{ Author Archive - Amanda Etty }

Your Halloween pumpkins

We invited you, our lovely readers, to share photos of your Halloween pumpkins on social media. After sorting through loads of pictures, we’re happy to show you the highlights. Here’s how Canadian Gardening readers celebrate Halloween:

HalloweenPumpkins

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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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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.

Toronto garden tour: Through the Garden Gate

What are your plans for Father’s Day weekend? If you live in or are visiting Toronto, check out Through the Garden Gate. This annual tour is put on by the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) and showcases of some of the city’s most beautiful private gardens.

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Inspiration: Foraging

Have you ever foraged for edible wild plants? I love the idea of hiking through the woods with a pair of pruners and a basket to carry my finds home with me. Here are a few items to have on hand for a foraging nature walk.

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Toronto Flower Market

Now in its second year, the Toronto Flower Market, which opens this Saturday, May 10, has taken up new digs, still in the trendy Queen West neighbourhood. The outdoor flower market features flowers and plants from Ontario farms and greenhouses.

 

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Bookworm: Five-Plant Gardens by Nancy J. Ondra

If you’re a gardening newbie and haven’t a clue where to start, pick up Nancy J. Ondra’s Five Plant Gardens: 52 Ways to Grow a Perennial Garden with Just Five Plants. Gardening expert Ondra provides 52 easy-to-execute garden plans, each using five well-considered plants that grow nicely together.

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Favourite flower for early spring

The Wave family (famous for bringing us the Wave petunia and pansy) has a bright new addition this spring: Blueberry Swirl Cool Wave pansies.

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Tips for DIY garden-inspired flower arrangements

On a much sunnier afternoon, I happily attended a flower arranging workshop hosted by flower shop owner Alison Westlake of Coriander Girl and urban flower farmer Sarah Nixon of My Luscious Backyard. I’d like to share a few tricks of the trade for creating your own garden-inspired flower arrangements at home.

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What’s your plant personality?

I took this fun quiz from Traditional Medicinals to find out my plant personality. If you have a few minutes to spare, take the quiz here. How did you do? Apparently I’m an intriguing combination of chamomile, fennel and peppermint.

Share your plant personality with the hashtag #herbnerd.

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