Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 7 (1 of 10)

A formal front garden reveals neat and tidy lines, symmetrical plantings and vibrant colours.  A curvy front walk is mirrored in a garden bordered by a boxwood hedge and filled with eye catching alliums and stately geraniums.

TTGG 7 (2 of 10)

TTGG 7 (3 of 10)

TTGG 7 (4 of 10)

The backyard plays around with a more casual scene, using the ample shade to create a woodsy water feature and surrounding garden beds.

TTGG 7 (5 of 10)

TTGG 7 (6 of 10)

TTGG 7 (7 of 10)

The space directly off the homes kitchen door is perfectly used as a edible herb garden, bursting with flavour and scent.

TTGG 7 (8 of 10)

TTGG 7 (9 of 10)

TTGG 7 (10 of 10)

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 6 (1 of 14)

Curving garden beds in the front accentuate the modern feel of this homes architecture.  Gorgeous flowering dogwoods are paired with willowy ferns and bright annuals.TTGG 6 (2 of 14)

A rock garden cascades down a slope towards the city sidewalk surrounding and highlighting the massive front tree and allowing a space perfect for alpine, rocky plant life.

TTGG 6 (3 of 14)

TTGG 6 (4 of 14)

TTGG 6 (5 of 14)

TTGG 6 (6 of 14)

All hard surfaces are built to focus your eye to the gardens themselves and the extensive use of tender tropicals, Japanese painted ferns, azaleas, roses and beech trees.

TTGG 6 (7 of 14)

A small water feature adds tranquility to one of the patio areas while a second sitting area takes advantage of the trees and the shade they provide..

TTGG 6 (8 of 14)

TTGG 6 (9 of 14)

TTGG 6 (10 of 14)

TTGG 6 (11 of 14)

A sturdy pergola between the two entertaining areas is a sure talking point as it helps provide a base for a massive wisteria.

TTGG 6 (12 of 14)

TTGG 6 (13 of 14)

TTGG 6 (14 of 14)

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

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This garden and its plants have been passed on generation to generation, lovingly tended to year after year.

TTGG 5 (2 of 11)

TTGG 5 (3 of 11)

Oranges, pinks and yellows are the main colour of the front gardens, showing off the beautiful hues of roses, blanket flowers, poppies, coral bells and peonies.

TTGG 5 (4 of 11)

The back garden with its shadier exposure is sweeping gardens of ferns, hostas, Solomon’s seal, native wildflowers and more.  A whimsical dolphin’s frolics through the plants.

TTGG 5 (5 of 11)

TTGG 5 (6 of 11)

TTGG 5 (7 of 11)

Even the side of the property is utilized showcasing even more plant material with favorites like Mock Oranges, lilacs, peonies and miniature Irises.

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TTGG 5 (9 of 11)

With such long standing and historic gardening pedigree this garden is show piece

TTGG 5 (10 of 11)

TTGG 5 (11 of 11)


A Beginner’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening + A Giveaway

Starting any new project can bring on doubts and concerns.  When it comes to planting your first vegetable garden those thoughts can be double fold because at the end of the day your reward is tangible.  Fresh, juicy, sweet homegrown vegetables. Flavors not like any you tasted before.  So of course you want to succeed. And I’m going to give you some tips on how to be the most successful beginner vegetable gardener around.  I’m not going to get all detailed and scientific on you.  Just some realistic, common sense tips to help you on your way.  Only you know how much sun your location truly gets or what type of soil you have and even if you have stacked all the right cards in your hand Mother Nature will still be your ultimate judge.

So many varieties of lettuce can be planted for the best salad around.

So many varieties of lettuce can be planted for the best salad around.

1. Keep it Small

When you are first starting out don’t go digging an acreage of soil and picking 50 different varieties of plants to grow.  You may decide you don’t like gardening after all and an over ambitious idea will get you to that decision sooner.  A simple 8 x 8 is sufficient for a handful of plants.  You can always expand as you get the hang of it.  And don’t rule out using containers for vegetables.

