I have a small treed garden in Toronto. I grow herbs and a few flowers on the partially sunny patio; the rest of the yard is entirely in shade. Most of the large perennials were in the ground when we moved into the house. The photos are from some years ago and do not nearly do the garden justice. They were taken when the herbs were on the sunny balcony (had to reroof and in doing so, found the deck was rotting - haven't gotten around to replacing the deck yet). Please click on small photos to see enlargements.
My greatest achievement is to have a miniature lilac survive several winters in a large container in the backyard. (And the garden centre expert told me categorically that it would die for sure if I didn't plant it in the ground.) It survived the snowfall of more than 120 cm in the first two weeks of January 1999 (including having most of the snow from the flat roof dumped on it); it is truly a miraculous plant.
My next greatest achievement (but of course, it was sheer luck) was to have a sage plant in an eight inch pot survive outdoors since the winter of 1997 on the balcony. Granted, we had a very mild winter in 1997 but 1999 was not. (I'm sure that for the plant to survive under those dire circumstances is against the rules!) I surrounded the pot with leaves and other pots. Amazing! Alas, the poor thing finally succumbed in the really severe winter we had in 2002. I have now replaced it with a sage in the ground.
In an attempt to capture as much sun as possible, we have put up quite a few mirrors against the fenced-in area around the patio. (Some mirrors we got from garage sales. But the two best ones are some sliding shower mirrors left over from a serious renovation we did some years ago.) We love the way the mirrors make the very small garden seem to be much larger. Setting up the table for dining outdoors can be tricky though. We try to place the chairs in such a way that people can look into the mirrors to see parts of the garden rather than watch themselves eat!
back yard:Russian olive tree, locust tree, ferns, some sort of cedar-like tree, arugula, garlic, elfin cherry impatiens,
- 2 Large pots: small Gingko tree (a gangly 3 feet tall); red hibiscus (I hope it survived indoors this winter, anyway....)
behind garage (in lane):orange day lilies galore, chinese lanterns, oregano, cosmos (carmine),
patio:ornamental apple tree, Golden Ninebark, BridalWreathe Spirea, forsythia, Mock Orange(?), HoneySuckle (alas, unscented), periwinkle, spearmint, chervil, basil (genovese), sunflowers, chives, marjoram, sweet woodruff, mystery shrub (beautiful dark green leaves and sharp thorns - someone said it was RoseofSharon but it isn't), blue lobelia, ginger mint, lily-of-the-valley, columbine (rose red with white centers), giant pink lily (I think it's on hormones - it's over 5 feet tall), red tulips, daffodils, sage, tarragon, thyme, lemon thyme, dill, viola, marjoram, lavender, fennel, marjoram,
- 6 Large pots: Pink Calla; miniature lilac; lobelia (blue), basil (genovese); viola, English Lavender (I thought I'd give the English a try - French has died two years in a row); fennel, white allysum;
- 6 Medium pots: cayenne pepper; cardamom; marjoram; mystery wild flower with pink flowers sowed by birds; sunflowers sown by the birds; rosemary
- 6 Small pots: cardamon; sage; agertum; white allysum; mystery wild flower with pink flowers sowed by birds; lemon verbena
- 4 hanging pots on house and fence: nasturtium, Streptocarpella (concord blue), Torenia (blue), catnip (faasen's and regular), Blue Lobelia
- 3 pots hanging in Russian Olive: Elfin Cherry impatiens, white with a red eye impatiens, mystery plant from overwintering in the basement (I can't remember WHAT it is?!? The leaf doesn't look familiar at all.)
frontyard:Silver maple, Jackmanii clematis, eunomymous, Hicks yew, some sort of miniature pine, cedar?, periwinkle, sweet woodruff, grass,
- 2 hanging pots on porch: ivy; Thumbergia (black eyed susan)
- 2 pots on porch: mandavilla; aloe vera
For special dinners, I like to tie together bunches of herbs from the garden to garnish the plates. I use chives to tie them so that everything on the plates will be edible. One July day, four of us dined in the garden surrounded by flowers and trees. These were the garnishes for the plates. These garnishes not only look gorgeous but they taste wonderful as well.
(Please click on the small photo to see an enlargement.)
I have also drawn a few labels for herbs.
2006: bay, coriander, mint, sage, nasturtium, viola, chives