Love/Hate, maple-flavoured

Meet the bane of my existence right now: a forest of Norway maple seedlings. The conditions must have been so right for maple seed germination this year. In all my years gardening under Norway maples (Acer platanoides), I’ve never seen such an abundance. A veritable pro-leaferation! If they were worth money, I’d be a gazillionaire. […]

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Coxwell Avenue, I

Sarah & I started this blog because we were interested in real gardens by real people – not in adventures in hardscaping. Though, frankly, if either of us had a few hundred thou to spare for hardscaping, we wouldn’t quibble, Sybil. Hardscaping, of course, is the expensive part of the garden, usually requiring tonnes of […]

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Sarah is greenhouse goddess

A quick post in praise of my sister’s ingenuity. While houseplants and seedlings wither and die in my hands, Sarah makes potted things grow. Invention is the necessity of mothers. And this little mother can invent up a storm. Here is her crazy-but-it-works idea for a “roof garden” greenhouse. First, an inexpensive plant stand with […]

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Thou shalt not covet, II

Ah, Magnolia stellata, the aptly named star magnolia! I like this early little bloomer even better than its May-flowering cousin, Magnolia x soulangeana. The loose petals have a nonchalance that that suits an informal garden like mine much better than the other’s more upright, tulipy-shaped blooms. The stellata is more compact, too, but still has […]

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Pardon my tarda-ness

A big pile of work, a billion Norway maple seedlings – sometimes things conspire against you and enjoyment of your garden. That doesn’t mean you can’t pause for a little adoration of a few special sparkles. And speaking of sparkles: Tulipa tarda – everyone should have these species tulips in their garden! First come lots of […]

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Too few crocuses, too little time

After such a looo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooong, cold spring how nice to see the crocuses finally arrive. Those blasts of colour amidst the detritus of fall and winter. Opening wide to capture the sunlight. Then came the sudden summer last weekend, and all the little darlings plopped on their sides and expired. Still, they were glory itself for […]

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Stop and Smell the Hyacinths

Annoying. I can’t do this right now. Not because I’m too busy, but because I’ve been nasally challenged for the entire month of January. Felled by a virus at the beginning of the month and still drooping now because of it. Thing is I have my own little potted garden miracle that has been happening […]

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Thou shalt not covet, I

The end of a growing season is like the end of a love affair; always tinged with some shade of regret. My ongoing regret is usually centred on trees. The ones I don’t have. The ones I can’t have. The ones I may never have. All the trees I love need the same prescription: deep, […]

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Fog factor

At 10 a.m. Saturday morning I was walking on the Leslie Street Spit. (We’re so lucky to have the Spit.) The day was foggy. So foggy that the usually striking view of the city skyline was obliterated. On both sides, the sky and lake were reduced to translucent beach glass in milky shades of white […]

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Baby, it’s cold outside

I’m doing cold weather damage control. I never seem able to get all the tender plants in in time to preserve them over the winter. I just rescued a cherry tomato plant from my deck. A sad specimen. It had been worked over by neighborhood squirrels, one arm badly mangled, upended and a goodly amount […]

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Death becomes me

It’s only November, and I am already killing my houseplants. Or make that, any plants that venture indoors. The lovely, lush, luxurious almost unkillable ‘Gartenmeister’ Fuchsia that has given me pleasure on the front steps all summer long is now crisp and littering my living room. (Amend that: with guests coming this evening, it is […]

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