2. Pick 3 or 4 vegetables that you actually eat.

Don’t start growing celeriac or kohlrabi if you have no intentions of actually eating it. Look at what you normally pick up at the grocery store. Try growing some of those. Lettuce, tomatoes, sweet peppers, beans and carrots are probably your safest bet the first time around.  And go to the garden center and buy already established plants.  I want you to get the hang of growing successfully before you venture into seeds.

Can't go wrong with carrots!

Can’t go wrong with carrots!

3. Know your location

Vegetables need three important things:


Compost rich and well draining is the standby.  If you have thick clay or loose sandy soil you will have to do some work to fix it.  This is also where you could consider using containers your first time around since bags of perfect vegetable growing soil can easily be purchased.


Don’t dig your garden way in the back forty of your property.  Vegetables need water to survive so make sure you can easily obtain it for your garden. And water will be very important because you need lots of hot, drying sun. They need about 1 inch of water per week but if you are in a heat wave and the plants look parched give them a drink.


Remember this equation: sun = sugar. What that means is the more sun your plants receive the sweeter and tastier they will be.  There are cooler, shadier vegetable varieties out there but the majority prefer bright sunny days.  Once again containers are movable and can help you get the amount of sun you need.


4. Accept that nothing works as planned.

Despite all our good intentions things may not go according to plan.  The summer may be abnormally dry or wet. You may go away on a last minute vacation and the garden can get forgotten. Things happens, plants die.  Yet by keeping your investment small and manageable the loss may not be so huge.  And if you end up with an abundance of delicious tasting vegetables after all bravo my friend you have done it!  Time to think about expansion.

Thanks to my friends over at Raincoast Books I want to help you have even more success in your garden.

Tomatomania is THE resource you need on growing tomatoes in your garden.  From practical growing advice to recipes and cooking tips you can’t learn enough about this perfect beginner plant. And I want to give one lucky winner there one copy to enjoy. Enter below and leave me a comment telling me what you have or want to plant in your garden this year.

Happy Gardening!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest Rules:

Open to legal Canadian (excluding Quebec) and US residents.
No purchase necessary to enter.
Canadian Winner is required to answer a skill testing question. Winner will be notified by email on July 2, 2015 and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected.
Contest runs from June 22, 2015 to June 29, 2015.

*I have generously received  Tomatomania free of charge however all opinions are entirely my own.

Canada Blooms 2015

Canada Blooms

Some people say that seeing a Robin outside their window is the first sign of Spring, while others swear by sprouts appearing where they have planted their flowering bulbs.  For me it’s always the week leading up to Canada Blooms that really signifies the end of our harsh winter and the hope of brighter, greener things.  It is a week that historically brings on a warm snap, where snowbanks dwindle away and winter coats are shed for their lighter, cooler counterparts.  Realistically I know we will still get a snowfall or two and I shouldn’t be dusting off the patio furniture. Yet the air feels less crisp, less damp and the promise of warmer days is just around the next corner.

Canada Blooms

This year Canada Blooms is 19 years old.  When I hear that I can’t help but cringe a little, it reminds me how time has past since I started in the field of Horticulture. I worked at the event when it was located out near the Toronto airport, back  before the show was aligned with The National Home Show.  It was close to the second or third annual flower show and I was representing at a booth for my first ever Horticulture job in the years between my college program.  The first thing I remember was how exhausted I was at the end of each day and oh how my feet throbbed.  Most importantly I remember how big and beautiful it was.  Garden vendors lined up row upon row through the cavernous building.  Gardens overflowing with blooms, waterfalls reaching towards the ceiling.  As a beginner in the industry it was awe inspiring as well as intimidating.

Canada Blooms

Year after year I returned, as a guest this time as it moved downtown, then joined the Home Show then moved again.  Each year I’ve watched its evolution from a huge show, to a show slightly on the edge of desperation, to a renewed breath of fresh air, and in the last couple years to the show it currently has become.  I am very undecided on how I really feel about all the change.  The marketplace is disappointingly small compared to the original concepts years ago.  There are some seed and plant companies selling their products, though I question the authenticity of the orchid grower selling plants in colours that don’t naturally exist.

