What Toronto needs is a Chinese garden

Google “classical Chinese garden Toronto” and here’s what you’ll discover: we have a lot of Chinese restaurants with “garden” in their name. Digging deeper might get you this link to the lost Chinese garden once-upon-a-time on Spadina Avenue. But do we have an actual, gardeny Chinese garden in T.O.? Not yet. And I wish we did. Classical Chinese […]

Continue Reading

Paving the way: One pebble at a time

In the Italianate terrace at Powerscourt Estate in Ireland’s County Wicklow, a journey of 1,000 pebbles (many times over) began in 1843 with the very first stone, placed by a kid aged seven. Look at the finish date above – more than three decades later. And it all happened one pebble at a time. It makes me think of […]

Continue Reading

A flashback to Jane Austen’s garden

A regular reader of this blog might know our affection for Jane Austen. We began our very first post, more than 10 years ago, with one of her quotes. And she does pop up here from time to time. With the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death (aged just 41) coming on July 18th, 2017’s arrival flooded my social media […]

Continue Reading

A short, quirky floral tour of Taiwan

When I first visited Taiwan five years ago, I had no idea it would be the first Asian country I would come to know – and, after four more trips,  come to love, too. Here are a few floral impressions from my introduction to the country. Though it was a business trip, as always my antennae were up for […]

Continue Reading

A pool garden with imperfect symmetry

Sometimes a photographer doesn’t mind a brightly clad garden writer in the shot to add perspective and scale. We were lined up several deep to take this money shot. Patience is a virtue. Huge thanks go to horticultural therapist Margaret Nevett who, years ago at a Master Gardener meeting, suggested that I join the Garden Writers […]

Continue Reading

Every garden needs more dinosaurs

Dippy the Diplodocus outside Pittsburg’s Carnegie Institute near Schenley Plaza. You might be forgiven for thinking (as I did) this was a Brontosaurus aka Apatosaurus. Nope, it’s notasaurus. But we’re right in thinking it’s a grand addition to the gardens.  These large-scaley critters make common-garden lions and angels seem positively, well, prehistoric. Wouldn’t you love […]

Continue Reading

Giving myself a big bunch of bee balm

A bee’s-eye view of scarlet bee balm, Monarda didyma I need cheering up, after nearly ten days of being seriously under the weather. What could be cheerier than the bold blast of colour that comes from our native North American bee balm (Monarda spp.) and its hybrid cousins – many of which are blooming right […]

Continue Reading

Get thee to Buffalo for Garden Walk

The Locke-Irey garden alone (seen here with a hint of Buffalo’s many charming streetscapes), will have as many as 4000 visitors over the Garden Walk weekend. If you’d told us five years ago that we would eagerly visit Buffalo, Buffalo!, as a garden destination, we might have looked at you sideways. That was before, through […]

Continue Reading

Making waves in the Wave Garden

The Wave Garden in Richmond Point, California, overlooking San Francisco Bay. Is it essential for a garden, a serious garden, to always start with a plan? And if we don’t have a plan, should we say, “Oh well, nothing’s written in stone”? In June 2013, I visited a garden that began with no real plan: […]

Continue Reading

The weird, wonderful Ruth Bancroft Garden

The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California What could be better on a cold, blustery November Wednesday than a quick trip to California? This almost-wordless visit takes us to the Ruth Bancroft Garden – the dry climate garden that was the first of many private gardens to come under the protective wing of the […]

Continue Reading