Identifying a Bag of Mystery Dahlias

Are you inexorably drawn to the gardening department of a big box store when you go in to buy light bulbs? I am. Admit it, you are too. Especially after the winter we’ve had. Back in early March, I needed to get an injection of growing things. And, while Home Depot’s garden section doesn’t always represent fine […]

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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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Goodbye to my Norway maple frenemy

It was the worst of trees, it was the best of trees. And now my former 90-year-old neighbour is no tree at all. It’s just a stump. Yes, it’s an invasive alien that someone a few generations ago thought would make a great street tree. It did. But Norway maples (Acer platanoides) have also edged […]

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Bringing the houseplants indoors

Late in September, I started bringing the kids back home after their summer holiday. That’s the houseplant kids, kids. This is always a good time to do it, to avoid them being stressed from the sudden change in conditions, especially from an early-fall chill like we’ve had in October 2018. And the first thing I […]

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What’s new for 2019 in Echinaceas

My title is a bit misleading, because our covergirl (or coverboy) photo of Echinacea Sombrero® ‘Adobe Orange’ happens to be the right size to crop for today’s feature image. But although s/he’s a couple of years old, isn’t s/he a stunner? This was only one of an Echinacea (aka coneflower) near rainbow on display for show and trial […]

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I’m a convert to ‘Emerite’ pole beans

A quick post, because I’m in Chicago accepting an award for the blog from the Association for Garden Communicators. Before leaving Toronto, one of the last things I did was pick this lovely bowl of ‘Emerite’ pole beans. Are beans worth the space they take in a tiny garden like mine? You might not think so. […]

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Good Morning Toronto! Let’s talk Peonies!

This week I had the pleasure of talking with Matt Galloway, at the CBC Metro Morning studio, about one of my favourite things: peonies. The link to the peony interview is here. Why am I a self-confessed peony nut? Well, growing ‘Festiva Maxima’ peonies was my first garden success. Waaay back, thirty years ago when […]

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Spring, season of fragrant trees and shrubs

Next time you walk down the street in May and wonder, “What’s that wonderful smell?” look up. It might be coming from above, and flowering trees and shrubs. These are just three. One of the underestimated smelly (in the best way) shrubs is the Viburnum – not all with fragrance, but some that make you want only […]

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Coreopsis makes its own sunshine

Yesterday’s frigid winds had me dreaming of summer – and sunshine. And reminded me that America’s National Garden Bureau (wish Canada had a similar organization) has the perfect “Plant of the Year” for a day like that. Coreopsis or tickseed. Sunshine on a stick! As usual, here am I, the shady gardener, yearning for plants I […]

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How to (not) kill a houseplant

Beware! This is a picture of a crime scene. It’s a dumb cane plant (Dieffenbachia), being killed slowly by a combination of too much neglect and too much “love.” How can that be, you ask? Look at the tell-tale signs. Naked stems The first clue is that “palm tree” effect that happens when lower leaves die off […]

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