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Garden Photo of the Day

Mary Ann’s Got the Blues

We can understand why Mary Ann Bastin has the blues – this weather! We're glad that the GPOD can offer some relief to those in stubborn climates. Keep the faith!

"Greetings from Cambridge in Southern Ontario.  I am definitely feeling the blues this week because we have been experiencing a very late winter here.  Today is April 10th and more snow is coming today.  Last weekend we had almost 10 inches of snow which covered our early iris and crocus in bloom and the daffodils were in full bud and as the snow is melting these are bashed down because of the weight of the snow so may bloom in a prostrate position this year.  

We have been gardening in this location for five years now.  Last year I shared a few of our clematis pictures with you.  Today I share some of my favorite “blue” bloomers.  Some have asked our secret to success in this unpredictable climate.  We practice draught tolerant garden techniques starting with good soil and mulching to conserve moisture.  We fertilize with the application of dried kelp which is easy to apply.  It is a similar consistency to dried basil so I just throw a handful around most plants in the early spring and let the rains wash it in.  We compost as much as possible and use the resulting soil to build new gardens and enrich our organic vegetable beds.

It is with envy that I enjoy viewing many other garden on GPOD and I am hoping that after today’s snowstorm we will finally enjoy some spring weather and the beginning of our gardening season here.   Until then I will go back to looking at photos from last year and dreaming of spring!"

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  1. grannieannie1 04/11/2016

    So sorry to hear about the heavy snow on your spring plants : ( That is hard to take after a long winter.
    Your flower beds and blues are so pretty, especially the vibrant blue airy one in the birdbath/picket fence picture which contrasts so well with the straight and hard elements. What is that one called, please? Also I'd like to copy your birdhouse condo attached and blending so smoothly into the fence post. Thank you for ideas!

    1. maryannbastin 04/11/2016

      The brilliant blue is a miniature perennial....delphinium grandiflorum probably Butterfly Blue. It is slow to come back in the spring so I remember to mark it in the fall. It does not like to have wet feet over winter.

      feel free to copy the birdhouse condo....my son made that for me last year for Mother's Day and I love it!

      1. grannieannie1 04/12/2016

        The birdhouse is a beauty. Have any birds tried it out yet?

        1. maryannbastin 04/12/2016

          they have checked it out but I am wondering if the holes are a little too big? it is very much a great ornament. my son said he will build me some functional bird houses if I can source out the plans so that they would be a better fit for the birds. The wren house in the picture with the alpine clematis is one I purchased and i am really hoping to get a jenny wren in the garden. I love their song and as I child they were always in my moms garden so here's hoping!

          1. grannieannie1 04/13/2016

            Our birds also seem to be very picky about the height of their feeders and houses. Anything low and close to cats--they object. But then they can surprise you:
            We're having our whole back yard demolished right now so we pulled out the bluebird house on its pole and temporarily leaned it against the veg garden fence. Wouldn't you know, a chickadee couple moved right in! Experts say birds prefer a door facing east, but this one is turned west. One never knows what they'll choose.

  2. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 04/11/2016

    Sorry your extended, seemingly relentless winter is giving you a different case of the "blues", Mary Ann but your reward is coming. Just revisiting your pictures from the previous year ought to lift your spirits. You have lots of garden beauty just waiting to happen. I share GrannyAnnie's curiosity about the identity of that electric blue flower...it's amazing!.

  3. Sheila_Schultz 04/11/2016

    The brilliant colors in your summer garden are enough to bring a smile to everyone's face, and I agree with GrannieAnnie, the birdhouse condo is very cool! Keep the faith, Mary Ann, our 2' of recent snow is completely melted and the gardens are exploding with new growth! Whew!

  4. NCYarden 04/11/2016

    It has been such a crazy weather year for sure. I feel your disappointment, as similar unpredictability strikes down here as well. Nonetheless your pictures look great, and show what is obviously a beautiful garden. That clematis...ooooooweeee - I love it. Keep your spirits up...your garden will bounce back, maybe even give a second Spring.

  5. Meelianthus 04/11/2016

    Wonderful gardens Mary Ann, you have a lovely season to look forward to when your 'winter' ! finally ends. Your blues are amazing and I love the little bird condo. Hopefully this will be your last snow fall, does it often happen this late in the season? We had the wettest winter on record here in the PNW, with damaging winds and flooding but are now having a lovely Spring. There is always hope.

    1. maryannbastin 04/11/2016

      thanks for the words of encouragement! The snow is melting here so within a few days I am hoping to start cleaning up the gardens and tie up the clematis etc.

