You’ve been seen, ultramarine

Since visiting the garden of Linda Hostetler in The Plains, Virginia, I’ve spent a long time trying to feel blue. I mean feel it – to understand the science behind why gardeners love this eye-popping blue called ultramarine (and sometimes Majorelle blue, after the painter and his garden). As my camera and I slowly explored Hostetler’s interesting […]

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Glass underfoot in the garden

A close-up of the bottle paving in Portland-area Bella Madrone garden There’s something magical about glass, isn’t there? Even when we can’t see through it or when light can’t penetrate from behind (like a stained glass window), it still manages to capture the light. As we approach the time of dull days, I like to […]

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Nasturtiums still going strong in October

Call this salt and pepper: peppery-tasting nasturtiums in one of our grandmother’s saltware jugs It’s feeling kinda frosty outside, but some plants are still chugging along – even those fleshy ones you’d think would be susceptible to chilling. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum) for one. They’re the biggest-bang-for-buck annuals in my garden, and I always have room for […]

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Floramagoria and the art of planting a rainbow

The rain brought out the rainbow in this mosaic rug by Clare Dohna – in the garden fittingly called Floramagoria Who knows at what stage this glorious mosaic came in this Portland garden’s planning and design? (A rhetorical question, as garden designer Laura Crockett and owners Craig Quirk and Larry Neill likely know quite well.) […]

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Something ferny, something blue

Majorelle blue paint on the bench goes perfectly with the crisp green ferns Three vignettes from 2013’s Toronto Island Garden Tour, all featuring ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthioperis) and the rich azure known as Majorelle blue. A little bit of Morocco at the edge of Lake Ontario – and somehow it works. I love this colour […]

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Fall colour in Hydrangea ‘Quick Fire’

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quick Fire’ isn’t famous for fall colour. It probably should be. Even the Proven Winners site doesn’t mention fall foliage in its write-up for Hydrangea ‘Quick Fire.’ Why on earth not? The colour this year in my garden is a show-stopper, giving the dried blooms a flattering new outfit. Just look at the […]

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The pure pow of green-on-green

All-green fall planters at Allan Gardens A little almost-wordless wow for another grey Wednesday in November. Don’t you love the textures here? And these babies will take a little nippy weather, especially here where they’re a little sheltered. It was hard to choose between them but this one might be my favourite after all.  

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Autumn berries for your garden palette

Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) – a North American native shrub – with glossy black pomes and bright fall foliage First, to confess. These fruits are highly decorative in the fall garden, but none of them are berries. As botanically defined, berries are fleshy fruits and seeds produced from a single ovary. Currants, blueberries and gooseberries […]

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Garden colour without flowers

The Toronto Botanical Garden on a rainy (but clearly not grey) day in November Think November is drab? It doesn’t have to be, if you play your cards right. Look at the lusciousness in the photo above, without the use of a single flower – well, discounting the dried heads of a red-tinged oakleaf hydrangea […]

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Friday Idea File: A colourful touch of clash

Hot pink peppermint striped tulips with golden daffodils at the Toronto Botanical Garden, 2010 Let’s shake up this grey city with an blast of clashing colours. I’ll go on record here as saying I believe that nothing in nature clashes. She is always original and unabashed in her colour pairings. Designers, however, use clashing colours […]

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Friday Idea File: Paint something

Have a dead tree? Turn it into a garden feature. Christoper D.Mello‘s garden, Asheville NC You’ll be surprised how just a little paint can spruce things up and make your garden pop. That’s idea one – applied here in a variety of ways. This is the first of what I hope will be a weekly […]

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