So, where can you find exotic vegetable seed?

If you’ve read our review of two books on growing not-the-usual vegetables, you might be curious about where to find the seeds to grow them. By coincidence, a couple of leads fell into my hands last month, and sent me into a digging expedition for more.  Like the cute little mouse melon above? Read on to find seeds. […]

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Should have forced some paperwhites

While waiting for a meeting to begin at the Toronto Botanical Garden this week, something clucked at me for not doing something last fall. No, not a chicken. It was a pot of paperwhite Narcissus. Forcing bulbs is so easy. Yet fall can be so busy that even easy things can be neglected. Not this fall, I hope. Perhaps if I […]

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Native plants and the colour purple

When Pantone named Ultra Violet its “Color of the Year” 2018, native plants were way ahead of them. Pollinating bees and butterflies love the colour purple – because that’s how butterflies’ and bees’ eyes are made. So it’s unsurprising that many native plants can be found at this end of the spectrum. It’s especially true for fall plants striving […]

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I hereby redefine “Junuary”

According to the Urban Dictionary, Junuary is a word for those cold June days that feel extra-cold because it’s, well, June. Pshaw! I’m co-opting it. Now, when it’s reeeeally cold, we need reminding that spring is a few (just a few, honest!) days away. We need Junuary more on a day like today: not January in June, but […]

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Valleyview Gardens Nursery Has Moved

One of our favourite east-end nurseries, Valleyview Gardens, has sadly moved out of town. Driving to their old location on Kennedy Ave, with my flasher on, waiting to turn into the parking lot, I saw to my horror it had been boarded up. Eek! What happened to one of our favourite garden places? Pulling into […]

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Meet a few poinsettia cousins

Perhaps, like me, the poinsettiaful Christmas Show at Allan Gardens is still on your to-see list this year. Or perhaps you’re one of the poinsettia haters I’ve tried to convert before. Either way, if you love botany you might be impressed by the sheer diversity – and yet sameness – of the poinsettia’s big family, Euphorbia.  Sameness […]

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How to over-winter gladiolus

This month, I’ve learned you can’t do everything. Setting priorities means doing what counts most (such as saving the Gladiolus corms that have given me such pleasure), and setting the rest aside (such as NaBloPoMo 2017). Before the unseasonal cold snap this month, I dug up the corms above. What’s a corm? It’s the thickened […]

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The reason I planted 250 snowdrops

October and November have been so busy, I had to go back to look at my spring pictures to see aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall those bulbs in bloom. Just to remind myself that it’s worthwhile planting bulbs now, despite the fact that the weather is getting grim and life is unusually hectic. In spring, when my appetite was biggest, […]

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Amelanchier foliage glows red for fall

While planting the first 300 of my far-too-many bulbs today, I felt I’d earned the right to pause for a moment and admire the red fall foliage on my serviceberry (Amelanchier). The sun had scooted under the clouds and was making the leaves just glow. Amazing. This year’s glow seems stronger than last year’s. However, when […]

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Pachypodium, the monster on my windowsill

My reputation as Helen the Houseplant Killer might be at risk. I keep discovering plants that resist my planticidal tendencies. Like the one above, which arrived as a gift from our son three years ago. It still lives! Not only that, if it lives longer, it might qualify as a killer itself, or at least as a […]

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Do your grasses have catchew disease?

You might want to categorize this under “pets and diseases.” That first word isn’t a typo. Some disfiguring plant problems have nothing to do with bugs or fungi. Some “pests” are considerably larger. For example, if your lovely Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) is supposed to look like this. And, instead, it looks like […]

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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 […]

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