Preserving Summer’s Perfume: Pot-pourri.

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It’s getting near that time of year, alas, the beginnings of the end of summer. This is the season when food lovers and gardeners do our best to preserve summer’s bounty,  by making fragrant oils and tinctures of our favourite herbs, by canning jams and jellies and tomatoes and pickling cucumbers. And for those of us who love the perfumes of summer, preserving their lovely essence is as simple as making pot-pourri with herbs and flowers planted in our own gardens. Continue »



Easy Propagating Perennials: Sedum Plants

Large swaths of flowering plants best for design and for use by pollinators.

Large swaths of flowering plants best for design and for use by pollinators.

Want to increase your stock of perennial plants? It’s worth your while to make new plants, to share or to make a bigger splash in the garden. Plus, it’s easy and fun.

Propagation varies in terms of easiness, but sedums, like ‘Autumn Joy’ or its other variants are a good place to start as they are one of the easiest. Sedums are one of my favourite perennials for many reasons. Pollinators go crazy for their flower nectar, and as they are succulent, they are super low maintenance. They are also one of the hardiest perennials, and one of the few that will over-winter in a container.

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Forsythia Means Planting Time 

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Even before most trees leaf out, forsythia flowers emerge.

Forsythia means planting time.

When the forsythia is blooming it’s the “all clear” sign: a bright yellow beacon telling us that the soil and daytime temperatures have warmed up enough for us to start planting our gardens. Not everything, mind you, but we can plant a lot:

Plant when Forsythia blooms
  • Hardy perennials, shrubs, trees and roses.
  • Annual sweet peas. Annual pansies, violas.
  • Edibles: peas, spinach and cool vegetable crops.
  • Berry bushes and perennial vegetables like rhubarb and asparagus.
  • Hardy bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, in a container for a seasonal display.
  • Pre-planted pots of flowering bulbs can be planted right into your garden. They’ll put down roots and come up again next season. It’s a good trick for those who didn’t get a chance to plant bulbs in the fall. (Like me!)
  • Perennial Herbs: sage, thyme, oregano
Wait for May 24th, or later
  • Heat-loving annual vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant cucumbers and melons.
  • Tender herbs like basil

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Winter Sowing for Wildflowers & Perennials

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Let’s talk about growing flowers from seed, shall we, especially those harder to germinate wildflowers and other perennials. Miriam Goldberger of Ontario’s Wildflower Farm explains:

Certain wildflowers won’t germinate unless they have the stratification period. It’s not the freezing temperatures of winter but rather the freeze/thaw action of early spring that breaks down the seed shells and serves as a catalyst for germination to occur.

Not waiting for spring and sowing now is called winter sowing, which is a special, yet fairly easy way of sowing seeds. Winter sowing creates conditions that mimic those the seed naturally goes through over the course of the winter, a process called stratification. Stratification providing seeds with a prolonged period of a cold, moist environment, usually for several weeks. Seed sowers can use the refrigerator to mimic stratification at any time of the year. But since we’ve got winter conditions right now we don’t need to monopolize the fridge.

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Staying Cool With Flavoured Ice

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The long weekend is here and you know what that means right? It is time to drink lots of liquids! And make sure those liquids are cold by using lots of ice. Plain old ice cubes won’t cut it this weekend. Bust out a few party tricks to kick your ice cubes up a notch. For a punch bowl you can make a fruit filled ice ring or try individual big block cubes flavoured with fresh fruit for cocktails.  Continue »