Summer in the Garden
Everyone loves lilacs, but the big, rangy common lilac and its cultivars are not always appropriate for mixed borders or small gardens. Enter the dwarf lilacs. Here, growing in the west Perennial Garden, is the little Tinkerbelle lilac (Syringa ‘Bailbelle’), a cross between Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ and Syringa pubescens subsp. microphylla ‘Superba’. It grows only 1.2 - 2 metres (4-6 feet) tall and wide and bears its fragrant, mauve-pink flower clusters in late May or early June.
In early June, the TBG’s Entry Courtyard features a beautiful mixed planting of two native perennials: blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) and blue-star willow (Amsonia tabernaemontana). When designing plant combinations, it’s important to take into consideration the plants’ cultivation preferences; these two enjoy the same soil, moisture and sun conditions. Blue false indigo is a legume, as evidenced by its purple pea-type flowers and lupine-like foliage; it is nitrogen-fixing, creating its own supply of this nutrient through special nitrogen-fixing nodules on its roots. Blue-star willow’s light-blue flowers are not especially showy, but the foliage remains attractive throughout summer and turns yellow in autumn.
Like tulips, daffodils, daylilies and iris, the peony season is long, featuring early, mid-season and late varieties. In the Piet-Oudolf-designed Entry Garden Walk, the peony show begins in early-mid June with the gorgeous, deep-red ‘Buckeye Belle’, shown here with purple meadow sage. Bred in 1956 in Walter Main’s Ohio peony garden, it has stood the test of time, winning the 2010 Gold Medal from the American Peony Society. Single and semi-double peonies like ‘Buckeye Belle’ have the advantage of standing upright in heavy rains without being staked, unlike double-flowered peonies which must be supported.
Here are four beauties from the TBG’s peony collection. Clockwise from upper left are ‘Red Charm’, ‘Bartzella’, ‘Gay Paree’ and ‘Kopper Kettle’. ‘Bartzella’ and ‘Kopper Kettle’ are known as Itoh peonies, intersectional hybrids that combine the big blowsy flowers of a tree peony shrub (Paeonia lemoinei or P. suffucitosa) with the perennial growth habit of herbaceous peonies (Paeonia lactiflora and P. officinalis). Long-blooming and bearing beautiful colours, this type of peony is named for Toichi Itoh, who first succeeded in crossing them in 1948. ‘Bartzella’ and ‘Kopper Kettle’ are introductions of renowned Itoh peony breeder Roger Anderson of Wisconsin, and were originally part of the President’s Choice Show Garden.
June in the Westview Terrace means rhododendrons, including these beautiful pink varieties. Yellow globe flower (Trollius x cultorum) is in the background.
Another Piet Oudolf favourite, shown at centre in this photo, is ornamental red clover (Trifolium rubens), a little-used, but beautiful, shrubby perennial with pea-type leaves and raspberry-pink button flowers. On either side is rich-purple 'Caradonna' meadow sage (Salvia nemorosa).
Who says you need a back yard to grow vegetables? Here the TBG demonstrates a movable feast of fresh vegetables – all planted in old plastic recycling containers.
As part of the Demonstration Garden adjacent to the staff parking lot, the little Strawbale Shed is the first registered straw bale building in Toronto. Visitors are able to look into a viewing window to see the construction materials featuring the locally-sourced straw bales which provide R40 insulation value. The shed also has a green roof planted with small native wildflowers and grasses, such as red-flowered Eastern columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and dwarf penstemon (Penstemon hirsutus var. pygmaeus) in early June, top, followed (below) by yellow-flowered lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolatea) blooming with the penstemons a few weeks later.
Piet Oudolf is fond of mimicking nature in his border designs. As he wrote in his 1999 book Designing with Plants: “When you admire a wild habitat like a wildflower meadow, it is not just the colours or shapes that are attractive, but the manner in which the flowers are scattered across a wide area in varying densities. Repetition generates a strong visual impact.” Here, two excellent perennials have been used in repetition as if they were in a wildflower meadow: the dark-red, pincushion flowers of knautia (K. macedonica) and the violet-purple flowers of ‘Concord Grape’ spiderwort (Tradescantia Andersoniana Group).
One of the June stars of the Entry Garden Walk is the hard-working lavender-blue catmint Nepeta faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’, the 2007 Perennial Plant of the Year, as voted by the Perennial Plant Association. Growing about 60-90 cm (2-3 feet) tall, it has a relaxed habit that makes it seem shorter. Bees love the long-lasting flowers.
