I took this photo of Clematis x cartmanii ‘Joe’ a number of weeks ago in my friend Barry’s greenhouse, just before the buds opened. In a day or two I’ll update you with a photo of what it looked like today, with the blooms wide open.
Meanwhile, Barry has also posted about his plant with a bit of background information.
By example and his own enthusiasm, Barry has really opened my eyes to the diversity in the clematis world. I finally get what all of those nutty clematis spotters are going on about.
Last month, I spoke and signed books at the Annual Montreal Seed Fair held at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. When things got a bit harried at the event, I took the opportunity to relax with walks through the greenhouses.
Inhale deeply. Exhale deeply.
I’ve said it at least a dozen times, but of the greenhouses I’ve visited, those at the Montreal Botanical Gardens remain my favourite to date and always a highlight of any trip to Montreal. Oh how I wish we had greenhouses this inspiring here in Toronto! [Speaking of which... the super amazing Drawn & Quarterly bookstore is hosting an event for the book next month so I'll be headed back there soon. Stay tuned.]
The orchid conservatory was in full form during my trip, and possibly the best I have ever seen it. I took a ton of photos. Here are just a few of the orchids that caught my interest that day.
Jade Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum malipoense)
Ludisia discolor ‘Alba’
Phragmipedium ‘Court Jester’
Paphiopedilum ‘Green Mantle’
I find it hard to ignore the word “prim” in primrose and primula, a detail that can account for at least some of my longstanding aversion to the plant. I’m coming around to it though and recently acquired one with deep reddish/purple blooms (a photo soon) that I’m pretty excited about.
After-all, anything that blooms in early spring and doesn’t cost a gazillion dollars (I’m looking at you, Hellebore) is fine by me.
Remember last year when I invited local site readers to come out and grow seedlings together in a local greenhouse? Well, it’s seed starting season and the greenhouse has kindly offered us some space again this year so I’m putting out the call.
There is shelf space for about 2 or 3 people to grow seedlings depending on how many plants each person would like to grow. It works out to enough space to grow transplants for a good-sized garden. Members can grow for themselves or donate to community groups if they’d like. There are also 2 excellent, newly built coldframes outside that will be available for use.
However, there are some considerations and caveats attached to using the space; I’ve listed them below.
- The greenhouse is located in Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto’s West End.
- Last year was the greenhouse’s first year in production and as predicted there were problems. Everyone is learning how to keep such a large, heated greenhouse functioning well in addition to making it all happen within a community. Thankfully a lot of the major problems have been addressed, and the greenhouse has been completely overhauled. Exciting! I think we’ll have a better go of it this year.
- A $20 donation is requested to help offset the cost of soil and other greenhouse supplies. The soil last year was cheap, and lousy as a result. This year the soil is far better, but exponentially more expensive.
- Members are asked to commit an hour per week to watering seedlings, monitoring plant health, and keeping the greenhouse clean and organized.
- An additional 5 hours per year of volunteer labour to the greenhouse and/or park is required. That can come in the form of the Adopt-a-tree program, Helping with Spring Park Day (planting & clean up) and/or Spring Clean-Up Day (picking up trash in the park, etc).
Here’s the inside. I took this last week when members were still just getting started for the year but will be filled with greenery in no time.
If you feel you can meet those commitments and would like to join, please get in touch with me via the contact form. Greenhouse members are currently conducting weekend grow-alongs to help beginners get their seeds started. Once we’ve got some members for our shelves, I’ll conduct some additional workshops to get us going.
Several plants in the peperomia genus are grown as common houseplants here in North America, but have you ever seen one like this?
I was first introduced to this particular plant in Dominica, where it goes by the local names JiwonflÃƒÂ¨*, JonflÃƒÂ¨, or Giron Fleur**. It is most often found in very damp and dark places, and as a result most of my photos were lousy. Last month I found it again (as seen here), on display in the Tropical Rainforest Conservatory at the Montreal Botanical Gardens and was able to get a better photo.
JiwonflÃƒÂ¨ is a tiny trailing succulent that grows as an epiphyte, hanging from the branches of trees, most commonly cocao and grapefruit. In Dominica, the plant is brewed into an herbal cold remedy but what’s most fascinating is the smell. When you crush the leaves, it emits a soft green peppercorn aroma. I suppose this shouldn’t be too surprising since peperomia is in the same family as black peppercorns (Piperaceae).