Shocking Spring Color

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Written by John Colyn Thursday, 11 February 2010 18:19


Unique and colorful new additions for your garden.

Sometimes just getting a new pair of shoes sets one off in a good mood wanting to improve on one’s wardrobe which then kick-starts a self improvement quest. The same can be said for that one special plant that redirects the focus of your yard into a whole new direction.
Here are a few really interesting shrubs and plants that I think just might encourage you to look at your backyard retreat in a new light. Put on those shades, baby..


The Lenten Rose

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Written by John Colyn Friday, 28 January 2011 12:23

Helliborus Orientallis :: Maroon flowers on Helleborus Orientalis Ivory Prince :: Spring green flowers of Helleborus Orientalis “Ivory Prince” Corsican Hellibore :: “Helliborus Argutifolius” with its striking green blooms and blue-green foliage. Height 2-3 feet White Magic :: Helliborus Orientalis “White Magic”  Wester Flisk  :: Attractive foliage of Helliborus foetidus  “Wester Flisk”

The Hellebores (Helliborus) are members of the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae.
Mostly, all are small woodland perennial plants growing from 12-24 inches tall. Their most popular attributes being that they are quite easy to grow and bloom at a time of year when most plants have yet to come out of their winter nap. The origin of its common name Lenten Rose refers to its bloom time, which occurs close to the season of Lent.
Prized for their flowers, which can come in shades ranging from white, pink to purple and also black. Hellebores popularity endures ito this day. The origin of the name, Helleborus, is Latin referring to its roots and comes from two words, ‘hellin’, to kill and ‘bora’, which means food. Like many garden plants Helliborus are considered somewhat poisonous and care should be taken when handling the roots, stems and leaves... Hellebore cultivation and hybridizing began in the early 19th century by European botanists but the hybridizing of hellebores really increased in England after World War II. There are around 15 species of the genus, with Helliborus Orientalis the most popular with home gardeners..


Blue Rain

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Written by John Colyn

Chinese Wisteria :: Wisteria Chinensis 'Amethyst' Chinese Wisteria :: Wisteria Chinensis 'Amethyst' Chinese Wisteria :: Wisteria Chinensis 'Alba' Japanese Wisteria :: Japanese Wisteria 'Pink Ice'

Growing Wisteria.

A definite sure sign that spring is upon us is the familiar sight of Wisterias blooming with their trusses of fragrant blooms hanging off fences, arbors, or along eaves.
The popular Wisteria is a member of the Bean family, or Leguminosae/Fabaceae species of plants. This group includes most garden Peas and Beans, Lupines, Broom, Robinia, Acacia and also Laburnum.
It's family is the third largest group of plants in the world almost all bearing pods of seeds. The Garden Wisterias that we know of today originated back to China and Asia, where some native species still grow wild.
The most commonly grown garden Wisteras are either the Chinese, Wisteria Sinensis , and the Japanese, Wisteria Floribunda varieties. There is a North American native species Wisteria fruitiscens, bearing smaller flowers about half the size of it's Asian cousins.
Introduced into Europe initially as gifts brought back from traders to China in the early 1800's , Wisteria Sinensis grew quickly in popularity with many gardeners with its beautiful display of early spring blooms and fragrance. It quickly found its way to North America and has been popular ever since. Chinese and Japanese Wisteria have interesting differences, most notably in way they grow. Vining plants from the Northern hemisphere (North) of the world will grow in an anti-clockwise direction, As the Chinese Wisteria will meander its way up a pole or trellis in this fashion.
Plants from the Southern hemisphere will grow in a clockwise direction, or opposite from the North. This is due to the fact that the earth's rotation affects the growth direction and climbing habit of plants. Interestingly, the Japanese Wisteria , although originating in Japan, which sits on the Northern Hemisphere, grows in a clockwise direction, most likely believed to the fact that the Japanese continent originally moved north from the south millions of years ago.. It still retains it's heritage of being a southern vine, even though it's continent has moved north.


The Good Earth

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Written by John Colyn Thursday, 11 February 2010 16:54


Preparing your soil for spring.

What is topsoil?
The word topsoil is one of those words used by all of us when referring to any material suitable for growing plants, grass or a vegetable garden. The truth is, natural topsoil is quite scarce and hard to find, especially on this rock we call Vancouver Island.
Topsoil is the uppermost layer of decayed organic matter and fine sands and clay particles found above the lower and denser coarse clay and compacted gravel substrate. It by nature has little to no nutrient value whatsoever.
Most of the time topsoil is dark brown to black in color, although color is not an ideal indicator of soil quality.