If Wilma Flintstone was a gardener, I bet her back yard would’ve been gushing with native plants–garden centres selling imported varieties having not been invented yet. But what would that garden have looked like? You can get a pretty good idea by visiting San Francisco Botanical Garden’s Ancient Plant Garden. My besty Diane Hall did just that and sent me these amazing photos (see top left and bottom row of images).
Channeling Wilma’s green thumb for your own garden isn’t all that far-fetched and a fun way of getting your patio out of that old begonias-and-geraniums routine. Try rimming your patio with pots of large, palm-leafed tropicals and succulents. Pull your exotic houseplants outside, too. For inspiration, check out the Tropicals at Harper’s Garden Centre in Ancaster, Ontario or stroll through the impressive selection of cacti at Jade Gardens in Milton.
Admittedly, it’s hard to go full-on prehistoric year round in Southern Ontario. But there is one very cool tree that can give you the feeling that you’re standing in the middle of a herd of dinosaurs. That’s the Blue Beech, also known as Musclewood. The trunks of this tree have a smooth blue-grey bark that wraps around what looks for all the world like large muscled limbs. Conveniently, it’s a medium-sized tree (growing to 8-10 m in height) and native to Ontario. It’s great for a shady site, making it a terrific option for an urban garden where it has to compete with other mature trees or even a tall building next door. Bonus: the leaves have a gorgeous folded texture and turn lovely firey shades in fall.
Then all you need is some suitably Cro-Magnon garden furniture.