Yarrow

Pink yarrow in the garden of Barbara Katz, #GBFling2017 on the TorontoGardens.com blog

Yarrow or Achillea millefolium is a reliable but kinda plain-Jane flower that’s easy to take for granted. That is, until you notice it used skillfully – as I did in the garden of U.S. landscape designer Barbara Katz on the 2017 Garden Bloggers Fling. Wow, I thought, looking at the vignette above, Great colour echo between the Echinacea and coleus. And, oh. […]

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2017 was a great year for Hydrangeas

In 2017, we’ve had rain, we’ve had rain, we’ve had more rain. It’s raining now! My annuals are slow to bloom, probably due to lack of sunshine. But one thing for sure seems to be doing well around Toronto. Hydrangeas! The smooth hydrangea or Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ in my dry-shade front garden (above) is mammoth! Lots of rain and […]

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Wow, when clematis met smoke tree!

Here’s a combination to remember! A burgundy-red Clematis (perhaps ‘Nike’? [Ed: My clematis-loving friend Marie suggests it might be C. ‘Mme. Julia Correvon’) clambering over a Japanese maple and then up through the “smoke” of a golden smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria Golden Spirit aka ‘Ancot’). Wow-ow-OW! Let me show you my shoes. I was walking in […]

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Baptisia for Garden Days 2017

Look at these yellow wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria). When Sarah and I saw them at dusk a week ago at the Toronto Botanical Garden, they were glowing like candles in the dimming light. Immediate crush! But I fall in love easily, it seems. It has been an unusual spring, cool and wet. We’ve had late […]

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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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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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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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As if it knew, ‘Moonlight’ amaryllis bloomed

A while back, I bought a bare amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulb from the Toronto Botanical Garden shop. Did I plant it right away? No. Silly me. I procrastinated and I procrastinated. So, while all my gardening friends were posting images of their gorgeous amaryllis(eseses) on Facebook, mine sat sideways on (not in) the pot it was supposed to […]

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Snowdrop alert 2017. On the early side.

After all my whining observations about the early wave of spring in other parts, we are finally seeing signs of hope in Toronto. One of spring’s bellwethers for us on the Toronto Gardens blog is the arrival of snowdrops (Galanthus) in our small city plots. Well, they’re here. Today! Or one snowdrop is, as you can see above – and glory […]

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Opuntia will come back from the dead

If this seems a gruesome way to begin, it’s because of my “undying” admiration of the paddle cactus or prickly pear (Opuntia spp.). Did you know that southern Ontario has a native cactus (in the wild, it’s endangered)? This is the family, if not the one. And we can overwinter it here in Toronto’s USDA Z5/Canadian Z6. When […]

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