I’m sharing my herbs with caterpillars

Days after I was moaning about seeing no butterflies in my garden, a big rain came – and soon afterwards came three butterflies. One was an Eastern Black Swallowtail, and I watched her lay eggs in a small pot of parsley. My first thought was: I’m gonna need a bigger parsley! Because, last year, I got […]

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Have you noticed fewer pollinators in 2020?

Have you noticed fewer butterflies in your garden in 2020? For me, the bees have been plentiful, including the native ones, but butterflies of any sort? Remarkably few. It’s probably not just in my garden, or just in Toronto. A garden friend in Washington, D.C., commented on the same thing. And another Facebook commenter noted that […]

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Wild Bees Need Goldenrod

This summer I talked to wild bee expert Sheila Colla, a scientist from York University, about wild bees and what we as gardeners can do to help them. One of the first things Sheila made clear was that wild bees are native bees and we must make a distinction between them and honeybees, which are not […]

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Someone’s been eating my zinnias

I’m actually not here right now. I’m in Cape Breton on holiday. So just a quickie to say, like Mama Bear in Goldilocks: “Someone’s been eating my zinnias. Someone’s been eating my zinnias! Someone’s been eating my zinnias… and there he is!” The grasshoppers have been more plentiful than usual in my garden in 2018. Tell-tale signs […]

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Wordless wonders for the beezy season

A post-Christmas celebration of some of Nature’s busiest creatures, bees and bumblebees (and wasps) in the great big Apidae family. Let’s recognize how essential pollinators like bees are to our planet. Please join me in a wish that human bee-ings do everything in our power to serve and protect them in 2018 and beyond. Click any image for the full-size slideshow.

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More bee hotels for your collection

Wherever I travel, my eyes are sharply on the lookout for housing. Housing for birds and bees and butterflies, that is. This summer, my little eye spied this big bee and, perhaps, butterfly condo in the Smithsonian Gardens in Washington, D.C.. With all those living options, it would be the perfect home for all kinds of solitary, […]

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Meet my new pal, the bold jumper

Holy smoke, that’s a big spider! Take a look the maple key in the picture below for scale. Fat and furry, it surprised me in the garden yesterday. Naturally, I wanted to know: friend or foe? Friend, as it turns out! It’s the bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax), and it’s more interested in stalking the bugs […]

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What’s wrong with my ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea?

Last year around this time (late April or early May) I noticed something strange about the leaves on shoots of my old, reliable ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas. They looked glued together into a puffy, leaf-shaped balloon. What was wrong? In fact, they were “glued” or rather tightly stitched together at the edges. Turns out the culprit was the larva of […]

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An Icky Honeydew You Don’t Want

For the last few months I’ve been battling scale on an large indoor-wintering abutilon, or Flowering Maple. I’d been occasionally picking the scale off by hand, or with a microfiber cloth, (which works quite well) and I was (sort of) keeping them at bay. I’m a pretty experienced scale squisher, and I thought I had […]

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