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,…

Knapweed

Ontario’s beautiful fall wildflowers

Autumn is officially here and, just like the garden itself, gardening topics are dwindling as winter sets in–at least if you live north of the 49th parallel. From now til spring I’ll be posting a little less often but I promise to keep in touch as inspiration strikes. I find reaching out to my fellow…

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.…

A white painted wooden deck incorporating large trees creates a cooler backyard.

Growing a cooler backyard

When it comes to growing a cooler backyard, for once I’m not talking about edgy, eco garden design trends. As southwestern Ontario continues its record-breaking heat wave, gardening is now all about the temperature. And since last month (July, 2016) was the hottest month around the world in recorded history, I don’t think we’re alone in…

Smoketree 1

Cotinus coggyria: Smoking in the garden

Slow growing. Too big for a shrub and too small for a tree. Straggly. Did I say really slow growing? Smoketrees can get a lot of heat from picky gardeners. But when the setting sun lights up their panicles in a shimmering nimbus how can you think otherwise than your garden is all the more miraculous…

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…