Gnome News

ramblings of a plant lover

Beech Horizon

I came across this lovely little property, thoughtfully landscaped in Thornbury, Ontario during a recent Thanksgiving visit to the Beaver Valley. Their long driveway had a lush Beech Espalier lining the entire stretch (so much better than a fence). Espaliers of various fruit trees or ornamental shrubs were quite popular in Europe up until the early 1800’s and then tapered off. Perhaps a resurgence is underway, although they do require patience which is not so prevalent in our modern world. However, the popularity of vineyards may be just the thing to provide the inspiration needed.

Applause to the soul who patiently trained these Beech trees to grow flat against a framework of stakes. I had never seen Beeches in this context before – quite successful. Looks like it was wired for night lighting as well… hmm? None the less, kudos to this Canadian for bringing some European landscaping imagination into play.


“To Knit or Plant?” – That is the Question

I was having lunch with my brother in “Old South London” recently and noticed just outside the window this interesting notion on improving the visual impact of Ontario hydro poles that litter the streets of most cities across the country. Oddly enough, unrelated to this experience, my next door neighbour sent me a shot from his phone a day later suggesting a more natural solution to the situation we share with him regarding the big new ugly hydro “tree” they’ve stuck between the end of our driveways. I’m not convinced that knitting “pole cozies” is a good idea and it begs the question – knitting or planting, which is better? And who has the time to do this anyway? Well, in my opinion, one bad human creation is not improved by adding another over top of it. I vote nature every time – plant!


Forsythe September Update


Centro Garden Fall Workshops

Centro keeps gardening front of mind. One of my favourite local haunts is Centro, a lovely gift store on Brant Street in downtown Burlington with an emphasis on urban / suburban garden lifestyle. I’ve featured them before, but I thought I’d share the upcoming fall calendar with my local gardening tribe – for those looking for adventures or just a stroll and see.

Take a look – maybe I’ll see you at one of the workshops!

Credit: Centro Garden

Photo credit: Centro Garden

Construction is Underway

For those of you in the western GTA and in need of a good, reliable, get-the-job-done-right landscape construction crew, might I recommend Garden Glen. Phone number is on the truck and let me confirm, these guys are “Fussy Approved”. They’ve been working hard at transforming our property into a lovely urban garden on time, on budget and on schedule. We’ll be keeping you posted on progress in the weeks to come.

Triple mix by the truck load has arrived to fill those beds with plant-friendly, nutrient filled dirt!

Triple mix by the truckload has arrived to fill those beds with plant-friendly, nutrient-filled dirt!

“Dirty Girl”

Our Creative Director Alan Krpan passed on this video blog by a former classmate of his. I really enjoyed it and wanted to share it with you. Erin (aka “Dirty Girl”) has created this really engaging site focused on gardening in the city. You can catch her new webisodes here – very “edutaining”!

The Evolution of the Pergola

It’s been quite a journey for both Fraser (our carpenter) and myself on this Pergola project for our new garden at Forsythe. Quite a difference from my crude thumbnail to the finished structure. We worked through the logistics and tension of expectation, budget and realities. And overall, I’m quite pleased with the outcome. The final coat of stain is on. We just have the feet to finish once the stonework on the terrace is completed. Fence is stained. Big trees in and the retaining wall is underway. Looking forward to the fountain being installed as a centre piece for the Pergola (that’s “center” for my American friends). One more thing to check off the list.