Someone’s been eating my zinnias

I’m actually not here right now. I’m in Cape Breton on holiday. So just a quickie to say, like Mama Bear in Goldilocks: “Someone’s been eating my zinnias. Someone’s been eating my zinnias! Someone’s been eating my zinnias… and there he is!” The grasshoppers have been more plentiful than usual in my garden in 2018. Tell-tale signs […]

Continue Reading

Fighting invasive tree-of-heaven

This summer, I’ve been battling tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) like never before. We’ve written before about this struggle, but I’ve never seen it keep coming back so aggressively from the root – till now. Ailanthus is an alien species (read more about it in our previous post), that has become a regular citizen of Toronto’s unguarded laneways and unclaimed […]

Continue Reading

Do your grasses have catchew disease?

You might want to categorize this under “pets and diseases.” That first word isn’t a typo. Some disfiguring plant problems have nothing to do with bugs or fungi. Some “pests” are considerably larger. For example, if your lovely Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) is supposed to look like this. And, instead, it looks like […]

Continue Reading

What’s wrong with my ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea?

Last year around this time (late April or early May) I noticed something strange about the leaves on shoots of my old, reliable ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas. They looked glued together into a puffy, leaf-shaped balloon. What was wrong? In fact, they were “glued” or rather tightly stitched together at the edges. Turns out the culprit was the larva of […]

Continue Reading

White spots on your pine needles? Uh oh.

If you see white dots like these on pine needles, you might mistake them for something the tree produces itself, like pine gum. I did at first, too. But nope. Dots that look like small splashes of white paint or resin on the needles are the winter homes of an insect pest called pine needle scale (Chionaspis pinifoliae). These critters […]

Continue Reading

Coneflower rosette gall mites

The more we plant something, the more something comes along to eat it. Usually something buggy. In the case of coneflowers (Echinacea), this green, tufted centre in the centre of the disk is a sign of some undesirable noshing going on. The culprit is an unnamed type of eriophyid mite, a breed of microscopic, sucking […]

Continue Reading

Yikes: Dog-vomit fungus on my worm box

The delightfully named “dog vomit fungus”,  aka dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica) Talk about going from the sublime to the real-ick-ulous on the Toronto Gardens blog! Look what bloomed – overnight – on my worm condo. When I say “overnight,” I mean that the slimy yellow barflike substance frothed up over the lid and […]

Continue Reading

Poison Ivy: Better not touch

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) – “leaves of three, let it be.” Hiking with Mr. TG last weekend, it became clear that my former- Scoutmaster husband had forgotten what poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) looks like. Yikes. And it was everywhere along our path. One study suggests that poison ivy might get itchier and more plentiful in […]

Continue Reading

Warning: Dog-Strangling Vine in bloom

The star-shaped brownish-maroon flowers of dog-strangling vine. This picture makes them seem almost pretty. Don’t be taken in. One of Toronto’s worst – if not the very worst – of weeds is now making babies. Millions and millions and millions of them. It’s an ideal time to nip all that fecundity in the bud. Dog-strangling […]

Continue Reading

Pear Trellis Rust isn’t pretty

The bright red foliage lesions and bumpy fruiting bodies of Pear Trellis Rust My sister-in-law was showing me the garden of their new home, including a number of fruit trees. Unfortunately, the foliage of the two pear trees are covered in red lesions, and the underside shows the clear signs that something is seriously amiss. […]

Continue Reading