I spent years planting tulips while the squirrels perched in the trees above, watched and waited for the right moment to feast on their favourite bulbs. If they missed a tulip, they would eat it early spring. I tried digging the bulbs deeper than suggested. I used bone meal. I put human hair cuttings over the soil. And still the squirrels outsmarted me. As a lazy gardener, I also tried species tulips which have much smaller bulbs and spread on their own. Still no luck. So the past few years I have planted daffodils and narcissus. The squirrels don’t like them. Each year I add a few different varieties, and admire the assortment of sizes, colours and flower shapes. I am now a big fan of the daffodil. They are such happy plants and bring a smile to my face. And the squirrels now concentrate on getting into the birdfeeders.
Check out the entire Lee Valley newsletter at: http://www.leevalley.com/en/newsletters/Gardening/1293/newsletter.htm
Darren Heimbecker, owner of Whistling Gardens which boasts 20 acres with 2,500 different conifers, singles out one of his favourite low-maintenance shrubs. Pinus Parviflora ‘Ogon Janome’ (Japanese White Pine or Golden Dragon eye white pine) is a slow-growing yellow-variegated conifer that handles a fair amount of shade. “You never have to touch this plant,” says Heimbecker, “just enjoy it.” He explains that it takes backstage for the summer, but is front and centre in winter with its layered colours of variegated gold, green, silver, grey and blue. It has a globe shape when young and can become broadly conical with age. Heimbecker says that after 10 years his Japanese White Pine is only about two feet. Whistling Gardens (www.whistling gardens.ca), south of Burlington, Ontario, has one of the largest conifer collections in North America featuring many rare varieties of ornamental and native trees and bushes.
We will be selling our books, Gardening from a Hammock, at Through the Garden Gate tour, Saturday June 14th and Sunday June 15th. This is the Toronto Botanical Garden’s 27th annual tour of private gardens. There are 19 featured this year in the prestigious Toronto’s Hoggs Hollow area, around York Mills and Yonge. For details and more information, contact: 416-397-1483 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Cooper has had a lot of fun speaking about low-maintenance gardening throughout Ontario. He speaks again this month in Markham Ontario (see upcoming talks on sidebar). Check out more about his talks from this newspaper article: Ont FARM article
Here is another hardy, reliable plant that carries us from late summer, early fall all the way into the winter. Check out Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’. Japanese anemone. These tall, elegant white daisy-like flowers dance from August through October. They work as cut flowers, as an accent and provide vertical interest.
2013 is the Year of the Wildflower – check it out
You can buy many of these at Wildflower Farms, Mason House Gardens, and Chalklake Greenhouses. Several more “natives” are included in our book ‘Gardening from a Hammock’ on sale now at Lee Valley Tools. http://www.GardeningfromaHammock.com