Canada Blooms

The garden displays continue to be impressive however focusing more on hardscaping trends and less about the “blooms”.  For anyone missing the green of the warmer days and brighter months you can definitely get back that feeling the minute you step through the doors.  Flowers Canada fills the gap where local nurseries and the late great White Rose used to laden down our arms with wares.  Maybe the focus on the everyday gardener is what I feel is missing.  There is no doubt lots of inspiration to be had.  Lots of great speakers are on hand to give you helpful tips and tricks you can accomplish in your own home.  But unless you are about to completely overhaul your whole property you may only leave the show with ideas and beautiful pictures and maybe not with the hot new plant of the year.

Canada Blooms

Despite my hesitation I continue to come back each year because the gardens are awe inspiring showcasing immeasurable talent in our country. This year the theme “Let’s Play” is beautifully shown with whimsical fairy gardens and over the top playgrounds for the kids while outdoor retreats and expansive entertaining spaces draw in the adults.  As you will see through my photos everything is stunning.  Everything is perfectly executed.  And as I return several more times over the week the show is on I know I will continue to find new things to ooh and aah over.  While the cynical older me just wishes for more, I already can’t wait for next year.

Canada Blooms runs from March 13-22

Direct Energy Building







With it’s brilliant colours and tall towering spiky flower heads with buttons of petals slowly opening as the plant reaches the sky, Lupines are a showcasing winner in your flower garden. However they have many other uses aside from decorative.  It’s seeds are used in the culinary world and can be used as a soybean alternative.  Since it draws Nitrogen from the air and into the soil it makes a great green manure and because of this trait Lupines should be planted with other nitrogen loving plants.

Lupines don’t like to be moved therefore dividing is discouraged.  Deadhead spent blooms to encourage further flowering.

  • Light Exposure: Sun-Partial Shade
  • Soil Type: Acidic, Well Draining
  • Height: 3-4′
  • Width: 1-2′
  • Bloom Time: Late spring to Early Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Blue, pink, red, yellow, orange
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Aphids, slugs, powdery mildew, crown rot
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive Foliage, Cut flowers
  • Zone: 4-8



Digitalis-Foxglove (7)

This stunning biennial is popular choice for many English or cottage garden fanatics with it’s tall sturdy stalks of tubular flowers.  It is nectar rich making it a great spot for hummingbirds to zip in and out getting their fill.  While the entire plant is toxic it has been used medicinally in the distillation of cardiac medications.

To encourage more flowers remove the centrals stalk allowing for side shoots to sprout up and flower.  Because it is a biennial, let it go to seed and self sow for years of continuous plants.


Digitalis purpurea

  • Light Exposure: Partial shade
  • Soil Type: Moist, well draining
  • Height: 1-5′
  • Width: 1-3′
  • Bloom Time: Early Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Pink, purple, white, yellow, cream
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Japanese beetles, aphids, mealy bugs, powdery mildew
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Cut flowers, attracts hummingbirds
  • Zone: 3-8

Evening Primrose

Oenothera-Evening Primrose (1)

Also know as Suncups or Sundrops these beautiful blooms sadly only open for a minute in the evening but are well worth the wait.  Because of this flowering phenomenon special bees exist that help pollinate this perennial. Native to Mexico and Central America it is considered a wildflower and are sown directly through seeds since they don’t transplant well.  Evening Primrose will also be the first plant in your garden to tell you it needs a watering with severe wilting occuring.

Evening Primrose

Oenothera sp.

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 6-36″
  • Width: 8-24″
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to early Fall, depending on variety
  • Bloom Colour: Yellow, white, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Spittle bugs
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, fragrant, attracts butterflies
  • Zone: 3-11

Kentucky Yellowwood

Yellow Wood


An unbelievable specimen tree to have in your yard this underused South Eastern United States native has wisteria like hanging fragrant flowers, showy fall foliage and great winter form.  The yellow heartwood of the tree is used for specialized furniture building and decorative wood turning and the pioneers once used the roots for dye. It is hardy in Northern Region including Ontario, yet rarely found in eastern North America.

