“Red” alert: Lily beetle season

Witness here the final moment of a pretty but destructive Lily Leaf Beetle (Lilioceris lilii), an imported pest now chewing holes in your leaves and buds — and not only of lilies. [Update: What I should have said, two years ago now, was that although it likes lilies best, the lily leaf beetle will nibble […]

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Peanut fur: Or why I grow milkweed

This week, Nova Scotia garden blogger Jodi of bloomingwriter wrote about her experience freeing a hummingbird trapped in her barn. It reminded me of a similar thrill of mine. One summer at our place on Ile d’Orléans, in the St. Lawrence River just outside Québec City, the (francophone) kids next door were collecting Monarch caterpillars […]

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Do squirrels possess superpowers?

Well, let’s look at the criteria – or, shall we say, critter-ia? – for superpowerfulosity in squirrels. It certainly appears they can fly. Just try to place a birdfeeder somewhere they can’t reach. In a single bound. They have a secret identity. Sure, they look cute and fluffy, hopping along the fence like Pepé LePew. […]

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Tending our urban forest

There aren’t many native sugar maples on our street. Most are Norways. So I like to check in with our sugars from time to time, as you would an elderly neighbour. About a week ago, I was horrified to note that the trunk of one across the street, whose rich leaf colours I’d photographed last […]

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Alas, the American Ash

The Toronto Star today contained this article about the sad and coming total demise of the city’s ash tree population over the next ten years. It’s all thanks – or no thanks, depending on your perspective – to the beautiful but deadly emerald ash borer. Through a tree course I took at Ryerson some years […]

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A Bad Case of Scale on the Monstera – and why Dollar Stores are great gardening resources

  I have a split-leaved “Monstera” Philodendron, those shapley 50s style climbers that have such an architectural presence. They’re beautiful house plants. The leaves, when mature, are quite thick and leathery – just the kind of plant, for some reason, that scale insects love. Here’s a photo of a Monstera. These armour covered insects are […]

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Love thy (scary) neighbour

There’s no two ways about it. The most beneficial bugs for your garden are often the least, well, good-looking. Spiders, centipedes; it’s all those legs! All that unpredictable scurrying! All those alien body parts. Nevertheless, I repress my instinctive shudder when they appear because I know they really do provide a useful service: pest control. […]

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