The luscious, big hosta ‘Blue Angel’ acts as a stunning counterpoint to the airy perennial geraniums outside the glass of the Floral Hall Courtyard. The geraniums are G. psilostemon (magenta) and 'Rozanne' (purple). The small tree at left is a paperbark maple (Acer griseum).
By mid June, the Entry Garden Walk is lush and floriferous as the perennials begin to bloom and the ornamental grasses gain stature. Among designer Piet Oudolf’s favourite performers are these two perennials: tall Japanese burnet (Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. purpurea) with its wine-red bottlebrush flowers on willowy stems, and ‘Amethyst’ meadow sage (Salvia nemorosa) featuring rich violet-pink flower spikes and a bushy habit.
This little planting immediately south of the Floral Hall Courtyard is a treasure in late June. With the blue-green glass wall and its espaliered crab apple trees as backdrop, the foliage of the grasses and perennials seems to glow. The soft fountains of tufted hair grass (Deschampsia caespitosa) act as a lovely foil to the brilliant magenta flowers of Armenian cranesbill (Geranium psilostemon), the purple blossoms of geranium ‘Rozanne’ and the three elegant paperbark maples (Acer griseum) add height.
Rounding the corner into the Entry Courtyard, we encounter a billowy cloud of Bowman’s root (Porteranthus trifoliatus; syn.Gillenia trifoliata). This little-used northeast native is a favourite of designer Piet Oudolf, who wrote: “These summer-flowering perennials can be used as filler plants, but also contribute structure on a small scale.” Against the glass wall facing west are three lacy tamarack trees (Larix laricina).
Entering the gate of the Floral Hall Courtyard and turning right, we see a young climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris) just becoming established on the stone wall. And now we have our first glimpse of the simple, yet ingenious, plantings on the other side of the glass wall: a rectilinear thicket of primitive horsetails.
Shown in closeup at left, rough horsetail (Equisetum hyemale) is also known as scouring rush, evoking its historical use as a natural pot-cleaner by aboriginal people. That attribute owes to the high concentration of silica in the bamboo-like segmented stems, some (but not all) of which feature a pinecone-like fruiting body on top. In Japan horsetails are used as fine sandpaper. Botanically, horsetails have a fascinating history,the only extant genus of a class of ancient vascular plants that thrived in the mid-Devonian period more than 350 million years ago. Because they reproduce by spores, they are classified taxonomically as fern allies. They are also considered part of the Holarctic Kingdom, the once continuous circumboreal land mass called Laurasia – and the geographic basis for the startling similarities between certain flora in North America and Asia, including members of the Equisetum genus. Moisture-loving and aggressive spreaders, horsetails are best confined to pots or troughs in water gardens. In the Floral Hall Courtyard, they form a visually-arresting architectural scrim against the glass screen, their roots contained in a narrow bog garden irrigated with continuous runoff from the waterfall screen nearby.
Here is garden design as living theatre. When the sun shines through the glass, the rich tapestry of plants in the border on the other side reflects through into the Floral Hall Courtyard. Meanwhile, from the path on the other side visitors see the distinctive shadows of the horsetails reflected the other way.
A beautiful collection of Raymond Evison clematis vines decorates the posts of the entrance pergola in early summer, including the stunning double-flowered varieties ‘Josephine’, left, and ‘Crystal Fountain’, right.
Roses and clematis make delightful companions, as illustrated by the tangle of blossoms surrounding the pergola post at left. Individual clematis in the profusion include, clockwise from top left: ‘Francziska’, ‘Blue Angel’ and ‘H.F. Young’. The pale-pink rose at bottom left is ‘New Dawn’, a hardy, vigorous, large climber.
Roses, of course, are the quintessential June flower. Here in the Floral Hall Courtyard where the walls of the building and the glass screen tend to confine the perfume of plants, a soft hedge of the shrub rose ‘Rose-Marie’ (AUSome) adds sweet fragrance in early summer. A white sport of the David Austin pink shrub rose ‘Heritage’ with excellent scent, ‘Rose-Marie’ was named for the wife of the owner of Ontario’s Valderose Gardens, the rose-breeder at which it was discovered. In front of the rose bushes is an edging of lamb's ear (Stachys lanata).
The flowers of ‘Rose-Marie’ are cupped and white with blush-pink tones in cooler seasons. David Austin says the fragrance has “overtones of fruit, honey and carnation on a myrrh background”.
