Garden Routes Home – A journal excerpt


CAPTION: Some of today’s chores as they await the gardener’s attention. (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Garden Journal, Friday, May 30:

A great morning to catch up with garden chores!

The sky is bright blue, the sun is shining and chickadees nesting next door and other feathered friends are singing up a chorus! What a serenade !



There’s a peony to be planted in the back garden along the fence, and astilbe  – both my wife’s selections. The grass must be cut today and some weeding is definitely called for! After that, four hostas will be given prominent placings in the front yard between two beds of roses. Wave petunias, their scent drawing attention to their out-of-sight location, await transplanting into beds or window boxes.

I’ve given roses in a sideyard bed a quick once over and counted a couple dozen buds on various bushes including the climber, America, which has been giving us among the earliest showings of colour the past few years.


CAPTION: The climber America is showing buds.

The prolific climber, New Dawn, my classic light pink, was given a good pruning earlier this spring while across the way, sprawling Heaven’s Eye, a hybrid setigera, looks like it will be loaded with flowers sooner rather than later! It’s a one-time bloomer, but the hundreds of small, mauve beauties that seem to pop out of nowhere compensate for this downside. Watch for a pic or two in upcoming garden journal excerpts. That’s it until the next entry. . .


The City of Welland Rose went back on sale to the public this week after an absence of about four years.

The beautiful hybrid tea is being sold by the Welland Rose Festival committee – cheers to Allen Bunyan and the committee for bringing back the city’s official rose. Call the Rose Festival office, 905-732-7673 to check on availability.


Saturday, June 21: Welland Horticultural Society’s annual rose show. Full details in Garden Routes Home, June 6.

Monday, June 23: Evening Garden Walk, Four Gardens in Pelham. Meet at Fonthill Library at 6:30 p.m. for list of gardens. Free for members, non-members $10. Refreshments to follow.


‘Paeonia Bartzella’: You’ve seen peonies in white, pink mauve. Chances are you have not seen this peony.



CAPTION: This yellow peony was given a home in a backyard bed along the fence.

Bartzella comes out in breathtaking yellow. It can be the brightest star of any garden, sure to attract attention and even a few ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ Here is one good description, from a perennials website: “Itoh peonies are rare and unusual hybrids between garden peonies and tree peonies. There are several varieties, all highly sought after by collectors, yet easy to grow and very hardy. This selection forms a tall, upright bush of lush green leaves that stand up well into the autumn. The HUGE flowers are double to semi-double, with soft sulphur-yellow petals and a lemony fragrance. A highly regarded selection, outstanding performer.”

Be sure to watch for it here – in full colour – in a few weeks.


CAPTION: Window boxes await these wave petunias.


 “I plant daffodil bulbs about eight inches deep. As I mentioned before, I don’t use a ruler. As a married woman, I know perfectly well what six or eight inches looks like, so it’s easy to make a good estimate. This mental measurement makes planting time much more interesting than it might be otherwise.” – Casandra Danz, Mrs. Greenthumbs: How I Turned a Boring Yard into a Glorious Garden and How You Can, Too.

Next Garden Routes Home: Friday, June 6, first local garden profile (delayed one week due to weather), and weekly after that through mid-August.

Sunset today, Friday, May 30: 8:42 p.m.

Sunrise tomorrow, Saturday, May 31: 5:18 a.m.

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)

2 thoughts on “Garden Routes Home – A journal excerpt

  1. Hilda Finlayson

    In a Zoomer magazine article about Prince Charles’ gardens at his Highgrove estate, there was an interesting quote – “A garden is a series of losses set against a few triumphs.  Like life itself.”  Being an optimist, I think it should be the reverse, which seems to be true in your case.



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