Houseplants for houseplant killers

My Hoya carnosa or wax plant is pushing the Big 3-0 Like the Brave Little Tailor in the fairytale, I should wear a sash reading, Helen the Houseplant Killer. It’s my specialty, particularly in creative ways. Most houseplant killers do it with too much love – by over-watering. My poison, on t’other hand, is neglect. […]

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Whistling Gardens for evergreen inspiration

The Rock Garden at Whistling Gardens What’s going on in your winter garden – anything? With Toronto’s long, dreary winters, you’d expect us to pay more attention to the winter months. Yet, bedazzled by leaves and flowers, winter is often the last thing we think about. In 2012, Whistling Gardens near Brantford opened to give […]

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Christmas at Dundurn Castle

Over the next few evenings this weekend, you can share a close-to-Dickens-y Christmas celebration at an historic site just around the corner in Hamilton. It’s at Dundurn Castle, a national historic site you might not even know about. I didn’t till recently. We Canadians tend to be wimps about our own history. Just as with […]

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Christmas containers for Wordless Wednesday

Ingredients: Paper birch poles, staghorn sumach, rosehips, magnolia leaves, silvery eucalyptus (okay, okay, these last two aren’t local), variegated boxwood, noble fir, white pine, and, although you can’t see them here, red-budded pussy willow. Also not visible are the purple chard and Swiss chard from this summer, still producing around the edges. In this one, […]

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Winter White Amaryllis: Intokazi

‘Intokazi’ white amaryllis, from South Africa is a stunner. Let’s face it, November, early December is the prime season of brown and bedraggled—bare trees, sundown at 4:30, and the dreary heft of winter coat and boots. I can’t think of a better time to impulse-buy an amaryllis in a pot. I bought this one a […]

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Apparently I Need a Southern Gentleman

Berries in the snow, just what the doctor ordered. No, I’m not advertising for a mate with a charming drawl. It’s only me letting out an inner “D’oh!” after a spot of Googling. It’s all to do with winter interest in the garden, or lack thereof, in my own. Four years ago, determined to get […]

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Temporary Winterscaping

Our temporary winterscape It’s the pagan in me that keeps my Christmas tree up long past traditional tree-time. For me, the tree and lights represent the resilient human spirit through the darkest days of winter. Usually, my whim is satisfied by an artificial tree. This year, however, I had a yen for a real one; […]

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Christmas by candlelight at Allan Gardens

Today is the grand opening of the Allan Gardens Christmas Show. From 10 am to 5 pm daily till January 8th, with candlelight viewing on Saturdays and Sundays from 5-7 pm, you can wander through the conservatory’s winding walkways, wondering at the wuvwely… okay, I’ll stop. The Christmas flower show is a family tradition with […]

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Lust List: River Birch

A multi-stemmed river birch (Betula nigra) You can’t always get what you want. Although you can try sometimes (gardeners call this “zone denial”). But when what you want is a tree called “river birch,” what you want (this tree with the amazing, exfoliating bark, especially as a youngster) might be ruled out by what this […]

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Signs of Spring 2011: There be snowdrops!

The evidence is in: there’s Spring in them thar hills! Or, at least, there are snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) blooming in the east end of Toronto. These fellas aren’t the 60 or so I planted last fall. They’re part of the happily multiplying family that has been hardily pushing through snow and leaves for years. One […]

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