{ Archive for the ‘garden design’ Category }

Toronto Flower Market hosts last market of the season

If you’re looking for a fabulous fall flower arrangement for your Thanksgiving table, why not visit the Toronto Flower Market this Saturday, October 11. At their last market of the season, you’ll find lovely locally grown blooms to display in a vegetable vase or give as a gift to your Thanksgiving host.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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

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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 »

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.

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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:

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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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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.

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Virginia Johnson launches summer garden collection

Canadian textile designer Virginia Johnson has launched her first summer garden collection. Inspired by the outdoors, the collection includes a variety of elegant garden planters and decor accessories for both your home and garden.


Pretty planters of various shapes and sizes feature Virginia’s signature prints in an antique rustic finish. Along with yellow poppy (featured above), planters are available in an all over blue floral pattern.

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