Japanese cobra lily

Plant spookification

I realized we were officially in the grip of pre-Halloween hysteria last week when I was fishing out my wallet to pay for some items in our local pharmacy. A woman swept past me, one hand gripped on a trailing child, the other pointing towards the back of the store. In a loud, theatrical whisper,…

Hostas with grit

Grit expectations

Allow me to sing the praises of grit. Not the grit so indelibly captured by John Wayne–the stuff of perseverance and passion–but the stuff scattered on the floor of hen coops. I don’t know what chickens personally think about chicken grit but they certainly rely on it to help them digest food in their powerful…

Picket fence and gravel garden

Redefining curb appeal

In a post I published eight years ago entitled The Greying Garden And What To Do About It, I explored the viewpoint that gardening was pretty much an older person’s pursuit. I had just attended a gardening seminar where pretty much everyone was rocking grey hair. Now, with a big boost from the pandemic, gardening…

Here comes summer 10 ways

The longest day of this year will officially begin on June 21, at 5:13 a.m. here in the Northern Hemisphere. This means, of course, that June 22 marks the inexorable decline of daylight into another long winter. So I figure celebrating heat and happiness right now are in order. Here are 10 not-so-conventional ideas for…

Lines of desire

I love the garden design term “desire line“. Used in urban design as well, it refers to a path we take, whether it’s official (as in meant-to-be-part-of-the-overall-design) or renegade (more on that later). It’s usually the quickest route from A to B. You see them a lot in public green spaces–a dirt path carved into…

Small signs of spring

Two ways to get this spring moving

Fellow denizens of the Northern Hemisphere–it’s time to celebrate. The spring equinox has finally arrived. Maybe you’ve already noticed more birds hanging about, all singing with marked enthusiasm. Maybe you saw some tiny green sprouts shyly poking up out of the ground where, just last week, there was only crusty snow or mud or, in…

A back garden filled with plants features an all-weather tea table.

Garden ideas for the plant maximalist

Think you don’t have room for any more plants in your garden? The wonderfully over-stuffed front and back gardens of this home in northwestern Metro Toronto will have you thinking again. The owner/gardener of this average-sized suburban lot has used every inch of space with no plans for curbing her collecting habit. I think these…