2018 To-Do list

  • Keep Baptistia by the kitchen window area of the path to the south alley cut to the ground – or dig it out…..
  • Dig up and remove the now-unused overflow pipe running from the former site of the rain barrel by the front lift towards the left side of the south alley gate.
  • Bury the black extension pipe for the south downspout under the path to the south gate.
  • Edge and reshape path to south gate to make a nice smooth line.  Reapply pinebark mulch.
  • Replace broken swag chain in south alley.
  • Cut the Lord Baltimore hibiscus by the lilac back by half twice before July 1.  Do the same with the one near the tuteur in the front bed.
  • Keep shrubs and bushy perennials cut back from paths in the backyard to reduce potential tick contract points.
  • Check plastic top rail on the backyard fence height extensions and put a screw in any that have come out of the T connectors.
  • Check stem of Exochorda ‘The Bride’ and remove any side shoots in order to keep one clear stem/trunk.
  • Apply a layer of 1/3 concrete sand and 2/3 fine wood mulch to paths.  About 1 cubic yard of sand and 2 of wood should be sufficient.  We usually use pine mulch but cedar may be better because we’ve seen carpenter ants.
  • remove pine log edging in the north alley and replace it with cedar logs if we can find them!
  • Top-dress and reseed backyard lawn to fill in bare spots.  Water where dogs frequently pee (e.g. near base of ash tree) to help limit damage from burning.

2017 To-do list

  • Remove Baptisia by path near kitchen window and at top of north alley – or keep stems pruned to the ground. Did not remove – kept cut down
  • Keep regrowth on the willow stump by the shed pruned off.Kept cut back
  • Prune or remove large perennials or shrubs that brush against you as you walk along paths. Kept cut back
  • In winter prune off branch on Kousa dogwood across from the patio where it is now interfering with easy walking on the path. Done
  • If drought-stricken 2016 hosta transplant on south side of driveway does not return in spring, replace with a new transplant.  Hosta did not survive and was not replaced
  • Transplant red-pink 2016 surprise clematis seedling on north alley fence to grow with the honeysuckle a short distance further west on the fence. Could not find the string around the stem to identify it in early spring so the clematis remains in place
  • remove peachy-colored heucheras from herb bed and replace with purple ones. Done
  • Adjust air conditioner screen to fit taller new air conditioner! Done

2016 To-do list

  • Build up soil level on west side of front ditch where is has subsided, exposing the metal grass barrier that also holds the brick edging in place.  Re-sod as necessary. Done
  • Move a division of a large blue hosta to the SE side of the end of the driveway to pair with the one on the NE side. Done – but may have died in the summer drought.  Need to replant in 2017 if it does not return in spring.
  • Remove ‘Paul Farges’ clematis on south fence in backyard.  Add a ‘Vyvyan Pennell’ and/or ‘Ramona’? ‘Paul Farges’ kept pruned in 2016 but not removed.  Did not bloom.  Quite a few of the stems now originate on neighbour’s side of the fence.
  • replace chickenwire fence extension on south with hardware cloth(?) Hardware colth and plumbing pipes used to raise all fence heights to 6″ to help keep coyotes out.
  • add wire extensions to the top of the west and north fences to help coyote-proof them. Done
  • add more crusher-run gravel to path through front arbour to raise the path level. Done
  • Remove Baptisia from kitchen window bed; replace with alpine strawberries. Not done – kept stems pruned to the ground but still need to remove the roots.
  • Remove Baptisia from north alley; replace with ? Not done – kept stems pruned to the ground but still need to remove the roots.
  •  Evaluate light levels on south side of shed now that the pussywillow is gone.  Replant in fall with something appropriate for the light and moisture available there. Moved ‘Empress Wu’ hosta to beside the willow stump.  Willow stump still sprouting new growth that needs regular removal.   
  • Topdress and overseed backyard lawn again this spring.  Do a better job of watering – especially around the trunk of the ash tree where the dogs pee most often!  Done – but overseeding like now a regular spring – or late summer – chore…..
  • Shift the Empress Wu hosta further back in the bed under the oak – it might encroach on the path too much as it grows. Moved ‘Empress Wu’ to willow stump area beside shed; replaced with a smaller hosta.
  • Consider moving/replacing/hard pruning bushy perennial and shrubs that get brushed against when walking along paths – the objective is to minimize risk of transferring ticks from the plants to people passing by.  Pruned as necessary but not replaced.
  • stake the holly near the shed that is being grown as a single-trunked ‘tree’ – it is starting to lean. Done – but need to straighten support!

