A carol for Beach gardeners

Partridges? What on earth would I do with them? French hens? Against the law in Toronto and probably couldn’t stand the cold. Gold rings? I always take off any rings when I’m gardening – otherwise, they get lost or dirty. The gifts in The 12 Days of Christmas just don’t cut it for a Beach […]

New, green and great for the holidays

The ‘Man in Red’ has come to town, so it’s OK to start planning – or doing – for the upcoming holidays. If you have gardeners on your gift list, they’re easy to buy for. I’ve called around locally and found some new things that might interest you. O, Christmas tree! There’s nothing like the […]

Dig these fun facts about bulbs

Beach gardeners have a tough time keeping our soft, sandy soil watered. This time of year, that makes us lucky. Tulips and most of the other spring bulbs think sandy, well-drained soil is ‘absolutely fabulous’. They’re tickled pink (and red and yellow and peach…) when they have a moist spring followed by a good summer […]

Make room for trees

Did you feel the heat this summer? I did, too. When I had to go out on foot, I criss-crossed the streets, looking for the shadiest stretches of sidewalk. Of course, I’ve always been a shameless tree-hugger. The landscape of the U.S. Gulf Coast city where I grew up alternated between patches of live oaks […]

10 things you didn’t know about roses

June is the month of roses, both in fact and according to the Old Farmers Almanac. The rose has also been named 2012 Herb of the Year by the Herb Society of America. Catch up on this bouquet of mini rose facts. 1. Ancient roses. Fossil roses have been found in sites around the world. […]

New exotics make Beach gardens sizzle

Spring has been playing peek-a-boo with us this year. One week at the end of March was no-coat weather, the next was put-those-blankets-back-on-the-bed. Upper Beach folks are bragging about their spring flowers. In my garden, two blocks from the lake, tulips and daffs are still tightly wrapped, and the forsythia is only thinking of blooming. […]

Dealing with seedmania in the dead of winter

My gardening gene is itching and making me long for the smell of earth and colours other than grey and while I’m sure seed companies know this because it’s just about now that the catalogues start pouring in. Bright pictures and tantalizing descriptions of “wonderful new variety,” “glorious mass of tropical-looking flowers,” “excellent, heavy-yielding and […]

Poppy not just beautiful flower

Thinking like a gardener, it’s odd that poppies are so prominent in November. Traditionally, the cold-loving chrysanthemum is November’s flower. Poppies belong to the month of August, the hot harvest-time. But, as most Canadians know, those sweet country customs changed in 1915. That’s the year John McCrae, poet-surgeon-soldier from Guelph, ON, wrote and published his […]

High time for heavenly hydrangeas

I have a confession to make. I used to hate hydrangeas. Top-heavy things on skinny stems that showed up in corner stores around Easter. The giant blue and pink blooms reminded me of cotton candy on sticks. No, thanks. Then I discovered something called a lacecap hydrangea, a thing of delicate beauty like a piece […]

Today’s container gardens have so much variety to offer

Container plants have made the big time this year—literally. For me, the memorable part of Kate and Will’s wedding wasn’t the dress or even the sweet pageantry. It was those 25-foot trees in planters that turned Westminster Abbey into a leafy green park.     (Note for enviro-fans: My sources said the trees – English maples and […]