Garden Tips

These Boots Were Made For Gardening

One can never underestimate the importance of good gardening boots. I love clogs, easy on and off, but sometimes you need something that protects you from the muck. I’ve gone through a lot of footwear trudging through mud, planting and pruning, or even visiting nurseries in the spring.


To Plant or Prune, and When…Hmm?

When working on a recent “very late” fall garden project for a client I was reminded how important selecting the right plants is to ensure greater odds of the new plantings surviving the winter months and taking root in the spring. My client was very keen on planting Columnar Dawyck Purple Beech trees. Our nursery supplier strongly discouraged this because it was so late in the season and we had already had snow. While Beech trees are best pruned in late winter when the plant is dormant and internal fluids are not actively moving through the tree, planting past frost is not advised. The same was true of my client’s second choice Columnar English Oaks. So, we opted for Chinese Dogwood, Japanese Red Maples and White Birch which are more forgiving for a late season planting.


Hedging Your “Frets”

I was recently asked when the best time to trim your Boxwood and Yews are. I have a lot of hedges, both Boxwood and Yews, and I have trimmed them at different times of the year, depending on my personal scheduling and when they seem to need it most.


Building the Wall

I recently came a cross an interesting article on retaining walls from “This Old House” which I thought I’d share. I’m currently giving a client some landscaping advice on a steep slope in the grade running alongside their new home. Perfect for a retaining wall and this article comes just in time for consideration on how best to resolve the garden issues related to this awkward transition between the two properties.


Spring into Spring!

Here’s a tip: if you haven’t already, check out Garden Design Magazine, a great resource online for ideas and links to all kinds of interesting places. I really enjoyed their latest article on 2017 Trends in Garden Design.

Listed among the top considerations: natural materials, colour blocking, “hyper-localism” (i.e. using endemic plants not just natives, wood and stone from the site), lawn reimagined, natural dye gardens, old and new “mash-up” (sounds like eclecticism, but apparently debatable), active play spaces for all ages, dwarf shrubs, haute houseplants (bringing the garden inside) and sustainability tech (i.e., controlling your irrigation system from your smartphone).

Getting Rid of Garden Pests

Originally posted at

This article is written by Gardening Guru Abby Quillen and includes advice on natural and organic tips and tricks for eliminating critters, as well as provides insight for what’s plaguing your plants and how to help them!


It probably won’t surprise most vegetable gardeners that insects outnumber humans many millions of times over. While some insects can be beneficial for certain plants, gardeners are all too familiar with the destruction of many tiny crawly critters.

Fortunately, nature offers plenty of non-toxic ways to discourage and manage detrimental insects. The following six steps can help a gardener reduce pest problems without toxic chemicals. Remember: Prevention is always the first and best line of attack.


When planning a new garden architectural feature, I always start with Pinterest or Instagram to help inspire and vision cast. I found this wonderful little chart on Pinterest – “The World’s Greatest Catalogue of Ideas”, which provides a great quick reference on details for rafter tail profiles. Whether you’re planning a new detail on your home exterior, arbor, pergola, gate or fence detail, it’s always good to consider how that choice complements your existing home finishes.


Weed or Flower?

Well, I guess this is more of a rant than a tip, but I just have to get very fussy about an issue that’s really annoying to me for a whole bunch of reasons.

Behold, the Dandelion (Taraxacum), our new provincial flower. It used to be the Trillium, a fantastic and rare specimen, but apparently our government has decided (without consulting with the public) to make this our new emblem of pride, or should I say shame. I’m only assuming this, given that our boulevards and public areas have become overwhelmed with this unsightly, grass destroying weed.


Fireplaces and Things That Bug Me

Burning memories

Consider extending the season in your garden by building a fireplace or fire pit.


Last winter we were invited to dinner. Our friends had an outdoor fireplace, crowning a high point off the patio, overlooking their gardens. It was a reasonably mild night, no snow. After dinner, our host stoked a roaring fire, we took our blankets out and sipped wine and shared stories for hours around the warmth of the flames. It was delightful. It reminds me of this snippet from a book I featured on “Fussy Finds” a while back. Janice Wells from the “Gin & Tonic Gardener”, Chapter 26 / Before You Hibernate… (She’s talking about garden magazines and more specifically an article on fire pits in gardens.)