In the bed to the west of the garden shop are two excellent and hard-working pink shrub roses. The taller one, against the window and in the closeup at right, is the David Austin favourite ‘Mary Rose’ (Ausmary). Named for King Henry VIII’s flagship, which was recovered in 1982 from the waters off Portsmouth where it sank 437 years earlier, this rose is also a great survivor, very winter-hardy with excellent “old rose” fragrance. In front is the wonderful polyantha shrub rose ‘The Fairy’. Petite, disease-resistant and often the last rose in flower in late autumn, it produces masses of small, double, light-pink blooms.
The pretty, arching shrub rose ‘Marguerite Hilling’ is trained on the steel cable fence of the Demonstration Garden. Growing to a little more than 2 metres in height and width with big, single flowers, she’s a pink sport of the white climber ‘Nevada’.
Here is the superb late June view of the lush Green Roof atop the gift shop in the Dembroski Centre for Horticulture. Sloping from front to back, the roof measures 2400 square feet, the flat portion planted with native grasses and wildflowers and the sloping part planted with four tough species of drought-tolerant sedum. More than just a shallow planter, the roof absorbs rainwater and pollutants and insulates the building against summer heat. On the ground below is one of the fine, textural beds in the Garden Hall Courtyard; the tree at its centre is one that should be used more, Amur cork tree (Phellodendron amurense). To the right, we see young children following their teacher to the top of the Spiral Mound.
Textural foliage contrasts effectively in this bed in the Westview Terrace. The chartreuse plant at front is variegated broad-leaf sedge (Carex siderosticha 'Variegata'), with sprawling catmint behind. Note the clever staggering of the patio pavers to create an interesting irregular edging. Behind are feathery Japanese maples, viburnum, daphnes and peonies, now finished flowering.
Flanking the water channel on the Westview Terrace are planting beds in which irises create early summer interest before the late-flowering perennials and ornamental grasses have come into their own.
The water channel in the Westview Terrace is at its most beautiful in late June, when the freshness of green foliage contrasts serenely with cool blue and purple blossoms. Two stunning plant combinations in this bed are shown at left: top, catmint (Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’) with the shrubby, lilac-purple Chinese indigo (Indigofera kirolowii); bottom, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ with the sword-like, variegated leaves of Iris pallida ‘Variegata’ and the grass Molinia caerulea ‘Variegata’ in front.
Good foliage is important in garden design. Here, on the east-facing bank of the Garden Hall Courtyard, a tapestry of broadleaf and coniferous evergreens is underplanted with dark-leafed heucheras to beautiful effect.
The annual Woman-to-Woman luncheon in late June has become a popular event on the garden’s social calendar. While raising funds for the TBG’s programs, it is a fun opportunity to don gorgeous garden hats, try delectable luncheon dishes and meet friends – all in a spectacular setting.
The 2012 Woman-to-Woman luncheon featured models wearing the latest fashions and talented vocalist Charlene Santoni singing from the top of the Spiral Garden.
Here is the essence of early summer in the Perennial Garden: catmint, white meadow sage, the peony ‘Krinkled White’ and the fuzzy purple globes of ‘Gladiator’ alliums behind a chartreuse froth of lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis).
A closer look at two alliums or flowering onions. Planted along with tulips in autumn, alliums are invaluable additions to the early summer garden. At left is mauve star-of-persia (Allium christophii) with masterwort (Astrantia ‘Roma’). At right is Allium ‘Gladiator’, taller, with more densely-arranged violet-purple florets. Both attract bees.
Here, honey bees from the TBG's hives feed on, from left, star-of-persia (Allium cristophii), common chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and giant allium (Allium giganteum).
The TBG's abundant floral buffet provides food for the resident bees. In the TBG's small beeyard, apprentice beekeepers learn the craft together, with an expert giving lessons. The TBG also offers beekeeping lessons as part of its educational program.
Master beekeeper Mylee Nordin from the Toronto Beekeepers Cooperative inspects the frames to ensure that the queen bee is laying well and the hive is healthy. Honey can be seen in the frame at right.
Irises, poppies, coral bells (Heuchera) and meadow sage: all important components in the early summer perennial border.
More June beauties. At left, violet sage (Salvia x superba ‘May Night’) with variegated Dalmatian iris (Iris pallida ‘Variegata’). At right, the flagstone path flanking the Terraced Garden, with its yellow yarrow (Achillea ‘Moonshine’); clove-scented, cerise-pink dianthus; and bearded irises.
At the western edge of the TBG is Nature’s Garden featuring native plants like pale lilac hairy beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus), left, and eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), right.
