Out of Sight Out of Mind, How to build

Occasionally we are faced with a feature that is something of an eyesore. We tend to think of pergolas as free standing but they can also be used to hide an ugly wall, shed or garage. The Challenge Our client had just moved to a new property and the garden was turf all over. The neighbour’s house runs all down […]

Living In Clover

One of the holistic healing gurus—Dr. Andrew Weill, I think—has suggested that one of the keys to wellness is surrounding yourself with flowers. I like to expand that idea and surround myself with plants, particularly ones with attractive and/or sweet-smelling blossoms. At the moment, my dining room window seat contains a miniature double amaryllis with luminous white trumpets; a kalanchoe […]

Growing Hazel and Walnut Trees

The commonest types of nut grown are the hazel and walnut. The two variants of the common hazel, Corylus avellana, are the cobnut with short husks and the filbert with long husks. Both are suitable for planting on poor, stony soils unsuitable for fruit trees, where they make medium growth and crop heavily. On rich soils growth is lush but […]


Two weeks ago I went to a wonderful lecture at the New York Botanical Garden.  The speaker was Barry Yinger, a well known plantsman and author who specializes in Asian flora.  The topic for the day was “New Japanese Plants for the Garden.  Mr. Yinger, who also owns Asiatica, a Pennsylvania retail nursery, is one of those intrepid people who […]

Growing information on Annual flowers

Annuals Most of the flowering bedding plants sold in the spring are annuals. Annuals usually bloom continuously for months and are then killed by frost. They are often used as companion plants to perennials or bulbs (which bloom for a much shorter period). If you want a lot of summer color in your garden, be sure to include plenty of […]


I used to spurn exotic plants, even those with glorious flowers. Looking back, I think the avoidance was probably yet another form of adolescent rebellion. After all, my grandmother was passionate about birds of paradise, and my mother probably bought thousands of poinsettias in her time. It makes sense, in a Freudian way, that I would emerge into adulthood with […]


When I was growing up in a rural area in western New York State, some of the farmers used to say that drought came in eleven-year cycles. This was not as bad as it sounds. To my knowledge, the area never suffered through eleven consecutive years of disastrous water shortages. The theory was simply that eleven years of relatively dry […]


In my lifelong quest for infallibility, I have come up short yet again. Last fall I predicted a long hard winter. So far winter has been the usual length and not particularly hard. Barring end-of-season snow or ice storms, we may end up with a prolonged early spring. This is both a blessing and a curse for gardeners. The mild […]

Japanese Maples Resource Site

Japanese Maples Landscape Planting If your soil is heavy, it should be an amended with sand, bark, or other material to improve drainage, and the soil should be mounded above grade to assure good drainage. Maples are very adaptable to soil types, so if drainage is good, the addition of compost for nutrients and tilth is all that is needed. […]

The versatility of ferns is being seen again

Gardeners today with busy schedules want less work in their gardens, and thus a need is established for plants that do just that. Their focus is more on leaf texture and foliage colour, rather than blooms and pruning schedules, consequently plants that don’t require a lot of care and maintenance are sought after. Self sufficient ponds, shade gardens and woodland […]