Idea file: Four unusual native flowering shrubs

Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) in the Westview Terrace at the Toronto Botanical Garden What is a native plant? We weighed in on this complex discussion – or argument – in 2011. Let’s just say that the four lesser-known flowering shrubs in this Friday’s Idea File are native to North America. All are hardy in Toronto’s […]

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Two shrubs to add that touch of pink

Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’ – ‘Rainbow’ drooping fetterbush or dog hobble Variegated foliage is my weakness. But, I have to be careful. A garden full of typical green-and-white “interesting”  foliage can be too much of a good thing. But these two shrubs – both seen growing in Toronto – can introduce a kiss of pink into […]

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Goodbye corkscrew hazel; Hello fothergilla

My corkscrew hazel (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) in happier times   I’m just awaiting the paperwork. Eastern Filbert Blight has again reared its ugly – uckily ugly – head, as predicted and feared when I wrote about it back in March. Now I’m waiting for an envelope from Rutgers University containing the import permit that will […]

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Warning: Eastern Filbert Blight

The rather gross-looking cankers of Eastern filbert blight, a fungus that’s not a fun-guy! Run out right now and inspect your corkscrew hazel shrub (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) for bumps like these. If you see semi-regular, black cankers along the stems (like I did), your hazel has Eastern filbert blight (Anisogramma anomala). If left to its own […]

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Which hazel? Witch-hazel

Guess which witch caught my eye while walking? Are they witches’ caps or gnomes? Whatever they are, they called to me (and my ever-present camera) from the shrubbery as I power-walked through our neighbourhood at 7:30 this morning. Not till I started to move again did I realize which witch was witch-hazel… in this case, […]

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Tamarix: One of the Dirty Dozen

Pretty, isn’t it? Tamarix ramosissima, also known as tamarisk or saltcedar, is blooming with extra vigor here and there around the city. When not in bloom, it looks unassuming, and sparsely feathered – as if a shrub had disguised itself as asparagus fern. Don’t be fooled. I used to wonder why it wasn’t more widely […]

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Why isn’t your forsythia blooming?

Your forsythia shrub now is probably a fountain of gold. Or maybe it isn’t. Blooming season is when a less-than-forthcoming forsythia makes itself very plain. Wonder why? Forsythias always make this year’s flower buds last year. And most of the time when they don’t bloom it’s for two reasons related to pruning. Yours might not […]

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Alas, Blooms Day in Toronto, November 2009

  Rosa ‘New Dawn’ puts on its party dress for perhaps the last time this season. It’s mostly foliage now for this November Blooms Day 2009. Clockwise, from large photo: the tendrils of Sarah’s perennial sweet pea (Lathyrus latifolius), the sere leaves and drying flowers of ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’); Daphne ‘Carol Mackie’ with Japanese […]

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Beauty Bush: It’s called that for a reason

A tale of two beauty bushes (Kolkwitzia amabilis). This one is growing in full sun, spilling over the top of a fence along Broadway Avenue in Leaside. The other one was too pathetic, ungainly and flowerless to photograph, growing in shade in my neighbourhood today. Sunshine is the secret to such a splendiferous display of […]

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