Summer means dramatic plants for the garden’s many containers, including this design featuring spiky ‘Red Star’ cordyline surrounded by a chartreuse carex, fancy-leafed geraniums, a small peach-orange dahlia and ‘Sweet Caroline Bronze’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas).
Through the years, the TBG’s containers have featured wonderful combinations that value foliage as much as flowers. During this season, brilliant lime-charteuse was used as a focal point. At left is ‘Red Star’ cordyline with the dissected foliage of the chartreuse shrub ‘Sutherland Gold’ elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), yellow rock fumewort (Corydalis lutea) at front right, with its small yellow flowers, and ‘Pretoria’ striped canna lily at rear. At right is a similar design, but with purple pansies and the bronze foliage of ‘Bronze Beauty’ bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).
The Beryl Ivey Knot Garden features swirling ‘Green Velvet’ boxwood parterres (Buxus hybrid) containing white-flowered perennials. Boxwood is an evergreen shrub that can be regularly sheared to maintain a highly uniform and compact shape.
Early summer perennials provide a rainbow of colour. Spiky ‘Red Fox’ veronica, front and left, combine with a cloud of lavender cranesbills (Geranium) and azure-blue delphinums, middle left. The yellow plant at middle right is Achillea ‘Moonshine’.
A classic duo for early July: blue delphiniums and the lovely pink shrub rose ‘Bonica’.
Roses, veronica, yellow coreopsis (left rear) and yarrow (right rear) combine to create a beautiful summer vignette in the Terrace Garden. The rose is ‘Sweet Vigarosa’, a compact, floriferous, award-winning Kordes landscape rose that is perfect for the front of a border.
Beautiful, drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, tender succulents make stunning container plants, particularly those assembled by creative TBG horticulturist Paul Zammit.
Gold coreopsis, front, and lemon-yellow 'Moonshine' yarrow, shown here in the Terrace Garden, are good July-blooming partners for a sunny location.
With its nodding, rich-purple flowers, Campanula 'Kent Belle' looks lovely surrounded by fresh green foliage and backed by a drift of the light-purple flowers of the perennial geranium or cranesbill 'Brookside Blue'.
A fence in the demonstration courtyard is wreathed in July with summer-blooming clematis vines. These clematis have smaller blossoms than the large-flowered varieties that bloomed in late spring, but they are more floriferous. They are also pruned differently -- since they flower on new growth, they must be cut to the ground in early spring.
The sign facing Lawrence Avenue showcases the creative partnership between the larger Edwards Gardens, which is a park attached to the city's extensive ravine system, and the Toronto Botanical Garden, located in a corner of the park. The Piet Oudolf-designed border here is designed to attract passersby into the gardens. In the foreground are dark-red drumstick alliums (Allium sphaerocephalon).
The gardens have become popular with young families – a flowery oasis in which to teach those early nature lessons.
One of many beautiful July combinations, the deep border behind the Strawbale Shed in the Entry Garden Walk features the tall, lilac-mauve spikes of 'Fascination' Culver's root (Veronicastrum virginicum), rear; red 'Firetail' mountain fleece (Persicaria amplexicaulis), right rear; lavender-blue anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), centre; and at front, the wonderful lime-green foliage of Amsonia hubrichtii.
Another gorgeous July perennial association near the Strawbale Shed features ice-blue Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), front, with the ivory flowers of rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) backed by the tall, fuchsia-pink astilbe 'Purple Lance' (Astilbe chinensis var. taquetii).
Walking west along the Entry Garden Walk in mid-late July, visitors pass a drift of ‘Vintage Wine’ purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea). This superb, compact cultivar was discovered as a self-sown seedling in Entry Garden designer Piet Oudolf’s own garden in Hummelo, Holland.
Echinacea breeding programs have resulted in a plethora of beautiful cultivars, many of which grow in TBG’s trial gardens. Shown here, clockwise from upper left, are: ‘Amazing Dream’, ‘Secret Lust’, ‘Quills and Thrills’, ‘Pink Poodle’, ‘Mama Mia’ and ‘Tangerine Dream’.
Further west along the Entry Garden Walk, the ornamental grasses and perennials are now hitting their lush summer stride. At right is switch grass (Panicum virgatum), an excellent and very hardy prairie grass. At left is a pleasing combination of violet-purple dense blazing star (Liatris spicata 'Kobold') and 'Vintage Wine' purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Behind is a cloud of light-blue Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia). The TBG's stone wall is covered in Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), which will turn bright-red in autumn.
A closer look at 'Kobold' dense blazing star (Liatris spicata) with 'Vintage Wine' coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea).
