Cabbagetown’s Wellesley Cottages

In the many times I’ve walked through Cabbagetown, I’d never stepped into the secret corner that’s home to the Wellesley Cottages – until last month’s garden tour. What a revelation! But stick around to the end of the post. You’ll see that one cottage kept the biggest secret of all in its back yard. Hover over any image to […]

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Long Branch by the Lake Garden Tour 2018

On Saturday morning, June 23, 2018, I’ll be in Long Branch opening up the event that bills itself as “Toronto’s biggest free self-guided garden tour.” Hope you’ll be there to check it out. Besides my short talk on “eating your garden” before the tour begins, and a plant propagation talk by Jennifer Arnott of The […]

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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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What’s new at Through the Garden Gate 2018

The first new thing about 2018 edition of the Toronto Botanical Garden’s annual tour of private gardens is the name – and the reason for it. It’s now a sponsored event under Mark Cullen’s Mark’s Choice brand. It’s now Mark’s Choice Through the Garden Gate. Two reasons. First, the Cullen’s have a long history with the […]

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30 years, 30 gardens, Through the Garden Gate 2017

I was (regretfully) away for the 2017 preview of Through the Garden Gate. So I (regretfully) can’t show sneak peeks into the 30+ (yes, that’s thirty-plus!) gardens selected for the 30th anniversary of the Toronto Botanical Garden‘s annual garden tour, this weekend June 10 & 11. But I can tell you a few facts: It happens in North Rosedale […]

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What Toronto needs is a Chinese garden

Google “classical Chinese garden Toronto” and here’s what you’ll discover: we have a lot of Chinese restaurants with “garden” in their name. Digging deeper might get you this link to the lost Chinese garden once-upon-a-time on Spadina Avenue. But do we have an actual, gardeny Chinese garden in T.O.? Not yet. And I wish we did. Classical Chinese […]

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12 things to like about 2016

By many measures, 2016 was one of the most deplorable of annus horribilis-es. The Grim Reaper was unusually busy, and some things did not turn out as hoped. But let’s try to bright-side it. A look back: January One thing to like, every year, is Toronto’s skirt hem along the great freshwater sea that is Lake Ontario. A […]

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Hakone grass: Fall in love with foliage

For amping up your foliage design palette, there’s nothing quite like the flowing texture of Hakone or Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra). The cultivar with the gold and green stripes above is likely H. ‘Aureola’) First, my confession. For me, Hakone grass is a case of I can’t always – maybe ever – get what […]

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Yum, a candy-coloured garden

What fun! Pool seating in a handful of jellybean colours. As my beloved would tell you, I’m not keen on surprises. However, surprises in the garden are a few of my favourite things. The last thing Sarah and I expected to find behind the lovely Georgian home in Port Hope, for example, was this playful […]

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