Flowering Echinacea with trees in the background show good gardening to combat climate change.

7 gardening ideas for fighting climate change

As Earth Day approaches, I can’t help thinking about how many indicators of climate change can be found simply by looking out my own back door. We’ve all seen them, from plants flowering and songbirds arriving earlier than ever to wonky weather patterns. Should we start changing the way we garden? Can what we plant…

Impatiens on shelves

Big box plants bad for bees?

Can a bee-friendly garden actually kill bees rather than help them? An article published last June on wired.com reported that gardeners may be accidentally poisoning bees when they purchase what they think are bee-friendly flowers at big box stores in the U.S. and Canada. Several named store brands in the article were found to be selling…

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…

Garden on a roof

Hi-rise help for bees

Even if you live in a skyscraper, if you’ve got a balcony (or a flat roof), you can help save bees and other pollinators. The Home Garden Seed Association recently reported that flowers don’t have to be growing in ground-level beds to attract bees and butterflies. If you plant them, they will find you–just about…

Forest Reverence

champagnewhisky “A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great or beautiful cathedral.” Theodore Roosevelt Tree Cathedral, a living installation by Giuliano Mauri in Bergamo, Italy. The foundation was laid in 2001, and following Mauri’s death in 2009, the Cattedrale Vegetale has been completed as a monument to…

The beautiful side of light pollution

In Southern Ontario, long, frigid February nights may seem particularly abysmal but at this time last year, a couple of photographers in our region captured the dark sky filled with vertical streaks of coloured light. Though Science and Weather Reporter Nicole Mortillaro romantically referred to the pillars as “one of winter’s gifts, an almost apologetic gesture for the…

Ash in fireplace

Ashes to ashes to tomatoes

Composting is a great way to recycle nutrients back into the soil but for a breathtakingly efficient rotation from plant to soil and back to plants again, use wood ash. Since the ash is what’s left of burned plant material, it naturally contains many of the essential nutrients that were first provided by the soil. Burning wood loses nitrogen…

Global Soil Partnership infographic

Happy Soil Day, every day

Time flies when you’re having fun. That might explain why December 5th whooshed past me without my realizing that day was the first official United Nations World Soil Day. Not that I would’ve been able to do much about it had I known. I mean, what does one do on a World Soil Day? Round up some…

Soil and rocks

Want the real dirt? Watch this.

Forget celebrity train wrecks or political scandals. Real dirt, the kind under everyone’s feet, can be riveting. Before your eyes start rolling into the back of your head or you make a quick flick over to Facebook, watch Symphony Of The Soil. OK, maybe it’s not the most tantalizing of titles but this documentary is…

Plants in urban ecology

What cliffs and sidewalk cracks share

Southern Ontario just got our first dump of snow and even though it’s only added up to a few centimetres (sorry, Buffalo), I’m already feeling nostalgic for green and growing things. So discovering a posting on David Suzuki’s website about eco-connections between urban and natural environments such as pavements and cliff faces, gutters and streams, was a…

Ditch planted with ornmentals

Hunting swales

I love a good swale. They’re so when-you’ve-got-a-lemon-make-lemonade. In garden geek terms, a swale is a shallow ditch. But it is a ditch transformed. A regular run-of-the-mill ditch catches the rain as it sheets off a gentle slope (like a lawn-covered front garden, for instance) and, in the case of suburban ditches like the one…

6 ways mushrooms can save the world

Turkey? Check. Mashed potatoes? Check. Mushroom gravy? Oh, yes. This Thanksgiving, give pause to thank the mushroom. Not only will it save your bird and spuds from dry, tasteless hell, but, as it turns out, it’s also capable of saving the world. Six. Different. Ways. I think you’ll find this video enthralling and, especially since…