Trellis as backdrop

Swell is trellis

My back garden has finally rediscovered spring.  There’s a Virginia creeper about to conquer new territory. The clematis is feeling sorry for itself. And I’ve got morning glory seedlings about to bust open their seed tray. All of this means one thing. There’s gonna be trellis. In my opinion (as someone who loathes to spend loads…

Hibiscus Fiesta flower

Container idea: Real-er than real and twice as natural

Let me state for the records that I’m anti-minimalist when it comes to gardening. Minimal does not do anything for me, even if you’re talking a painfully chic urban rooftop garden-slash-yoga retreat. To illustrate my point, just Google anything about Japanese zen gardens–supposedly the poster gardens for minimalism. There’s actually a lot going on in…

Monarch butterfly

Of monarchs and milkweed (Suzuki rocks!)

You may have heard that Monarch butterflies aren’t doing very well this year. Turns out their numbers have hit an all-time low while they were winter vacationing in Mexico. Jode Roberts of the Toronto-based Homegrown National Park Project reports on David Suzuki’s website that there are two reasons for this: severe weather and “the virtual eradication…

Photo in Taming Wildflowers

In your garden a little wildness must go

Are you ready to go a little wild in your garden? Miriam Goldberger says there are 60 ways to do it. (Don’t get your rubber hose in a knot quite yet.) We’re talking sixty of her favourite native wildflowers and grasses. She knows what she’s talking about. Miriam is founder and co-owner of Wildflower Farm, a…

Dandelion | Harbinger of Spring

Originally posted on Garden Variety:
This photo courtesy of wallpaperswide. Subsequent photos copyright by Mike Alexander. Our man in Europe, horticulturist Mike Alexander, on the season of the dandelion, the bane of gardeners everywhere. The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a perennial weed that plagues gardeners and grows on every continent on the planet, including Antarctica.…

Lavender Calibrachoa for container

Container idea: Super colour battling sizzle

Forecasters are predicting a long, hot summer. If we’re looking at a dry summer, too, that’ll also mean plenty of blazingly bright days. Luckily, you can still turn a deck or patio into a lush oasis despite the hot + dry + bright equation. One answer is wildly popular Calibrachoa hybrids, commonly known as million bells…

Stone patio table

Go big with Cro-magnon patio furniture

Despite below-average spring temperatures here in Southern Ontario, the big box hardware stores are busily stacking patio furniture to the rafters–always a heartening sign. But I’m not feeling the love for tastefully modern, ebony-coloured plicker side tables or neon-bright recycled-plastic faux Adirondacks. After one crazy-long winter, I’m thinking big and bad. Huge and heavy. I’m thinking…

Mulch and shadow

Hello, mulch delivery guy!

We’re almost at the end of April and that means one thing to a lot of gardeners and most landscaping suppliers in Southern Ontario–mulching time. If you’re already hooked on mulch, you know first hand the benefits of this spring rite. Let me count the ways we love mulch: Weeds are kept at bay. Mulch…

Blue plant for a container planting

Plant happiness: Bring on the blues

Who’d transform a huge garden by planting all kinds of annuals and perennials to match a wedding’s colour theme? That’s exactly what Trish Symons did. At the Peterborough Garden Show last weekend, she explained how her daughter’s blue-themed wedding inspired her garden makeover. Me? In the same circumstance, I’d probably buy paint and super-saturate the…

Container planting with pebble mulch.

Container idea: Broken mirror? Thank you very mulch

In this month’s issue of Sunset magazine, a feature on mulches for containers suggests using untumbled mirror. That’s little pieces of broken mirror. Hmmmm. The idea is kinda cool. For a combo of alien-looking succulents, why not have something metallic and shiny as a mulch? I figure if you don’t have kids or pets and…

Hummingbird at flower

Have you heard the hummingbird?

The last few mornings, the birds have been singing their hearts out. The big rush to find one’s beloved before getting down to nest-building is on. But I’m going to have my ears tuned to the electric whirr of a speeding hummingbird. I usually hear these amazing critters long before I can finally see them…

Metal garden sculpture

Garden needs a reno? Power-wash your birches

Yesterday, I sat in on a lecture at the Toronto Botanical Garden by plantswoman extraordinaire Marion Jarvie of Thornhill, Ontario. The topic was renewing and renovating your garden–starting now. This dynamo gardener had eyes popping over photos of her handiwork and eyebrows raised over some of her suggestions for sprucing up our own gardens this…

Alligator warning sign

An alligator in the garden and other concerns

While working on a video production in gorgeous Hilton Head, South Carolina, a few years ago, I happened upon this sign. It was posted between the gardens of two very nice homes in a greener-than-green suburb laced with creeks, lagoons and velvety golf fairways. What made me think of this photo was anticipating spring’s return…