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Garden Season Over in central Ontario


By John Beaulieu (pronounced BOWL-you)

We have had day-time temperatures in the single digits for a while now with nights below freezing, and now some days are barely getting on the plus side! The snow today convinced me that it is really over… Although only late November (still Autumn), it now feels wintery.

Falling snow does not really show up in a still shot, but it is coming down and has been for most of the day.

The snow is building up on the old hydrangea flower heads.

The wonderful mums are now all finished.

The tall grasses are now brown and there is a dusting of snow on everything… Not at all unusual at this time of year. Sometimes the snow comes at this time and stays until April, although I’m crossing my fingers that this may disappear soon.

I have dealt with the plants that can’t stay out. These two erodiums transitioned for a bit in the back porch, and are now inside in a bright window that also has lights above the shelves. The Erodium trifolium (left) is certainly not hardy here, and I suspect that the Erodium daucoides would not stand a good Canadian winter either. Both were grown from seed this year. If I am able to propagate more E. daucoides, I would test one outside in-ground one winter.

These three are being tested over the winter in the back porch, now that the two erodiums have moved right in. I’m hoping they will be hardy enough in the porch and will bloom next year to give me seeds to keep them going. I guess I was late in sowing them and they did not have a long enough growing season.

In the garden rockery, I have been keeping my eye on some other erodiums… This one, still with new growth was a seedling last year and did survive the last winter. It flowered all summer. The seed came from a well-known geranium/erodium hybridizer up in Northumberland, UK, Cyril Foster. I am pleased to see there are now two growing crowns. My fingers are crossed that it will continue to get through our winters which can go as low as -30 at times. Of course they also have to tolerate the other end at +30 at times in the summer!

Here is the same plant with it’s first flower. I like the fine-cut foliage which reminded me of Erodium carvifolium. Cyril said that carvifolium could be one of the parents. Since we are not sure of the background and it did bloom all summer I have named it after a favourite TV show, Erodium ‘Midsomer Mystery’.

My actual last flower of the season in my garden was Geranium sanguineum.

The milkweed seeds have now mostly drifted away.

I did see a nice November butterfly… A Tortoiseshell. Also often one of the first seen in the Spring… Perhaps because they over-winter in debris. Maybe it has it’s eye on those fern leaves as a good spot to shelter in?

Back to the reality of today… The plants may be all looked after, but I see a few things out there that I still need to deal with… Such as my snow covered humming bird feeder!

More blog posts by bowl_you


Next post: CYCLAMEN from seed



our second frost of the year today. We are unlikely to get snow in East Yorkshire.

Snow looks so pretty when it is falling gently but as you say not the best form for taking pictures. But at least it protects plants from even colder conditions.
Stay warm and snug.

25 Nov, 2023


Love your snowy pics, John. Very picturesque. The snow often lends a blanket of cover I guess.
Your geranium and eroding are pretty, I've both in my back garden.
You'll be clearing your feeder for those beautiful hummingbird visitors..
As Eileen says, keep warm, cosy and safe.

25 Nov, 2023


Good luck with your plants, they seem interesting ones to have. I've never grown Erodiums but have several hardy Geraniums, and a wild one called Geranium robertianum (Herb Robert) which can become a pest if alowed ...

I hate snow and cold weather with a vengance, they make me feel depressed and miserable. I could never live in a cold snowy place.
It's mostly mild and wet here in south Wales. That suits me fine :)

25 Nov, 2023


Yes Kate123 and Seaburngirl, the snow gives protection and allows us to grow things that might not do well in the UK because of a lot of 'wet'. Lately the snowcover in the middle of winter has been around two feet, but many years we have had three feet of snow cover!

The hummingbird feeder won't go out until May... The hummers left for the tropics about two months ago. It was left out for migrating ones that might have passed through, but still SHOULD HAVE been brought in a month ago!

Hywel, we have Herb Robert growing here as a native in wild places, and it is in my garden too. That G. rubescens that I put in the porch is a very close cousin, just larger, and it is even known as the giant Herb Robert. As you can see, the rubescens leaves turn a brilliant red, even more so than robertianum.

As I write this comment the next day, we have had even more snow overnight... A lot of what we get is not system snow, it is lake effect... As the colder winds blow over the warmer water of the Great Lakes, they pick up moisture and drop it on us in the form of snow streamers!

I know you all must have laughed when wrote 'comment'. as this has tended to become more of another article. This is because I check for any comments in the morning as I sit with my giant mug of caffeine... er, coffee!

25 Nov, 2023


I also have herb Robert. It is one of our natives too, but can become a nusiance but easy to remove. thankfully.

another cold start here.

26 Nov, 2023


I do think snowy scenes are so beautiful, I like the changing seasons. Saying that, it's so pretty looking out at these picturesque views from the inside, cosied up and warm! Coffee in hand, as you say!
I hope you and your family are keeping safe.

26 Nov, 2023


Love your snowy photos, the 1st one especially. Some frosty mornings at the moment, here in Surrey UK.

26 Nov, 2023


I have just found you!! Going through older blogs on a cold very wet day and loved your garden in the summer, plus all your Cannas.
I only have one in a bog garden and thrives there.
I loved the first picture too.
Your garden is amazing and love the way you have to walk through it and then something else appears.
I have tried to do this but on a much smaller scale.
I think we may have snow this week and will be the first snow for quite a few years.
Looking forward to seeing more of your garden in the spring.

27 Nov, 2023


Thank you Rose for looking through my older blogs. Those back paths have changed a lot, and much has grown over the last five years since mt knees gave out and I must use a walking frame for balance. It does not take long for nature to take over. Brenda did widen a few paths and put down some new limestone gravel for me to be able to get part way through the garden, but in doing that she caused a bit of a knee problem that still affects her... What a pair! Well, we still enjoy what we can easily get to. Just have to be content that we can't do it all. I'm planning a blog for some point in January, a year in review in the garden, so you should see more views then. Our property has never been a 'show' or 'display' garden, just a collection of things that we like, put where ever there is room... No real plan or colour coordination. :) After all, Mother Nature does not colour match and is even known to have magenta flowers next to orange ones! :D :D

27 Nov, 2023


Yes Feverfew, the snow can be very pretty. We have not reached our Winter Wonderland yet, but it is coming down quite good this morning (Nov 27) and we could end up with four or five inches. Once again a result of lake effect snow. We are in the 'snow belt'... While an hour drive south in Toronto, they may have no snow!

27 Nov, 2023


Can't you get replacement knees where you live ?
That would make a big difference to you.

30 Nov, 2023


It's not a replace knee issue, nothing wrong with bone structure, but I'm a person that avoids a simple needle, let alone something like that! :D

30 Nov, 2023

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