Daisies in sun

Warming up to the why of gardening

Heat is important when you want to grow things in your garden. That’s pretty self evident, particularly when you’re staring out a window at a world covered in snow and ice. But I didn’t realize just how much heat affected growing things until digging deep (har, har) into my latest course on organic horticulture through…

Looking at asters

Digging into a virtual garden of discoveries

There’s an acquaintance of mine who rolls her eyes every time I mention that I’m taking another online gardening course. I figure she just doesn’t know what she’s missing. I get that “gardening” and “online” may seem to go together like “fish” and “bicycle” but there are virtual classrooms out there offering amazing experiences that…

India's Got Talen

Make mud pies for healthier living and fine art

I love when science legitimizes my tendency to play in the dirt. Research has proven that direct contact with soil is actually very beneficial for your health. Last month, a blog posting from the David Suzuki Foundation, reported on microbes, biodiversity and how getting dirty is actually good for you. Here’s a taste of that…

Get outside

The inside scoop on getting outside

This terrific infographic from CottageCountry.com in support of the Davidi Suzuki Foundation is a great reminder about why it’s important for everyone to put away their cell phones and computers and get outside. We gardeners tend to do this on a regular basis but after reading this you may feel the urge to grab your…

Home page NatureWatch

Hey, Citizen Scientist! Observe that dandelion.

Before you mow down or dig up those dandelions, write down the date they started blooming! That’s what NatureWatch is hoping you’ll do. By asking ordinary people like you and me to become Citizen Scientists and participate in some easy environmental monitoring programs, they hope the combined research will help track the rapid changes in Canada’s…

Leafing Out

A thought provoking posting from the always fascinating champagnewhiskey blog that’s particularly timely as trees begin to soften with new spring buds. champagnewhisky There are few places in the world, if any, that aren’t touched by human activity, including places with no humans. And one of our chief human activities over the past couple of…

Looking forward and down – in a good but freaky way

Whoa! Garden geeks listen up. Is it just me or do the latest brilliant ideas from Jeremy Rifkin, prolific writer, lecturer, and advisor to heads of state, sound familiar? In his latest book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society, he explains his theory about “the emerging Internet of Things”, a “global Collaborative Commons and the eclipse of…

Plant tunnel

Plants and brainless thinking

Who says you need a brain to rally help, change course to avoid an obstacle, or share your food? After reading The Intelligent Plant by Michael Pollan, you’ll think twice about being so “cerebrocentric”. Published in The New Yorker in 2013, this article is a fascinating overview into the curious, contentious and controversial world of plant intelligence research. Reading up…

Spring leaves

At the speed of spring and seahorses

“Spring travels north at about thirteen miles a day.” So wrote Diane Ackerman in her provocative book, “Cultivating Delight“. She figures this equates to 47.6 feet per minute or about 1.23 inches per second. When I read this, my first thought was at that rate, you could actually keep pace with Spring–meet up with it…

A Little Perspective

One of my favourite blogs, champagnewhiskey has once again helped my adjust my perspective. This post features a video of a flight through the Andromeda Galaxy which, I’m reminded, would actually take 40,000 years to accomplish at the speed of light. To up the humbling factor, I suggest you watch the video, then walk outside…

Distillery District at Night

The longest night

Today is labelled the shortest day of the year. But wouldn’t it be way more fun spending these few, fleeting hours of sappy sunlight savouring the anticipation of the longest night of the year? After all, back in the day (I’m talking a couple thousand years ago), the winter solstice was celebrated as the turning…

Trees in fall

Play that chunky music

What would it sound like if you took a thin slice from a tree trunk and played it like a vinyl record? Would the tree rings work somehow like the grooves in a record? In case this has been a burning question for you, you’ll be pleased to know that there are several YouTube videos…

Flies on windowsill

Masses of midges in one last fling

They’re baaaaack. In the last couple of days, my windowsills have accumulated drifts of tiny black bug corpses. I’ll clean up the mess one day and there’s that much more the next day. I always thought of this buggy onslaught as a spring ritual so I decided to find out more about why these critters,…

Dog in snow

Taking the dullness out of dormancy

Nope. Nothing’s changed since yesterday. The garden is still frozen. Old snow is not pretty. Poets wax on about the beauty and stillness of winter but I’m thinking it’s time to move on. Sydney Eddison, writer, gardener and lecturer, wrote: “Perfection in life and in the garden depends on a counterpoise too fragile to maintain…