Garden shopping list 2015

  • ? Add an American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) to the wet corner?  Decided not to at this point.
  • Replace Sweet Autumn clematis that died in winter 2013/2014 on the north alley fence with – same clematis? or different clematis? or different vine(which one?)? Did not replace – some ‘Harlequin’ honeysuckle reappeared.
  • Add a ‘Tuff Stuff’ hydrangea (from Cudmores?) to front bed behind ‘Tiny Tuff Stuff’ Done.
  • Replace any south alley clematises that winterkill. Did not do – ones on the fence side struggle – does not make sense to plant more there.
  • Add more dwarf Iberis to front bed.  Could not find any…
  • Add back rodgersias under pines near path to compost heap – to replace those that were moved two years ago when the golden boxwood (which died last winter!) was planted in that spot.  it appears some are returning from roots left behind – waiting to see if they survive.
  • add a ‘Niobe’ clematis to climb into the Ninebark shrub on the south side of the driveway.  Done – but I’m not impressed with it….

2015 To-Do List

  • Finish re-leveling brick edging in moat bed. Done.
  • Plant a mix of small spring bulbs in living room bed and front ditch in the fall to supplement existing ones. Forgot to do!
  • Divide big hosta at end of south alley and plant some divisions in the wet corner bed.  Did not do…. plan to move some elsewhere in 2016.
  • Add a ‘Tuff Stuff’ hydrangea to front bed – a little behind the ‘Tiny Tuff Stuff’ already there. Done.
  • try adding green hostas to the bank along the back fence, under the pines Not done – think it will be too dry.
  • replant some Iberis along the bed edge, behind the log on the north side of the shed.  Not done – no available space now.
  • replant a ‘The President’ clematis on the back side of the front lift and a ‘Jackmani Superba’ or other vigorous Group 3 clematis on the front side of the lift.  Done.
  • Prune big lilac on south wall to improve shape as needed. Done.
  • If ‘Paul Farges’ and ‘Ramona’ clematises do not return with vigor, consider replacing them.  No changes in 2015 – but change planned in 2016 now that neighbour’s ash tree is gone.

Garden shopping list 2014

Name Quantity Placement/use Source
Hand tamper tool 1 to compact and level base under brick edging ?

purchased at Cliff’s – very handy tool! (4″x10″ tamper blade)

American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) 1 ‘wet corner’ bed, placed near rear fence, to line up with center path in oak bed Connon Nurseries

deferred to 2015

Bunchberries (Cornus Canadensis) ~6-8 try in several places in backyard to try to find a suitable area for them! Connon Nurseries

decided not to try them as have never got them to succeed here before

Hairy Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum pubescens) 2-3 Along ‘golden path’ area under the pines Acorus?

could not find a source for them

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium montanum or Sisyrinchium angustifolium) 1 for ‘tear drop’ bed Botanus or divide clump under Japanese wisteria

decided to use dark heucheras instead

Geranium cantabrigiense’ Biokovo’ and/or G. renardi 1 for ‘tear drop’ bed Connon

still considering whether to use this in this bed

Running Strawberry Bush (Euonymus obovatus) 1-2 Under pussy willow, south side of shed, to cover bare ground after marsh marigolds and trilliums go dormant ?

