Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blooms on the Roses at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden

The end of November, and the blooms are still on the roses at the BRG in Port Credit!  Brother Cadfael, Evelyn, Sutton Place, Iceberg, and The Ingenious Mr Fairchild reward garden visitors with a splash of white and pink. At this time of year, any flower in bloom anywhere in Canada is a real treat!

Late Blooming Pink Rose ~ Brother Cadfael
Fallen leaves blanket the ground, a nice contrast to a late-blooming Brother Cadfael.

Brother Cadfael ~ Pretty in Pink in December at BRG
Here's another blooming Brother Cadfael; though the occasional frosty morning has taken a toll on the summertime roses, this is still a good show.
Brother Cadfael Pink Rose and Rose Bud
One rose bud coming to bloom in December: Will the snow flurries stop the roses, or will the forecast of a sunny weekend keep the blooms alive? Time will tell.

The Ingenious Mr. Fairchild ~ Pink Rose
Not to be outdone, The Ingenious Mr Fairchild sported a few blooms of its own!

Perfect Pink Rose ~ Still Blooming Long After Summer
The occasional rose in bloom can be seen most years at Brueckner, but the mild weather this year brought forth more roses than usual. November, 2011, is the second warmest on record.

Evelyn ~ Peach Pink Late Fall Blooming Rose
Most Evelyn roses are done for this year, but a few are still flowering.

Iceberg White Rose in Bloom in Early December
True to its name, Iceberg seems to laugh at the cold, and several plants still had flowers.

Sutton Place Rose ~ White with Pink Edges
 In summertime, Rosa Sutton Place shows more deep pink on its edges, but even in late November, it's still a gorgeous bloom. Several Sutton Place are over-wintering with Evelyn, and will be moved to a new bed in the spring.

On The Waterfront at Brueckner: Bouquet Blossoms on Beach
 The fall color is not limited to the rose garden: The lakeshore at BRG showed some flowers of its own. A  few days before, a strong wind and rain storm roared through, with resulting high waves on Lake Ontario crashing ashore at the BRG waterfront. The waves brought in remnants of a large bouquet of flowers.

Close Up of Blossoms on Beach at Brueckner
At first glance, it was hard to tell if the blossoms on the stones were real or artificial. A closer look proved they were indeed real live flowers.

Not to be outdone, a few Herb Roberts nestled under the rhododendrons were showing pink flowers.

The reds, golds, yellows and oranges of fall leaves may be over for the season., but how lovely to see flowers in the garden at this time of year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

High School Students HELP Garden Grow

Students in the Humanitarian Experiential Leadership Program (H.E.L.P.) at Archbishop Romero made Brueckner Rhododendron Garden (BRG) their classroom on Thursday, September 22. Students and teacher worked with Garden volunteer David Culham to assist in transplanting dozens of Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'.

Students transplanting Lemon Queen
Lemon Queen is a perennial sunflower that provides a tall, bright-yellow show in late summer and early fall. The goal is to divide these sunflowers, then transplant them to border areas. These border areas tend to become invaded by thorny thistles that are difficult to control.

Lemon Queen in situ BRG West Garden
 The students began their morning's work learning about 'Lemon Queen' (yellow, lower left in photo) in the west area of the Garden near parking lot entrance. Presently, thistle seed from these areas blows into established garden beds, and many hours of scratchy weeding is needed to remove it. As thistle and other weeds are removed, Lemon Queen (and other wildflowers or perennials) is planted.

Preparing to Transplant Lemon Queen
 Mature sunflower plants are pruned back then dug up and placed in pots prior to moving to new location. Lemon Queen is hardy and fast growing, and provides an ongoing source of new plants for 'free'.  David has been instrumental in volunteering his time and effort in relocating many wildflowers and perennials into heretofore bare and weedy areas. This class is another form of volunteering to expand and improve the Garden. See also Volunteers Archbishop Romero Sept 2010.

Perennial Bed BRG Main Entrance
A large stand of Lemon Queen located in the Perennial Bed located between the Garden office building and the parking lot was one of several plantings selected to be pruned, divided and potted.  September is one of the best times of year to divide and transplant perennials; happily, this time frame coincides with the availability of these students.

