Buying Wisely

I Built a Greenhouse!

I never expected that I would have a greenhouse. And I certainly didn’t intend to build one last year when I set out to replace my disintegrating cold frame.   The cold frame was a simple structure made of wood, with four short walls, the back being a foot or so higher than the front,…

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Plant Shopping – August 2019

One of my favourite garden centres is closing in September, after more than 130 years of operation. Plant World is just 2 kilometres (less than a mile) from my home, on a road I have traveled twice daily for most of the last 16 years I’ve lived here. I started shopping there a year or…

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What I Look For When Shopping For a Watering Can

What To Look For In A Watering Can

Really, anything that holds water and can be carried can function as a watering can. But if you use your watering can a lot, it’s nice to buy one that is designed well. I do a lot of gardening in containers in a city that gets very hot in summer, so I use my watering…

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How to Choose the Best Garden Trowel

How to Choose the Best Garden Trowel

A trowel is a small shovel that fits in your hand. It’s one of my most reached for tools. The only other tools I use more are my secateurs, and that’s probably because my garden is mature so I have to do a lot more trimming than planting these days.   I’m tempted to say…

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Winter Decorating Mistakes To Avoid

How to avoid the most common mistakes when making winter planter arrangements

Creating an attractive arrangement of greenery and accessories in your outdoor planters isn’t difficult. But there are a few common mistakes I see, and a few I’ve made myself, so I thought I’d compile a tip list of what not to do.   Using too many accessories Some well selected decorations (including winter urn ornaments…

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The Magic of Mulch

The magic of mulch

Mulch can instantly transform the look of your garden and provides real benefits in terms of maintenance and moisture retention. I am a big believer in mulch for the health of my garden, but I will admit that it was purely aesthetics that drove me to mulch the bed along my front sidewalk during the…

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Garden Gloves: the good, the bad and the weird

How to choose the best garden gloves

I confess that I do not always wear gloves when I’m digging in the garden, especially when I’m doing something like planting annuals in a container, where I like to be able to feel exactly where the roots are. However, I do wear gloves a lot of the time, both to keep my hands cleaner…

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What to look for in a good pair of secateurs

What to look for in a good pair of secateurs or pruners

A good pair of secateurs is an indispensable tool for a gardener. I can’t think of anything else that I use in the garden more frequently. In this post I’m going to explain what differentiates a good pair of secateurs from a bad pair and tell you which ones I use and recommend.   Of…

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Two things to do before you go plant shopping

I spent a lot of time this past weekend buying and selling plants. Besides a shopping trip or two for my own garden, I accompanied two newer gardeners on separate trips to help them pick out plants. It was a great reminder to me of how intimidating a garden centre can be for someone who…

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Make your own thrifty custom winter urn decorations

Christmas tree ornaments turned into urn accessories

My first challenge with writing this post, and frankly, the most difficult, was figuring out what to call the festively coloured balls, pinecones, and other bits of interesting stuff that people use to decorate their outdoor Christmas urn arrangements? Accessories? Embellishments? Decorations? Well, whatever you call them, I first started to make my own when…

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It’s time to buy bulbs!

Assorted packages of spring blooming bulbs

If you want to have a fabulous garden next spring now is the time to go out and buy bulbs. I was in two nurseries this weekend and both of them had just received the bulk of their spring blooming bulbs, which means the best selection is to be had right now. I would imagine…

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My two best water saving ideas

Using water from ductless split air conditioner to water a hanging basket

I’m always looking for ways to use water wisely–it’s the right thing to do for the environment and it saves money–so today I want to share with you a water-saving/reusing tip that I’ve never seen anyone else try, but which has worked out really well for me. It isn’t something for every household, but maybe…

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How to buy cut flowers for a gardener

Bouquet of cut flowers

My husband gave me flowers on our first date. When I tell people that now they say “wow, that was gutsy” or some less polite version of the same. My response is “well, it worked” and a smile. There are usually two reason they think my now-husband was bold. The first is economic. Some think…

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Which seeds should I plant right in the ground?

In a previous post I talked about how new vegetable gardeners can feel pressured to start their plants inside, from seeds, when really, they would be much better off buying baby plants (seedlings) from the nursery. This is true for plants that need to be started ahead of time, inside, in order to reach maturity…

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What new gardeners need to hear about starting seeds

Basil seedlings

I believe a lot of new gardeners are being set up for failure. They’re told from multiple sources that growing their own plants from seed is a great way, in fact, the only way, to really start gardening. When a new gardener tries to grow something and has a bad experience right off the bat,…

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5 Ways to Save Money When Buying Cut Flowers

Flowers in flower shop

I have never regretted buying someone flowers. I don’t do it often, but based on the reactions I’ve received, I definitely should do it more. Flowers seem to be almost universally mood-lifting. My paternal grandfather, in the last years of his long life didn’t perk up at the sight of much, especially after the death…

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