Many plants look flashy in their pots in the garden centre, giving us the overwhelming urge to put them in our shopping carts, but some of the best ones do not, and that’s a shame, as some of the most delightful perennials can be easily overlooked. Native butterfly weed (asclepias tuberosa) is one of these, and it’s a perennial plant from the milkweed family that deserves a spot in every sunny garden. The one in my garden, pictured above, is two feet high, gently mounded, and is full of buds just starting to open. In the next few days it will pop and be absolutely gorgeous, in the most vibrant orange.
It took a mere three years to go from a few spindly leaves when it was first planted to the beauty that it is today. They are a fine example of the sleep, creep, then leap behaviour of many perennials. This means they spend some time creating a good root system, (a year or two). You might not see too much happening above ground for the first couple seasons, then on the third year they come back with a pow!
A big mistake I made way back as an early gardener was not paying attention to the soil. I didn’t know any better, mistakenly believing that soil was merely a placeholder for plant roots. I thought fertilizer could be added to soil like a vitamin pill. I cringe when I remember that I once poured liquid chemical fertilizer onto my soil thinking I was doing my plants a favour. My excuse it was a looong time ago. But sadly, this view is still widely held. You only have to see ads for certain instant fertilizers for lawns and gardens to see it in action. We think we ‘feed’ our plants like we are giving them food, but it doesn’t work this way. The relationship between plants and soil is more complicated.
In warmer weather it is always great to eat outdoors whenever possible, and small shared plates of charcuterie, fresh vegetables, cheeses and olives are always a hit served with a baguette and butter, and accompanied with a variety of fruit; oranges and clementines are great, and sliced apples, red and green grapes, and one of our favourite fruits that make the spread elegant and delicious, fresh figs. Continue »
Cold Brew Coffee has been all the rage for a while now, and there are several places around town where you can get an ice-cold jolt of joe. But with summer almost here, why not get in the habit of brewing your own? It’s super simple, and totally delicious, and a vat of the stuff will keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks at least, ready to be served as is, or with ice and cream and sugar, or even heated up as your morning hit. Continue »
Blue ‘love in a mist’ annual flowers with matching blue container.
We don’t have to settle for plain old terra cotta anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I love the look of natural clay pots or believable-looking (plastic) fakes. However, moving towards the pure rainbow hues of the spectrum can give your garden some colour pizzazz. This bright blue container increases the impact of the blue love in a mist flowers in the foreground. Now that manufacturers are creating so many garden containers in varied colours, we can easily maximize our favourite colour choices in our garden arrangements.
This pairing of blue and blue is a real knockout. Of course, in my view, there is almost nothing better than a blue pot in the garden. The blue makes a perfect contrast to the garden’s green, while still being an analogous colour. Analogous colours sit next to each other on the colour spectrum, naturally blending together, while also giving just enough contrast. And it’s that bit of contrast that makes a garden interesting and noteworthy. Try a coloured pot somewhere in your garden, and pair it with one of your favourite garden flowers. The two often make an impact that’s greater than the sum of its parts.