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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Not a native plant (but it sure looked like one)

When Gail of Clay and Limestone reminded me about her upcoming Wildflower Wednesday meme, I got all excited. I’d been saving the shot above for a post with the working title “lesser-known native plants.” Trouble is, the more I looked, the more I saw it isn’t the plant I’d thought it was (Uvularia grandiflora or merrybells) – though at […]

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Invaders I wish I’d never planted

This is not a picture of a spring garden. No, it’s a stand-off between the Hatfields and McCoys, with Prokofiev’s ominous Dance of the Knights as the sound-track. To the left, the Hatfields, wearing purple. To the right, green-clad McCoys. Each creeps towards a battle in the middle – and takeover of my garden. What is an invasive plant? […]

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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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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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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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What’s missing from this picture?

As I admired the carpet of maple leaves in my yard (Norway maple leaves, she sighed resignedly), wondering if I had time to haul out my shredder, I noticed something. To be exact, I noticed something that wasn’t there. Can you see it? No tar spots. None. Not anywhere. We first wrote about the disfiguring fungal […]

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Little bluestem, a great native grass

Sometimes you can know of a plant without really knowing it. You hear the name often, but wouldn’t be able to pick out the face in the crowd – or in the garden. That’s how it used to be for me with the native grass called little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). Then I saw this display garden in […]

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Pros and cons of fragrant sumac

While camping at The Pinery provincial park a few years ago, I took the green picture below, curious about the shrub. It had “leaves of three,” similar to poison ivy (formerly known as Rhus radicans, now Toxicodendron radicans syn. T. rydbergii) But those berries, if that’s what they were! Fuzzy, kind of like a staghorn sumac (Rhus typina). Turns out […]

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