  6. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/11/2016

    Wow! So much snow for you this time of year. We had lots of 'snowing' this past weekend down Columbus way, but very little build up. Bad temps and lots of frozen plants, tho.....
    Love your 'blues'! The rich, velvety red-purple peony is so enriched by the Baptisia and the geranium. You Clematis macropetala is stunning and looks great with the bleeding heart. Does that Clematis give you any rebloom or is it a spring-only bloomer?
    Thanks for this taste of things to come!

    1. maryannbastin 04/11/2016

      hi Tim, I love the alpin clematis but it basically blooms in the spring. The seed heads give interest all the other seasons. This alpine is situated at the back of a garden bench/arbor. I have also seen birds take the feather seed heads for their nesting materials. On the side we planted clematis "Betty Corning" and it produces hundreds of blooms and totally covers the side and wraps around the top and back. I especially love that one because you cut it back to the ground (6inches) each spring and every year it sends up more stems.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/11/2016

        What a great idea to plant two clematis together with different bloom times. Betty Corning always looks great in photos I've seen. I love Clematis with pendant blooms. I have Rooguchi and Etoile Rose. Best of gardening luck this year!

        1. maryannbastin 04/11/2016

          thanks Tim.....I will have to look up your favourite Clematis....they may need to find a home in our garden as well!

          1. HelloFromMD 04/13/2016

            Ernest Markham is one of my best performers along with Huldine and I have 40 clematis. Right now I am fighting a leaf spot fungus that is infecting my whole fence row of 21 varieties. When I went to Longwood Gardens I saw the same thing. So I will have to find a solution! I admire your alpine clematis. I had one but lost it one winter. Probably the drainage isn't good enough. I have a loam soil so it is well drained but not sharp drainage.

        2. HelloFromMD 04/12/2016

          Hi Tim, does your Rooguchi get powdery mildew. In the garden in two locations mildew. Now I have it in a container on my back steps. I have heard that Etoile Rose is another one for mildew. I thought I had Etoile Rose on my fence. For the first few years the clematis looked just like Etoile Rose, but now it does look like Pagoda. The mystery was solved when I discovered Etoile Rose was one of the parents of Pagoda. Pagoda doesn't get mildew and it twines around the fence. Please let me know how Rooguchi and Etoile Rose perform for you.

          1. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/12/2016

            I had to look up 'Pagoda': very pretty. I haven't had problems with powdery mildew on either Rooguchi or Etoile Rose, but they are sited with lots of air circulation. I do have a fair amount of powdery mildew in the garden; it seems to favor some of my peonies. I have more sun than you, too, I think. Rooguchi is out in the open in my back garden, scrambling through Sambucus Black Lace; Etoile rose is on an east-facing trellis hanging free on the side of my front porch; feet shaded by a tree-peony but basically in open air on the trellis. Perhaps that's why I've never seen mildew? They've both been slow to really take off for me, but I love them.

          2. HelloFromMD 04/13/2016

            I like Pagoda so much. Great performer, long blooming. So I am considering adding Etoile Rose. Does it twine or does it require tying?

          3. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/13/2016

            Etoile Rose definitely twines. It's been a very, very slow increaser for me, but gorgeous. It also is fairly short. I don't think it has ever made 8 or 10 feet; dies all the way back to the ground for me. I think I have had it at least 8 years.

  7. GrannyMay 04/11/2016

    Mary Ann, you have such beautiful blues, no wonder you are impatient to enjoy them again. It will happen! Meanwhile, enjoy the memories. Is that brilliant blue plant beside the birdbath an annual Larkspur?

  8. Cenepk10 04/11/2016

    How come everybody's bleeding hearts are so much bigger than mine ???? Bleeding heart envy over here… What is that deep blue flower ? Need me some of that !! What a beautiful garden !!!! So glad you shared ….

    1. maryannbastin 04/11/2016

      Delphinium grandiflorum "Butterfly Blue"

      1. Cenepk10 04/12/2016

        But of course it is…. No blue on Earth like the blue of delphinium… Stunning

  9. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 04/11/2016

    Mary Ann, love your blues, especially the Clematis which seem to grow better in your climate than our 8a zone. Here it's mostly the evergreen types that do well but we never give up trying the deciduous varieties. Your plant pairings are especially appealing. I hope your weather improves so that you can finally enjoy spring.

    1. maryannbastin 04/11/2016

      thanks Linda, i have a list of new plants that I want to find for this year.....hope to share some results after the season!