still undecided whether to use this here

Mammoth Chrysanthemum ‘Pink Daisy’ 1-2 Driveway border, near road Gardenimport – or local nursery?

bought at Nortland

 Limonium latifolium  1-2 herb bed/south side of driveway  ? Sheridan?

did not buy

2014 to-do list

  • Finish re-leveling bricks.Main front bed completed; top part of driveway border completed; ‘moat bed’ to be done in the fall after plants have died back. Update – never got around to finishing it in the fall – to do in spring 2015….
  • Refresh paths by adding new layer of pine bark mulch/concrete sand mix.  Done May 19-20 2014 put down a base of ‘crusher run’ gravel  on paths prone to wetness or washouts.  Packed down with water-filler roller and topped with pine bark mulch  rolled on top.
  • Remove old, unused soaker hoses from beds – where it is possible to do so without damaging plants. Done.
  • Replace dead/dying ‘Pink Beauty’ potentilla shrubs in the driveway border Done
  • Re-evaluate perennial plantings in the ‘teardrop’ bed – intent is to have relatively low plantings to compliment the central ‘The Swan’ hydrangea/clematis ‘x Durandii’ combination which should be mature enough soon to put on a good show.  Consider which of the existing perennial companions (iberis, pasqueflower, heuchera, perennial geranium should be expanded – or removed or replaced with something else – what…? (consider adding Blue-Eyed Grass, Erigeron glaucus ‘Sea Breeze’, Geranium renardii, blue flax, a saxifrage or two,….?) Removed purple coneflowers and replaced with dark purple heucheras (“Midnight Rose’ and ‘Midnight Ruffles’)  Added a couple of ‘Little Gem’ iberis.  Moved a Sedum ‘Matrona’ into the bed from a too-shady spot elsewhere in the front garden.  Need to reevaluate in 2015 before deciding on any further changes needed.
  • Prune off old upright ‘water sprouts’ from pussywillow by shed.Did not bother to do!
  • Encourage more horizontal growth on Japanese wisteria. on-going
  • Prune Chinese wisteria after flowering to reduce height and width again? Done
  • ‘Wet corner’ bed needs height and structure – consider what woody material might grow there…. plant an America Hornbeam in line with end of central path through south woodland beds….? Deferred to 2015
  • Divide bright green hosta SE of shed; – add some of it under pines – and to north side of front bed(?) Done – added to north side of front bed
  • Add Helleborus foetidus and a bright green hosta to the fern bed planted last fall against the fallen, dead apple tree.  Also try adding bunchberries (Cornus canadensis) to this bed and the red trillium area to the south of the shed to see if they will establish themselves there. Not done – decided hellebore not needed and have given up on trying to get bunchberries to survive here!
  • Divide big blue hosta on the fence side at the end of the south alley.  Add some divisions of it to the wet corner (?) Did not do.
  • Replace ‘Harlequin’ honeysuckle killed last year on north fence with clematis – ‘Betty Corning’ ? Also, if Kiwi vine (‘Issai’) on dead, fallen apple tree survived the winter, move to north fence. Added an ‘Issai’ kiwi and a male pollinator kiwi.
  • Consider what needs changing on the groundcover level in main front bed with the move to more shrubs – see comments re ‘teardrop’ bed….  Minor additions but no significant changes.
  • In the fall, replant a collection of vigorous small spring bulbs in the living room bed.  Forgot to do!  Will try to remember for fall 2015!
  • Plant a rhubarb in a big driveway pot. Done – plus one added to south side of front bed.
  • Add some pink Mammoth Mums to the north side of driveway border and red and/or rusty orange ones to the ‘hot’ bed on the south side of the driveway. Added Mammoth Dark Pink Daisy ‘mum to end of driveway border plus ‘Dreamweaver’ pink mum a short distance back from it; planted Mammoth Red and Dark Bronze mums in pots to assess their color and size before deciding whether to add to south driveway bed; planted a ‘Tigertail’ mum in south driveway bed.