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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November Roses

In public school, we memorized Thomas Hood’s poem, November, which ends: “No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, / No comfortable feel in any member– / No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, / No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, / November!” It has been decidedly grey this month. Yesterday was one […]

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The times of sand

Toronto gardeners have a few consistent problems. Among them: gardening on sand or gardening on clay. Clay presents the problem of poor drainage. Yet, clay is loaded with plant nutrients that merely need to be unlocked to nourish plant roots. Sand, however, is inert – without nutritional value. It does provide excellent drainage. In fact, […]

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Not everyone has your passion for dead leaves

Not everyone has your passion for dead leaves. – Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility What is it about Canadians and dead leaves? The spurning of them, I mean. To my utter horror, I’ve just discovered that my new downstairs neighbour has carefully raked and stuffed into plastic garbage bags every single decaying leaf in the […]

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