For when the rain barrel’s empty

This brass Y spigot with the ball-valve shut-offs is very easy to operate My heart broke last week when – as temperatures dropped – I had to empty three full rain barrels. It seemed sinful, somehow. A long section of hose on the spigot, backed up by a watering can, let me spot water the […]

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Book Review: The Allergy-Fighting Garden

Not all pollen is alike. Despite its abundance (or in this bee’s case perhaps “a-bum-dance”), Thomas Ogren tells us the pollen of Alcea or hollyhock is a low-allergenic pollen. He warns those sensitive not to sniff it, however. It gets right up your nose. And in your eyes. And down your wheezy throat. Pollen. At […]

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Book review: The Herb Lover’s Spa Book

‘Therapy’ – Joyce Johnson’s ribbon-winning design in her category at Canada Blooms 2015 – seems like a serendipitous way to begin a post on The Herb Lover’s Spa Book. Geez, it has been a cold, cold, cold, cold, cold few months. The snowy, snowy, snowy weather is finally receding, at least in Toronto. Still, we […]

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Making a water trough planter

A welcoming way to break in garden equipment – invite it to a party and put it to work This wasn’t why we bought the trough, but as a happy coincidence it arrived at our house just before a Big Birthday. Post-Prosecco we put it (and another just like it) to work in another way: […]

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My experiment with coconut-husk or coir mulch

The “before” picture – a block of compressed coir Coir, which is the fibre from the husks of coconuts, is often recommended as a more environmentally friendly replacement for peat moss (whether it is or not is a topic for a different post). After yanking out some over-enthusiastic periwinkle, I had some bare soil that […]

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Book Review: Taming Wildflowers by Miriam Goldberger

Taming Wildflowers is Miriam Goldberger’s just-launched book from St. Lynn’s Press Between the front cover’s exuberant coneflowers and the back cover’s Piet Oudolf blurb, Miriam Goldberger’s work of passion Taming Wildflowers is the little book that could. Although it appears skinny, this is a highly concentrated primer on knowing, growing and using wildflowers. Toronto-area folk […]

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In which I make a fragrant-ish wreath

My completed fragrant-ish wreath (and a great reflection of the new kindergarten wing across the street) A couple of weeks ago, Twitter started it all with a link to this post by Shannan at Flower Patch Farmgirl. In it, she tells how she dried orange slices to make an orange garland. Cute! It reminded me […]

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What the heck is that silvery plant?

Why, it’s silver thistle (Carlina acaulis). Here’s how I found out. Wish my photo gave you a better idea of its metallic sheen. Don’t know about you, but when it comes to knowing how to identify unknown plants (or bugs or plant diseases or…), I love to play detective. I photograph a lot of plants, and […]

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