Weed warning: Climbing nightshade

Fall is a great time to spot the red berries of climbing nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) We always knew this as “deadly nightshade,” but that’s not the right name. Deadly this plant can be, but only if you eat the berries when they’re green before they ripen – not when they’re temptingly red like this. These […]

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Autumn berries for your garden palette

Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) – a North American native shrub – with glossy black pomes and bright fall foliage First, to confess. These fruits are highly decorative in the fall garden, but none of them are berries. As botanically defined, berries are fleshy fruits and seeds produced from a single ovary. Currants, blueberries and gooseberries […]

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Garden colour without flowers

The Toronto Botanical Garden on a rainy (but clearly not grey) day in November Think November is drab? It doesn’t have to be, if you play your cards right. Look at the lusciousness in the photo above, without the use of a single flower – well, discounting the dried heads of a red-tinged oakleaf hydrangea […]

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Apparently I Need a Southern Gentleman

Berries in the snow, just what the doctor ordered. No, I’m not advertising for a mate with a charming drawl. It’s only me letting out an inner “D’oh!” after a spot of Googling. It’s all to do with winter interest in the garden, or lack thereof, in my own. Four years ago, determined to get […]

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Porcelain vine: Might need careful handling

Oh, how I love those mouthful names: Ampelopsis brevipedunculata Its pretty, many-coloured blue and purple berries give porcelain vine its name. I had one of these members of the grape family – the one with the variegated leaves – in the wrong spot in my garden. Please note the use of the past tense. It’s […]

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November Roses

In public school, we memorized Thomas Hood’s poem, November, which ends: “No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, / No comfortable feel in any member– / No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, / No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, / November!” It has been decidedly grey this month. Yesterday was one […]

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