Big News About The Toronto Gardener’s Journal

We are excited to announce that the long-time publisher of the Toronto Gardener’s Journal & Source Book, Margaret Bennet-Alder, has handed the publishing reins to us. This extremely useful journal has always been a favourite with us, and it’s been on the Toronto garden scene for over 25 years. 2018 will mark birthday number 26. Not only […]

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How to over-winter gladiolus

This month, I’ve learned you can’t do everything. Setting priorities means doing what counts most (such as saving the Gladiolus corms that have given me such pleasure), and setting the rest aside (such as NaBloPoMo 2017). Before the unseasonal cold snap this month, I dug up the corms above. What’s a corm? It’s the thickened […]

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The reason I planted 250 snowdrops

October and November have been so busy, I had to go back to look at my spring pictures to see aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall those bulbs in bloom. Just to remind myself that it’s worthwhile planting bulbs now, despite the fact that the weather is getting grim and life is unusually hectic. In spring, when my appetite was biggest, […]

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More bee hotels for your collection

Wherever I travel, my eyes are sharply on the lookout for housing. Housing for birds and bees and butterflies, that is. This summer, my little eye spied this big bee and, perhaps, butterfly condo in the Smithsonian Gardens in Washington, D.C.. With all those living options, it would be the perfect home for all kinds of solitary, […]

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Amelanchier foliage glows red for fall

While planting the first 300 of my far-too-many bulbs today, I felt I’d earned the right to pause for a moment and admire the red fall foliage on my serviceberry (Amelanchier). The sun had scooted under the clouds and was making the leaves just glow. Amazing. This year’s glow seems stronger than last year’s. However, when […]

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Pachypodium, the monster on my windowsill

My reputation as Helen the Houseplant Killer might be at risk. I keep discovering plants that resist my planticidal tendencies. Like the one above, which arrived as a gift from our son three years ago. It still lives! Not only that, if it lives longer, it might qualify as a killer itself, or at least as a […]

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Battle of the bulbs on CBC Radio

Subtract 5 minutes from my 15 minutes of fame after I was interviewed by Matt Galloway in the closing segment of Metro Morning today. It came about pretty quickly yesterday afternoon, with a tweet from – and pleasant 20-minute chat with – a show producer. We talked about one of my favourite (spring bulbs) and non-favourite (squirrels who […]

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Do your grasses have catchew disease?

You might want to categorize this under “pets and diseases.” That first word isn’t a typo. Some disfiguring plant problems have nothing to do with bugs or fungi. Some “pests” are considerably larger. For example, if your lovely Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) is supposed to look like this. And, instead, it looks like […]

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A day to love plants that die well

If you find the chore of deadheading scary, don’t fear. For some plants, deadheading has been dead for a decade and more. Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf woke us to the beauty of plants in all their stages, including the end of their lifecycle. In other words, dying and dead. Confession: I’d never absorbed the Oudolfian phrase, “plants that […]

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Live long and garden

It isn’t unusual to see Toronto playing other cities on film or TV. Toronto pretends to be New York in shows like Suits, for instance. But I went Hey! with delight seeing our city cast as a place on a different planet in a recent episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Welcome to a celebration on Vulcan! That accounts […]

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Memento flori in a vase

Are you thinking, What a hot mess! when you look at my opening shot? Listen, kid, it’s late October. Everything in the garden was a tad weather-beaten when I cut the Pyracantha berries I knew would glow in an arrangement. But my theatre training tells me something about those raggedy edges and hail-pockmarked leaves. Like stage makeup: It won’t read from […]

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RBG’s Rock Garden rocks in October!

If you only think “spring bulbs” or “rock garden plants” when you think of the Rock Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, you haven’t seen it lately. In the last couple years, it has undergone a major transformation. I can’t believe it took me so long to visit, but being carless is my excuse. Even […]

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