Pots of Lemon Queen ready for transplanting
 Plastic pots originally filled with nursery plants are used to hold Lemon Queen between uprooting and re-planting. These individual pots also make it easier to lay out and space plants prior to transplanting.

Lemon Queen Along Waterfront Trail near Lakeshore Road
 Still damp with dew, mature Lemon Queen are cut back prior to digging and dividing. The plantings shown in the above photo are located along the Waterfront Trail west of Tecumseh Creek that divides the West and East gardens.

Students South Bridge at Lake Ontario
 Nearly done their morning's class work, students head across Tecumseh Creek south bridge. Over the past several years, City staff and volunteers have been beautifying this area in the south east garden near the outlet of Tecumseh Creek into Lake Ontario. This south bridge is the main access from Godfreys Lane south entrance to the BRG, and as such, is seen by many visitors. Lemon Queen is a great addition to this area.

Planting Lemon Queen East Garden
This natural area is in the East Garden backing onto Godfreys Lane and close to Lakeshore Road. The border of this natural area was first cleared and tilled in preparation for new plants. The planting area is marked with stones as a temporary measure to alert lawn cutting crews that new plants are located here.

As the Lemon Queen grows next season, and becomes established, these rocks will be removed.

Over the past few years, City of Mississauga staff, with help of volunteers where and when possible, have 'moved mountains' to bring this once-neglected park into its position as Mississauga's first designated public garden, with one of Canada's largest rhododendron collections; A true showplace for the 'rhodies' and a year-round Garden for visitors and residents alike.

Thanks to Archbishop Romero HELP class for 'helping' the Garden grow!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Summer Fall Brueckner Rhododendron Garden Pictures

Summer time and early fall are busy times at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden, and with much work to do to get the Garden ready for next year, there's not much time for taking pictures.

And so, it's with special thanks to BRGSC chair and hardworking volunteer gardener, David Culham, for submitting a few of his photos taken this summer of the Tzu Chi volunteers, and the flower beds of annuals, perennials and wildflowers, and the new swale.

Tzu Chi Volunteers Brueckner Rhododendron Garden
Tzu Chi volunteers met near the main annual flower garden near the entrance to begin their morning work of weeding several flower beds and cleaning the Lake Ontario shoreline. The tall, burgundy-brown leafed tree shown to the right is a weeping beech transplanted last summer. (Click on photo to enlarge, then click Back button to return to this page.)

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Red Rose
 The Rose Garden enjoyed its best year ever, and many roses, such as Tess of the D'Urbervilles shown in the photo, are still blooming in mid October, notably Chuckles, a prolific charmer.

Tess in Full Bloom
David took these photos early one morning when the dew was still sparkling on the petals and leaves. This is the third full year for the Rose Garden, and fairly consistent care and cultivation over the past few seasons are now paying dividends in gorgeous blooms.  

Native Wildflower Jewelweed BRG Natural Area
 The delicate, late summer blooming jewelweed is also making a show of itself, thanks to diligent removal of thistles and other non-native wildflowers and weeds.

Lemon Queen and Jewelweed Native Wildflowers
Lemon Queen, variety of sunflower (in front of the jewelweed), is another 'good' wildflower that offers visitors a splash of colour in late summer. Hardy and pretty 'Lemon Queen' can grow up to 6 feet tall, transplants well, and is a favourite of birds.

Hostas in Bloom at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden
 The Hosta Bed, located  just to the west of the Garden office building near the parking lot, has also enjoyed its best season ever. In fact, the hostas have flourished to the point where staff and volunteers are splitting and transplanting dozens of hostas to other areas of the Garden.

Head gardener Para Kanp chose the hostas for this garden (most were sourced from the Netherlands) and designed the bed with massed plantings for maximum impact.  Bonus:  This hosta bed will provide all the hostas the BRG is likely to ever need.

Annual - Perennial Garden Bed at BRG
 This is the view of the main annual garden from the path linking the parking lot and the garden office building (bunker). The pink and white balls are, of course, the lovely cleome, that's drought and heat and pest tolerant/proof, tall and comely: in short, a great annual that thoughtfully seeds itself.

A very tall and bushy canna lily is peeking out top right, and will be lifted before winter. Geraniums (pink) and Dusty Miller (pale gray), and a clump of ornamental grass complete this picture.

