Spring Tulips 2016

The Tulips are putting on a good show this year, and all came up despite the on-again, off-again winter

Milkweed – Asclepias Incarnata “Ice Ballet”

A couple of yeas ago I decided that instead of making the backyard simply food producing or pretty, that what I really wanted to do is to create a butterfly and pollinator garden. As part of that, I planted 1 milkweed in the garden. It grew to be about 2 feet high and bloomed in…

Best Toronto Gardening Blogs

For Zone 5 gardening, here are the blogs that I read to get tips and ideas: Toronto Gardens – an excellent blog by Toronto sisters Helen and Sarah Battersby Empress of Dirt – this excellent site is full of creative gardening ideas You Grow Girl – a great site with good and useful gardening tips Mark Cullen’s Blog –…

Early Spring Pussy Willow Pollinators

Spring this year has been odd and sudden. Pollinators are awake and looking for a meal but very little is flowering for them. So this year my Pussy Willow is just buzzing.

How to Build a Labyrinth & Pollinator Garden in the Backyard

So when we first moved in, there was a “feature” in the backyard we called weed mountain. At one point we paid a guy to come and haul the hill away and leave it as flat land, but I didn’t find the time to properly plant it and finish it off, so the weeds grew back. And there it…

Canada Blooms 2016

Like every year, we went to Canada Blooms, to buy seeds and to see if we can learn anything new. The first thing we saw was a very fancy backyard chicken coop. OMG would love to have fresh eggs every day. But chickens in the backyard? Yeah, the neighbours would love that. LOL, so would my German…

Growing Organic Corn

My daughter, who’s 6, decided that we had to grow corn this year.  She’s responsible for quite a few things growing in the garden! It’s doing pretty well so far, and the cobs are growing nicely. I think it’s hilarious to have this small stand of organic corn in the raised bed in our suburban back…

Daylily in the Front Garden

Snapped this daylily in the front garden this afternoon. So gorgeous! I heard somewhere that daylilies are edible.  I’m not sure if that’s true, but I can’t imagine eating anything so pretty. I planted this last year and it came up well again this year. Definitely a hardy perennial – it dealt with salt from…

Chester Blackberry Bushes – Yum!

I love growing things that have a practical purpose, along with being beautiful. So we have many fruit trees and berry bushes in the yard. One of the best buys I’ve made so far has been the Chester Blackberries.

Dwarf “Incredible” Sunflower

We decided to plant sunflowers this year. Most sunflowers get very tall though, and we wanted something a bit smaller. So we decided to plant Dwarf “Incredible” Sunflower, which grows a full size sunflower on a much smaller plant. Here are the seedlings popping up in mid-March. I may have planted them a little too early. The…

No More Front Yard! How to Build a Flagstone Patio

So I was staring at my front yard dandelion nursery, thinking about the amount of grass seed, fertilizer, soil, and even clover seed I’ve spread on there, when I just completely lost my sh*t temper. I took a shovel to my front yard, thankfully small, and an hour later I had a freshly turned over…

Fruit Trees in Bloom

The weather is beautiful this year, and the pear and apple trees are in full bloom. Well, the Bosc pear is in bloom, the Bartlett isn’t doing much yet, but it’s the first spring in the ground, so I won’t complain yet. The trees look beautiful side by side, the picture doesn’t really do them justice.

Discovery! Tulips are Super Hardy

So last year I dug up the garden and tossed a bunch of tulip bulbs into the garbage. Except I didn’t have a garbage at the time, so I dropped them into a handy pot, put it in the garage and then forgot to actually throw it out.

Deep Snow this Winter

One nice thing about it snowing a lot is that the snow keeps the plants safe over winter. When there’s no snow, the plants freeze more, which causes more damage. Snow actually works like mulch to keep plants roots warm. The backyard looks so tranquil

Spider!

This guy was creepy – I wasn’t quite sure what to do with him – that is one enormous spider.

Front Garden 2012

Here’s how the front garden looks in Aug 2012. Remember how it looked when we just planted it?

The Pear Trees

When we got the house, we really wanted to grow as much of our own food as possible, within the limits of it being a fun hobby and not a second profession. And to me, that means fruit trees! Fruit trees are awesome, because they grow on their own, they dont need a lot of…

The Amur Maple Tree

Our landscape consultant suggested that we get a maple tree called an Amur Maple to shade the back patio. Its also called a Flame Maple because it turns bright red in the fall. They get around 20 feet tall, then stop growing. So I saw one at the nursery for $20 and I thought that was…

The Front Garden – Learning

So when we first moved in 2010, there was no front garden. There were a few weeds and some snapdragons in the corner, but nothing else. I dug out a small garden in the corner and a few inches around the walkway the first fall and my DH & I put some tulip bulbs in. We…

The Raspberry Bush

This was the first fruit plant we put in. They’re supposed to be a bit invasive, but hey, that just means it has a higher chance of surviving, right? Here’s how we got it from the nursery in April, 2012. Look close, it’s the 2 little leafless sticks in the middle there.

Blanc Double de Coubert Rosebush

Blanc Double de Coubert is a lovely rosebush that I saw in a magazine or online or something and decided I really wanted it. It will get 5 feet high by 5 feet wide and has pretty white roses that smell divine. The landscape consultant who came to review our plan  approved of my choice and the…

Tomato Sickness (2012)

It’s a very hot year, and many of the veggies are suffering. Also, I probably planted everything too close together. It’s easy to underestimate how much room veggies need when they are small. In any case I think the tomato plants probably picked up a fungus, which is what the garden center suggested.

The Gazebo, Summer 2012

So we had this multi-year plan on how we were going to improve the landscaping of the house. Year 1 was build the clubhouse. Year 2 was get a good quality gazebo, Year 3 was to get a shed. Being year 2, we bought a gazebo.

Veggies from the Garden 2012 July

It was really exciting when we got our first things out of the garden. The Boston Lettuce was first, along with the Kale. We picked a few cherry tomatoes along the way, but here was our first real harvest of tomatoes – on July 12:

Building the Veggie Patch

So part of the reason we bought the house is because it has such a big lot. There’s lots of room for us to grow things, and to learn how to grow things. And I like creating things, so this land was a perfect blank slate we could start with. Here’s what the yard looked…

Weed Mountain

When we moved in, there was a “feature” at the bottom of the garden we called Weed Mountain. It was this big weed-covered mound of dirt. It supplied the whole neighbourhood with their share of dandelions, thistles, lamb’s quarters, pigweed and even more exciting weeds. The summer we moved in, we found a thistle that had grown…

The Blank Slate

It seems fitting that the first post on the blog should be a pic of the blank slate we started with. Here is a pic of the backyard when we bought our house. Part of the reason we bought the house is because of the nice big backyard. Plenty of space here to learn how…