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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The evil that is painted plants

Ireland has beautiful gardens, and I’ll soon be writing about them. But you won’t see these spray-painted heathers in any of them. Pictured at the Irish big-box store Woodie’s in Dundalk, County Louth, they prove that even countries with beautiful gardens can commit serious “crimes against nature.” They put the “vulgar” in Calluna vulgaris. Online snooping reveals that this crime has […]

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Here there be dragons

If things have been quieter on the Toronto Gardens blog recently, it’s because one of us has been travelling and the other is now back teaching. The traveller (me) is in Ireland, being distracted by – among many other things – dragons. While the ones at the top were “captured” in a local antique shop, I’m […]

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Plough the field you’re given

A small garden. A small vase. A few minutes with the scissors. It’s amazing what can pass for bounty when you set your mind to it. Although I whine a lot about the Microgarden, it can often be counted on to produce a pretty nice bouquet, even in different seasons. This one, I gave to my […]

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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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Make yourself a “deadhead bouquet”

If you think of deadheading as a garden chore, it’s because you’re doing it too late! Doing it after the flowers fade gives you all the work and none of the benefits. In many cases, cutting flowers to enjoy indoors is actually a form of deadheading. Yes! And it often gives you exactly the benefit you want from […]

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Let’s call it “Wandering Dude”

The trailing houseplant with the unpleasant common name “wandering jew” (such as Tradescantia zebrina in this post) has wandered in and out of my home over a lifetime of killing houseplants. If you’re curious how it came to earn this name, my go-to houseplant expert Mr. Subjunctive at Plants are the Strangest People gives you […]

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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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