through Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Outflow Creek
Sword fern (Polystichum munitum)

Moss and mushrooms….everywhere!! And a little Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
The view from the rock bluffs is never the same, it never gets old.


Fall colour!

A damp, moody day…but the colours in the garden are singing.

Hydrangea paniculata…can’t decide which are more beautiful…the flowers or the leaves.
NoID Acer with the Anenome japonica ‘September Charm’ that has been blooming forever!
Layers….Cornus and Acer
Back garden wide view…
NoID Acer
NoID Acer from another angle
Miscanthus sinesis glowing…peach leaves to the left, Acer to the right.
NOID Acer….so bright!!
Darmera peltata

Toronto Music Garden

I finally made my way back to southern Ontario, Toronto in fact, after moving to the west coast 3 years ago.  What better time than the fall to be in Ontario. Of course, I was hit with unusual 30+ degree (C) weather and massive humidity for over a week. Talk about limp!!  But the last few days the weather swung around to be more seasonal and I managed to make my way down to the Harbourfront Promenade on Lake Ontario to check out the Music Garden.  Co-designed by landscape architect Julie Moir Messervy and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the garden celebrates the dance movements in Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G major for unaccompanied cello.  It’s wonderful to listen to the suite before, during, or after viewing the garden.

The garden is divided into 6 sections, each corresponding to the suite’s 5 dance movements.

Self portrait 😉 with map of the garden.

The Prelude is first, a curving river scape that was large and hard to capture with my mobile phone.  Canadian Shield granite boulders curve around paths and low growing plants within a circle of native Celtis Occidentalis (Hackberry) trees.

Next is Allemande, a German folk dance. Paths swirl through a birch forest rising to a circle of Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood).

Maybe the lighting wasn’t so good, but this ‘forest’ was a lovely play of green on green foliage.
Birches and lovely shady ground covers

Then, Italian and French Courante. My favourite part of the garden. Celebrating exuberance and lightness, a spiral path climbs through sun drenched asters, butterflies and grasses, culminating at a maypole in the centre designed by Anne Roberts.

My early October visit couldn’t have been better timed to catch the Monarch butterflies in masses as they migrate through Point Pelee to Mexico.
I’d almost forgotten about Ontario wild aster!! Glorious in the sunshine.
Beautiful stroll through the asters, rudbekias, grasses, echinacea.
The maypole and the CN tower dominate the skyline
Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ always makes my heart sing.

Next, Spanish Sarabande.  I didn’t manage to get a good photo of this one. The circle of towering pine trees created deep shadows. The flat rock in the middle with a small reflecting pool was a little flooded that day making photo opportunities a little too damp.

Next up was Minuets, this French dance is interpreted with formal symmetry. A central wrought iron Music Pavilion designed by Tom Tollefson hosts concerts during the warmer months.

The Music Pavilion with asters, Japanese anenome…gorgeous autumn bloomers!
Spectacular iron work.
Roses and Japanese anenome…

And finally, Gigue, an English jig.  Giant stone steps lead down from the Music Pavilion to a grassy amphitheatre in the shade of a Weeping Willow.

Hakonechloa or Carex??
Can’t beat the view from the amphitheatre of Toronto’s iconic CN Tower

All told, a wonderful experience on a beautiful autumn day in downtown waterfront Toronto. Be sure to listen to Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach’s suite as you go!


I think my all time favourite plants are hydrangea.  We have a lovely tree form paniculata. And a NoID blue.  (Oops..addendum…Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ayesha’.  Thanx Plant Ident!!). While the 9 annabelles I planted up the slope last fall got severely munched by deer ( while we were in between dogs!) and have few and far between blooms this year I have every faith that we’ll get a luscious display next year (with the enthusiastic help of Breeze…our new and anti-deer black lab x.)

Whoa!  Mid-September already!?!?

Suddenly, the heat is gone, the air is cool, the days are shorter, the light is softer….September….welcome!!  What’s blooming?  At first glance…not so much. But close-up…a lot is still going on. 

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ just coming into its own.
Dahlias are not my favourite flower by a long shot…but a welcome blast of neon pink on a cooler, cloudier day!
Phlox are still blooming their little hearts out. Not a lot of heart left in this one…but a valiant swan song!
Ok, my Ontario garden was chock full of Rudbekias. I just can not get them to grow well here. This is just about it for this year’s display!!!
I love self seeding mulleins. Easy to yank…but I just love their uprightness!
Viburnum ‘Summer Snowflake’ on its third burst of blooming this year…so far!! No fall colour yet though.
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ thriving in the coolness.
Hmmmm….last of the ‘Stella d’oro’ daylilies???
Every other day I assume that’s the last ‘New Dawn’ rosa. But so far…there’s always been one more!!
Japanese anemome love the fall.
NoID fuschia
Verbena bonariensis still going strong. These self seeded after the winter from hell…so I’m confident I’ll get many more next summer.
A new self-seeded mullein. This one will bloom next year. It almost looks like a fuzzy echeveria in this snap.

Heather? Heath?? Sneaking in some fall blooms when I’m not looking!!
Planted this ‘Honorine Jobert’ anemome is the Spring. ONE bloom??? Really??!!
NOID rose. This one is in total shade up the slope, but it’s had 3 or 4 lovely little blooms this month!
I do like Japanese anemome….NoID on this one.
Now, the white climbing rose just may be finished for the season!
Fall and grasses…oh my! Miscanthus sinesis ‘Morning Light’