A garden is no place for ageism

The garden is about every passage of life. Youth, adolescence, old age. Even death. ~ Princess Peggy Abkhazi Today’s weather has chilled, but the sudden heat of the past two days put a definite frizzle in my long display of tulips. Before the forecast wind and rain (that never came), I went out last night to deadhead […]

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‘Green Spice’ is a fabulous Heuchera

A shade gardener who values foliage design, someone like me, needs a healthy appreciation for the huge coralbells family (Heuchera). Hybridizers have created a ridiculously wide array of choices in coralbell leaf shape, colour, patterning, and size. Some have even put the “coral” back in the coralbell flowers. When you add crosses with Heuchera cousin Tiarella you get many more […]

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Win tickets to see The Gardener documentary

Did you know? Canada is home to one of North America’s most spectacular private gardens. We’ve written twice about Les Quatre Vents, near La Malbaie, Quebec (here and here) and at last I have an excuse to write about it again. Because it, and its creator Francis Cabot, is now the subject of a feature documentary, The Gardener, playing May 18 […]

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What’s wrong with my ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea?

Last year around this time (late April or early May) I noticed something strange about the leaves on shoots of my old, reliable ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas. They looked glued together into a puffy, leaf-shaped balloon. What was wrong? In fact, they were “glued” or rather tightly stitched together at the edges. Turns out the culprit was the larva of […]

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It’s a rainy spring day, and I’m expecting

Today’s rain has been pretty relentless. But, no matter how it buckets down, I just can’t stop myself from going out, staring at the garden… and expecting things. Expecting the reappearance of a plant planted last fall. Is that it? That? No, just another Norway maple seedling. Drat. Expecting those colour-coordinated tulips I added in 2016 […]

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Double bloodroot blows me away

Every spring, a small, white, puffy flower explodes on the shady north side of my garden – and every year, it’s pure excitement, all over again. It never fails, and it never fails me. In fact, this double version of the native Sanguinaria canadensis has multiplied constantly, ever since it came as a gift from Cold […]

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An Icky Honeydew You Don’t Want

For the last few months I’ve been battling scale on an large indoor-wintering abutilon, or Flowering Maple. I’d been occasionally picking the scale off by hand, or with a microfiber cloth, (which works quite well) and I was (sort of) keeping them at bay. I’m a pretty experienced scale squisher, and I thought I had […]

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How I don’t spring-clean the garden

At last! Sunday gave us a day that was springy enough to let us work outside. An afternoon of liberating my pent-up gardener accomplished a lot. But. No matter how eager I was, here are three things I didn’t do to clean up the garden. I didn’t get carried away April 2 in Toronto is a touch early for any drastic garden task […]

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The long, lovely season of Helleborus

Hellebores (Helleborus spp) are fabulous, long-blooming spring flowers for a dry-shade garden like mine. Although I’m hoping to incorporate more native plants in my garden, this gorgeous Eurasian will likely stay – not only for its months-long show of flowers, but as an early-spring pollen and nectar source for pollinators. In fact, an interesting tidbit […]

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Another use for Luffa (or loofah)

This desiccated winter planter turned my head near George Brown College a few weeks ago. Not for its artistry, but for the realization: Hey, those red “pine cones” are loofahs! Loofahs! Not sea creatures, but the fibrous cores of mature gourds such as Luffa aegyptiaca – all in the cucumber or squash family. We associate loofahs with sponges because they hang […]

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A viral tour of Canada Blooms 2017

There’s never a good time for a bad cold. But when it’s Canada Blooms, and you have a whole bunch of volunteer stuff to do, garden writer events to attend, plus pictures to take and thoughtful* posts to write? Well, ah-chooey! For better or, more likely, worse, here’s my viral or virusy view of this year. (*Doing […]

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