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…

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…

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…

Maple trees

The new exotic: Canadian arctic tundra plants

Introducing exotic plants into your garden can be tricky although do-able if you’re into high maintenance gardening or you keep them in containers and bring them inside just before the first frost. But that’s just it. Here in Southern Ontario, we often think of exotic plants as being fragile beauties from tropical paradises much farther…

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…