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…

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…

Rocks into water

A river runs through it. Sort of.

In your own garden, reality isn’t the point. I think it’s more about making your own version of relaxing and beautiful and meaningful. Take dry creeks, for instance. They are so not a creek and yet they can convey a powerful sense of flowing water. And you can put one just about anywhere, even in…

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…

Hens and chickens

Fun with succulents

Succulents–those chubby, rubbery plants originally hailing from arid climes–are my go-to plants when I want to fill a space with texture, not have to worry about their maintenance and, I’ll admit it, add a bit of humour. Maybe it’s their otherworldly shapes and colours. When succulents are planted in unlikely places, their oddness stands out…

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…