Perennial Bed Brown-eyed Susans, Lemon Queen, Cleome at BRG
 This perennial bed just north of the bunker is known to staff and volunteers as 'Daphne's Bed' in honour of BRGSC member Daphne and her contribution to this flower bed. In June, the peonies (located on the far side in this view), offer a striking early summer show.

Successful Swale Solves Drainage Issues
With high water tables under much of this Lake Ontario shoreline Garden, drainage can be a problem. Here, head gardener, Para, and staff created a shallow swale (ditch) to direct rainwater away from plantings towards Tecumseh Creek.

Grass seed sprouted in short order, and the new swale blends into the  landscape, yet it can handle with ease the heaviest rainstorm.

As Fall progresses, more winter preparations for next year's Garden display are underway, such as transplanting shrubs and perennials, and planting hundreds of tulips.

If you can spare an hour or two here and there, drop by the Garden weekdays and ask Para or David (chances are, both will be there, working away!) what you can do to help.

There are always thistles, dandelions and other weeds to be pulled, and diligent weeding will have most of them eradicated over the coming years.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yellow Orange Flowers Late Summer, Fall Blooms at BRG

Late summer -- early fall bloomers offer a yellow and orange 'Fall Colours' preview at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden (Mississauga): Helianthus "Lemon Queen" (yellow perennial sunflower); Rudbeckia (Brown Eyed Susans); Impatiens Capensis (Orange Jewelweed; and Physalis alkekengi (Orange Chinese Lanterns).

Helianthus "Lemon Queen"
Lemon Queen, also known as perennial sunflower, are the tall flashes of bright lemon yellow gracing the garden perimeter as well as making a show of themselves in the perennial beds near the main Garden entrance on Lakeshore Road West.

Helianthus "Lemon Queen" in Perennial Bed
 Lemon Queens are easy to care for and to transplant. Some plants grow up to six feet high, and provide a lavish display at the back of a garden for minimal effort. They are pest and disease resistant, and drought tolerant. Honey bees and hummingbirds love them!

Lemon Queen Close Up Flowers
 Here's a closer look at the daisy-like flowers with deeper yellow center. Note the clear lemon colour.

Rudbeckia (Brown Eyed Susans)
Another summer into fall bloomer is the perennial Rudbeckia, also known as Brown Eyed Susans. Like Lemon Queen, Rudbeckia is a hardy, prolific bloomer that is very easy to grow. If Rudbeckia has any faults, it's that it grows so well and spreads readily enough that it will want to take over.

Lemon Queen with Rudbeckia, Purple Coneflower
 But Rudbeckia's prolific growth is a bonus, as plants can be divided or split off and transplanted to other parts of the garden. In the picture above taken at the main perennial bed, tall Lemon Queen is at the back of the bed, Brown-Eyed Susan at the front, and a glimpse of Purple Coneflower (also a member of the Rudbeckia family) to the left center.

Impatiens Capensis ~ Orange Jewelweed)
You know it's September without looking at a calendar when you see Impatiens Capensis in bloom. Also known as Orange Jewelweed, jewelweed or Touch-Me-Not, the tall plants can been found along the naturalized areas in Brueckner Rhododendron Garden (BRG).

Annual Jewelweed ~ Native North American
 The North America native plant Jewelweed likes to grow along creeks and waterways, and can be found along Tecumseh Creek in both the East and the West Garden. This gorgeous plant in the photo found root at the BRG nursery, near a clump of yellow-blooming Goldenrod. See this site for interesting facts and trivia about Jewelweed.

Physalis alkekengi  (Chinese Lanterns)

A small grouping of Chinese lanterns (Physalis alkekengi) are in fruit now near the south bridge across Tecumseh Creek. Also called Bladder cherry,  Japanese lantern and Winter cherry, Chinese lanterns are a relative of Cape Gooseberries.

Wild Aster family ~ Blue flowered Chicory
In ditches along roadsides, at the garden's edges, along trails and into woodlands, the pale blue Cichorium intybus (wild chicory, in the Aster family) complements the yellow and orange fall blooming plants. (See Wikipedia for details.)

