{ Posts Tagged ‘garden’ }

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

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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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Transitioning from late spring to early summer

It’s with a certain sadness that I bid adieu to the last daffodils to bloom in my garden. Known botanically as Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus (Zone 4), they bear flowers with small, red-rimmed golden cups (or coronas) that are surrounded by pure white recurved petals (known as perianth segments). Native to Switzerland and commonly called “old pheasant’s eye”, their blossoms are deliciously fragrant, and a perfect example of a genus going out with a bang rather than a whimper.

Apart from Switzerland, one of the best places to see old pheasant’s eye growing wild is in northern England, up to the Scottish Borders where—in a climate not unlike that of their homeland—they have naturalised over hundreds of years, and now cover entire hillsides. All you have to do is follow your nose, as you’re likely to smell their sweet scent before actually clapping eyes on their breathtaking flowers en masse. They’ll naturalise in Canada too (albeit more slowly), providing you let them set seed and allow their leaves to mature.

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The first perennials to flower in spring

It’s always a neck-and-neck contest to see whether it will be the small spring bulbs (snowdrops, snow crocuses and winter aconites) or hellebores (Helleborus spp. and cvs.) that win the race to produce the first flowers of the new gardening season once the witchhazels have finished.

In my garden, the snowdrops won the cup this year, but when the white stuff finally melted, it revealed hellebore blossoms that had already partially opened under a thin, insulating layer of snow.

We often get mail at this time of year asking whether gardeners should remove the leathery overwintering leaves of hellebores, or leave them in place to die down naturally (as with daffodils and tulips). The answer is that it’s really a matter of personal taste. Some gardeners feel that the old foliage offers protection against spring frosts, while others say that the previous season’s leaves detract from the plant’s overall appearance.

You be the judge, here’s the “before snipping” picture of two separate clumps:

And here’s the hellebore on the right, several days later:


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Join Canadian Gardening at the 2014 Toronto Flower Market!

The Toronto Flower Market returns to the city this Saturday, May 10. Debuting at its new location in the heart of Queen West (1056 Queen St. W. between Ossington and Dovercourt), this outdoor flower and plant market brings stalls of bright blooms to the city just in time for Mother’s Day.

{Illustration by Courtney Wotherspoon}

To help celebrate the start of its 2014 season, Canadian Gardening will be participating in the festivities and we’re inviting you to join, too!
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