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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Inspiration for mosaic paving

Before the snow or, more likely, the fallen leaves cover the ground, it’s a good time to squint at your paving (what Marjorie Harris calls “creative staring”) to see if there’s anything you can do better. Here are a couple of beautiful mosaic paving designs from the Atlanta Botanical Garden. [Update: Paving design is by […]

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Order in the court(yard)

I love the asymmetrical. Something in the balance of off-balance appeals to me deeply. Yet, the perfect order of a four-square courtyard can also be satisfying, don’t you think? This garden, with its European-style courtyard, has been calling to me for more than two years. We saw it back in September 2014 on a story tour with the […]

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The power of wrought-iron and stone

Through the balustrade, stonework and wrought iron create instant history in this Lawrence Park garden. The long architectural heritage of Ashlar stonework and wrought iron can give your yard immediate garden cred. You can do them in a major way, like this garden does so majestically. Or you can be like Mr. TG and I, who “got […]

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Gardens with a come-hither look

Do these stepping stones above the water call to you? What draws you through a garden? The answers pop up again and again as – in the midst of another January coolth-wave – I look longingly through garden photos. Certain garden features give me what I call “come-hither looks.” Come here, they say, irresistibly. Walk […]

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Oh yeah, Summer! I remember you.

A modest entry marks one of my favourite garden experiences from 2013’s Through the Garden Gate – because the reveal was such a surprise, combining formal elements with quirky details. If you read our blog, you know: Quirk R Us. P’raps that wasn’t one of those headlines. You know. The crawler-friendly ones that neatly index […]

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Making waves in the Wave Garden

The Wave Garden in Richmond Point, California, overlooking San Francisco Bay. Is it essential for a garden, a serious garden, to always start with a plan? And if we don’t have a plan, should we say, “Oh well, nothing’s written in stone”? In June 2013, I visited a garden that began with no real plan: […]

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Idea File: Ten from Canada Blooms 2013

Shawn Gallaugher’s new venture Otium Exercise Gardens creates spaces that look like a garden, but act like a gym. A few of the gardens this year incorporated some aspect of fitness and outdoor living. Today’s Friday Idea File brings you ten things of note from this first day of Canada Blooms 2013. With one wee […]

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Friday Idea File: It’s all about paving

Stained concrete, Lane garden, Seattle When a paving geek like me visits a garden, camera in hand, you can be sure that some shots will be about what’s underfoot. So this Friday’s Idea File focuses on the hardscaping under the snow. As you can see, you don’t have to settle for standard unit paver patterns […]

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Our front yard makeover: Post mortem

Now that the hardscape portion of our Grand Simplification is complete, let’s step back and evaluate. And, to celebrate the first day of school, I’ve even given grades, using my very arbitrary rubric which is no rubric at all. You judge whether we’re being too easy – or too hard – on ourselves. Circulation: B+ […]

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Our front yard makeover, Part 4

We sympathized with the builders of the pyramids after Beaver Valley Stone delivered our 4,180 lbs (1,896 kg) of weathered limestone. Not only did we ask ourselves how we’d ever move these big hunks of rock into position; we asked how the heck we’d ever get them off the skid – without breaking any backs, […]

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