White Flowered Rhododendron September Blooms
As if to remind us that this is, after all, a Rhododendron Garden, this white rhododendron set forth a few blooms this week. Each fall, one or another of the rhodies opens a few flowers just to stake a claim.

In Bloom Now at BRG Port Credit
As well as Lemon Queen, Jewelweed, Brown-Eyed Susans, coneflowers, chicory and Chinese lanterns, look for these blooming plants:
  • Roses -- still putting on a fairly nice display this late in the season
  • Hydtangeas 
  • Russian Sage (feather fronds in light purple)
  • Chrysanthemums all in bud and ready to pop
  • Coleus
  • Cleome (those tall round pink and white flowers in the annual bed)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

BRG: Annual Flowers in Full Bloom At Brueckner Mississauga

Annual flowers are in full bloom at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden, and the flower beds near the BRG and Port Credit signs at Godfreys Lane and Lakeshore Road West in Mississauga are especially stunning.

Yet if you usually enter Brueckner Rhododendron Garden via the parking lot or the Waterfront Trail, chances are you've yet to see one of the prettiest flower beds in the Garden.

As well as annuals such as coleus, lobelia, geraniums and vincas, there are perennials and shrubs, including a stunning PeeGee hydrangea.

And right now, all these flowers and plants are at their peak. Have a look:

BRG Sign at Lakeshore Road West and Godfreys Lane
 This annual flowers garden is on the south side of Lakeshore Road West (west of Mississauga Road and the Credit River -- see map). It marks one of three main entrances into Brueckner Garden. (The fluffy white area to the left of the sign is a PeeGee hydrangea. Other hydrangeas are located to the right of the sign.)

Perennial Grasses, Coleus, Chrysanthemums
Coleus in full bloom are truly stunning! While bright sunlight sets the colors ablaze, these stunners even glow on overcast days. There is a vibrant stand of perennial grass adding architectural interest. Chrysanthemums are still in tight buds, promising a good show in a few more weeks.

Coleus Full Bloom at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden
 Although rhododendrons and azaleas are the 'Stars of the Garden', selected annuals, (including these gorgeous coleus pictured above), and perennials, shrubs, trees and wildflowers play their parts in making the BRG an all-season garden. (Don't forget to check the Rose Garden for some late summer blooms.)

Lakeshore Road West Annual Flowers Garden
 In this view, I stood on Lakeshore Road West (south side) and looked west towards the creek, Waterfront Trail and parking lot (Main Entrance). This area between Godfreys Lane and the creek (Tecumseh Creek) is known as the East Garden.

BRG East Garden Rose of Sharon
Rose of Sharon is in full bloom in the former Lily Garden east of Tecumseh Creek and close to the Lakeshore Road sidewalk. Two footbridges connect this East Garden to the main Garden, as does the sidewalk along Lakeshore Road.

If you walk west along Lakeshore, you'll also notice more perennials, shrubs and wildflowers (native plants) as you near the Main Entrance. More wildflowers are in bloom along the creek as you walk south towards the Lake (see wildflowers pictures here).

Rose of Sharon, Waterfront Trail, Tecumseh Creek
 Lushly foliaged and covered in flowers, Rose of Sharon shows how well it responded to hard pruning last Spring (see prune Rose of Sharon details here). There are several of these late-summer bloomers in the Garden. Look, too, for the bright red, pink and mauve phlox in this area, as well as in the Peony Garden.

Coleus End of Summer Stars in the Annual Garden
Day lilies foliage makes a fine backdrop for the bright lights of coleus. This particular annual flower bed is also dressed up in spring with flowering bulbs, and even a fritillaria!

Perennial Grass, Coleus, Landscape Stones in East Garden BRG
 One final photo of the annual - perennial - shrub garden near the Port Credit sign at Godfreys Lane and Lakeshore. If you're out for a walk at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden, do take the time to visit the East Garden and take in the wonderful annual show!

Lake Ontario Lookout Brueckner Rhododendron Garden Port Credit
Located almost directly diagonal across the Garden from the Lakeshore-Godfreys Lane flower bed is the Lake Ontario lookout in the south west Garden. Though this wonderful spot has always been referred to as the Lookout, that will soon change.

Another Lake Ontario lookout is being established a few hundred meters east of here.

