{ Archive for August, 2014 }

Garden travel: Brussels’ famous flower carpet

Last summer, while traveling through Europe, I had the chance to visit the Grand Place in Brussels. It was by far one of my favourite places and now, a year later I can’t help but be a little jealous that I missed the over 750,000 colourful begonias that helped transform this historical city centre. Every two years in August, the Grand Place in Brussels is taken over by an enormous carpet of flowers. Started in 1971, by landscape architect E. Stautemans the tradition has continued due to its popularity and well, remarkable beauty.

flower-carpet-brussels-1

This year’s celebration marked the 50th anniversary of Turkish workers migrating to Belgium. Paying homage to Turkish culture, the carpet’s design depicted traditional patterns found in Turkish kilims.
Read the rest of this entry »

Growing trend: Fruit and vegetable moulds

Anyone with a fruit or vegetable garden is probably well aware that sometimes during the growing period crops can take on a mind of their own. 3-in-1 strawberries, funny looking carrots or misshaped zucchini are all normal occurrences. These shapes can happen unintentionally, but what if you had the ability to grow your best bounty in fun and interesting shapes on purpose.

Developed in China, specially designed plastic moulds are used to transform fruits and vegetables into a variety of shapes. From heart-shaped watermelons and star-shaped English cucumbers to even these Buddha-shaped pears.

cg-blog-fruit-mould-pear-2

Read the rest of this entry »

Move over ‘Annabelle’ and make way for your talented daughter

Three years ago, I found myself sitting beside Rob Naraj at an industry luncheon promoting new plant introductions. Rob and I were in the same year at U of Guelph, although he concentrated on the agricultural business program while I stuck more to ornamental horticulture. Rob is now the wholesale business manager at Sheridan Nurseries in Ontario, so he has a huge responsibility resting on his shoulders, and he does an A-1 job.

After lunch, Dr. Tim Woods (of Bloomerang lilac fame) from Spring Meadow Nursery in Michigan, took the microphone to introduce his phenomenal new smooth hydrangea cultivar (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’, Zone 3), being marketed under the retail name “Incrediball.” Having spent more hours than I care to count propping up and staking the floppy, weak-stemmed H. a. ‘Annabelle’, I let slip a sotto voce groan. Rob immediately turned to me and said “No! You’ve gotta get some of these. Trust me!”

Incrediball as its flowers begin to open and expand in early summer

Incrediball as its flowers begin to open and expand in early summer

Read the rest of this entry »

Garden-inspired decor: floral shower curtain

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for a great floral print. So, when I spotted this beautiful garden-inspired shower curtain from Anthropologie, I knew I had to share it.

garden-inspired-decor-shower-curtain{Garden Buzz Shower Curtain, Anthropologie, $88}

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

 

Read the rest of this entry »