Trees that feed bees

In spring, you can’t swing a bat in a garden centre without sending a display of bee-friendly flowers flying. Everyone’s on the bee-saving bandwagon and that’s a good thing. But even though we’re heading into autumn, you can still plant for beauty and the bees. Add a nectar-producing tree to your garden. Some of the…

Evergreens turning gold

“Evergreens” that ain’t

You’d think a tree covered in pine needles in the middle of summer would A) be a pine tree and B) be evergreen. I’m learning how wrong I can be. And how un-evergreens are golden in the fall garden. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) is indeed a pine tree–a beautiful, fast-growing native of Ontario with long,…

Dwarf shrub Butter Ball

Teeny weeny evergreen-y shrub

Small is relative. When I went looking for a small evergreen to fit into a narrow garden bed I have in the backyard, it seemed most nurserypersons’ version of dwarf varieties was my version of gigantic. A shrub growing to the height of 15 feet is not my idea of small. So I could’ve hugged John…

Hostas in fall

Preempting the slug fest

Looking like a small sea of green waves caught mid-curl, my hostas have brought a soothing kind of coolness to the garden all summer long. But, now that we’re edging closer to November, that coolness has turned stone cold ugly. In another week or two, they’ll be flat on the ground and rapidly turning into…

Back away from the coneflowers

You see them there, looking vaguely sinister in near-black silhouette, projecting explosions of spikiness. So it’s totally understandable that you might want to wade into your garden bed, armed with a sturdy pair of pruners, and give your coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) the big snip. Hey, you’re making the garden tidier and, let’s face it, friendlier…

New England Aster blooms

Aster la vista, baby

When you want to give your garden a brilliant send-off before it slips into winter, asters can supply the fireworks. Looking like mini-daisies in purple, pink or white, they’re easy-to-grow perennials and (bonus!) the best of the bunch is a native wildflower of Ontario–New England Aster (Aster novae-anglia). They’re the tallest of the asters and…

Snake in garden

Getting squirrelly? Go snakey.

What’s likely to happen after you’ve put in all that effort to plant your fall tulips? Get a beautiful patch of blooms next spring? Nope. If you live in Southern Ontario, the chances of them making it through the first 48 hours in the ground without squirrels getting to them is pretty slim. I’ve had…

Blooms in garden

Late summer’s standing ovation

Spring’s got a reputation for being the apex of a garden’s beauty. The idea is that once those darling buds have popped, it’s downhill from then on. I blame it partly on Wordsworth who wrote about stumbling upon ten thousand yellow daffodils thus sealing the fates of a generation who, as schoolchildren, were programmed to…