TBG Holiday Market and Open House 2016


Toronto Botanical Garden’s Annual Holiday Open House will be a little different this year. It happens tomorrow, Dec. 1st, 2016, from 2 pm to 8 pm, with a parallel members-only event starting at 6:30 pm. I’ll be there, accompanied by our N.O.D. (Number One Dot), and with bells on. The difference will be the extended […]

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Up close and personal with pollen


An almost-wordless Wednesday post from my photo archives – in the days when I could shoot these things freehand, simply by breathing out and holding my breath. My hands aren’t quite as steady without a tripod today. Blame the heavy lens. No idea what the bee species is, but it was really getting into the […]

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A short, quirky floral tour of Taiwan


When I first visited Taiwan five years ago, I had no idea it would be the first Asian country I would come to know – and, after four more trips,  come to love, too. Here are a few floral impressions from my introduction to the country. Though it was a business trip, as always my antennae were up for […]

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‘Banish Misfortune’ at the RBG


Scrolling through my photo archive, I came across a set of photos I couldn’t believe we haven’t shared. These are just a taste from two visits made to the Royal Botanical Gardens‘ amazing Laking Garden iris collection in June 2014 and 2015. For many reasons, our opening shot lives up to its name. It’s Iris […]

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Clematis tangutica: Careful what you wish for


I have lusted after Clematis tangutica, the late-flowering beauty with the common name golden clematis or sometimes orange-peel clematis due to its thick petals (really: sepals). And I have planted Clematis tangutica. And, like many of the clematis I’ve grown, I have killed Clematis tangutica. You can imagine my surprise, then, when researching this post today I […]

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Crevice gardens, natural and crafted


We’d spent 20+ years clambering over Nature’s crevice gardens, had we only known it. The natural rock formations below near our former summer home on Ile d’Orléans in the St. Lawrence River near Québec City held exactly the eroded vertical spaces that crevice gardens try to mimic. As they were also naturally photogenic, I have pictures to show you, […]

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Inspiration for mosaic paving


Before the snow or, more likely, the fallen leaves cover the ground, it’s a good time to squint at your paving (what Marjorie Harris calls “creative staring”) to see if there’s anything you can do better. Here are a couple of beautiful mosaic paving designs from the Atlanta Botanical Garden. These are big – but […]

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Eating garden tomatoes in November


Back in July, my Microgarden report mentioned some of the tomato cultivars I was growing this year. Now here it is at almost the end of November, and I’m still eating fresh tomatoes, harvested back in October. How did that happen? I picked them while they were still green. Some, I kept in a tightly closed […]

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Coneflower rosette gall mites


The more we plant something, the more something comes along to eat it. Usually something buggy. In the case of coneflowers (Echinacea), this green, tufted centre in the centre of the disk is a sign of some undesirable noshing going on. The culprit is an unnamed type of eriophyid mite, a breed of microscopic, sucking […]

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Order in the court(yard)


I love the asymmetrical. Something in the balance of off-balance appeals to me deeply. Yet, the perfect order of a four-square courtyard can also be satisfying, don’t you think? This garden, with its European-style courtyard, has been calling to me for more than two years. We saw it back in September 2014 on a story tour with the […]

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Persian shield, not just for containers


Isn’t this a wonderful combination? Usually, you see the metallic purple patterned leaves of Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus) accenting a container. It can also be grown as a houseplant. This time, I found it used as a bedding plant in a public garden in Stratford, Ontario. Loved it! It apparently propagates easily from cuttings. So I […]

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A last bit of fall colour


This quick Sunday post on the first snowy day of winter 2016-17 takes me back to the Montreal Botanical Garden and their bonsai collection. It was November, too, the last time I was in the green house there, and this colourful and shapely Ginkgo caught my eye. To me, Ginkgo biloba seemed an odd choice for […]

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