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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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, […]

Continue Reading

Almost-wordless ex-aster appreciation

New-world asters aren’t Aster anymore. They are, among other things, Symphyotrichum as in Symphyotrichum novae-angliae or New England aster. Because these new-ish names are a bit of a mouthful, I prefer the term used (and perhaps created) by my friend Gail of Clay and Limestone: Ex-asters. It’s for Gail’s Wildflower Wednesday that I post this almost-wordless […]

Continue Reading

Designing with see-through plants

I’m a latecomer* to the term “see-through plants,” new to me until this spring. It was in a presentation on small-space gardening written by another Master Gardener. Her point was that designing with see-through plants is one way to make a small space seem bigger. Hmmm, thought this small-space gardener, interesting. After that, I started to notice plants for […]

Continue Reading

A September evening at the TBG

It’s a lovely day. The evening of the first day of school for 2016/17 and, coincidentally, the night of our first Toronto Master Gardener meeting for the new season. We have a few minutes. Come walk with me through the Piet Oudolf entry garden at the Toronto Botanical Garden. Let’s not worry about plant names. Let’s […]

Continue Reading

I agree: Brown is a colour, too

The Toronto Botanical Garden’s entry garden in January 2013 Today, we’ll put November to bed, and tomorrow we’ll wake up to December – which some feel means the end of colour in the garden. Well, all the leaves may be brown, and the sky is grey… but when we go for that walk on a […]

Continue Reading

Great plant pairing: Amsonia and Baptisia

Bluestar (Amsonia) and spiky false indigo (Baptisia) at the Toronto Botanical Garden Always grateful to discover unexpected combinations of spectacular plants on my travels. This time, I didn’t have to travel far – only to the Toronto Botanical Garden. Don’t know the specific cultivars here, but Amsonia and Baptisia seem made to go together, don’t […]

Continue Reading

A contemporary hedge with panache

Now this is a bold way to turn tradition on its ear – or at least turn it 90˚ – when it comes to a hedge that will complement contemporary architecture. Seen at Through the Garden Gate in Lawrence Park, June 2015. I sincerely appreciate all the work that goes into the planning and delivery […]

Continue Reading