  10. marleneinnd 04/11/2016

    Blue flowers by the birdbath look like Delphinium, maybe Blue Butterflies.

  11. Schatzi 04/11/2016

    Mary Ann, your garden definitely has the blues and the are gorgeous! Sorry Mother Nature is being so difficult - she does have her moods. I am so glad I live in the PNW and not in the NE anymore. Had enough of those winters. Here we can usually drive to the snow if we want to, not commute in it. I love blue-pink-purple in the garden. Beautiful. Pray for spring and enjoy your pictures.

    1. maryannbastin 04/11/2016

      Thanks Shirley. I especially like your idea of driving to the snow.....I am tired of driving in it!

  12. Schatzi 04/11/2016

    P.S. Re bleeding heart - I have the native bleeding heart in my woods. It is small and dainty and lovely en mass. I usually prefer smaller, daintier flowers to the huge ones. Especially with dahlias. I like the ones I can put in a vase.

  13. VikkiVA 04/11/2016

    Loved looking at all your beautiful pictures. The combination of Russian Sage with Autumn Joy Sedum is brilliant! Vikki in VA

    1. maryannbastin 04/11/2016

      thanks Vikk. Both are draught tolerant and do well in the full sun west exposure.

  14. wGardens 04/11/2016

    Wow, you have some GREAT combos there! I Know you'll see your garden looking as good later on! Thanks for sharing!

  15. anitaberlanga 04/11/2016

    your garden is gorgeous! I love the delphinium - what a stunning color - but the entire garden is just glorious! What a charming bird condo, too! Hang in there, Spring is coming!!!

  16. maryannbastin 04/11/2016

    What fun....thanks for all the words of encouragement! The snow is thawing today so I am encouraged. This is unusually late for us to have this much snow. For those of you in the northern states take a look at the new roses coming out of western Canada called the "Artist Series" Last year I planted "Campfire" named after Tom Thompson (one of the group of Seven artists).....Campfire bloomed first year in our garden from June to Frost and the colours change and are amazing! Can't wait for spring!

  17. krissgandier 04/11/2016

    Hi Mary Ann. I love your garden and your beautiful photos. I love combining blues with plums and burgundy colors as well. I am also from Cambridge, Ontario, and am wondering if you are a member of the Galt Horticulture Club, since your name sounds familiar. I will have to look you up in the phone book and drive by your place to admire your garden this summer. I am a Galt Hort. member and my garden will be on tour this year, in case you are a member, it would be nice to meet you.

    1. maryannbastin 04/12/2016

      hi Kriss. I was the president of the Galt Hort many years ago and also a Master Gardener with the KW group. We used to have the perennial nursery Hummingbird Haven a long time ago. Now I am a realtor here in Cambridge and garden for fun :) I would love to see your garden and have you visit mine this summer!

      1. krissgandier 04/25/2016

        That sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the offer to visit your garden. We will have to get in touch when the season brings out the best in our gardens. You can send me info how to get in touch with you by email. You can email me at dgandi0595@rogers.com

  18. krissgandier 04/11/2016

    I think I may remember you now. Did you have a place called hummingbird haven a number of years ago, and were selling perennials? If so, I still have one of my favorite plants I bought from you, a curly leaf type of primmula, with pink flowers.

  19. JaneEliz 04/12/2016

    Love your blues in the garden, Mary Ann! Thanks for sharing so much beauty.Do your know the name of your charming alpine clematis? And what is the peony with the baptisia? I understand your winter-in -spring blues...I've got them too. I'm devouring gardening books as I worry about plants I've uncovered too early and impatiently await the safe arrival of spring. It WILL come...but not soon enough for us!

    1. maryannbastin 04/12/2016

      sorry Jane both are plants that came originally from our country garden 30 years ago and I no longer have the names. Just goes to show that plants are movable....I have taken my favorites along in each move.....just remember to write that in the offer so the buyer knows that some of the garden is moving as well!

  20. cynthiamccain 04/12/2016

    Oh Mary Ann, you are singing my song with your color scheme! If it makes you feel any better we had snow and really cold temps (for Aprill, anyway) here in Maryland on Saturday. But spring is on the way, never fear. What is the beautiful clematis in your second photo--it's lovely, and in just the color blue I have going on in my garden. Thanks for sharing!

    1. maryannbastin 04/15/2016

      That is clematis multi-blue....an older variety but we have enjoyed it for 10 years now.

      1. cynthiamccain 04/16/2016

        Hmm...yours is much prettier than the photos I've seen in garden catalogs; I might have to find a spot for it. Thanks!

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