Making the garden your happy place

In trying times, we need our own sanctuary. Don’t we? It could be real or a place we magic up in our mind. A place of refuge from anxiety or fear; or a place that simply brings us pleasure, in the moment or in our memory. For inspiration, here’s a happy place I’ve been wanting to share since […]

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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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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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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Near-sighted camera meets colorblind gardener

A weird thing happened on my recent visit to this exuberant Buffalo garden. Almost every picture (almost every one!) was out of focus. But only in this one garden, out of 15 that day! It’s as if my camera knew that the man who’d created this particular garden had a vision impairment, and it was fuzzing out in sympathy. Ha. In fact, the fuzzy […]

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15 container ideas and why I love them

I could give you a play-by-play, but on an almost-Wordless Wednesday I’ll just say this about why I love them: Inventive plant combos, cool containers and display ideas, great scale (from very-very big to very-very small), a mix of enthusiasm (by some) and restraint (in others), and steal-worthy ideas. All seen in the mild climes of Virginia, Maryland […]

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Using black and brown in a garden

Sometimes, I feel bad about filtering the experience of being in a garden through a camera lens. Am I like one of those people who walk around seeing the whole world through the screen of their iPads? But the magic of photography can turn a frantic, 45-minute garden visit into hours of contemplation at home – letting me zoom in, identify hidden treasures, and […]

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You’ve been seen, ultramarine

Since visiting the garden of Linda Hostetler in The Plains, Virginia, I’ve spent a long time trying to feel blue. I mean feel it – to understand the science behind why gardeners love this eye-popping blue called ultramarine (and sometimes Majorelle blue, after the painter and his garden). As my camera and I slowly explored Hostetler’s interesting […]

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