Last Year in Barry’s Garden

Today we’re near Toronto visiting with Barry Severn, who has summed up his 2020 gardening year in photos.

plants sprouting out of the snowThis photo was taken at one of my favorite times of the year. Snow and ice are still here but plants are growing, first shooting up from the ground, then sprouting along stems. You can have some bad days in March, but there are warmish, sunny days that show the promise of spring.

Flats of seedlings growing in a small greenhouseI have been growing from seed since 1985. I am not the best at it, but I am eager. This is a portion of what I grew last year. This was the first year I put a heating pad into the greenhouse. I was growing tomatoes and zinnias outside while there was snow still on the ground.

Diverse plants growing over a rocky gardenI have a messy, wild garden. Things ramble and it requires tons of weeding, but there is great soil (used to be a farm yard); the garden is a collection rather than a neat landscape. Here in May we see muscari (Muscari armeniacum, Zones 3–9) in the foreground; scattered tulips (Tulipa hybrids, Zone 3–8) and daffodils (Narcissus hybrid, Zones 3–8); purple pulsatilla (Pulsatilla vulgaris, Zone 4–8) and lungwort (Pulmonaria, Zone 3–8) in the background; Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum, Zones 3–9) in the upper right; ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius, Zones 2–5) just leafing out in red on the upper right; and a small red Sedum running rampant.

Tiny perennials in a rock gardenThe main rock garden

Androsace sempervivoidesThis is a fabulous little gem of an alpine plant. I think I bought this one from ORG&HPS—Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society). It’s an Androsace, maybe Androsace sempervivoides (Zones 4–7). It is one of the fascinating alpines one can grow from seed.

Phacelia tanacetifoliaI also grew wildflowers from seed in a pot on the terrace. This one is Phacelia tanacetifolia (Zones 2–10).

Cluster of potato flowersBecause of the stay-at-home orders, we decided to do some veggies. I didn’t really have much spare room, so I used pots. This was one of the hottest, driest summers, and the watering was every day. I can’t say it was a success, although the potatoes turned out fairly decently. This is a potato flower.

Opuntia cacti flowersThe outdoor Opuntia cacti (Zones 4–9) flowered for the first time.

bumblebee on an AlliumThe garden is built for wildlife. Here is a bumblebee on an Allium.

butterfly on a bottlebrush buckeyeAnd here is a tiger swallowtail on bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora, Zones 4–8).

late summer garden full of flowersA general view of the garden late in the season.

cardinal on snow covered branchesWe get lots of birds. So I’ll finish off with a cardinal in the snow.


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