Lessons from English gardens 3

What a simple idea for preventing your monkshood from toppling: large open baskets composed of twigs and string. Rather than the unsightly stake, or the rigid rings, create something organic that almost disappears in the foliage.┬áThis one works, regardless of your continent or zone. It’s a keeper.

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The month of the triffids

Go away for three weeks in July, and what usually happens? A sudden onset of Gobi Desert. Go away for three weeks in July 2008, during which, the stats tell me, there was 171% more rainfall and 5% more sunshine than normal, and return to a world gone wild. The water-loving hydrangeas are weighted down […]

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Life will intrude (and other excuses)

Drat this vacation. The maniacal rush to get things done before taking a break is screwing up my garden. Next spring, I’ll probably regret not having deadheaded those tarda tulips. Hopefully, all their energies didn’t go into making seed. Just popped out now and sprinkled the seeds over some new ground. Don’t know if this […]

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On ruthlessness, or lack thereof

Dame’s rocket or Hesperis. The bees still love them. They still smell lovely in the evening. They’re still making flowers. And, this afternoon before the big rain, I even saw an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly swooping down for a sip. But they’re taking over. Despite, or perhaps because of, the perpetual flower-making machine at the […]

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Growing in the wrong place

Everybody has one of these. Not a Nectaroscordum, though I wish. No, I mean a plant growing in exactly the wrong spot. Too close to something, too far away to be seen. Or, in the case of this pretty cousin of the Alliums, too buried under an ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea … and mired in too impenetrable […]

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Crimes against Nature

Sarah launched our blog way back in Ought-Six with a wonderful rant about leaves. It remains true that not everyone has our passion for dead leaves. Every spring, Canadians… urban Canadians… continue to spend a great deal of time and energy raking up leaves and giving them away. Then they go to the garden centre […]

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Signs of Spring: What’s under the leaves?

It must be spring. The day before yesterday, Sarah and I had our first official Walk Around the Garden with a Cup of Tea. This puts the 2008 season at least two weeks behind schedule in Toronto. Usually, this first walk happens in mid-March. Typically, it involves gently prying apart the mat of maple leaves […]

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Vermiculture: or, we love worms!

Our Aunt Beryl, a hardy gardener transplanted from the north of England to the north of Canada, turned me on to worms. In one of her guises she ran a daycare centre and composted organic waste from lunches using vermiculture, or worm composting. The kids just loved the worms. “How do you do it?” I […]

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The coming thaw

Spring will be springing briefly next week in January, when temps are predicted to rise to the +10-degree range. Apparently, only a couple of Toronto’s winters over the past 157 years have failed to have a January thaw. What an opportunity to get out there and tidy up the straggly tails of the morning glories […]

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