Kentucky Yellowwood

Cladrastis kentukea

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 30-50′
  • Width: 40-55′
  • Bloom Time: May-June
  • Bloom Colour: White
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: No serious disease or insect problems
  • Landscape Uses: Shade tree
  • Special Features: Fall colours, flowers, fragrant
  • Zone: 4-8

Example Varieties:


Depending on the USDA zone you grow in Lantana may be treated as an annual plant or a perennial shrub.  Upright and trailing varieties are available with globular flower heads in bright shades of red yellow, orange and pink.  Deadheading will encourage reblooming and planting it in acidic soil will guarantee and thriving specimen.  The plant can grow quite tall and will benefit from being cut back at least 1/3 to keep it from being overgrown and messy.

It is important to note that Lantana is toxic to kids and pets, especially the berries which consumed in small quantities can be fatal.  The leaves of the plant may also cause skin irritations.


Lantana camara

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Light, fertile, well draining
  • Height: 4-12′
  • Width: 8-30′
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Yellow, orange, red, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Foliage miiners, botrytis, whitefly
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive flower heads
  • Zone: 9-12

Example Varieties:

Japanese Bottlebrush

Resembling the cleaning instrument to which it is named it is grown for both it’s flowers and it’s foliage.  Originally from Japan this perennial can grown quite large almost into a shrub or tree if left to it’s own devices in more milder climates.  Also known as Burnet, you can divide this plant each Spring

Japanese Bottlebrush

Sanguinsorba obtusa

  • Light Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Type: Sandy, moist, clay or normal
  • Height: 27-35″
  • Width: 25-30″
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Deep pink
  • Foliage Colour: Grey green
  • Pests and Disease: Trouble free
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Cut flowers, rabbit free
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties:




Perennial Verebena

‘Coral Red’

Drought tolerant Verbenas love the heat.  Planted in full sun this compact perennial will reward you with brightly coloured blooms that can last all season with regular deadheading. Cut back the plant right to the ground in the fall and if you wish for more plants divide then or in the early Spring.


Verbena canadensis

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Fertile, moist, well draining
  • Height: 8″
  • Width: 16″
  • Bloom Time: Spring to fall
  • Bloom Colour: Pink, purple
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Botrytis, spider mites
  • Landscape Uses: Beds. borders
  • Special Features: Fragrant, attracts butterflies, long bloom time
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties:

Blackberry Lily

Also known as the leopard lily it’s the shape of it’s seed pods that give it it’s fruity name.  Used in dried flower arrangements this seed pods help prolong the life of your plant in the garden by self seeding.  It’s bright spotted blooms only last one day yet it’s abundance of flowers still make it a showy display in your garden.  If you don’t let the plant self seed they are grown from fall planted bulbs.

This plant has been used medicinally in East Asia to treat asthma, swollen liver, spleen conditions, gonorrhea and malaria.

Blackberry Lily

Belamcandus chinesis

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 3′
  • Width: 12″
  • Bloom Time: July and August
  • Bloom Colour: Orange, Yellow, Red
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Bacterial crown rot, leaf spot, iris borer
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, containers
  • Special Features: Fall colour, winter interest, cut flowers, dried flowers, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 8-10

Example Varieties:

A Gardeners Adjustment to Life’s Obstacles

So this was my vegetable garden last year.
Veggie Garden (3)

This is my vegetable garden this year.


Why such a change? Aging and life threw me for a loop and this is how I cope.

I have been gardening since I was a confused teenager deciding what to do with my life after high school. One summer I decided to plant my first ever garden in my parents backyard. My mom took me to a small garden center a woman ran from the side of her property. She had a couple greenhouses and some land and plenty of knowledge on all things botanical. An hour later with her help our car was full of perennials and I was chomping at the bit to get digging. I broke many gardening rules that day and almost my back slogging away at extremely healthy sod to create a large kidney shape graden bed. I piled it with fresh dirt and carefully planted each of my purchases. When I was picking out the plants I went by looks and probably got one of everything she owned. Problem number one and two, not knowing what I was really getting and planting in singles.

