Yarrow

Pink yarrow in the garden of Barbara Katz, #GBFling2017 on the TorontoGardens.com blog

Yarrow or Achillea millefolium is a reliable but kinda plain-Jane flower that’s easy to take for granted. That is, until you notice it used skillfully – as I did in the garden of U.S. landscape designer Barbara Katz on the 2017 Garden Bloggers Fling. Wow, I thought, looking at the vignette above, Great colour echo between the Echinacea and coleus. And, oh. […]

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Baptisia for Garden Days 2017

Look at these yellow wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria). When Sarah and I saw them at dusk a week ago at the Toronto Botanical Garden, they were glowing like candles in the dimming light. Immediate crush! But I fall in love easily, it seems. It has been an unusual spring, cool and wet. We’ve had late […]

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‘Green Spice’ is a fabulous Heuchera

A shade gardener who values foliage design, someone like me, needs a healthy appreciation for the huge coralbells family (Heuchera). Hybridizers have created a ridiculously wide array of choices in coralbell leaf shape, colour, patterning, and size. Some have even put the “coral” back in the coralbell flowers. When you add crosses with Heuchera cousin Tiarella you get many more […]

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Double bloodroot blows me away

Every spring, a small, white, puffy flower explodes on the shady north side of my garden – and every year, it’s pure excitement, all over again. It never fails, and it never fails me. In fact, this double version of the native Sanguinaria canadensis has multiplied constantly, ever since it came as a gift from Cold […]

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The long, lovely season of Helleborus

Hellebores (Helleborus spp) are fabulous, long-blooming spring flowers for a dry-shade garden like mine. Although I’m hoping to incorporate more native plants in my garden, this gorgeous Eurasian will likely stay – not only for its months-long show of flowers, but as an early-spring pollen and nectar source for pollinators. In fact, an interesting tidbit […]

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Invaders I wish I’d never planted

This is not a picture of a spring garden. No, it’s a stand-off between the Hatfields and McCoys, with Prokofiev’s ominous Dance of the Knights as the sound-track. To the left, the Hatfields, wearing purple. To the right, green-clad McCoys. Each creeps towards a battle in the middle – and takeover of my garden. What is an invasive plant? […]

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‘Banish Misfortune’ at the RBG

Scrolling through my photo archive, I came across a set of photos I couldn’t believe we haven’t shared. These are just a taste from two visits made to the Royal Botanical Gardens‘ amazing Laking Garden iris collection in June 2014 and 2015. For many reasons, our opening shot lives up to its name. It’s Iris […]

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A bouquet of poppies

On Remembrance Day, we remember all who served and sacrificed – and who survived – with the symbol of the red corn poppies that bloomed on the fields of Flanders after the First World War. None of these are corn poppies. Some are Oriental poppies, some are Iceland or opium poppies. Some are perennial, some, […]

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All we want is ‘Immortality’

Yesterday, I wrote about a “crocus” that seemed to bloom in fall, not spring. Here’s another seemingly out-of-season bloomer that’s also doing exactly what it’s meant to do. It’s the re-blooming, tall bearded Iris germanica ‘Immortality’ that puts out its main show in June, then returns for an encore performance in fall. This one was showing its […]

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Designing with see-through plants

I’m a latecomer* to the term “see-through plants,” new to me until this spring. It was in a presentation on small-space gardening written by another Master Gardener. Her point was that designing with see-through plants is one way to make a small space seem bigger. Hmmm, thought this small-space gardener, interesting. After that, I started to notice plants for […]

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Plant profile: Japanese anemones

Late summer and early fall often belong to the enormous daisy or aster family (Asteraceae or Compositae, for those looking for plant surnames). But one perhaps underused group of plants can be pretty Wow! at this time of year. They’re in the same family as buttercups or clematis (with another mouthful of a family name, […]

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Gorgeous native azure blue sage

My sad story is that I constantly fall in love – with plants that I can’t grow. But if your garden (unlike mine) is sunny, hooray! Here’s a great one for you. The delightful name azure blue sage (Salvia azurea) refers to its sky-blue flowers in late summer and early fall. Right about now, for instance. It gets big bonus points for being a […]

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