What’s in Bloom?

By | What's In Bloom | May 22, 2013 | One comment

Or rather what’s not in bloom?  Everything is popping – I could arrive at 7am and by 7:15 something new is in flower.  Take Paeonia suffruticosa (Tree peony) in the Herb Garden.  Throughout the Perennial Border the peonies are beginning to open …

Paeonia ostii ‘Feng Dan Bai’ (Chinese tree peony) in flower in the Way Finding Bed.  I expect the peonies to be in full glory over the next few weeks – a short but spectacular show- & just in time for our Woman 2 Woman garden party next Thurs May 30.  If you haven’t already, check out our website for details.

Admittedly, we are not known for our rhodos, but this May many look quite good.  Rhododendron ‘Kathleen’ (Cultivar of deciduous azalea) is lighting up the Garden Hall Courtyard bank.

Many ornamental onion buds are swelling ready to explode.  In the Perennial Border Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ (Dutch garlic, ornamental onion) displays its rich purple colour – mixes well with anything!

Another fine flowering bulb native to western North America, Camassia leichtlinii (camass) in the Nature Garden and throughout the gardens.

Aquilegia canadensis (columbine) a popular native, self-seeds readily, has made its way from the Nature Garden to the Perennial Border.

There are a few perennials that never leave my top-10 (who says my top-10 can only have 10?) and Amsonia is one of those.  We have a collection of amsonias commonly referred to as blue star for the clusters of fabulous blue star-flowers each is known for.  In the Perennial Border, Amsonia ‘Seaford Skies’ (Blue star) is a few paces away from Amsonia orientalis (Eastern blue star) – can you tell the difference?

My spring-flowering bag would not be complete without bleeding hearts.  In the Garden Hall Courtyard Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’, now known as Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ (white bleeding heart) flowers along with the old fashioned pink.

Our Cercis collection is still going strong!  In the Garden Hall Courtyard, Cercis canadensis ‘Covey” (Weeping eastern redbud) gets rave reviews, but tucked in behind you will also find Cercis canadensis ‘Alba’ (White eastern redbud), and …

…  Cercis chinensis ‘Don Egolf’ (Chinese redbud) has tight clusters of the deep pink flowers along its branches.  

Many irises are in full flower as well.  Seen here Iris ‘Double Your Fun’ (Intermediate bearded iris) and in the background the leaves of Iris pallida ‘Aurea Variegata’ (sweet iris, variegated bearded iris).  The intermediate irises are shorter than the typical tall bearded irises, and this cultivar will often repeat bloom later in the summer.

Now you see why I suggest what isn’t in bloom?  The list goes on and on!  Another mentionable, and a top-10 for me, are the Solomon Seal’s.  Here, Polygonatum x hybridum ‘Weihenstephan’ in the Demonstration Courtyard with many of the TBG’s collection, stands up to three feet with gorgeous white bells trimmed in green.  Next week I’ll feature the bulk of the Solomon Seal collection along with almost-everything-else in bloom.


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Sandra Pella about the author: Sandra Pella

Sandra Pella has worked as Head Gardener of the Toronto Botanical Garden since 2008. She holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario, and upon graduation worked in the financial sector until the pull of plants was too much to resist, whereupon she found herself at Janet Anderson Perennials (formerly JEA Perennials) as a horticultural technician. She has been the Perennial Manager at Summerhill Nursery & Floral followed by the Assistant Horticulturist at the TBG prior to its renovation. Sandra worked as a Gardener for two seasons with the City of Toronto as well as seasonal Gardener for the TBG prior to being named Head Gardener. She is self-taught in the field and thus greatly appreciated the experience a gardening internship in 2009 at Great Dixter in the UK brought to her. Sandra has a regular What’s In Bloom blog and is one of the spokespeople for the TBG.

  • Heather Rowe

    Hi Sandra,
    In my garden Solomon Seal is a thug! It overtakes other perennials in the border and it pops up everywhere, even where it never grew! It is growing under my garden shed in the dark and some bits must have gotten into the compost because now it is coming up here and there in my veggie garden! I hate it How on earth do you keep it under control?

    Heather Rowe, Orono

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