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…

Mauve lilac

In praise of Lilacs

Busting out in sumptuous clumps of intoxicatingly scented blooms, lilacs are sensational plants. So why are they so unloved? Just Google “lilacs bad luck” and you’ll find all kinds of lore about how bringing lilacs into the house is not good and wearing a sprig of them can be even worse. Then there are the…

Nesting material

A fluff piece for the birds

Warning: this post is a fluff piece. And it’s strictly for the birds. Fluff is important for building a nice, cosy nest. All soon-to-be Bird Moms know this. But pollution, weed killers and our innate desire to clean up our gardens has resulted in a dearth of plant-based fluff. But there are ways you can…

Pots of herbs

Herbs for people and pollinators

While we humans are savouring the prospects of fresh herbs plucked from our own potager garden (homemade pizza with fresh basil, potato salad with chopped chives, cucumbers tossed with dill, mmmmmmm) there are plenty of friendly flying critters, from bumblebees to lacewings, butterflies to hummingbirds, probably going through their own mental list of nom-nom-noms right…

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…

Reblooming rose

Put the blooms on repeat

You can watch your fave episode of Sons Of Anarchy twice, so why can’t you do the same with your plants? Well, you can. Amazingly, there are plenty of perennials that burst into flower and then, do it again, and sometimes, again and again. Talk about getting your money’s worth–particularly when these plants, being perennials,…

Dandelion | Harbinger of Spring

Originally posted on Garden Variety:
This photo courtesy of wallpaperswide. Subsequent photos copyright by Mike Alexander. Our man in Europe, horticulturist Mike Alexander, on the season of the dandelion, the bane of gardeners everywhere. The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a perennial weed that plagues gardeners and grows on every continent on the planet, including Antarctica.…

Mulch and shadow

Hello, mulch delivery guy!

We’re almost at the end of April and that means one thing to a lot of gardeners and most landscaping suppliers in Southern Ontario–mulching time. If you’re already hooked on mulch, you know first hand the benefits of this spring rite. Let me count the ways we love mulch: Weeds are kept at bay. Mulch…

Metal garden sculpture

Garden needs a reno? Power-wash your birches

Yesterday, I sat in on a lecture at the Toronto Botanical Garden by plantswoman extraordinaire Marion Jarvie of Thornhill, Ontario. The topic was renewing and renovating your garden–starting now. This dynamo gardener had eyes popping over photos of her handiwork and eyebrows raised over some of her suggestions for sprucing up our own gardens this…