Low-maintenance plants that show off in the fall

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.Image

2013 is the Year of the Wildflower –

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

Helen Battersby, just posted a review of Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) on her site ‘Toronto Gardens’ (http://torontogardens.blogspot.ca/2013/04/native-plant-profile-prairie-smoke-geum.html?showComment=1365689631287)
I love her superb photos of this beauty.
Prairie Smoke is one of the great drought-tolerant plants recommended by garden lecturer and tour leader Frank Kershaw in our book ‘Gardening from a Hammock’ for a low-maintenance garden. He likens the seed heads to a “pink puff of smoke” and says it spreads but not aggressively. Like many native plants, it also tolerates poor dry soil. And the leaves turn a nice red colour in fall. A great all-around perennial.
You can find more drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plants discussed in our book.
(from Dan Cooper  on Gardeners blog)

Canadian Gardening Website Book Review

Book Review: Spend less time weeding and watering and more time enjoying your garden by Tara Nolan, editor

To see original article, click here.

Gardening From a Hammock: How to create a low-maintenance garden

By Ellen Novack and Dan Cooper


Let’s face it. Not all of us have oodles of time to spend in our garden. We may aspire to it, but the reality is our life can pull us in different directions. That being said, there’s no reason why we can’t maintain lush garden beds throughout the growing season. That’s where Gardening From a Hammock comes in. The idea being that once you plant all of the low-maintenance recommendations (the ones that are suited to your garden’s conditions, of course), you will have the time to sit back and enjoy your handiwork—or attend to all the other activities that require your time.


The authors, Ellen Novack (who has been writing our Low-maintenance Monday guest blogs) and master gardener Dan Cooper, have sought out well-known, Canadian gardeners to provide their low-maintenance picks and growing advice. While reading the book I felt I was privy to some important secrets—tips that I’ve applied (or made a list to apply) to my own garden.


What makes this book unique:

I love how the authors sought out a diverse mix of gardeners to provide their recommendations. Everyone’s growing experiences are different, so it’s interesting to see what works best for some and not for others. A handy chart at the end of the book provides quick, at-a-glance info for busy green thumbs. And an underlying theme (intentional or not) of the book is about helping the environment.


Price: $22.95

Book of the Week in the Toronto Star


Mark Cullen named Gardening from a Hammock the Book of the Week, March 9, 2013

Gardening from a Hammock: How to Create a Low-Maintenance Garden, by Ellen Novack and Dan Cooper, pulls together the advice and tips of well-known garden experts, designers and nursery owners for new and experienced gardeners.

This book gives you tips to save time and techniques to avoid weeding so you can relax in your beautiful garden. Each chapter features a garden expert and talks about their favourite plants, explains why they think they are easy to care for, and gives their advice on how to look after them. A key part of the book is a detailed Botanical Reference Guide. Close to 300 easy-care plants are featured. Available at select retailers, or ordered online through gardeningfromahammock.com, for $22.95.

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster and garden editor of Reno & Decor magazine. You can sign up for his free monthly newsletter at markcullen.com, and watch him on CTV Canada AM every Wednesday at 8:45 a.m. You can reach Mark through the “contact” button on his website and follow him on Twitter @MarkCullen4 and Facebook. Mark’s latest book, Canadian Lawn & Garden Secrets, is available at Home Hardware and all major bookstores.

Book Review by Toronto Gardens

Some people live to garden. But, for many of us, gardening is only part of the pleasure of living. We want a nice garden, but we don’t want to be a slave to it. We want to spend some time simply enjoying the fruits of our labour… and with a lot less labour.

If that’s you, then you are the one this book was written for. Gardening from a Hammock by Ellen Novack and Dan Cooper is about the plants you could choose for your easy-care garden – plants for sun or shade as suggested by seventeen* experienced gardeners, including Master Gardeners, noted plantsmen and nursery owners. (*Eighteen, technically; two are mum and son team, Marjorie and Jeff Mason of Mason House Gardens.)

The plants for each gardener reflects their own garden style, from sustainable to bold to drought-tolerant to aristocratic. An excellent botanical reference guide in the back includes details of all the plants mentioned.

I’ll confess that I’ve killed some of the suggestions, notably, and repeatedly, Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa), which is one of the top-ten plants named here by multiple contributors. I say this to stress that the success or failure of any plant in a garden depends on numerous factors. Choosing easy-care plants isn’t always foolproof, and even experienced gardeners can kill cast-iron plants.

Besides a small number of mislabelled photos, I wish the designers had better used typography to clearly divide the sun and shade sections of each narrative – although it’s consistently organized, once you get the hang of it. And, frankly, despite two prominent subheads about low maintenance and easy care on the cover, maybe it’s me but the title sounded more memoir-ish than guide-y. These are minor quibbles, though. This book would be useful in your garden planning toolkit.

As the time to start wrapping gifts approaches, why not get the jump on it with a personalized copy for your favourite gardener. Meet Ellen and Dan this Sunday, September 23, 2012 at Word on the Street. They’ll be at Booth 151 from 11 am to 5 pm, along withNo Guff Gardening author Steve Biggs.  Then, from from 5 to 6 pm, find them among the garden authors signing books all day at the Toronto Botanical Garden booth. Others include Marjorie Harris, Sonia Day, Liz Primeau, Lorraine Johnson and Gayla Trail. Happy reading, and happy gardening.

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