On ants, aphids and mutualism

[Update: Thrilled to announce that this post won Gold for Best Digital Writing at the 2018 GWA Media Awards from the Association for Garden Communicators. It was an unexpected honour, especially since the competition was very worthy.] I’d wanted to tell you a cool thing about ants and aphids. These are Norway maple aphids (Periphyllus lyropictus), one of 4,000+ aphid species. (Who […]

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2019 Snowdrop alert! At last.

My first snowdrop of 2019 revealed itself this morning, on St. Patrick’s Day. Here and there are more nubs of up-pushing Galanthus foliage, too. For me, the first snowdrop is a sign that, despite this long winter of our discontent, beneath the soil surface the garden is growing. Press on, says Nature, nothing in this world can take the place […]

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The plants of Canada Blooms 2019

Have you ever paused to think what a challenge it must be to force 70,000 plants into leaf or peak bud or bloom in time for the March opening of a show like this? Especially over the dark, rainy, sleety, snowy Ontario winter like the one we’ve survived in 2018-19! That’s an accomplishment in itself. And to […]

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Ecoman’s cliff garden at Canada Blooms 2019

Of the things in my folder to share with you about this year’s Canada Blooms, this is the one that excited me most. It’s Jonas Spring’s Cliff Garden. Spring uses reference points from nature to inspire the shape and form of the gardens he builds for clients. Essentially, cities are cliffs; houses are boulders. Layered on this […]

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Butterflies Migrate to Winter Stations 2019

Flutter down to Woodbine Beach in Toronto’s east end to visit the 2019 Winter Stations and surround yourself with The Forest of Butterflies (PDF). You have till April 1 to see the half-dozen temporary installations in this annual design competition, this year with the theme of Migration. Did you know it takes four generations of Monarch butterflies to […]

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Happy Meteorological Spring!

After February 2019’s unreasonable insistence on winter weather, today’s evidence above, I’m all too eager for spring. To have it happen three weeks earlier than the Vernal Equinox – around March 21st – would be psychologically uplifting, right? Guess what? March 1st is the first day of meteorological spring. Yip-yip-yippee! Spring starts today! Perhaps you knew […]

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Canada Blooms-ing with children

The theme is A Family Affair at Canada Blooms 2019, a little more than a week away. Just for the event, I’ve written a brand new talk on Gardening with Children for the Toronto Master Gardeners’ presentation library – you can see it (and me) on the Harrowsmith Garden Solutions Stage at noon on Tuesday, March 12th. My talk is just one […]

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Get the Jump on Spring – with us!

Come meet up with Sarah and I this weekend when the Toronto Botanical Garden hosts its free Seedy Saturday and Get the Jump on Spring events. Break the spell of this very snowy, icy February – and think springy thoughts! Free talks, free inspiration, and free seeds. How can you lose? We’ll be there on Saturday, February 23, […]

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Happy New Year as 2018 blossoms into 2019

As we begin our 13th year as bloggers, we send out a heartfelt welcome to our new subscribers and fond thanks to our loyal readers! 2018 was a hectic year for the Toronto Gardens family – especially as it drew to a close, which meant we posted less often than we’d like. Alas. Many of you will relate to the challenge of […]

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