Not your typical bed of roses

I’m a traditionalist in some ways. I like roses. They’re pretty, they’re romantic, they smell nice and they even taste good (some of them, anyway). I’ve never been fond of the fusspot hybrid teas, which my dad used to drench in stinky, poisonous malathion to save them from a platoon of bugs and diseases. And […]

Garden Views: Stocking up for winter

Gardeners, I’m talking to you here. Any gardener worth their mulch knows what gifts to give another gardener. And you also know it’s really, really hard to tell non-gardeners what to get for you. Say “I could use bypass secateurs with gear action to trim the hydrangeas,” and you may well be met with a […]

Garden Views: Farewell to summer loves

Have you given up on your tender outdoor plants yet? I confess I try to keep them going as long as I can. This means my neighbours see me staggering around with an unlikely collection of cardboard, sheets and towels, tenderly wrapping up my giant basil and gallant cannas like some kind of weird garden […]

Unusually warm fall = more time to garden

It’s a warm, sunny afternoon in mid-September. My typing fingers still have the heady scent of the basil flowers I just picked off to encourage the plants to keep growing. I don’t feel the least bit like autumn. Neither, apparently, does the weather. A quick skim of the Weather Network’s fall forecast shows Toronto daytime […]

Garden Views: Battling the garden invaders

It’s a jungle out there. The rain and floods we’ve endured this spring have been a two-edged sword – or rather, digging knife. Some flowers are blooming profusely: hellebores, forsythia, columbine/aquilegia, roses, clematis, heuchera. Weeds,  however, are growing like… well, weeds. And because it rains ever other day, I’ve found it really, really hard to […]

Weed out these phony garden folktales

For the next month or so, nearly everyone’s going to have gardening on the brain. We’ll hear a lot of “Why is my [whatsit] plant doing [whatever]?” “How can I …?” And tons of advice about burying banana peels, spraying milk on leaves and mixing up herbal concoctions to resist pests. Save your time and […]

Ready, set, start your seeds

Right around now I start hearing a lot of questions like, “How do I start seeds indoors?” or “What kind of soil should I use?” or even “Help, my seedlings are falling over. What should I do?” Before I answer those – and more – full disclosure: I don’t like to start plants from seed […]