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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Love-in-a-mist is one cool, hardy annual

So you’re desperate to get out and do something in the garden? In our Canadian Zone 6 (USDA Zone 5), you’ll be happy to learn some annual seeds are okay to scatter right now. Some may have already scattered themselves last fall – and early spring is a second chance to do it yourself. Provided you’ve picked the right spot, […]

Continue Reading

Snowdrop alert 2018

Sarah wins the Snowdrop Sweepstakes this year [Ed: At least, on our street.]. Her prize is the chance to crow over these adorables sticking their tongues out at winter. And at her sister, because my 250 newly planted Galanthus and the 50 or so already in my garden are way behind. On the other hand, when […]

Continue Reading

Remember to grow some edible flowers

Have you ever eaten a begonia? I hadn’t even thought about eating one until a tour with the National Garden Bureau introduced me to a Pink Lady garnished with one, courtesy of plant breeder Benary. It was the flower of one of their BIG series (Begonia x benariensis) and its lemony flavour was a complement to […]

Continue Reading

So, where can you find exotic vegetable seed?

If you’ve read our review of two books on growing not-the-usual vegetables, you might be curious about where to find the seeds to grow them. By coincidence, a couple of leads fell into my hands last month, and sent me into a digging expedition for more.  Like the cute little mouse melon above? Read on to find seeds. […]

Continue Reading

Should have forced some paperwhites

While waiting for a meeting to begin at the Toronto Botanical Garden this week, something clucked at me for not doing something last fall. No, not a chicken. It was a pot of paperwhite Narcissus. Forcing bulbs is so easy. Yet fall can be so busy that even easy things can be neglected. Not this fall, I hope. Perhaps if I […]

Continue Reading

Native plants and the colour purple

When Pantone named Ultra Violet its “Color of the Year” 2018, native plants were way ahead of them. Pollinating bees and butterflies love the colour purple – because that’s how butterflies’ and bees’ eyes are made. So it’s unsurprising that many native plants can be found at this end of the spectrum. It’s especially true for fall plants striving […]

Continue Reading

I hereby redefine “Junuary”

According to the Urban Dictionary, Junuary is a word for those cold June days that feel extra-cold because it’s, well, June. Pshaw! I’m co-opting it. Now, when it’s reeeeally cold, we need reminding that spring is a few (just a few, honest!) days away. We need Junuary more on a day like today: not January in June, but […]

Continue Reading

Valleyview Gardens Nursery Has Moved

One of our favourite east-end nurseries, Valleyview Gardens, has sadly moved out of town. Driving to their old location on Kennedy Ave, with my flasher on, waiting to turn into the parking lot, I saw to my horror it had been boarded up. Eek! What happened to one of our favourite garden places? Pulling into […]

Continue Reading

Meet a few poinsettia cousins

Perhaps, like me, the poinsettiaful Christmas Show at Allan Gardens is still on your to-see list this year. Or perhaps you’re one of the poinsettia haters I’ve tried to convert before. Either way, if you love botany you might be impressed by the sheer diversity – and yet sameness – of the poinsettia’s big family, Euphorbia.  Sameness […]

Continue Reading
1 2 3 31