Indian Summer

Weather forecasts for the Thanksgiving weekend in Toronto were looking good, so I took a couple of days off work to stretch the holiday out.

One day of rest and relaxation (a day trip to Elora Gorge for photography), followed by 3 partial days of gardening in 20 degree weather.

To gardening. First things first, I donned my new elbow-length gardening gloves, and tore out the rest of the lamium…funny, though, I didn’t find any more ants. Maybe the previous episode of hacking and hewing was enough for them to decide to move along. If not, just to ensure their departure, I used THE GARDEN CLAW (sfx: thundering reverb) to break up all the soil, to a depth of about 10 cm.

I’m glad I got rid of the lamium…it had twined itself all through and around both my bleeding heart and astilbe, which were one or two feet away from the lamium when it first got planted, in Spring ’02.

They are against the south fence in my back yard, the shadiest spot in what is rapidly turning into a shade garden (amazing how the trees in surrounding yards keep growing, and are choking out our patch of sunshine).

Next to go was the myrtle (periwinkle), Yes, I like the ever-greenness when I uncover the garden from fall leaves in April, and the small blue flowers in the spring are charming, but, like with the lamium, it’s a maintenance issue.

We’ve got a small Japanese maple desparately trying to survive, and I don’t think the competition’s doing it any favors. Plus, myrtle everywhere makes planting spring bulbs such a bitch.

With all of the myrtle gone, I was able to stand back and look at the perennials without distraction.

The roses –Othello and Bro. Cadfael, two David Austin’s–are healthy and fine where they are. As are the clematis that grow over the arch with Bro. Cadfael.

I’m not convinced I want to keep the weigela: it has nice greenery, grows vigorously (there’s that word again) but it hasn’t flowered in two years (garden keeps getting shadier). Plus, it’s crowding the pee-gee hydrangia, which I do like. But I’ll leave it for now — I can make that decision another time.

So… what about the three west-coast giant delphiniums plonked in the middle of the north bed, the buddleia poked out in never-never-land and the row of columbines, planted at the back to help hide the car (which we decided not to park there, but erected a hammock instead)?


I made sure the edge of the spade was sharp, then dug around the perimeter of each plant.

The delphiniums are now in a tight grouping against the north fence, which will give them the most light available for the next few years; the buddleia (after a big haircut) has been placed between the delphiniums and the hydrangea, and the columbines are in a very thin space at the foot of the hammock: likewise against the north fence.

Now I have an empty canvas upon which I may design at will for next year and beyond.

The remaining tasks for this year are to protect the roses for winter, plant the spring bulbs I bought, and mulch, to try to thwart the squirrels.

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