How to - Techniques

Confessions of TV gardeners, part 1

Bad booboos (and good tips) from Canada's television gardeners. Illustration by Paul Howalt

Carson Arthur - host, Room to Grow, PRIME and Global

Booboo When I started in landscaping, it was all about beautiful but high maintenance English gardens. So I installed them for people who didn't know what they were doing [non-gardeners], and the following year they looked awful. Gardens whose design isn't lifestyle-appropriate get ripped out.

Tip Think of flowers as accent pieces, like throw cushions.

Donna Balzer -- host, Bugs and Blooms, HGTV

Booboo In my first year as the horticulturist at the Calgary Zoo, I was in charge of co-ordinating 60,000 bedding plants for the display beds. By April, suppliers started making small changes, mostly substituting flower colours. As a result, 70 per cent of the annuals on display that summer had yellow flowers. I had to walk the zoo volunteers through the garden so they could evaluate the job. It was horrifying.

Tip Plant small trees, even if you have the budget for mature varieties. Small trees will grow up to a foot in their first season as opposed to an inch for large trees because their energy is directed into growing, rather than repairing a disturbed root system.

Mark Cullen -- host, Mark Cullen Gardening, HGTV. Also appears Wednesdays on Canada AM, CTV.

Booboo It took me 12 years of experimenting and a whole lot of plants to figure out what grows in the deep shade of my backyard. So much for my dream of naturalized narcissus-they pooped out after two years.

Tip Not many plants work in deep shade. Hostas are not shade-loving; they're shade-tolerant. I've found that the best plants for deepest shade (with my competitive root situation) are Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis), deadnettle (Lamium cvs.) and foam flower (Tiarella spp.)

Read more in How to and Techniques

  • Page 1: Part 1 - Carson Arthur, Donna Balzer, Mark Cullen

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