A group of bright pink Cosmos flowers

Cosmos adds to a sunny garden in surprising ways

The first time I saw cosmos in a blindingly sunny garden, orderliness was not the word that came to mind. No, barely contained chaos was more like it. The impenetrable thatch of tall stems thrust up cartoon-like flowers, in brilliant shades of pink, nodding in every direction. But the story goes that Spanish priests loved the…

Highly decorated houses in Grimsby Beach, Ontario.

Coastal living: funky fences, tiny gardens, a breezy bunkie

What is it about coastal living that can bring out the zaniness in a homeowner? I thought I’d seen my share of mermaid garden sculptures and porches studded with seashells but I wasn’t prepared for the kind of no-holds-barred exuberance of Grimsby Beach, Ontario (one destination on a recent garden tour hosted by Frank Kershaw featuring gardening…

Edible plants are used instead of ornamentals in a flower bed.

New, old foodscaping ideas for any garden

In hip urban neighbourhoods all over North America, the hottest new garden design trend is foodscaping–landscaping that melds modern garden aesthetics with agriculture. You can pin this trend on an urge to save on grocery bills, a newfound fascination for growing-your-own or the thrill of creating something beautiful out of what’s considered utilitarian. But motives…

Cabin style birdhouse

Garden hideaway ideas: From cabin porn to parachutes

With this inaugural posting from my new and improved blog (formerly RhymesWithLinnaeus.com), I want to state for the record that Ministry Of The Fence may be adding greener perspectives on gardens and gardening but there will continue to be a strong appreciation for both the sublime and, yes, the unserious. So what better way to kick…

Container trials

Revving up (or saving) late summer garden containers

What do 2,200 varieties of plants, all in containers exposed to a merciless Southern Ontario summer, look like? Awesome. The Sawaya Container Trials, one of North America’s largest, threw open their doors (so to speak) in late July for growers, retailers and members of the Garden Writers Association to check out what’s doing best, what…

Mirror in arbour

Keppel Croft: A garden with magic rabbit holes

On the eastern shore of the Bruce Peninsula in Southern Ontario, Bill and Dawn Loney’s very personal garden is equal parts labyrinth, zen oasis and trip down a variety of magic rabbit holes. Thank goodness they open it to the public during the summer. Though untrained in any formal sense, both gardeners have created a…

Variety of shrubs

Whistling Gardens: Pining for more

WHISTLING GARDENS Botanical Gardens and Garden Centre, Wilsonville, Ontario RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥     (This highly unscientific and thoroughly opinionated rating system is based on a range from lowest score of one ♥ to a highest score of 5 ♥♥♥♥♥. THE TIP-OFF: At not one but several different seminars I attended earlier this year at the Toronto Botanical Gardens,…

Clematis arch

‘Tis the season to snoop

I love crashing strangers’ backyards and having a good, long snoop around. There’s so much to see and, when you’re with a like-minded chum, so much fun to be had pointing out what strikes your eye and sharing your opinion. Lots of opinions. Ah, yes. It’s garden tour time. Garden tours are like all-you-can-eat buffets…

Salvia in September

This salvia is a true blue winner

I don’t normally plant annuals in my flower beds. I’d rather invest in perennials that are going to come back year after year. And I splurge on ephemeral annuals for my pots where I can spotlight them in all their delicate and exotic glory. If a plant can’t survive our Southern Ontario winters then it’s…

Riverbend setting

Hosta heaven

This is the first in a series of postings for a new blog category I’m calling Garden Nurseries Worth The Drive. Here in Southern Ontario, we’re lucky to have so many independent, creative, specialized and personal garden nurseries and–bonus–they’re often in a funky part of town or off-the-beaten track in the countryside. I’m looking forward…