Great, unexpected ways to bee-friendly

I had to share this post by Daniel Cartwright, Head Gardener at Winterbourne House and Garden, an Edwardian historic house and garden in Birmingham, which is basically in the centre of England. He shares his top 3 tips for attracting and supporting healthy bees Choosing flowers for bees: Take careful consideration of the shape of…

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…

Trout lilies with a tritium

Silly lilies: Beauty with humour

Easter lilies are in grocery stores everywhere right now. They’re wonderful plants–heralding the coming of spring, symbolizing new beginnings (for both Christians and Pagans) and are/were absolutely de rigueur as an OTT decor flourish, especially during the fabulousity that was the 90’s. But as much as I respect and admire the glamour of Lilium longiflorum,…

In praise of garden bridges

Bridges are amazing things. They are the very manifestation of a proposition. What’s a bridge if not the offer to be on the other side? But they don’t have to span a physical thing like a river or a highway. According to Cambridge Dictionary, a bridge can be “something that makes it easier to make…

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…

Tulips planted in fall for good spring colour.

6 out of the box fall bulb planting ideas

Ok. You just bought a brand new box of bulbs. Now what? How about shaking things up a bit by: • breaking the rules. • helping bees some more. • easing a new bed into the garden. • inviting a family of fairies to stay awhile. • protecting a neighbouring ravine. • sending a signal.…

Water fall

The OMG Summer Tour, Part 3: Rocking the countryside

Sorry for the delay. I’d promised you this third and last post in the OMG Summer Tour series sooner but, well, life sort of happened. But I do apologize for any confusion. This post covers the last two gardens we visited during the extraordinary tour presented by the Toronto Botanical Gardens and hosted by the…

Drain pipe 1

A rule-breaking front yard

Crisscrossing paths lead, well, nowhere in particular. There isn’t a blade of grass. The home’s rain gutter flows into drain pipes that spill into a rock garden/work of art. And trees aren’t necessarily alive to be considered useful and a thing of beauty. This is a front yard that stops you in your tracks. There’s always…

Bagged soil

Is your soil healthy? More dirt on dirt.

You used to be able to buy a house, walk out the back door, and, if you were so inclined, dig a little vegetable patch. Nothing complicated. Just plant some carrots and beans or maybe stake a row of tomatoes. But things are so much more complicated now. The Toronto Star ran an expose last…

Shrub and sky

Sand Cherry: A country beauty for city gardens

Set against a garden busting out all over in buds and leaves, our Sand Cherry shrubs (Prunus x cistena) stand out with particular elegance. For a nice show of wine-coloured leaves all season long, these shrubs are reliable and, quite frankly, a lovely relief from all that enthusiastic green-ness a shrubby garden can have. And then…

Hydrangea 1

Romancing the Limelights

There aren’t many “Top Performing Flowering Shrubs” lists these days that don’t include Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’. And for good reason. They’re easy to care for, widely available and offer a lot of shrub for the money–growing up to 8′ high and wide. But when it comes to ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas, there’s so much more to love. Let me…

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…

Wood containers

The movable garden

Commitment-phobic? Then gardening might be the ultimate turn-off. After all, growing plants entails sticking around in the same place to water, feed, prune and, yes, enjoy their beauty, year after year, doesn’t it? Not necessarily. Here are 5 ideas to have green and growing things with you wherever you roam. Click on any photo to read…