What’s new at Through the Garden Gate 2018

The first new thing about 2018 edition of the Toronto Botanical Garden’s annual tour of private gardens is the name – and the reason for it. It’s now a sponsored event under Mark Cullen’s Mark’s Choice brand. It’s now Mark’s Choice Through the Garden Gate. Two reasons. First, the Cullen’s have a long history with the […]

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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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A day to love plants that die well

If you find the chore of deadheading scary, don’t fear. For some plants, deadheading has been dead for a decade and more. Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf woke us to the beauty of plants in all their stages, including the end of their lifecycle. In other words, dying and dead. Confession: I’d never absorbed the Oudolfian phrase, “plants that […]

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Knotweed: The naughty and the not

To be honest, most knotweeds are at least a little naughty. They can spreaaaaaaad. That might be a good trait in a ground cover. But some, notably the invasive and hard to eradicate Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica, syn. Fallopia japonica, syn. Polygonum cuspidatum), are very, very naughty indeed. This PDF from the Ontario Invasive Plant Council explains. Others, like our covergirl, Persicaria amplexicaulis […]

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Baptisia for Garden Days 2017

Look at these yellow wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria). When Sarah and I saw them at dusk a week ago at the Toronto Botanical Garden, they were glowing like candles in the dimming light. Immediate crush! But I fall in love easily, it seems. It has been an unusual spring, cool and wet. We’ve had late […]

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30 years, 30 gardens, Through the Garden Gate 2017

I was (regretfully) away for the 2017 preview of Through the Garden Gate. So I (regretfully) can’t show sneak peeks into the 30+ (yes, that’s thirty-plus!) gardens selected for the 30th anniversary of the Toronto Botanical Garden‘s annual garden tour, this weekend June 10 & 11. But I can tell you a few facts: It happens in North Rosedale […]

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Seedy Saturday at the TBG

My sister is the seed-starter in our family. She’d tell you all the great reasons to start plants from seed, beginning with the joy of seeing a wee plant unfold from the soil – an everyday miracle I never get tired of. Cost-effectiveness is another one. Seed-started plants make it all the more affordable to create a scene like the one above, 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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12 things to like about 2016

By many measures, 2016 was one of the most deplorable of annus horribilis-es. The Grim Reaper was unusually busy, and some things did not turn out as hoped. But let’s try to bright-side it. A look back: January One thing to like, every year, is Toronto’s skirt hem along the great freshwater sea that is Lake Ontario. A […]

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TBG Holiday Market and Open House 2016

Toronto Botanical Garden’s Annual Holiday Open House will be a little different this year. It happens tomorrow, Dec. 1st, 2016, from 2 pm to 8 pm, with a parallel members-only event starting at 6:30 pm. I’ll be there, accompanied by our N.O.D. (Number One Dot), and with bells on. The difference will be the extended […]

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Clematis tangutica: Careful what you wish for

I have lusted after Clematis tangutica, the late-flowering beauty with the common name golden clematis or sometimes orange-peel clematis due to its thick petals (really: sepals). And I have planted Clematis tangutica. And, like many of the clematis I’ve grown, I have killed Clematis tangutica. You can imagine my surprise, then, when researching this post today I […]

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Bee hotels for your wish list

My adventures in urban wild bee hospitality have appeared on the blog before. Right now, other than some passive carpenter bee action on our shed, I’m out of the bee hotel business. But I’d like to get back into it. Over my garden travels, I’ve been collecting bee hotel pictures for inspiration. Hoping these inspire you, […]

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