Gardens, art and social justice

Can social change grow alongside art in a garden? I’ve been mulling this question over since Sarah and I returned from the annual garden bloggers’ meet-up, known as the Fling. This year, the Fling was flung in the trendy Appalachian town of Asheville, North Carolina. The Battersby Girls (plus Sarah’s son J, a good sport) were the sole […]

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Away, but still thinking of you

Cherry blossoms in Taichung, Taiwan Oh, how I’ve missed you! A whirlwind winter of work (weally?) has kept me from blogging. But even when I’m not writing about them, I’m thinking about Toronto gardens. Even when I’m far from Toronto. A business trip to Taiwan this month was one thing that kept me away. To […]

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Everyday lessons from castle gardens

Lesson one: Always have a good place to sit and enjoy the garden. When Sarah & I started our blog over five years ago (last month; we missed our blog’s birthday!), we said we wanted to write about real gardens by real people. None of that garden porn stuff for us. Ha! Well, we’ve learned. […]

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An old family friend in the toolkit

Every garden toolkit needs one sharp knife, the ideal tool for tasks from cutting string to dividing plant roots. Garden tools are very much a personal thing, like selecting a wallet. You need to find what works for you. I wouldn’t be without my aged Felco #2 hand pruners, for example. And the same goes […]

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TTC Garden Tour, Part 2: Dupont Station

Designed by elusive artist James Sutherland, the TTC’s Dupont Station murals were unveiled in 1978 I hadn’t intended to continue our TTC Garden Tour so quickly. But there I was at Spadina Station with my camera. It was just a long tunnel trek and a one-stop hop over to Dupont. And no TTC Garden Tour […]

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Miscanthus moments

Just stop with me for a moment. The wind is blowing my neighbour’s grasses. Miscanthus or maiden grass. Sometimes we need to hurry to appointments. Sometimes, we need to stand and watch the wind toss the maidens’ tresses. I think Robert Frost wrote a poem like that. About birches, weighed down by ice: So low […]

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Stop and smell the roses

What a glorious day. It’s a gift to every father in Toronto – wrapped up in roses, which are blooming their heads off all over the city. Happy Father’s Day, gentlemen! Nature is telling you (and each of us) to stop and smell the roses. Take pleasure in these small moments: the gift of the […]

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We need our parks, and Parks People need us

 Historic industrial space becomes an innovative park at the Brick Works   Despite the grey skies, a sunshine of ideas bloomed at the Toronto Alliance for Better Parks Summit last Saturday – ideas about the importance of parks to people, and importance of people to our city’s parks. Where better to do this than at the Evergreen Brick […]

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Trouble on the urban homestead: Is Canada safe?

A battle is waging in the green community south of the border. It isn’t about chemical versus organic or genetically modified versus heirloom. It’s about words, and who has the right to use them. The words are urban homestead and urban homesteading – commonly applied to the growing movement (no pun) that covers front-yard veggies or back-yard […]

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Hidden Gardens: Toronto’s Alleyways

Finding hidden gardens is always a sneaky treat. Sometimes they arrive all by themselves, or with help from humans, in tucked away places, like Toronto’s famous back alleys. These alleyways, constructed in many Toronto neighbourhoods to facilitate access to garages, usually extend the length of a block. There is something so timeless about walking down […]

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Giving thanks for Thanksgiving

I’m thankful there are still stars in the sky. You’re apt to forget about stars when you live immersed in  the light pollution of a city. This Thanksgiving, Sarah’s family and mine celebrated together at her one-room schoolhouse in the country. Urban glare is starting to creep in at the corners of her sky, but […]

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Planting Bulbs: An Act of Faith

This single, late tulip, “El Nino” positively glows in the sun. I probably need to be planting flower bulbs right now, but I’m not. The last few falls I haven’t planted any tulip bulbs, no crocuses, no nothing. I have my reasons (cough *excuses*), listed here: • My city garden is hard as heck to […]

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