Blazing star or gayfeather (Liatris spp) can be depended upon to self-seed in naturalistic plantings. Its seeheads are long-lasting and attractive and feed birds in winter. Here it grows alongside the water channel on the Westview Terrace with the silvery sea holly Eryngium ‘Miss Willmot’s Ghost’.
Another lovely July combination: feathery 'Purple Lance' astilbe (Astilbe chinensis var. taquetii), rear, with 'Hummelo' alpine betony (Stachys offincialis), front. 'Hummelo' is a Piet Oudolf introduction, named after his hometown in Holland.
Looking east down the Entry Garden Walk in mid-late July, we see Astilbe chinensis var. taquetii 'Purple Lance' in the foreground with daylilies about to bloom. The tall, magenta-pink flowers in the rear are 'Scorpion' beebalm (Monarda). Across the path, the border fronting the glass wall is a soft mass of tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia caespitosa).
‘Firetail’ red fleeceflower (Persicaria amplexicaulis) makes an emphatic statement in the entrance courtyard in July and August, when the bright-red flower spikes appear on the stems emerging from the shrubby foliage. A favourite of border designer Piet Oudolf, this perennial – unlike others in the knotweed clan – is vigorous but not invasive, with a very long bloom period. It prefers moist soil.
The summer garden is the stage for a host of worthy performers at the TBG, including this trio. At left is balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus), blooming in the Herb Garden. In the middle is Hungarian bears-breeches (Acanthus hungaricus), flowering with white echinacea in the Beryl Ivey Knot Garden. At right is a beautiful, unnamed daylily (Hemerocallis) lighting up a hot-coloured ensemble in the Perennial Garden. Daylilies have a very long flowering season, with early- mid- and late-season cultivars that provide bloom from spring to autumn.
Serene and elegant in early August, the Beryl Ivey Knot Garden offers a crisp, formal contrast to the ebullient informality of the border flanking the Entry Garden Walk. With a restricted palette of green foliage and white flowers, the eye takes in shape and texture, rather than colour. Here is a lovely drift of ‘White Swan’ coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea).
Yellow and blue/purple flowers seem to have an aesthetic affinity, as evidenced by this charming, drought-tolerant, mid-summer combination in the Terrace Garden. The soft yellow yarrow Achillea ‘Moonshine’ shares a love of hot, sunny conditions with English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), centre and tall, long-blooming Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), right. Lavender, a sub-shrub, should be trimmed back immediately after flowering ends in summer. Russian sage, another sub-shrub, should only be trimmed back in spring; pruning in autumn is often fatal.
By August, the hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) in the alpine grid of the Terraced Garden have begun to flower. Hardy succulents such as sempervivums and sedums add texture to a sunny garden and are obviously very drought-tolerant.
It takes a few months for the annuals and tropicals planted in the TBG’s planters to reach their full potential, and when they do – usually by early August – they are breathtakingly beautiful, like these creative designs by horticulturist Paul Zammit. At left, set into the ornamental grasses in the entry courtyard, are pots containing ‘Red Star’ cordyline (Cordyline australis), trailing charteuse ‘Margarita’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) and orange-flowered ‘Firecracker’ begonia (Begonia bolivensis). At right orange-flowered abutilon combines with the floppy pink-variegated brown foliage of ‘Hoffmannii’ copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana), underplanted with trailing ‘Sweet Caroline Sweetheart’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), trailing begonia and a delicate, trailing, variegated vinca.
An August view of the area surrounding the water channel and stone wall on the Westview Terrace. The frothy perennial at front is Geranium ‘Bee’s Jubilee’; across the canal are dense blazing stars (Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’) and daylilies. Beyond, on the east-facing bank of the Garden Hall Courtyard, the tall, slender, creamy-yellow flowers among the conifers and Japanese maples are rusty foxgloves (Digitalis ferruginea).
A closer look at the rusty foxgloves (Digitalis ferruginea). Native to the northern Mediterranean region, rusty foxglove is a biennial that makes a rosette of foliage in its first summer, followed by the flower spikes in the second summer. Preferring part shade, it can be relied upon to self-seed generously. Also visible in this photo are the almost-finished flower stalks of yellow foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora), a shorter biennial with larger flowers.
Sturdy and handsome raised beds in the Kitchen Garden make cultivating and harvest vegetables much easier. Though small, the garden acts as a great demonstration space for those who want to grow their own edibles, including tree fruit, grapes, berries and, of course, all types of leafy and root vegetables.
