How to - Gardening Basics

Celeb gardeners' greatest gardening challenges

Five experts (and a guest start) weigh in

"What has been your greatest gardening challenge?"

wilfnicholls-150x150.jpgWilf Nicholls
St. John’s
Director, Botanical Garden, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Time. My home garden is currently a utilitarian playground for two dogs and a great disappointment to my neighbours, who, given my profession, harboured such high hopes. When I retire many years from now, I promise to dedicate more time to the yard to make my wife and the neighbours proud.

charliedobbin-150x150.jpgCharlie Dobbin
Richmond Hill, Ont.
Owner, Garden Solutions by Charlie Dobbin

My super-hot, sunny front yard, which doubles as a basketball court. This combined function has taught me what will survive the acid test of boys and balls. Junipers, roses and geraniums take an amazing amount of abuse, but it’s the spiky yuccas that really take the prize.

alexanderreford-150x150.jpgAlexander Reford
Grand-Métis, Que.
Director, The Reford Gardens

Keeping a classic public garden progressive. Our challenge is to continually find new ways to surprise and inspire increasingly more knowledgeable visitors with leading-edge plants, colours, combinations and design.

jimhole-150x150.jpgJim Hole
St. Albert, Alta.
Co-owner, Hole’s Greenhouses

Compromise. I can’t resist bringing ailing and underperforming plants home from the nursery in order to observe their growth habits. It’s a great learning opportunity, but it certainly makes the aesthetics of our garden go down the tubes. My wife, who would dearly love a pretty garden, is not amused.

deskennedy-150x150.jpgDes Kennedy
Denman Island, B.C.

Coming to terms with the fact that no matter how long and hard one works, or how dutifully one peruses the manuals, takes courses from the masters and visits great gardens far and wide, one remains little more than a gardening novice with a very, very long way still to go.

tollercranston-150x150.jpgGuest star: Toller Cranston
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Artist, author, Olympic medal-winning skater

A freak cold snap early in 1994, which blanketed everything for miles around San Miguel de Allende with a thick coat of ice. It looked fascinating, but completely destroyed my semi-tropical, 1.5-acre garden. Today, in my usual more-is-not-nearly-enough style, I’ve just about finished rebuilding my lush garden paradise.

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