Pruning ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea

You’d be right in thinking this looks a bit of a mess. Poor Annabelle! This is her equivalent of a bad hair day. The ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea arborescens is one of the best flowering shrubs for a small city garden. Compact and somewhat shade tolerant, it performs well in an urban setting, producing a load of […]

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Sharpening your tools

What do you see in this picture, besides a woman badly in need of a manicure? I’ll tell you: the first step in a great technique for sharpening your pruners. I always used to find sharpening tools awkward. Then I saw landscape architect Paul Ehnes demonstrate his pruning wizardry – including his way to sharpen […]

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Know your roots

A quick how-to as we head into planting time. When you succumb to the siren call of the flowers in the garden centre, especially annuals planted in cell packs (those softer plastic pots with multiple, small chambers), it’s likely their root systems will be pretty bunged up. Chances are, they’ll look something like this image. […]

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Go East, young gardener

In the glorious weather on Saturday, I had to make a stop at East End Garden Centre, a gardening institution on Queen Street East for 27 years. Of course, the racks outside the store were laden with pansies, those frost-hardy annuals that are great for planters at this in-between time of year. I always stick […]

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Learning to get a-lawn

Grass seed likes to germinate when the soil is warm (about 15˚C or 60˚F) but the air is cool. Warm soil encourages strong root growth, while the cool air keeps the tops from over-growth. That’s why spring (April-June) is the second-best time to sew a lawn. In Toronto, August-September are the sweetest months. However, spring […]

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Planting Bare-Root Roses in Canada in Spring

Rose pictured above is the “New Dawn” climber, one of the best performing climbing roses in our climate. These instructions are based on the step-by-step instructions provided at Pickering Nurseries, one of Canada’s best rose growers, supplying a huge variety of bare-root roses. Their planting guide in PDF form is downloadable here. These instructions will […]

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Almost No-Cost Mini Greenhouse

Get thee to Zellers, or Canadian Tire or some other housewares store and buy a semi opaque storage bin similar to the one in the picture. Make sure the lid is flat and not curved, as some are. Trick is to use it upside down. Put the seedlings on the lid, fit bin over top […]

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