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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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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I agree: Brown is a colour, too

The Toronto Botanical Garden’s entry garden in January 2013 Today, we’ll put November to bed, and tomorrow we’ll wake up to December – which some feel means the end of colour in the garden. Well, all the leaves may be brown, and the sky is grey… but when we go for that walk on a […]

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Yum, a candy-coloured garden

What fun! Pool seating in a handful of jellybean colours. As my beloved would tell you, I’m not keen on surprises. However, surprises in the garden are a few of my favourite things. The last thing Sarah and I expected to find behind the lovely Georgian home in Port Hope, for example, was this playful […]

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How do you look at a collector’s garden?

A shady entrance to the garden of plantswoman Marion Jarvie Marion Jarvie’s seasonal open gardens are a bit of an event among Toronto-area garden aficionados. But, although I’d seen pictures and even taken a class from Marion at the Toronto Botanical Garden, I’d never actually visited until we took the Toronto Fling bloggers there, the […]

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Red and white garden for Canada Day

A cottage garden feel in the colours of the Canadian flag (with sunshiny touches of yellow). And a matching red door. Just in time for Canada Day, a Leslieville garden full of ephemeral red poppies and what look like common ox-eye daisies. This stopped me in my tracks as I passed. Happy, happy Canada Day! […]

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We interrupt this winter to bring you… colour

Colour as punctuation: a bold blast marks a point of entry and a transition between levels Bet you’re as fed-up-to-the-teeth as we are with February 2015’s relentless, white-on-white colour scheme. Let’s think colourful thoughts, shall we? Have a looksee at the inspiring ways this Portland garden has used colour – Colour! Remember what that is? […]

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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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