Here is a photo I dug up of my first ever garden.

First Garden from The Tasty GardenerBy the end of the year it was looking like this.  Not too bad for my first try.

Garden by the end of the summer from The Tasty GardenerFrom that year on my winters consisted of pouring over seed and plant catalogs and gardening books.  And in my final year at high school I realized I enjoyed this so much that I would pursue it further in college.  Several months later and many degrees colder I was enrolled in the Horticulture program at Cambrian College in Sudbury.  Why so far up north?  Reason one: if you can grow things that far North you should be able to grow things anywhere. Reason Two: It’s the only college both my best friend and I got into and oddly Reason Three: We had this thing for hockey….and hockey boys. Enough said.

I was fortunate enough to thrive in my course becoming the greenhouse supervisor when there was cut backs the second year of my program and teaching Botany to the first years.

Here we getting the final crop of poinsettias ready for sale.

College GreenhouseBetween first and second year of school I got a job at a cut and dried flower farm. How many people can say they had a job interview that involved walking up and down rows of plants identify what each was?

Cut and Dried Flower Farm from the Tasty GardenerI spent several years after I had graduated working for this and another landscaping company before several factors in my life led to a career burnout.  It’s hard for any company or employee to stay successful in an seasonal industry or in an industry that at that time looked down on woman working  on a landscaping crew.

I went through many career changes, several more courses at school and lots of soul searching before I came to be in the field I’m in now but nothing has really kept me out of the garden.  My skills obviously improved as you can see by this pond I built in my parents backyard.

Pond from The Tasty GardenerWhen I moved into my first apartment in Toronto and subsequent Condos with DH I still tried to keep my thumb green. It usually was a couple container plantings but it still required a trip to the garden center. It wasn’t until we moved into our current location,  a rental house with free reign in the yard that I got to go head long into a gardening project again.  And that produced the above vegetable garden from last year and a revamp of the front shrubbery.

Before and After.

House-Front yard before and After from the Tasty Gardener House-Front yard before and After from the Tasty Gardener

Events this past winter have put a damper on my horticultural enthusiasm.

For the last three years I’ve had shoulder pain that would come and go depending on what I had been doing.  My work is extremely repetitive and can take it’s toll and I do spend a huge amount of time on the computer.  In the last year however the pain has been constant.  Even my monthly massage therapy sessions only gave me respite for a couple days before the pain would return.  And I seemed to get migraines more frequently. I finally caved and went to my doctor who in turn sent my for a CAT scan and ultrasound.

To be completely honest I thought that maybe I had pulled something or maybe it was a bout of bursitis.  Unfortunately it’s not that simple.  The diagnosis I received was mild arthritis and moderate disc degenerative disease in my spine.  What I thought was shoulder pain turns out to originate from my spinal column and radiates through the nerves in my shoulder and arm.  I’m 37 years old.  I’m too young for this.  There is no way to fix this, only pain management.  Knowing the pain I’m in now I am terrified what ten years will bring.  I can take drugs, go for physio and massage and try to strengthen certain muscles to help reduce the pain but ultimately this is not going away.

Which is why my vegetable garden looks like this now.

Container Vegetable gardening from The Tasty Gardener

Digging through the dirt and slugging tools out to the backyard garden is something I feel I need to sacrifice to help with my pain.  And on the flip side I have this awesome little garden space right out my backdoor that I don’t have to weed, I can add and subtract colorful containers depending on my wants and needs and I can totally have fun with the plants I choose.

Here I have planted lavender and spinach.

Lavender and Spinach from The Tasty Gardener


And I have plenty of fresh herbs for my cooking.

Herbs from The Tasty Gardener

And i’m really excited about this one.  A Pink Lemonade Blueberry bush.