My thoughts are that the lookout (photo above) become known as the Top Lookout; the new lookout will become known as the Lower Lookout.  Right now, a split rail fence is being built at the Lower Lookout, and three new benches will be added to the concrete bases already in place.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tzu Chi Volunteers at BRG: Roses, Waterfront, Rhododendrons

Volunteers from Tzu Chi West Toronto Office cultivated the Rose Garden, cleaned up the Lake Ontario waterfront, and tended rhododendron and azalea beds on Saturday August 28, 2011.

Here are some pictures of this much appreciated group of volunteers who make such a difference to the look and health of the BRG garden beds.

Tzu Chi West Toronto at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden
Early yesterday morning, about 65 Tzu Chi West Toronto members (teens to seniors) gathered at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden, ready to begin a morning's work as volunteer gardeners. The sign in the left foreground marks their participation in the City of Mississauga's 'Litter Not' program, with the BRG as their special project.

What began a few years ago as a Garden and Lakeshore litter pick-up has grown into working in the rest of the Garden as well. Several times each year, members of Tzu Chi come out to the Garden, doing whatever tasks Para Kanp, BRG head gardener, asks of them. Their work in the Garden is just one of many philanthropic projects for this busy group.

Tzu Chi West Toronto in Rose Garden
The volunteers split into three groups. One group worked in the Rose Garden. Though the roses had been weeded a few weeks earlier, hot summer days encouraged weed growth as well as rose growth. Behind the fence, you will see another group who worked in the Heritage Rhododendron garden.

Tzu Chi Volunteers at Heritage Rhododendron Garden
Here's another look at the second Tzu Chi group working in the heritage rhododendron beds behind the split rail fence. The third group can be seen at the gazebo as they get ready to walk over the hill to clean up litter and debris on the Lake Ontario shore line.

Lake Ontario Shoreline Clean Up Tzu Chi Group
Here's a closer look at the Tzu Chi group busy cleaning up the western part of the BRG lake shore. Lake Ontario has high water levels due to summer rains, so to get around the large rock breakwater, this group had to walk back up the steep bank to continue with the clean up of the eastern area.

Rhododendron Azalea Bed Clean Up
Their cultivating and weeding in the Heritage Garden completed, this group of Tzu Chi volunteers moved across the garden trail to work in the hillside rhodo and azalea beds that overlook the Rose Garden. Morning mists lend an ethereal look to this shady hillside.

Rose Garden Tended by Tzu Chi West Toronto
Behind a large pile of weeds and pruned rose canes (lower right, photo), Tzu Chi volunteers work steadily in the Rose Garden. After the rose garden weeding, there were about a dozen of these large weed piles waiting to be removed by City staff.

Para Kanp (right), David Culham Thank Tzu Chi West Toronto
Para Kanp (far right), and David Culham, chair of BRG Stewardship Committee (BRGSC) (shown here standing near white pail) thanked the Tzu Chi group for their hard work, done cheerfully. He expressed appreciation for their contribution to the overall appearance and health of the Garden, and applauds their giving back to their communties.

Tzu Chi accomplished in a few hours what would take a few volunteers several days, he said, adding, "Many hands do indeed make light work." 

Tzu Chi West Toronto is a fine example of the volunteerism and community participation that are hallmarks of Canadian society, said Culham.

BRG Mixed Bed Rose Garden Before Weeding
Here''s a picture of the Mixed Bed in the Rose Garden before Saturday's weeding. Though weeded only a few weeks earlier, the soil is barely visible through the prolific weeds.

BRG Rose Bed After Weeding
Here's the same Mixed Rose Bed after Tzu Chi completed weeding and cultivating. This is great preparation for fall compost and in-fill rose planting in the Rose Garden. (The dark lines on top of the soil in the photo are drip irrigation lines.)

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Rose with Japanese Beetles
The volunteers noted the presence of Japanese beetles, shown here on Tess of the D'urbervilles red roses. Where possible, these beetles were hand picked. Persistent beetle control seems to be making a difference, as many healthy buds are evident.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Red Rosebud Blooming
With the weed removal and cultivation, it's hoped the Rose Garden will continue to attract visitors over the coming months as Summer moves into Fall.

Thanks again to Tzu Chi West Toronto Office for another job well done!

Read how to volunteer at BRG here.