On ants, aphids and mutualism

[Update: Thrilled to announce that this post won Gold for Best Digital Writing at the 2018 GWA Media Awards from the Association for Garden Communicators. It was an unexpected honour, especially since the competition was very worthy.] I’d wanted to tell you a cool thing about ants and aphids. These are Norway maple aphids (Periphyllus lyropictus), one of 4,000+ aphid species. (Who […]

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Wild Bees Need Goldenrod

This summer I talked to wild bee expert Sheila Colla, a scientist from York University, about wild bees and what we as gardeners can do to help them. One of the first things Sheila made clear was that wild bees are native bees and we must make a distinction between them and honeybees, which are not […]

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Parasitic wildflowers are born to be wild

This ghostly character is something you don’t see every day, certainly not in Toronto. With its fleshy, pale appearance those who see it can mistake it for a mushroom. It isn’t. Instead it’s the chlorophyl-free parasitic plant called variously indian pipe, ghost pipe or ghost plant, and corpse flower (Monotropa uniflora). I came across it while camping […]

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How To Pick the Best Shrubs – from Expert Sean James

At a recent Toronto Botanical Gardens talk, Sean James gave us the lowdown on how he uses shrubs. Sean, who’s been gardening since he was four, is an entertaining speaker with tons of knowledge. Sean graduated from Niagara Park school and he now runs Sean James Consulting and Design. He’s an award-winning environmentalist, who is passionate […]

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Wildflower walk along the Bruce Trail

An early Mother’s Day visit to our Number One Dot and her partner O – on the first fine day this spring – took us in search of waterfalls on the Niagara Escarpment. The couple had newly moved to Hamilton, with over 100 waterfalls within its boundaries. This was news to Mr TG and I […]

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When bad things happen to good gardens

It all started with a basement pillar that had been removed, years ago, by a previous owner. The shoring-up they’d done might have once been code. According to the structural engineer we consulted, just in case, it wouldn’t be code now. And our basement project escalated from there. For me, the worst of it wasn’t […]

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