Malus domestica ‘Akane’

'Akane' apple

Malus domestica ‘Akane’         Family: Rosaceae
Common name: ‘Akane’ apple; ‘Tokyo Rose’; ‘Prime Red’
Zone: 4
Origin: Japan, 1937
Parents: ‘Jonathan’ x ‘Worcester Pearmain’
Introduced: 1970
Harvest: late August – September

cluster of 'Akane' applesDescription: Fruit is on the small to medium size with a slight flattening to its conical shape. Colour is a greenish-yellow with wonderful red blushing spreading over top. Flesh is white; taste is a mix of tart with an overture of sweet. It is self-sterile; needs another apple species for pollination. Decent resistance to scab, mildew, fireblight, and cedar apple rust. Codling moth and aphids can be problematic.


Special Notes: Developed at the Morika Experimental Station in Japan in 1937 but was not introduced globally until 1970. This apple typically ripens early in the mid-season range of the harvest period…usually in September. Good eating and cooking apple with a firm texture, keeping its shape throughout cooking. Good keeper if kept in cold storage at 4 °C (39 °F). Outside of cold storage, ‘Akane’ will only keep for 2-3 weeks.


branch of 'Akane' applesIn our Zone 7a garden: ‘Akane’ is just one of six branches on our three-tiered espalier apple tree. The tree was planted in spring of 2013 and this year’s harvest was the best one yet at 41 apples weighing 4 kg (8 lb 13 oz). Not bad for just an 8 ft (2.4 m) long branch and definitely enough for just the two of us.


'Akane' apple harvest 2018








Posted on October 3, 2018

Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Helhan’ (Loraine Sunshine)

Heliopsis Loraine Sunshine

Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Helhan’   Family: Asteraceae
Syn. Heliopsis helianthoides Loraine Sunshine
(hee-lee-OP-sis  hee-lee-an-THOY-deez)
Common name: false sunflower; ox-eye daisy
Zone: 3 – 9 
Height: 2 – 3 ft (60-90 cm)   Spread: 2 – 3 ft (60-90 cm)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: average; well-draining
Water: moderate

Description: An herbaceous, upright growing, perennial. Dynamic lanceolate leaves are white with strong green colouring in the veins. Leaf edges tend to naturally curl upwards slightly. Round, daisy-like flowers are 2 to 3 inches in diameter and a bright cheery yellow colour. Blooming period begins in mid-June and lasts through until frost. Good cut flowers. Drought tolerant once established. Powdery mildew can be a problem; allow for good air circulation. Watch for aphids.

Special Notes: Heliopsis spp. are native to the eastern and central regions of Canada and the United States. This variegated hybrid was discovered in a Wisconsin garden in 1992. Blooms of Bressingham took on the propagation and eventually introduced it worldwide.

Tolerant of a range of soil conditions with the exception of very fertile and very poor. The former produces lanky growth with a tendency to flop. Very poor soil conditions will produce a smaller clump with fewer stems.


Heliopsis helianthoides Loraine SunshineIn our Zone 7a garden:Loraine Sunshine was introduced into our back garden about ten years ago and has been greatly enjoyed ever since. At full three foot height and spread, the plant is pure delight when in full bloom and really quite incredible for its long bloom period extending into late fall. Even the tough drought conditions we have been experiencing for the last four summers now have not fazed its floral show. Can highly recommend this Heliopsis cultivar.


Posted on July 25, 2018

Dodecatheon meadia

Dodecatheon meadia Dodecatheon meadia     Family: Primulaceae
(doe-duh-KAY-thee-un  MEE-dee-uh)

Common name: shooting star
Zone: 4 – 8 
Height: 12-20 in (30-50 cm)  Spread: 10-12 in (25-30 cm)
Aspect: full sun; part shade; full shade
Soil: moist, fertile, well-draining
Water: moderate

Dodecatheon meadia flowers

Description: An herbaceous perennial with pale green, lance-shaped leaves which form an upright rosette. As many as four leafless flower stalks emerge from the centre of the rosette, arising to a height of up to 20 inches (50 cm). Each flower stalk has an umbel on top with as many as twenty nodding, lightly fragrant flowers dangling from their individual stems. Each 1 inch (2.5 cm) long flower has 5 reflexed petals. Colour can be variable, ranging from white to pink to lavender purple. A cluster of bright yellow stamens is noticeable below the petals for its pointed formation. The whole floral effect gives the appearance of a bunch of shooting stars plummeting to earth. Bloom time is mid- to late spring…April through May. A seed capsule containing small dark seeds forms on top of the stalk after flower petals die back.


Special Notes: Native to North America…more commonly on the east coast and into the central prairies, but also found in the Pacific Northwest. Typically, this plant is found growing naturally in glades, deciduous forests, treed rock slopes, ledges, and meadows. It is tolerant of most soil types…preferring rich, moist, well-draining soil, but also clay-type as long as drainage is decent. Does not like poorly drained, wet soils, especially in winter. Due to its early bloom time, it is an important foraging plant for queen bumblebees. The whole plant goes dormant in summer, reappearing the following spring.

There are no serious pest or disease problems. Deer resistant.

Slow and difficult to grow from seed. Needs vernalization…exposure to a prolonged period of winter cold…for germination. Easiest method is to allow the plant to self-seed. Alternatively, the seed can be collected in spring, sown in a tray filled with a sterile soil-less potting mix, and placed in a protected shady spot outdoors for the rest of the year. (Make sure the soil is kept slightly damp.) You can also collect the seeds and store them in an envelope or other suitable container, and place them in a cool, dry location. There are a few different methods of germinating collected seeds held indoors. One such method is to place some sterile soil-less potting mix in a ziplock bag, then add some seeds to the mix…making sure they are incorporated into the potting soil. Place the bag in the refrigerator for one day. Next day, place the bag of soil and seeds in the freezer for one day. Repeat this alternating schedule for one week. After stratifying the seeds in this manner, sow them about 0.1 inch (0.3 cm) deep in pots and place on a heating mat set to 20 °C (68 °F). Make sure the pots do not dry out.

Or you can save some of this trouble and simply divide your plant when it is large enough.

In our Zone 7a garden: We have a delightful clump of Dodecatheon meadia under the magnolia tree. Always a pleasure to see it arrive on scene…a true indication spring is really getting underway.

We have allowed this plant to self-seed in place to save the work of germinating seeds ourselves. The plant will be then be divided.

Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (AGM) 1993


Posted on April 4, 2018


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