Here are tomatoes, chives and spicy globe basil (Ocimum basilicum) -- all the ingredients for Italian pasta sauce in a galvanized trough planter!
A stand of pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida) in Nature’s Garden. The grass behind the boulder is little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium).
A beautiful mix of native butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) plants in Nature's Garden. Like all milkweeds, its leaves are the larval food for the monarch butterfly's caterpillars. It is also an excellent summer perennial for rich, sandy soil, attracting not just the monarchs seen at left, but all kinds of bees as well.
Another great native plant for August is hoary vervain (Verbena stricta), shown here in Nature's Garden.
From renowned garden designer W. Gary Smith comes this fanciful and temporary installation in the southwest corner of the TBG called "Stooks & Punes". Created entirely from cuttings and prunings from the gardens, these are the "stooks", sheaves of bound ornamental grasses meant to evoke Canada's agricultural history. More than 300 volunteer and staff hours went into the creation of Stooks & Punes, which is intended as a precursor to the TBG's new Children's Garden.
The second part of W. Gary Smith's installation is the whimsical "Punes", a made-up word from the artist's childhood that seems to have captivated some younger visitors to the garden.
Three hardworking August plants in the Perennial Garden: bronze-red 'Rubinzwerg' sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) at front; 'Goldsturm' blackeyed susans (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivanti) at left; and 'Crown of Rays' goldenrod (Solidago hybrid), rear. Beyond is magenta-pink ‘Robert Poore’ summer phlox (Phlox paniculata).
An excellent combination in the Perennial Garden is 'Goldsturm' blackeyed susan (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivanti) with great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica).
Summer phlox is an old-fashioned perennial that continues to be invaluable for adding a big splash of colour to the sunny August border, provided the soil is rich and reasonably moist. This is Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’, its magenta-pink panicles very close to the strident hue of the North American native species from which it was selected. Mildew-resistant, unlike many older cultivars of summer phlox, it boasts a long flowering period. The plant was named for Mississippi landscape architect and native habitat specialist Robert Poore.
By mid-August, annual sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) planted in the President’s Choice Show Garden are tall and heavy with seed.
Sunflower seed, of course, suits marauding squirrels just fine, but the one at right is leaving very few for the goldfinches and other birds that love sunflower seeds, too. At left are two other plant-chomping critters that can occasionally be spotted darting from border to border: the resident groundhogs (top) and a racoon.
The rugosa roses in the Herb Garden have now developed their colourful hips. Rich in Vitamin C, they are the ingredient in old-fashioned rose hip jelly.
In the Entry Garden Walk, Echinacea purpurea 'Vintage Wine' continues flowering well into August, with Helenium autumnale 'Rubinzwerg' and the lush foliage of switch grass (Panicum virgatum) to soften the edges.
The garden has become a magnet for flower-loving photographers, providing a rich and ever-changing palette of creative inspiration throughout the year.
In the Perennial Garden, the long-blooming red spikes of ‘Firetail’ mountain fleece (Persicaria amplexicaulis) contrast nicely with the big, blowsy flowers of swamp hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos).
From mid-summer on, the TBG features the stunning, dinner-plate-sized blossoms of shrub-form and herbaceous hibiscus. In closeup are, top left, 'Lavender Chiffon' rose-of-sharon shrub (Hibiscus syriacus). To its right and at bottom are two gorgeous perennial swamp hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) cultivars, white-and-rose 'Carafe Pinot Grigio' and pink 'Carafe Grenache'. In the President's Choice Show Garden, right, swamp hibiscus make a beautiful pairing with shrubby sedums.
TBG hosts numerous receptions, weddings and meetings in its various halls and outdoor spaces. Here, a party marquee is set up on the Westview Terrace, where guests can past the water channel and among the various gardens.
Another stunning August combination in the Entry Garden Walk is 'Blue Spire' Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) with the smaller, white-flowered spikes of lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta). Both plants attract a profusion of bees.
In the President's Choice Show Garden, a cheery August pairing of yellow sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) and tiger lily (Lilium tigrinum).
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One of the goals of the President's Choice Show Garden is to educate gardeners about the newest and best plants available from sponsoring Loblaw garden centres. Here are four superb annuals from the test beds in the PC Show Garden. Clockwise from upper left: coreopsis 'Pineapple Pie', 'Sweet Caroline Bronze' sweet potato vine, 'Supertunia Lavender Skies' petunia and a pretty mix of verbena 'Superbena Coral Red' and 'Superbena Royale Iced Cherry'. (hit Escape to close this window)
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