England meets Texas in the Rock Rose Garden

It’s easy for me to be a breathless fangirl when I truly love a garden. I wanna show you this and this and this and isn’t it all amazing? But then I take a deep breath. Helen, I say, control yourself. This garden is in Austin, Texas. Texas! What would that mean to garden people in Toronto? And I have the answer. Lots! […]

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A red tree garden in Cabbagetown

The Hidden Gardens of Cabbagetown is one of my favourite Toronto neighbourhood garden tours. Partly, it’s because Cabbagetown, a cornucopia of shady lanes and diverse Victorian architecture, is one of my favourite Toronto nabes. This year, after a morning accosting people to talk about plants volunteering as a Master Gardener in one charming garden, I had time to explore […]

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Creative, repurposed garden art

Our 99-year-old windows are being replaced today. Much as I love the original look, I live with the downside all winter as I sit at my office keyboard with the window view – wearing mittens. It is hard to type wearing mittens. Mr TG just came to ask, “Do you want to keep the weights?” He laughed […]

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Check these out at Canada Blooms 2018

No more nay-sayers, please. There’s always something to see at Canada Blooms, if you look for it. Often, you don’t need to look too hard. Here are a few of the things I’ve pointed out on the early-morning tours I’ve led this year. The Gardens The big gardens are often exquisitely done, and this year is […]

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Making the garden your happy place

In trying times, we need our own sanctuary. Don’t we? It could be real or a place we magic up in our mind. A place of refuge from anxiety or fear; or a place that simply brings us pleasure, in the moment or in our memory. For inspiration, here’s a happy place I’ve been wanting to share since […]

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RBG’s Rock Garden rocks in October!

If you only think “spring bulbs” or “rock garden plants” when you think of the Rock Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, you haven’t seen it lately. In the last couple years, it has undergone a major transformation. I can’t believe it took me so long to visit, but being carless is my excuse. Even […]

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Kylemore Abbey and Victorian walled garden, Ireland

Closing time seems to be my siren call. Especially when it comes to gardens. We were in Galway, Ireland, one afternoon when we impulsively decided to drive 90 minutes northwest to see Kylemore Abbey. Once a stately home, it’s now a Benedictine abbey, still famous for its postcard-pretty setting and restored Victorian walled garden. There are only […]

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And now, June Blake’s Garden, Blessington

After our wet, wild, wonderful day at Jimi Blake’s garden on our Irish holiday, we tore ourselves off to visit the garden of his sister June Blake, about five minutes away. It was almost closing, and our visit was cut decisively short by a sudden, intense deluge, a theme for the day. The siblings share an exuberant […]

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Jimi Blake’s Hunting Brook Gardens, Ireland

As giddy as a schoolboy. (Picture Alastair Sim skipping around as Scrooge on Christmas morning.) That’s how my husband described me when we finally arrived at Hunting Brook Gardens on Lamb Hill near Bellington in the Wicklow mountain foothills. It had been a long time coming. Four years ago, I’d tried, tried hard, to persuade my travelling buds in Ireland […]

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Near-sighted camera meets colorblind gardener

A weird thing happened on my recent visit to this exuberant Buffalo garden. Almost every picture (almost every one!) was out of focus. But only in this one garden, out of 15 that day! It’s as if my camera knew that the man who’d created this particular garden had a vision impairment, and it was fuzzing out in sympathy. Ha. In fact, the fuzzy […]

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Using black and brown in a garden

Sometimes, I feel bad about filtering the experience of being in a garden through a camera lens. Am I like one of those people who walk around seeing the whole world through the screen of their iPads? But the magic of photography can turn a frantic, 45-minute garden visit into hours of contemplation at home – letting me zoom in, identify hidden treasures, and […]

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You’ve been seen, ultramarine

Since visiting the garden of Linda Hostetler in The Plains, Virginia, I’ve spent a long time trying to feel blue. I mean feel it – to understand the science behind why gardeners love this eye-popping blue called ultramarine (and sometimes Majorelle blue, after the painter and his garden). As my camera and I slowly explored Hostetler’s interesting […]

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