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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Valleyview Gardens Nursery Has Moved

One of our favourite east-end nurseries, Valleyview Gardens, has sadly moved out of town. Driving to their old location on Kennedy Ave, with my flasher on, waiting to turn into the parking lot, I saw to my horror it had been boarded up. Eek! What happened to one of our favourite garden places? Pulling into […]

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Escape from the cold to Allan Gardens

Good news. If you’re suffering from cabin fever during the first 2018 polar vortex, the Allan Gardens Christmas Show is on till January 7th. It’s a fun way to beat the chills, and it’s free. One of the cool things about this year’s show is the creative use of materials. When you go, have a […]

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Meet a few poinsettia cousins

Perhaps, like me, the poinsettiaful Christmas Show at Allan Gardens is still on your to-see list this year. Or perhaps you’re one of the poinsettia haters I’ve tried to convert before. Either way, if you love botany you might be impressed by the sheer diversity – and yet sameness – of the poinsettia’s big family, Euphorbia.  Sameness […]

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Pachypodium, the monster on my windowsill

My reputation as Helen the Houseplant Killer might be at risk. I keep discovering plants that resist my planticidal tendencies. Like the one above, which arrived as a gift from our son three years ago. It still lives! Not only that, if it lives longer, it might qualify as a killer itself, or at least as a […]

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Opuntia will come back from the dead

If this seems a gruesome way to begin, it’s because of my “undying” admiration of the paddle cactus or prickly pear (Opuntia spp.). Did you know that southern Ontario has a native cactus (in the wild, it’s endangered)? This is the family, if not the one. And we can overwinter it here in Toronto’s USDA Z5/Canadian Z6. When […]

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Lessons from the Danger Garden

Since my earliest days with the long-lost, late-lamented Blotanical, I’ve been a reader of Loree Bohl’s The Danger Garden. With a focus on her passion for spiky plants, Loree has been a regular and prolific blogger since 2009. Get to know her through this interview. Now the growing conditions in Portland (USDA Z8) and Toronto (USDA Z5/Canadian Z6) […]

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Simply Mad About the Succulents

small succulent pots

Certain plants. Hostas. Daylilies. They inspire the collecting FEVAH. I never thought I would get as potty about hostas as my sister Helen; but now, inexorably, I am. I never thought I would get as potty as my father was about succulents. But now I am. Is there something about certain plants that invade your […]

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Monsters in the garden

A monstrously cool way to do succulents Yesterday was Hallowe’en in chilly Toronto. Must have a Hallowe’en hangover, because I feel like doing this quick little creature feature from Floramagoria last summer in mild (but rainy) Portland. Dollar-store finger monster. Ceramic monster says peek-a-BOO! What a neat way to do airplants!

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The weird, wonderful Ruth Bancroft Garden

The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California What could be better on a cold, blustery November Wednesday than a quick trip to California? This almost-wordless visit takes us to the Ruth Bancroft Garden – the dry climate garden that was the first of many private gardens to come under the protective wing of the […]

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