Gardening Blog

Oh Muskoka chair, how you make me long for spring!

Yesterday I attended a PC Home Patio & BBQ preview where we got to see what’s in store for spring. Around the showroom were vignettes showcasing the patio furniture and accessories that will soon be making their way to a Loblaw-owned store near you. The comfy furniture and some of the juicy colour palettes really made me long for spring, especially the vibrant Muskoka chair shown below. Made of painted wood, this quintessential summer chair comes in blue, green and red (as pictured below), retails for only $99.99 and folds up for easy storage.

redmuskokachair

Guest blog: Valentine’s Day floral trends for 2010

By Jennifer Murray

If you’ve always played it safe with a dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day, this year, try something a little different.

Genevieve Bismonte, head florist at Quince Flowers in Toronto, offers some easy ways to up the ante this year.

When picking a bouquet, think colour. “We always try to push for unusual colours, like oranges, or a green bouquet, something like that,” Bismonte says. If you’re not comfortable straying that far from the traditional colour palette, pink flowers make a sweet statement on Valentine’s Day.

If you love roses, Bismonte recommends getting away from tradition. “We have these awesome roses called red intuition and pink intuition; they’re almost like a variegated rose. They’re two-toned roses and they’re lovely.”

For traditionalists who just can’t bear to part with their classic red roses, it’s all in the name: Bismonte says you just can’t beat a ‘Sexy Red’ rose.

quince-flowers

An arrangement from Quince Flowers

Valentines for your office mates

I came across this sweet idea last week on the Design*Sponge website. Since alot of people are watching their waistlines these days, it’s a nice alternative to chocolate if you want to bring some cupid karma to the office for your favourite work peeps. Of course you could always add a truffle or two to the mix so your co-workers could choose between sweet and sinful. Instructions can be found here.
designsponge

Even plastic flowers can brighten my day

I received the latest ‘In Our Own Words’ newsletter from Anthropologie this afternoon, which was aptly titled ‘From bottle to blossom’ and it brightened my day! It turns out if you cut around the screw top of a plastic bottle, you can get some pretty interesting flower shapes. This discovery led to Anthropologie incorporating the nifty little blooms into their spring window concepts. I just might have to make some. Here are some pics the company posted to their Flickr account!

anthro1
anthro2

20 years of covers

Canadian Gardening magazine is going to be celebrating its 20th anniversary with the upcoming April issue. This morning I was in art director José’s office with assistant art director Florence narrowing down my selection of favourite covers. (I’m going to be running a little poll on the site for readers to vote on the finalists once the new issue comes out!) It was quite difficult, but I finally chose six, including the one that’s in the works, which is GORGEOUS! What I found interesting about my picks is that four out of the six are April covers. I guess this speaks to my absolute love for springtime. I also tend to gravitate toward the closeups. Here is one of my April picks–from 2006! Have any covers stood out for you over the years?
april06-cover

I grew a violet!

Without even trying. Usually the life of my houseplants veers sharply in the other direction–towards the death side of things. But in my wee violet pot, a baby was born. My question is, how do I take it out to repot it without damaging the roots?

violet

Learn about sustainable horticulture at the RBG

rbg-symposiumAs I mentioned in the newsletter I sent out this afternoon, winter is a great time to reflect on what you'd like to add or change in your garden come spring. It's also a great time to take a course or attend a seminar and learn more about your garden.

Canada Blooms is coming up in March, but in the meantime, the Royal Botanical Garden in Hamilton is hosting what I think sounds like a really interesting symposium of interactive discussions and workshops called Living Plants, Liveable Communities. From February 16 to 19, learn about what sustainable horticulture means to Canadians, take a workshop on plant identification, seed saving or cooking with local produce, and meet environmental experts who will hopefully inspire you to become more environmentally mindful in your garden and everyday life.

Click here for online registration.

A calendar that sprouts wildflowers

The first thing I did this past Monday when I got into work is hang my 2010 calendar at my desk. The neat thing about this Botanical Paperworks creation is that as I rip each month off to reveal a new calendar page and whimsical illustration, I can save the old one to plant in my garden. Pages are made of cotton or 100% post-consumer waste and are riddled with North American wildflower seeds. Planting instructions are available on the site. Stay tuned to see what sprouts!

The photo below is the tin version, but I wanted to show what the pages inside looked like.botanical-paperworks-calendar2

Paint your garden black

Ok, don’t paint all of it black. But add some contrast this spring with something really interesting, a conversation piece. Plant something black. I came back from my holiday vacation to find Black Plants by Paul Bonnie on my desk. It was an interesting contrast to the white swirl of snowflakes that I could see out the office window. The featured plants are gorgeous and unexpected–a nice change from the usual botanical suspects gracing the nursery. Now they’re not all pitch-black per se, but some plants have black leaves or stripes on their petals or are deep shades of purple or burgundy. I’ve included a couple of examples below!

Black hollyhock (Alcea rosea 'Nigra')

Black hollyhock (Alcea rosea 'Nigra')

Large wild ginger (Asarum maximum)

Large wild ginger (Asarum maximum)

black-plants

Purchase Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden through Amazon.

Flowerpot mugs

flowerpot-mugsI’m not sure how these cute cups escaped our gift guide, but my dad gave one to all the gardeners in his life–my mom, sister and I–for Christmas. Made to look like terra cotta pots, these mugs are available at Lee Valley Tools!

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