Download the list of species Beaux Arbres will be bringing to the Fletcher Wildlife Sale on Saturday, June 2. FWG 2018 ISpecies List
I am almost too busy getting the plants ready for the sale to blog about them but there are a few new species that are too interesting to ignore.
Seeded earlier this year and already big enough to plant now, the lovely biennial Swamp Thistle (Cirsium muticum). I know, Swamp and Thistle. Don’t let your experience with weedy non-native thistles, neither the stately but dangerous Bull Thistle nor the absolutely appalling Russian Thistle, put you off this great native for damp spots. It is so unlikely to seed into gardens that I suggest you collect some seeds in the fall to ensure you don’t lose it. I received my seeds as a generous gift from Lis Allison, whose Pine Ridge Studio, near Carp, is a great source for locally grown native ferns. Native thistles are great nectar sources for butterflies and the nutritious seeds feed many birds.
Also new this year: Dwarf Arctic Iris (Iris setosa var. arctica), a miniature wild iris and seriously cute. We have some in bud. Seriously cute. Shop early.
We are bringing a few pots of Rock Whitlow-grass (Draba arabisans). Perhaps not the most exciting of Drabas — the really tiny, exciting ones are all denizens of either the high Arctic or Alpine peaks and dislike hot weather — but we just this past Sunday saw this species used very effectively in the Natives area of the Alpine Garden of the Montreal Botanical Garden (featured image). This Draba species is an easy plant for rock gardens, small enough for troughs.
And speaking of rock gardens, yes, we will have lots of Common Bluets, still happily blooming.
We will not be bringing many shrubs to the sale this year — three species of roses, some Shrubby Cinquefoil, a few others. Plan to come out to the nursery for more shrubs.
The Fletcher Sale is the only time we bring the mid to late summer meadow flowers into Ottawa. They won’t be in bloom now, of course, but take the opportunity to add some great heat-loving natives, for flowers throughout the summer. Many of the prairie and meadow flowers are important nectar and pollen food sources for diverse pollinators: Boneset, Great Blue Lobelia, Cardinal Flower, Swamp Milkweed, diverse yellow daisies and many others. New this year: Rattlesnake Master and Tall Coreopsis.
This is a hectic time for me, trying to get the stock ready for our first big sale of the spring, the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale, traditionally on Mothers’ Day, in Ottawa. This will be our fourth year as a vendor at this sale. We now have enough experience to predict that the Weather Gods will provide an especially foul brand of weather for the event. (Hey, prove us wrong!)
We had hoped our new hoop house will help us to bring well-grown plants, showing some colour in their buds, to this sale. Ours is not a heated greenhouse – we were not trying to get too far ahead of the season. The idea was to have the plants only a week or so ahead, without forcing them so much that you have to worry about hardening them off before you can plant them outside. In this exceptionally chilly spring, we seem to be just treading water. However, growth is so rapid this time of year that a few days of sunny warmth, or a few shivery nights, makes a great deal of difference to how the plants display themselves by Mothers Day.
To bring your Spring Wildflower Gardener’s Anticipation Frenzy to a fever pitch, you can download our Spring 2018 Species Availability List: Rare and Unusual Sale 2018.
The cute little thing in the picture is Common Bluets or Quaker Ladies.
Saturday, November 11th, 1pm
for the Ottawa Valley Rock Garden Society
Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill Avenue, Ottawa
Trish will be showcasing some of the diminutive and charming wild flowers which are native to the local alvars, barrens and rocky slopes, many of which she is propagating at Beaux Arbres. If you do not already know them (and even if you do), come out and meet Early Saxifrage, Hooked-Spur Violet, Long-leaved Bluet, Wood Sorrel, and many others.
Featured photo of Trish in her rock garden: Deborah Powell
The Rare and Unusual Plant Sale on Sunday, May 14th, at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa is less than a week away and I am past hoping for a spell of warm, sunny weather to bring on some flowers. At this point, I am reduced to hoping fervently that our local ferry service will be resumed so that we can get across the Ottawa River! The 7-day forecast for next Sunday predicts “Rain” — what a surprise! Today it is cold and actually snowing.
We do not have heated greenhouses so what we can bring to the sale is what the season brings and that means this year we will not have any warmth-loving plants. All the summer-flowering prairie species are still below ground. (We will be back in Ottawa for the Fletcher Wildlife Garden Sale, Saturday, June 3rd, so you will have another opportunity to pick up Swamp Milkweed, Compass Plant, Pale Purple Coneflower and many other summer flowers and native grasses.)
Some of the native spring flowers, long adapted to the vagaries of Canadian springs, are looking surprisingly good. Diverse pussytoes (Antennaria spp.) and Early Saxifrage (Micranthes virginiensis) are sending up flower buds on schedule, despite the inclement weather. Boreal Jacob’s Ladder, from the far north, doesn’t mind this weather at all. The wanna-be evergreen Foamflower and heucheras are very slowly replacing their battered last year leaves with new growth; the new leaves are visible, if still small and curled.
Lovely Wood Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), picture above, are looking good — maybe even a flower or two by Sunday. This is the first year I can offer this charming flower for shade. It is not locally native, being represented in Canada only by two small populations near London, Ontario. However, it is an easy, hardy plant for gardens in our area and will even rebloom in late summer if happy.
Also new this year will be Broad-leaved Sedge (Carex platyphylla), which I have grown from seed collected locally on the Eardly Escarpment. Now, sedges are never wildly flamboyant in flower, and this one is not even showy in flower by sedge standards. Broad-leaved sedge has broad (for a sedge), evergreen leaves that are distinctively blue-grey and banded. Think of it as a miniature evergreen hosta, and you may begin to appreciate its possibilities. Full disclosure: I like native evergreen woodland sedges, I just do.
We will be bringing in a diversity of native wildflowers to the sale, even though some will be smaller and less developed than I had hoped: Cardinal Flower, Common Bluets, Wild Columbine, Dwarf Hairy Beardtongue, Golden Ragwort, Sweet Grass,Bottlebrush Grass, Purple Chokeberry, and CarolinaLupin, to name just a few.
See you there, umbrellas and all!
A talk by Trish Murphy of Beaux Arbres Native Plants
Nepean Horticultural Society
City View United Church
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 7:30 pm
All are welcome.
There is great interest in creating pollinator-friendly gardens. Creating a wildflower meadow – a sunny plant community of native grasses and wildflowers — is one of the easiest and fastest ways to create wildlife habitat and promote diversity. I’ll be outlining the methods we used to create three different meadow-like areas at our nursery and showcasing some of the lovely native grasses and wildflowers we planted.
Resources: PDF’s to download
Wildflower Establishment: Organic Site Preparation Methods. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. www.xerces.org
Delaney et al. 2000. Planting the Seed: A Guide to Establishing Prairie and Meadow Communities in Southern Ontario, www.csu.edu/cerc/researchreports/documents/PlantingTheSeedGuideEstablishingPrairieMeadowCommunities2004.pdf
A Landowner’s Guide to Tallgrass Prairie and Savanna Management in Ontario. Tallgrass Ontario. www.tallgrassontario.org