On ants, aphids and mutualism

[Update: Thrilled to announce that this post won Gold for Best Digital Writing at the 2018 GWA Media Awards from the Association for Garden Communicators. It was an unexpected honour, especially since the competition was very worthy.] I’d wanted to tell you a cool thing about ants and aphids. These are Norway maple aphids (Periphyllus lyropictus), one of 4,000+ aphid species. (Who […]

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Goodbye to my Norway maple frenemy

It was the worst of trees, it was the best of trees. And now my former 90-year-old neighbour is no tree at all. It’s just a stump. Yes, it’s an invasive alien that someone a few generations ago thought would make a great street tree. It did. But Norway maples (Acer platanoides) have also edged […]

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Fall can surprise you

Despite our best efforts, as gardeners and as just plain folks, we never know for sure what can happen in a season. There I was, walking west on Lake Shore in mid-October and a flutter among the hawthorns caught my eye. Could it be? Yes, it was! The little fella above, left behind by the […]

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Bringing the houseplants indoors

Late in September, I started bringing the kids back home after their summer holiday. That’s the houseplant kids, kids. This is always a good time to do it, to avoid them being stressed from the sudden change in conditions, especially from an early-fall chill like we’ve had in October 2018. And the first thing I […]

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Busy as a little bee

Sheesh. It was one of those weeks. I would’ve needed a whole hive of mees to cover all my bases in the last few days. Just know that we have posts in the works, including some honeys, so do stay tuned! Till then, this worker bee will get Bzzzzzzzzzzy…

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Someone’s been eating my zinnias

I’m actually not here right now. I’m in Cape Breton on holiday. So just a quickie to say, like Mama Bear in Goldilocks: “Someone’s been eating my zinnias. Someone’s been eating my zinnias! Someone’s been eating my zinnias… and there he is!” The grasshoppers have been more plentiful than usual in my garden in 2018. Tell-tale signs […]

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Stanley Luk’s Terrace Garden Paradise

Landscape architect Stanley Luk packs a whole lot of heaven into his 300-square-foot/28-square-meter condo terrace. My visit on a sunny Sunday morning in late July captured this 5-year-old garden in the sky in just one of its seasons. Trust me, there are at least three seasons of delight here. Visiting brought both pleasure and pain. On one hand, Luk’s […]

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What’s new for 2019 in Echinaceas

My title is a bit misleading, because our covergirl (or coverboy) photo of Echinacea Sombrero® ‘Adobe Orange’ happens to be the right size to crop for today’s feature image. But although s/he’s a couple of years old, isn’t s/he a stunner? This was only one of an Echinacea (aka coneflower) near rainbow on display for show and trial […]

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I’m a convert to ‘Emerite’ pole beans

A quick post, because I’m in Chicago accepting an award for the blog from the Association for Garden Communicators. Before leaving Toronto, one of the last things I did was pick this lovely bowl of ‘Emerite’ pole beans. Are beans worth the space they take in a tiny garden like mine? You might not think so. […]

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