A dramatic container planting filled with tropical plants and succulents.

Idea starters for creative container plantings

I’m feeling the need to get creative with some fresh container planting ideas. This may have something to do with the fact that the weather right now is…(fill in your choice of expletive here). We’re already well into April but winter is continuing to be annoying, flinging snow, rain and hail all over southwestern Ontario.…

Hyacinth bulbs in glass vase with glass beads.

Light up spring bulbs

When spring seems to be taking forever to arrive, I take matters into my own hands and add a few pots of flowering spring bulbs to the kitchen windowsill. But I’ve never been keen on those sad plastic pots filled with sodden potting soil. Here’s an easy trick for making spring bulbs light up with…

Container trials

Revving up (or saving) late summer garden containers

What do 2,200 varieties of plants, all in containers exposed to a merciless Southern Ontario summer, look like? Awesome. The Sawaya Container Trials, one of North America’s largest, threw open their doors (so to speak) in late July for growers, retailers and members of the Garden Writers Association to check out what’s doing best, what…

Hens and chickens

Fun with succulents

Succulents–those chubby, rubbery plants originally hailing from arid climes–are my go-to plants when I want to fill a space with texture, not have to worry about their maintenance and, I’ll admit it, add a bit of humour. Maybe it’s their otherworldly shapes and colours. When succulents are planted in unlikely places, their oddness stands out…

Cuphea and petunia mix 1

Container idea: Firecrackers and red hot petunias

The Clash is making a super-hot fashion statement for Spring 2015–no surprise given the tidal wave of throwback-to-the-Seventies looks. But will jarring colours work in the garden, too. Oh, yeah. Two of the plants I trialled on behalf of Proven Winners last year were Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia hybrid and Vermillionaire™ Cuphea. The petunias had decadent,…

Mixed pansy

The invincible pansy

Are we there yet? Has spring arrived? Jaded gardeners in Southern Ontario know full well that, even though it’s April, we haven’t seen the last of snow, hail, ice, slush or general smeg. Resisting the urge to plant some kind of posey is hard. But we don’t have to. There are pansies. The reasons why pansies…

Wood containers

The movable garden

Commitment-phobic? Then gardening might be the ultimate turn-off. After all, growing plants entails sticking around in the same place to water, feed, prune and, yes, enjoy their beauty, year after year, doesn’t it? Not necessarily. Here are 5 ideas to have green and growing things with you wherever you roam. Click on any photo to read…

Basil and marigolds

Container idea: Fruit salad up north

I didn’t think of marigolds as a salad ingredient until I visited the vegetable and herb garden at Les Jardin de Metis, also known as Reford Gardens. The ‘potager‘ as it’s called there (hey, it is in Quebec) is a screaming example of how things you can eat can also make the most incredibly beautiful garden. The…

Green beans on the vine

Container idea: Magic (pole) beans

Last May, I planted some beans in a pot–another big gardening adventure for me. I’ve already admitted my fear of vegetable growing in a previous posting so I hope you’ll understand that, after the exhilaration of throwing all caution to the wind and planting lettuce, I felt downright at one with nature and the universe planting…

Log planter

Container idea: Ring of fire(wood)

Having leftover firewood at our place is a little like having leftover wine. Basically, it never happens. But if the fascination with setting things, er, logs aflame slows to the point where we do have some hanging around, I’m definitely going to try this nifty idea I came across during a terrific weekend visit to…

Plants in pots

Container idea: Customize half-price pots 4 ways

Who doesn’t love a short-cut? And when the short-cut saves you money? Even better.  Ready-planted containers are a fast and easy solution for turning your backyard from lawn-mower country to cocktail lounge. And if you wait just another couple of days, most of those containers, looking at their peak of lushness, are going to go…