My ‘Wasabi’ coleus did a little too well

Take a look at that bright green or chartreuse shrub in my front garden above. It isn’t a shrub. It was (once) a single pot of ‘Wasabi’ coleus that I bought from Plant World this spring for my large container. A ‘Wasabi’ intent on taking over the world. Now, ‘Wasabi’ is an amazingly tough and beautiful […]

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July 2016 in the Microgarden

Coming home to the garden after a few days away feels like seeing nieces and nephews after a break. Except when you say, “My, how you’ve grown!” plants are a bit harder to embarrass. Want to see what’s growing in a small, shady, city garden – maybe a bit like yours? Certainly, I’d like to recall what worked and what didn’t in the Microgarden […]

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Creating a focal point at Hearts + Ivy

The small studio garden of Hearts + Ivy designer Donna Hamilton is like a jewelbox, sparkling with gems. With colour everywhere, everywhere, you feel like a bee, wanting to flit from flower to flower to flower to flower. This got me thinking about focus. I don’t usually post people pictures from garden tours, but this one makes […]

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Red and white garden for Canada Day

A cottage garden feel in the colours of the Canadian flag (with sunshiny touches of yellow). And a matching red door. Just in time for Canada Day, a Leslieville garden full of ephemeral red poppies and what look like common ox-eye daisies. This stopped me in my tracks as I passed. Happy, happy Canada Day! […]

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Not all Ipomoeas look alike

The one with the red star and the feathery foliage is Ipomoea quamoclit Oh, botanical names. How you confuse us! These two climbing cousins have a network of colliding names. One (with star-shaped flowers) can be called cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit but also Quamoclit pennata). The other one (with multiple tubular florets) can be called […]

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Nasturtiums still going strong in October

Call this salt and pepper: peppery-tasting nasturtiums in one of our grandmother’s saltware jugs It’s feeling kinda frosty outside, but some plants are still chugging along – even those fleshy ones you’d think would be susceptible to chilling. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum) for one. They’re the biggest-bang-for-buck annuals in my garden, and I always have room for […]

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Making the case for annuals

A bright flowerbed with annuals such as spider flower (Cleome) and snapdragons (Antirrhinum) If you grow perennials, people think, it means you’re a “real gardener.” Poor annuals, they’re thought of as second-class garden citizens. Yet for non-stop flower power, annuals can’t be beat. They may take a while to get going but once they do […]

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Street planters before the Fall fall

Two bright red begonias – B. ‘Dragon Wing’ on top and B. boliviensis ‘Bonfire’ at bottom – with golden Ipomeoa ‘Marguerite’ Isn’t it just the way that the street planters are at their best just before a cold snap makes them collapse like a failed soufflé. Give them a nod as you pass, and say, […]

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Amaranthus tricolor, pretty foliage you can eat

Joseph’s coat amaranth is ornamental and (technically) edible Performers who sing, dance and act are called triple threats – a good term for amaranth, too. Amaranth’s three-times-great features include: highly nutritious seeds, tasty young leaves and rather smashing flowers and foliage. Although, not always in the same plant. Like trendy quinoa, its kissing cousin, this […]

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Sweets for the nose in November

The nose doesn’t have much going for it in the month of November. That’s why we treasure any little bit of sniff going our way. The smell of fallen leaves is always heady to me, especially sugar maple leaves (Acer saccharum). Then there’s the lowly little annual (in my climate) edging plant aptly called sweet […]

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Cuttings without fear

  Many plants are easily propagated by cuttings. And the process is far from complex. The most important step is, of course, to do it… and not be daunted by rules or regulations. I own rooting hormone (#1 for softwood cuttings) which would have been an essential tool in the right way to take these […]

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Snow-on-the-Mountain (fire in the skin…?)

Today’s oblique musical reference is about Euphorbia marginata, also known by evocative common names such as snow-on-the-mountain, smoke-on-the-prairie, ghost weed, or summer icicle. All refer to the frosty-edged bracts of this Poinsettia cousin, in “bloom” right now in sunny Toronto gardens. The “fire” in this icicle relates to the toxic milky sap, common to all […]

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