Check Out Barry Garden in January


No matter what time of year it is, there is always something interesting in Barry’s garden (lots and lots of interesting things), and although I know I can’t play without a proper camera, I can’t deny that I am sometimes (mostly) lazy and the camera stays at home. Of course, I always contrition it afterwards, as I did when I visited him on Friday to see what was new.

And what was new was everything. It was the day of the epic thaw. One day, our urban gardens are buried in snow that we haven’t seen in ages, and the next day, the sun is shining, the birds are busy and a guy is hanging out in the street with a t-Shirt and flip-flops like it’s August, except it’s not August, it’s January, and it can be abnormally hot, Woooo!). This guy is going to contrition it next week if he’s stuck in the bathroom with NoroVirus symptoms, I’ll tell you what.

I love those first big strings. First, they are a much-needed reminder that winter is not forever. Spring will return. They also show that life has not stopped Under the snow. The plants are alive. Some of them are green and fresh. Take this lush and very vibrant hellebore (above) in Barry’s garden. Before I met Barry, I had never paid much attention to hellebore. Now I can appreciate their merits, The main thing is that they stay green all year round!

Some of them, like these Helleborus Niger ‘Praecox’, bloom in December and January, when most of the plants are at dormant months, let alone making flowers. Let me repeat: I took this photo a few days ago. In January. In Toronto. What a plant!

The leaves of Ranunculus ficaria appear above the ground. Barry is raising them in a bog he made by burying some form of pond underground. On his Blog A Sense of Place, Barry has a large Gallery representing the many shapes of his garden. My favorite is (and always will be) the fabulous “brazen Hussy”.

The horned poppy (Glaucium flavum) seems to look good at any time of the year. Barry gave me a plant to transplant into my garden last fall, and I hope that it will survive this first winter and will also be successful for me in the spring.

A black Granite sculpture by Simon Muscat is flanked by Bergenia cordifolia.

Galanthus elwesii offers its flowers much earlier than the more common G. nivalis.

Then we went in to see what was going on in the greenhouse. The outer door was winter-hardy, so first we had to go through the basement where I stopped to see the agaves and succulents wintering under the lights.

Barry overwinters his large rosemary potted plants in a cold, unheated greenhouse. It’s worth it for the colorful and edible flowers they produce all winter long.

I leave you with this photo of a uniform line of Delosperma in pots. Many of these South African flowering succulents can withstand the cold winter outdoors (especially in troughs), but I winter mine in a cold but sheltered place (and Barry too) because they are in terracotta pots that would break if left outside.

I have a few more photos to show you the activities in Barry’s unheated greenhouse, but I’ll leave them for another day.

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