Flowery Friday: peacock gladiolus.

Peacock glad RS FP Normandeau

Snow is becoming a regular occurrence around here now after an amazingly mild and warm October and early November – and I think I’m okay with it.  For now.  If you ask me in March of next year, I will most definitely have a different answer.   😉

These peacock gladiolus (aka Abyssinian gladiolus – Gladiolus murielae, syn. G. callianthusG. acidantheria) that one of the ladies planted in our new “bulb bed” at the community garden got heaps of admiring comments when they splashed out in late summer and into autumn.  They’re pretty common elsewhere, but I don’t see them too often here – I guess no one enjoys lifting those bulbs in the fall!  I think new bulbs are very reasonably priced, however, and everyone at the garden agreed that this is a plant we will definitely try again in the future. It’s easy to see why!

What new plants have you tried in your garden this past growing season?  Are they keepers?   Did you see a plant on a garden tour or in a friend’s garden that totally wowed you and made you want to try it yourself?

Flowery Friday: rock soapwort.


We held a retirement celebration for a co-worker this past week and in honour of her adoration of bright colours (especially pink!), we were all encouraged to wear something pink. Big fail for me – I don’t own a single item of clothing in any shade of pink.

Considering that it is my least favourite colour when it comes to my wardrobe, my garden seems to have an abundance of pink – including this beautiful Saponaria ocymoides (rock soapwort), which has got to be one of the most reliable, tough, and rewarding plants I’ve ever grown.  I’m hoping now that the weather has cooled down somewhat, there will be a second flush of blooms.  The heat stress my plants have been under has meant that there hasn’t been much for flowers for about a month now – the plants have just been standing still, trying to wait it out.

What colours dominate your wardrobe and your garden?  Are you passionate for pink?

Schlumbergera (Zygocactus, Thanksgiving cactus).


I’ve had it a month and I haven’t yet exterminated my newly-acquired Zygocactus!  I’m really enjoying the blooms of my newly-acquired Zygocactus!

I don’t know why I have trouble keeping Zygocactus* alive…I keep hearing that they’re the “easiest plants in the world to grow,” accompanied by enthusiastic testimony about specimens twenty feet wide and three hundred years old, that bloom sixteen times a year with absolutely no input from the gardener. (Okay, I exaggerate, but only slightly).  I usually kill mine within two weeks of purchase, it’s like they come with a self-destruct button or something.  I wake up one morning and poof! – they’ve completely cratered on my windowsill.

I mean,  I’m extremely careful not to overwater.  Well, actually, it’s more “neglect” than “care” – I must admit that all my houseplants exist in a state of drought most of their lives because I get busy and forget to water them.  You’d think I couldn’t kill cacti of any kind, but I have a pretty good track record.  (Why, when I read that last sentence back, does it sound suspiciously like bragging?).

But this time…I think I’ve finally found The One!  Or maybe I’m getting too excited about our one-month anniversary, and shouldn’t put the cart before the horse and all that.  Wish us a happy ever after!   😉

Do you grow Zygocacti?

*The name Zygocactus is kinda sorta fascinating – well, to me, anyway – as it refers to the way that these plants are segmented, and is not the genus name (which is actually Schlumbergera).

Primula pondering.


This Primula acaulis ‘Hethor’ recently came home with me from the grocery store (alongside a kingsize chocolate bar we won’t talk about).  Although not quite as flashy as the Polyanthus I bought last year, it is a bright splash of colour on the windowsill while my African violets rest after a long blooming period.

P. acaulis is hardy to zone 4 and so I’d be pushing the envelope just a bit, but I think I’m going to save it over if I can and plant it out in the spring.  I already grow primulas in the garden – a smooth-leaved variety I believe may be P. rubra (a friend gave me the plants years ago and she didn’t know what they were), so this P. acaulis will be a good companion.  It’s worth a try, anyway.

Do you grow primulas?

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2013.

What a difference a month makes! We’ve finally gotten some warmth and sunshine here in Calgary, and my garden is actually looking a little bit parched right now (hard to believe after the flooding in June). There are still some blooms to share, however – here are a few I managed to get photos of today!

Click on over to May Dreams Gardens to join in the fun!  Thanks so much to Carol for hosting!


One of the oldest perennials in my flowerbeds, this Alaska Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum superbum ‘Alaska’) was planted in 2004, the year I began gardening on this site.  I divided it last year and its progeny is doing very well!


Another of the verbena Quartz Mix that I showed you last month; a different colour this time, though!  My verbenas still haven’t completely recovered from the Feasting of the Hares this year and, despite my adoration for them, they’re now on my list of plants to avoid in the future.


For anyone who regularly follows my blog, this Scabiosa caucasica ‘Perfecta’ will be familiar…I can’t get enough of its unusual blooms.  I think I need to plant more of them.  🙂   I didn’t notice it when I snapped the photo, but there seems to be a tiny green(?) insect taking up residency in this particular flower.  I can’t tell exactly what it is, though…friend or foe?


Borage!  A favourite of mine…although I have to share it with the bees….  I have several of these growing in my community garden plot.  I usually just throw the flowers (and the tender young leaves) in salads, but someone told me the other day that you can chop up the mature leaves and cook them like spinach.  Has anyone else tried that?  I may give it a go!


My lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) is past its peak and looking a tad haggard, but I’m always amazed at how long they bloom!  I put in another one this year…and I’m still on the lookout for the alpine variety.


This is one of my (nearly finished blooming but still doing enough to qualify) thymes.  I have a few old plants and I have no idea which one is which.  Any ideas about ID for this one?


I love marigolds, and the Tagetes patula (‘Bonita’ mix) that I grew from seed are cheerful and summer-bright!  Do you grow marigolds?


Click on the photo to join the meme!   

Enjoy the rest of your week!   🙂

Zygocactus in bloom.


I found this glorious zygocactus (Schlumbergera, Christmas cactus) in full bloom in a sunny bay window at my Mom-in-law’s residence this past weekend, and it got me thinking that I’ve never attempted to grow one before.  It is definitely time to change that!

Do you grow zygocacti?  Do you have any tips for me? 

(P.S. In case you’re wondering, I did indeed alter the natural position of the bloom so that it doesn’t turn downward in this photo).