Pink Lemonade Blueberry from The Tasty GardenerI’ve also planted some tomatoes (surrounded by marigolds to control the bugs), hot and sweet peppers, mustard greens, cucumber and lots of different lettuces.

I had big plans for my yard when we moved here.  I had dreams of massive perennial gardens and creating an outdoor dining oasis.  Like all things in life some need to be adjusted.  Nothing can ever be written in stone.  I’m resilient. I can adapt.  I will make the changes I need to allow myself many more years of small space gardening.  I have been enjoying my life as a gardener for 20 years.  I’m not ready to stop yet.


Native to North America, South East Asia and South America, the snowball bush is a garden show stopper.  Massive balls of white florets, or wide flat bracts of petals each species requires different care and will offer different benefits in return.  Some plants are fragrant while others offer fall interest with red, yellow, blue, or black ornamental fall fruit. Different varieties have may have different growth habits.

Snowballs bloom on old wood so to ensure successful blooming next season make sure to prune after flowering.


Viburnum opulus

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Fertile, moist, well draining
  • Height: 4-15′
  • Width: 5-12′
  • Bloom Time: Spring to Summer
  • Bloom Colour: White
  • Foliage Colour: Green; red/yellow leaves, red purple berries in Fall
  • Pests and Disease: Aphids, nematodes
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, hedges
  • Special Features: Fragrant, Fall colour, Winter interest, cut flowers, attracts birds and butterflies, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

Adam’s Needle


This evergreen plant is native to Southwestern Unites States and Mexico and with its spiky cactus like foliage it is easy to see why it prefers arid growing conditions.  It’s tall profusion of flowers are sweet smelling and lovely as a cut flower. The sword shaped leaves, which can be plain or variegated, are sharp at the tip and can be dangerous around small children.  If you don’t have little ones to worry about then make sure you plant the yucca in an area where it can’t be disturbed.  Make sure to remove it’s rooted suckers and propagate through root cuttings not division.

Its root can be used medicinally to help with inflammation and pain relief however with it’s single tap root you would be destroying the whole plant for harvesting.

Adam’s Needle

Yucca filamentosa

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Medium to dry, well draining
  • Height: 2-4′
  • Width: 4-6′
  • Bloom Time: Mid Summer to Fall
  • Bloom Colour: White
  • Foliage Colour: Stiff green or variegated
  • Pests and Disease: Rot
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, fragrant, Fall colour, Winter interest, attracts birds and butterflies, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 4-11

Example Varieties:

Balloon Flower

‘Astra Bouble Blue’

Native to East Asia the Balloon Flower is striking with it’s beautiful, bright hues and a spherical flower bud that unfurls into a stunning star.  A late bloomer in your flower garden, this cousin to the Bellflower doesn’t like to be distrubed so it shouldn’t be divided.  Also known as the Chinese Bellflower, children love this plant as they can ‘pop’ the balloon to open the flowers.

Ballon Flower

Platycodon grandiflorus

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Slightly acidic, well draining
  • Height: 1-3′
  • Width: 1′
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Blue, white, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Blue/green
  • Pests and Disease: Trouble free
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, cut and dried flowers, attracts butterflies
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties:

Bearded Iris

A Springtime favorite, Bearded Iris give you reliable colour with it’s vast variety of shades and appealing texture with broad grass like foliage. It is extremely easy to grow as long as you keep it clear of leaves and debris that could bring on a bout of root rot.  Cut the plant down to the ground after flowering and mulch it well over the winter.

Bearded Iris can be divided in the late Summer once it’s been trimmed back, every 4-5 years.

Bearded Iris

Iris sp.

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Moist, well draining
  • Height: 6″-3′, depending on variety
  • Width: 6″-2′, depending on variety
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Bloom Colour: All
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Iris borers, root rot, thrips
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, slopes
  • Special Features: Fragrant, attractive foliage, cut flowers, drought tolerant, attracts birds, butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

Bee Balm

Also known as Bergamot, it’s sweet smelling tubuler flowers and bright green leaves are one of the more popular and well known herb used medicinally.  It is used as a tea, or an essential oil and to aid in the treatment of skin infections, wounds and dental pains. It’s leaves can be a substitute for mint and Native American use it as a seasoning.

