Gardening Blog

My champion collard greens

Yesterday I started at one end of my backyard and worked my way toward the vegetable patch weeding (the dandelions are taking over!) and clearing along the way. When I got to my vegetable garden, I intended to pull out the collard greens that I had left behind in the fall. But much to my surprise, there were fresh leaves! I sat there for a few moments munching the tender greens marvelling that I was eating something out of my garden so soon.

I know collard greens are cold-tolerant, but to survive an entire winter? I went back to The Cottage Gardener site where my sister and I ordered our seeds this year and last and the name said it all: Champion Collards. Champions indeed!

Weekend workout

Saturday I went mountain biking for a few hours. The course was full of rolling hills, so I expected a bit of stiffness yesterday after a couple of steep climbs. I woke up feeling absolutely great and headed into the garden for the day. After several hours of bending and pulling and clearing and pruning, this morning I can barely move! It just goes to show how good of a workout gardening can be.

Is this the work of a hungry raccoon?

This morning, I heard my husband inquire from the kitchen whether I had put a pile of dirt in the backyard. Huh? “Noooo,” I replied as I leapt up to take a look. There in the middle of my backyard, all the grass had been dug up in one place and was sitting in a pile. Damn! Everything was looking so lovely and green. From what I’ve read, I'm guessing this was the work of one or more raccoons looking for grubs… how do I stop future destruction?

If it isn't squirrels, it's raccoons! Big dramatic sigh.

If it isn't squirrels, it's raccoons! Big dramatic sigh.

My forsythia in bloom

I was in my yard every day this weekend, but my forsythia waited until Monday to explode with its yellow blossoms. No matter, I will still have time to enjoy it for another week or so!

I wish these blooms would last at least a month longer!

I wish these blooms would last at least a month longer!

Strawberry and herb surprises

The unseasonably warm temperatures worked their magic in my garden last week. They made things happen that usually take a little longer. The best surprise was discovering perennials (or biennials) coming up that I thought were annuals. I didn't realize that my parsley, sage (no rosemary) and thyme would come back, but there they were, tiny little fragrant leaves poking through the soil. I was also pleasantly surprised to see my strawberry plant bursting forth.

My Canada Blooms to-do list

Shop, look and learn. That about sums up my to-do list,because I’ll be taking it all in this week at Canada Blooms. Noticed how I put ‘shop’ first? Sigh, it’s a huge problem. But I find any market of interesting finds simply irresistible. Last year I wrote a blog post in anticipation of my first visit ever. This year, I had too much to say for a blog, so I put it in an article: What I’m excited to see at Canada Blooms 2010. Are you attending this week? What are your favourite parts of Canada Blooms?

The Grow Great Grub book launch party

Last night my sister and I headed to Lula Lounge here in Toronto for the Grow Great Grub book launch party. Once there we enjoyed some tasty vegan treats, planted some Black Zebra tomatoes at the seed-starting table and I finally got to meet author Gayla Trail. I also chatted with fellow gardening writer Mark Disero of and my sister was quite chuffed to win one of the raffle prizes. By the way, after only reading a few pages of the book, I was inspired to try growing some microgreens on my windowsill. Will let you know how they turn out!

My sister Hilary planting seeds.

My sister Hilary planting seeds.

Can't wait to taste this new-to-me tomato... love the added touch of the You Grow Girl stamp on the seed cups.

Can't wait to taste this new-to-me tomato... love the added touch of the You Grow Girl stamp on the seed cups.

My sister's prize with her copy of the book.

My sister's prize with her copy of the book.

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.


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.


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.

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