Pink tulip with raindrops

An alternative guide to garden tour photography

Going on a garden tour boils down to three extraordinary experiences: Being witness, on occasion, to divine splendour, be it a transformative garden or a single bloom Learning just how much your ardour for gardening will spur you on while spitting sparks and growing blisters Developing new tactics for dealing with and/or avoiding other tourists…

Here comes summer 10 ways

The longest day of this year will officially begin on June 21, at 5:13 a.m. here in the Northern Hemisphere. This means, of course, that June 22 marks the inexorable decline of daylight into another long winter. So I figure celebrating heat and happiness right now are in order. Here are 10 not-so-conventional ideas for…

Wildflower garden or salad bar?

I’ve been trying my very best (for several years now) to start a completely natural wildflower garden at our cottage on the Bruce Peninsula in southwestern Ontario. The garden is a small patch of land, decorated with several dead logs and a tree stump, just feet from the shoreline of our small freshwater lake. I…

Lines of desire

I love the garden design term “desire line“. Used in urban design as well, it refers to a path we take, whether it’s official (as in meant-to-be-part-of-the-overall-design) or renegade (more on that later). It’s usually the quickest route from A to B. You see them a lot in public green spaces–a dirt path carved into…

Great, unexpected ways to bee-friendly

I had to share this post by Daniel Cartwright, Head Gardener at Winterbourne House and Garden, an Edwardian historic house and garden in Birmingham, which is basically in the centre of England. He shares his top 3 tips for attracting and supporting healthy bees Choosing flowers for bees: Take careful consideration of the shape of…

Let’s talk: Climate and changing

In Canada, this coming May 23rd isn’t any old Monday. It’s Victoria Day, a national holiday, making for a 3-day weekend also referred to as May Long. In other years, when the holiday lands on the 24th, it’s often referred to as May Two-Four, referring not to the date but to the large case of…

Blossoms and lawn

No mow doubts

I realize I’m a bit late to the No Mow May party but I kept seeing a lot of messaging through news and social media about what a great idea not mowing your lawn in May is but not a lot of good hard reasons why you should or what to do after May. The…

Poppies by a lake

Plant red!

Working with the colour red in a planting scheme is the most challenging to me. In a line-up of eye-catching plants, I find the reds are doing more than catching the eye. They’re doing a full-on fandango. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of red plants sporting flowers, stems and/or leaves that I…

Trout lilies with a tritium

Silly lilies: Beauty with humour

Easter lilies are in grocery stores everywhere right now. They’re wonderful plants–heralding the coming of spring, symbolizing new beginnings (for both Christians and Pagans) and are/were absolutely de rigueur as an OTT decor flourish, especially during the fabulousity that was the 90’s. But as much as I respect and admire the glamour of Lilium longiflorum,…

Sunset over Pacific Ocean

Nature, explained.

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” So said American “Father of National Parks” John Muir in 1938. He had a unique and powerful way of describing nature and this particuilar piece of advice comes across as practical, mystical, exciting and impossible–all at once. But inspiring nonetheless. Whenever I discover something…

Small signs of spring

Two ways to get this spring moving

Fellow denizens of the Northern Hemisphere–it’s time to celebrate. The spring equinox has finally arrived. Maybe you’ve already noticed more birds hanging about, all singing with marked enthusiasm. Maybe you saw some tiny green sprouts shyly poking up out of the ground where, just last week, there was only crusty snow or mud or, in…

In praise of garden bridges

Bridges are amazing things. They are the very manifestation of a proposition. What’s a bridge if not the offer to be on the other side? But they don’t have to span a physical thing like a river or a highway. According to Cambridge Dictionary, a bridge can be “something that makes it easier to make…

Red, a love story

I first laid eyes on Red when he was on his last legs. Stunted, hunched and neglected, Red was clearly in need of love and care. But I snatched him up, not because I felt a need to do the right thing but because I was desperate for a sketch model and he was the…

Looking but not seeing

I drew a maple leaf the other day. Just a doodle, really. I wanted to try out some newfangled coloured pencils. The pencil lines turn into watercolours if you trace over them with a wet brush. I got half way through my drawing when I realized something wasn’t quite right. I’d drawn the veins without…