Gnome News

ramblings of a plant lover

Fussy Update

Well folks, thanks for visiting the site on our official launch – and for telling your friends. It’s been a wee bit overwhelming frankly. Lots of very encouraging feedback and interest. I’ve tried to answer everyone personally, which is why, among other things, I haven’t posted on the Fussy Garden Journal since we launched last week.




Italy is not unduly romanticized for its spectacular history of beautiful vistas and culture of belissimo! Where there are beautiful vistas there are beautiful gardens. I had the pleasure of spending a wonderful day in Ravello on the western cliffs of Italy, above Amalfi. The whole region was fantastic, but I will never forget the gardens of Ravello. In fact if you plan to visit, I’d recommend you stay at the Villa Cimbrone, which sits just on the edge of this magnificent property. Three miles of twisty mountain roads up from Amalfi, the gorgeous resort of Ravello has been attracting celebrities for centuries, including Greta Garbo, Gore Vidal and D.H. Lawrence, who wrote Lady Chatterley’s Lover here.




Elegant Garden Lifestyle

Another favourite chain of stores I frequent when traveling in the US is Smith & Hawken. I can spend hours in their stores. I first discovered them in Soho, New York. They have a delightful selection of the most stylish and functional gadgets for garden lifestyle. A great idea place for any gardener. You can check them out at:



“Royal” Gardening Boots

I found these very cool boots from the UK in a most unusual place on the weekend– a hip and trendy shoe boutique on Queen Street in the fashion district of Toronto. Originally designed for hiking the rugged terrain of Scotland, they are the creation of American entrepreneur Mr. Henry Lee Norris who landed on Scottish shores in 1856 to establish his boot making company. Hunter’s boots have become legendary for their durability and comfort, not to mention classic style.



Spring. A Time to Create it!

I think of spring as “ramp up” season. Get ready to get busy.


The things you didn’t accomplish the season before and all of the winter planning and the preparations required for the season ahead come to a crashing crescendo… and so begins the serious business of gardening once again. This is analogous to the hour before opening up the store for an anticipated busy Saturday Sale, preparing a fully booked restaurant for the evening guests, or getting ready for a grand vacation. Lots of pre-think is required to be certain it will deliver a satisfying outcome.


The Education of a Gardener

One of my favourite “garden” reads lately is a classic called, “The Education of a Gardener” by Russell Page. Russell was one of the most renowned garden designers of the 20th century. He lived from 1906 through 1985 and documented much of his experience in this wonderful compendium of design philosophy and anecdotal examples from his work. This book isn’t easy to get, but worth it if you can.