Gardening Blog

DIY: House Plant Cupcakes

Talk about a succulent success!

When I came across these adorable house plant cupcakes by Alana Jones-Mann, I knew I had to share them. If you love miniature cacti and succulents, why not make an eye-catching edible version for your next get-together!

diy-houseplant-cupcakes-alana-jones-mann{Photo: alanajonesmann.com}

From desert to dessert, these cupcakes would be the perfect addition to a summer garden party or birthday celebration.

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6 weekend must-trys

Happy Friday! Not sure what’s on your agenda this weekend? No need to worry! From do-it-yourself projects to delicious summer recipes, here are 6 things worth adding to your weekend to-do list.

cg-blog-stone-planter{PHOTO: Joe Kim/TC Media}

1 Build a stone planter for succulents
Turn inexpensive stone slabs into a monolithic-style container for houseplants.

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While you’re waiting… plant some of these! (Part 2)

In my final look at perennials that bridge the gap between spring and summer, I recommend some superb flowers that are tailor made for carrying your garden through the seasonal transition until the main glut of coreopsis, daylilies, echinacea, hydrangeas, garden phlox and Shasta daisies open their blooms as the mercury soars during the dog days of summer.

cg-blog-Lupin-2014-06-08-15.41 Read the rest of this entry »

healthy ingredient: blueberries

Fresh, in-season blueberries taste amazing, especially here in Canada where they’re native. In fact, Canada is the world’s largest producer of wild (lowbush) blueberries, which are grown in clean, healthy conditions.

My favourite way to use blueberries is in my breakfast smoothies. They’re filled with antioxidants, which help promote healthy aging. In addition, they contain vitamins C and E, which boost the antioxidant ability of blueberries, and they’re high in fibre. Since now’s the time to buy locally grown ones or pick them at a farm, I thought I’d share my favourite smoothie recipes featuring blueberries.

blueberry-smoothie

 

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While you’re waiting… plant some of these! (Part 1)

In my penultimate look at perennials that bridge the gap between spring and summer, I recommend some superb flowers that are tailor-made for carrying your garden through the seasonal transition until the main glut of coreopsis, daylilies, echinacea, hydrangeas, garden phlox and Shasta daisies open their blooms as the mercury soars during the dog days of summer.

Amsonia-2014-06-19-19.24
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Four more early summer bridging plants

I’ve been looking back at some of the garden pictures I’ve taken over the past month or so, and in particular at the plants and shrubs that bloom after the spring glut, but before main season summer-flowering species take over during the hottest part of the year. These are useful “bridging plants” that prevent flower beds from looking empty as one season gives way to another.

In fact, they’re so useful for maintaining a steady stream of flowers that I intend to bulk up my stocks for next year, beginning with Mayapples:

cg-blog-mayapple-2014
Taking over nicely from springtime hepaticas, trilliums and Jack-in-the-pulpits are our native Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum, Zone 4) which produce fragrant white blooms underneath their leafy green “umbrellas.” I grow them in full shade in moist, humus-rich soil where they spend the summer with various ferns and monkshoods; dryer soils will result in plants going dormant in midsummer. Spreading slowly via underground rhizomes (or stems), any unwanted plants are easy to pull out.

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Visit the Toronto Flower Market this weekend

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Why not visit the Toronto Flower Market, open Saturday, July 12 from 10am to 3pm!

toronto-flower-market-poster

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5 healthy smoothie recipes

Craving something sweet, but want to skip the calories? A delicious and healthy smoothie is the perfect alternative. Great for breakfast on-the-go, an afternoon treat or a post workout snack.

cg-blog-smoothie

Try one (or all) of these smoothie recipes this weekend. Created by market editor, Amanda Etty they not only taste delicious, but are full of healthy ingredients.

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Living Mulches: Two Great Groundcovers for Shade

One of my favourite groundcovers for shade is sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum, Zone 3) which spreads slowly but surely via short underground rhizomes. It bears fragrant cymes of star-shaped white flowers for several weeks in early summer, and while its spread may be indefinite, it rarely grows taller than 10 centimetres. Even when not in flower, sweet woodruff remains attractive with its circular whorls of leaves that hug the ground and provide the perfect backdrop for larger plants.

cg-blog-galium-odoratum-002

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Healthy ingredient: strawberries

It’s strawberry season here in Ontario, which means I’ll be eating my weight in these ruby red fruits. While you may love them for their deliciously sweet flavour, make no mistake, strawberries are among the best foods for you.

HealthyIngredient_Strawberries

Why we love strawberries: They rival citrus fruits for vitamin C content, and are packed with antioxidants, too. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidants that give strawberries their vivid red colour, help reduce inflammation and may also curb the growth of cancer cells. They’re low in calories and high in fibre, folate and potassium.

How to use them: Look for organic berries that are red all the way to the tip, a sign that they’re fully ripe (strawberries don’t ripen after picking). Beware of mould: It spreads quickly from berry to berry. If you’re not using your strawberries immediately, look through the container and pick out any spoiled ones. Plan to eat the berries within a day or two.
Although strawberries taste best when they’re in season, freezing them preserves their freshness to use year-round. To freeze, wash whole berries, remove the leafy portion on top and pat the berries dry. Spread them out on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer to a sealable glass container.

P.S. Tips for growing strawberries.
P.P.S. An energizing strawberry shake.

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