Getting ready for the big chill

Today’s cold snap reminds us. Winter is coming! The first frost for Toronto statistically falls around October 29th. But when overnight temps dip into the low single digits, like now, we know that anything could happen. So today, in honour of Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday (IAVOM) over on Rambling in the Garden, I took pity on some […]

Continue Reading

Mums, the word at Allan Gardens

The trouble with digital cameras is that they can do everything for you except point and shoot. It’s almost too easy. But, hey, it’s never too late to climb out of that comfort zone. That’s why my friend E convinced me to join her at an advanced photography course offered by Parks and Rec. Our first challenge: going fully […]

Continue Reading

Thanksgiving flowers and revasing

Our guests were almost here for our first new-tradition of Thanksgiving brunch on Monday. Then I noticed the beautiful arrangement my Number One Dot had gifted me for my Big Birthday. Oops. It really needed retiring. Once the flowers were pulled from the vase, though, it was clear that some were up for a second round. The blue […]

Continue Reading

Kylemore Abbey and Victorian walled garden, Ireland

Closing time seems to be my siren call. Especially when it comes to gardens. We were in Galway, Ireland, one afternoon when we impulsively decided to drive 90 minutes northwest to see Kylemore Abbey. Once a stately home, it’s now a Benedictine abbey, still famous for its postcard-pretty setting and restored Victorian walled garden. There are only […]

Continue Reading

Knotweed: The naughty and the not

To be honest, most knotweeds are at least a little naughty. They can spreaaaaaaad. That might be a good trait in a ground cover. But some, notably the invasive and hard to eradicate Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica, syn. Fallopia japonica, syn. Polygonum cuspidatum), are very, very naughty indeed. This PDF from the Ontario Invasive Plant Council explains. Others, like our covergirl, Persicaria amplexicaulis […]

Continue Reading

My volunteer tomato adventure

After the Tomato Heartbreak of 2016 (*more on that in a moment), I vowed there’d be no more than one tomato plant in my garden. Certainly no tomatoes planted in my big garden trough. Despite last year being one of the best years in memory for tomatoes and despite me darting out, waving arms and shouting, […]

Continue Reading

Zinnia, the gift that gives and gives

Heaven knows why I resisted growing Zinnia for so long. I think I assumed my garden was too shady, or that I didn’t have enough room. This year, I had a packet of red-and-white ‘Canada Day’ zinnia seed mix from Renee’s Garden. When it was fairly late, the first week of July, I thought, what […]

Continue Reading

And now, June Blake’s Garden, Blessington

After our wet, wild, wonderful day at Jimi Blake’s garden on our Irish holiday, we tore ourselves off to visit the garden of his sister June Blake, about five minutes away. It was almost closing, and our visit was cut decisively short by a sudden, intense deluge, a theme for the day. The siblings share an exuberant […]

Continue Reading

Jimi Blake’s Hunting Brook Gardens, Ireland

As giddy as a schoolboy. (Picture Alastair Sim skipping around as Scrooge on Christmas morning.) That’s how my husband described me when we finally arrived at Hunting Brook Gardens on Lamb Hill near Bellington in the Wicklow mountain foothills. It had been a long time coming. Four years ago, I’d tried, tried hard, to persuade my travelling buds in Ireland […]

Continue Reading

The evil that is painted plants

Ireland has beautiful gardens, and I’ll soon be writing about them. But you won’t see these spray-painted heathers in any of them. Pictured at the Irish big-box store Woodie’s in Dundalk, County Louth, they prove that even countries with beautiful gardens can commit serious “crimes against nature.” They put the “vulgar” in Calluna vulgaris. Online snooping reveals that this crime has […]

Continue Reading

Here there be dragons

If things have been quieter on the Toronto Gardens blog recently, it’s because one of us has been travelling and the other is now back teaching. The traveller (me) is in Ireland, being distracted by – among many other things – dragons. While the ones at the top were “captured” in a local antique shop, I’m […]

Continue Reading

Plough the field you’re given

A small garden. A small vase. A few minutes with the scissors. It’s amazing what can pass for bounty when you set your mind to it. Although I whine a lot about the Microgarden, it can often be counted on to produce a pretty nice bouquet, even in different seasons. This one, I gave to my […]

Continue Reading
1 2 3 85