Tag: clematis

Advance Planning for the Flower Show

Advance Planning for the Flower Show

Gardeners in the Chester area are anxiously scouting their gardens as the countdown for the annual Flower Show and Tea approaches. The schedule for competing entries has been published for  months (click on the Flower Show heading above) but some things cannot be rushed.  Mother Nature has the last word as to which plants will be at their best as the date draws near.

A rambling rose swarms over a fence it shares with a rosa rugosa.
A rambling rose swarms over a fence it shares with a rosa rugosa.

The extreme range of temperatures and weather this year has made it difficult to predict which plants will be in bloom on the date of the Flower Show, the 25th of July. Following a long spell of cool rainy days, last week we experienced three days of very high temperatures with high humidity, which was hard on the gardeners let alone their plants.

The early day lilies are suddenly blooming.
The early day lilies are suddenly blooming.

The rapid growth of shrubbery, vines and ferns on the berm in the photo below is an indication of the effect of this year’s heavy rainfall.

Pink Spirea in full bloom
Pink Spirea in full bloom
This rose appears to climb above its own support post.
This climbing rose appears to shoot up above its own support post.
A  portrait of a delicate New Dawn rose
A portrait of a delicate New Dawn rose

Chester’s climate is kind to many varieties of roses. It is the maurauding deer who wreak havoc on our gardens.  As nocturnal visitors, the deer dine on such delicacies as the developing flower buds of roses, phlox, hydrangeas, and even the occasional iris. Many a local gardener has been dismayed to discover, after weeks of anticipation, that the growing tips of a particularly prized specimen have been devoured overnight by deer.

Goat’s beards’ feathery plumes wave above strong green stalks.
Clematis Piilu, puts up a brave showing in its first summer.
Clematis “Piilu”, puts up a brave showing in its first summer.

As is the custom in many locales, Chester gardeners welcome the return of hummingbirds and so, in addition to special feeders, we plant honeysuckles to attract the tiny spirited creatures.


Astilbes are popular perennials in our area.

To help members prepare for the Flower Show,  the Club’s July 15th meeting will focus on tips and advice for creating successful entries in both the horticultural and design classes –  Learn the Basics!

Climbing hydrangea
Climbing hydrangea
Astilbes come in many shades of pink.

Members of the Flower Show Committee  have also  scheduled a two-hour children’s workshop  to encourage participation among the youth in the area. The organizers are delighted that 18 children have signed up for the workshop, which will focus on creating fanciful floral displays in accordance with this year’s theme “Hats Off”. The particular themes for the children’s classes are: “A Hat for a Cat” for children under the age of eight, and “Hockey Night in Canada”  for youth between ages eight and sixteen.

Water lilies add a touch of colour to the dark  surface of a pond.
Water lilies add a touch of colour to the dark surface of a pond on a rainy day.
Summer Gardens: Pretty in Pink

Summer Gardens: Pretty in Pink

Climbing roses and pinkspink poppyAs we enter the lazy hazy days of summer, the temperature in Chester has been fluctuating from warm to hot to cool again but  gardens are flourishing. The ring of climbing roses  above (a mix of  “old moss” and the paler cuisses de nymphe)  surround an old well and are anchored by a healthy crop of pinks.  The pale pink poppy on the left has opened to the max.

Gardens that appeal to humans entice other critters too. Here, a chickadee hops into a birdbath for a refreshing shower.  Even the face carved into the stand of the bath seems to be sporting a shy smile.

Chickadee in birdbath

A full border of perennials including Peonies, Delphiniums and Campanulas, is set off by more pinks set among garden stones that define the edge of the bed.


The colour pink dominates many gardens here at this time of year. These tall foxgloves are mixed in with blue corydalis and pink campion.   Another pink “beauty”, Kolkwitzia amabilis (commonly known as Beauty Bush),  is shown bent over almost to the ground following a torrential rainstorm that weighed down its branches.

beauty bush

A much paler shade of pink emerged with the flowering of a clematis (Nelly Mosher) on a nearby fence. Clematis, Nelly Mosherclematis close-up


The peonies in Chester gardens vary in the intensity of their colours. This shot shows one of the deeper pink blooms just after a shower. The photo below, showing the head of the harbour at low tide, was taken on an overcast morning, from the small park known as the Cove Garden.  A row of pink rosa rugosas runs along the edge of the garden above the sea wall.

head of harbour
The Cove Garden is owned and maintained by the Chester Garden Club,  whose members volunteer their time and energy to weeding and pruning the plantings.  The Parade Square garden, shown below, is also maintained by volunteers from the club but, in recent years, as members aged and the weeds proliferated, the  struggle to keep it in good shape has been more difficult.  As seen below, the weeds appear to be winning. Brenda and Chenda are standing on what used to be a wide gravel path.

armillary sphere and weedy park
The good news is that Chenda will soon be embarking on a mission to rehabilitate the path – flagstones and wooly thyme to replace the gravel and the weeds.  We’ll be delighted to post photos of the results when the work is done.