Gnome News

ramblings of a plant lover

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.)




Style at Home

A year ago, Donna Griffith, photographer for Style at Home Magazine, did a full day garden shoot and then returned to do interiors of our home on Forestwood. The October 2012 issue just hit the shelves and after waiting all this time it was such a delight to see the feature. Our home is more traditional than most that are showcased, so we weren’t sure how much profile it would receive. While it didn’t make the cover and many of the images they shot weren’t included, we were pretty pleased with the five pages they dedicated to a story about our new home studio.



Walnut Farm

A mini adventure really. A weekend at Walnut Farm near Georgian Bay and the Beaver Valley. My sister-in-law and her husband have a 19th century farm and some lovely garden specimens. Thought I’d share these with you.



Fussy in Fall

Summer went by like a weekend! It was idyllic from a holiday standpoint, but a tough year to garden. Not much rain and very hot for a lot of places in North America. I experienced a bug invasion of every variety this year, munching relentlessly on my plants.




Our garden grew like a jungle, with the sprinkler system working overtime and the sun beaming intensely on everything, but here we are in fall already. Given my last post was in May, let’s just say nothing revelatory happened over the past few months, but now that the October “Style at Home” issue is out with a feature on Forestwood, I thought I’d better get busy and update.


Spring Tips

For you “fussy gardeners” out there, there’s nothing better than a good straight spade to edge all of your garden beds. This defines your garden area shapes from the lawn and dramatizes the visual distinctions within your property. I like to bevel cut the edges of the grass around the beds to further enhance a crisp aesthetic.


Cheekwood Botanical Gardens (Nashville)

I’ve just returned from a business trip to Nashville, one of my favourite American cities. The charm of the city extends well beyond my favorite pockets like The Gulch, Belle Meade, Green Hills, Hillsboro village and 12 Avenue South, to off the radar spots like Franklin and Liepers Fork – a couple of my two favourite haunts. Neighboring the famous Belle Meade Golf and Country Club of Nashville is the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art. This is the original Cheek family home and estate, of Maxwell House Coffee fame, which is now a public destination. It is serene and picturesque. A good place to spend a morning or full day if you have children.