On of the more fragrant plants to have in your garden it makes a great dried flower for sachets and is a popular choice in your yard for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Bee Balm can be divided every 2-3 years when the center of you plant begins to die out. Remove the plant clump and divide of the healthier edges for replanting while discarding the center.  Cut the plant each fall almost to the ground to help with its mildew troubles.

Bee Balm

Monarda didyma

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Rich, moist, acidic
  • Height: 1-4′
  • Width: Up to 2′
  • Bloom Time: Mid to late Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Pink, white, purple, red
  • Foliage Colour: Dark green
  • Pests and Disease: Mildew
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Fragrant, cut flowers, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:



Campanula sp.

Campanula species cross a wide range of plant categories.  You can find annuals, biennials, perennials, low growing, tall, upright or trailing and all of them are beautiful in an outdoor space.  The bell shaped flowers that open almost into a star enjoy cool evenings and should be remove once they have died to discourage seeding and encourage more blooms.

Perennial bellflowers can be divided every 3-5 years in the Spring.

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 4-36″
  • Width: 6-36″
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Blue, purple, white
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Snails, slugs
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Cut flowers, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

Blazing Star


Native to North America Blazing Star is a popular cut flower with stalks of furry blossoms in pink, purple or white and bronze foliage late in the season offers fall interest. They grow quite tall and may require staking to keep them upright. The plants should be divided every 3-4 years in the Spring.

Blazing Star, Gay Feather

Liatris spicata 

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Moist, well draining
  • Height: 2-5′
  • Width: 1-2′
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Pink, purple, white
  • Foliage Colour: Green, grass-like
  • Pests and Disease: Root knot, nematodes
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, cut flowers, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:



Bowman’s Root

This North American wildflower loves a shady location and will reward you with a brilliant white star shaped flower.  Deadheading the spent blooms will result in another flush of flowers that will carry into the early Summer and further accentuate the bright red stems of the foliage. Medicinally, Native Americans are known to use the dried root as a powdered laxative.

You can divide Bowman’s Root in the early Spring.

Bowman’s Root

Gillenia trifoliata

  • Light Exposure: Partial-full shade
  • Soil Type: Acidic, well draining
  • Height: 2-4′
  • Width: 2-3′
  • Bloom Time: Spring to early Summer
  • Bloom Colour: White, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Aphids, fungus
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Cut flowers, attractive foliage
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties:


Native to Europe Bugleweed is a ferociously invasive groundcover that is hard to get out of an area once it has established.  It’s colourful flowers and foliage are very popular and ideal if you have a hard to plant area where you want trouble free coverage.  It’s tightly packed creeping habit is great at keeping weeds at bay and if you so wish the plants can be divided in the Spring or Fall.


Ajuga sp.

  • Light Exposure: Sun-shade
  • Soil Type: Fertile, moist, well draining
  • Height: 4-9″
  • Width: 6-18″
  • Bloom Time: Spring to early Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Purple, blue, white, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Dark green, maroon, bronze, purple
  • Pests and Disease: Crown rot
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, groundcover, slopes
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

Butterfly Weed

Brilliant tones of oranges, reds and yellow are always striking in a flower garden and the Butterfly Weed is no except.  As it’s name indicates it is a favorite of our winged friends and being a cousin to the milkweed also encourage the butterflies visits.

Native to Eastern North America, Butterfly Weed is nectar rich with a milky sap that can irritate the skin.  It can be toxic when eaten however the Natives who called this the Pleurisy Plant are known to chew the root to cure this condition of the lungs.

You can divide this perennial each Spring.

Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Dry, well draining
  • Height: 2-4′
  • Width: 2-3′
  • Bloom Time: Late spring to Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Red, yellow, orange
  • Foliage Colour: Medium green
  • Pests and Disease: Yellow aphids
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Fragrant, drought tolerant, dried flowers, attracts birds and butterflies
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties: