My bargain Clivia might have a virus

These mottled leaves on my Clivia could be telling me a sad, sad story. Oh, dear. You might know of my constant quest for unkillable houseplants. When I find one purported to be Helenproof, I’m on it like bees (or Battersbys) on honey. How thrilled I was to hear about Clivia, an easy-to-care-for flowering bulb […]

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Winter White Amaryllis: Intokazi

‘Intokazi’ white amaryllis, from South Africa is a stunner. Let’s face it, November, early December is the prime season of brown and bedraggled—bare trees, sundown at 4:30, and the dreary heft of winter coat and boots. I can’t think of a better time to impulse-buy an amaryllis in a pot. I bought this one a […]

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Battle of the bulb-planting tools

 When you have 350 bulbs to plant – and your soil wears bulletproof armour in the form of impenetrable Norway maple roots – you’ll try anything to make your life easier. So when I noticed this inexpensive, ergonomic Y-Grip Trowel on the Botanus website, I wondered how it would stand up to my long-handled bulb planter. I added it to […]

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Be a friend to Anemones

Anemone blanda ‘White Splendor’ Where would gardeners be without the gigantic Ranunculaceae or buttercup family? Well, we’d be without perennials such as Clematis, delphiniums and hellebores, without annuals such as columbines (Aquilegia) and love-in-a-mist (Nigella). And we’d be without anemones. And, without anemones, we’d miss out on one of the easiest early spring bloomers, Anemone […]

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Two less-known bulbs for dry shade

A carpet of Pushkinia and Chionodoxa at Rosetta McClain Gardens In his chapter on bulbs in Planting the Dry Shade Garden (a review of that will follow), Graham Rice mentions two that for me are tried and true, one that is on my wish list, and one big surprise. The charmer brightening the path above, […]

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These onions were made for walking

Upside down in this pic, these onion sets form at the top of the stem There aren’t too many do-nothing perennial vegetables, but one of them is the Egyptian walking onion, Allium cepa var. proliferum. That variety name, proliferum, isn’t because these onions produce well, although they do. It comes from the botanical term proliferation […]

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Alas, my bouquet of tu*ips

Call me superstitious, but some garden things are best left unsaid. For example, it can be dangerous to look forward to the blooming of t***ps. I dare not speak their name. Because the squirrels who, each spring, unceremoniously snap off the heads of the handful of t***ps in my tiny, tiny garden have been at […]

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Canada Blooms – Daffodils heard around the world

In Spring, cancer societies in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Ireland and Canada sell daffodils to raise money for cancer research. But here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know: It all started here in Canada back in 1957, when a single volunteer for the Canadian Cancer Society had a great idea… that grew. That’s […]

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Signs of Spring 2011: There be snowdrops!

The evidence is in: there’s Spring in them thar hills! Or, at least, there are snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) blooming in the east end of Toronto. These fellas aren’t the 60 or so I planted last fall. They’re part of the happily multiplying family that has been hardily pushing through snow and leaves for years. One […]

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Take that, winter! A foretaste of spring

Just to remind you that spring will be springing soon… because we’re just fed up with winter.   These photos were captured on Mother’s Day 2010 at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington   Drink in all that voluptuous colour. Don’t worry about the species or cultivar now.   Although the dark purple Tulipa ‘Queen […]

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Planting Bulbs: An Act of Faith

This single, late tulip, “El Nino” positively glows in the sun. I probably need to be planting flower bulbs right now, but I’m not. The last few falls I haven’t planted any tulip bulbs, no crocuses, no nothing. I have my reasons (cough *excuses*), listed here: • My city garden is hard as heck to […]

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