Garden Making | Inspiring ideas and information for great home gardens


Gardeners enjoy spending time in their own gardens, but we also love to visit other gardens, especially botanical gardens. We take inspiration from them, discover new plants and techniques, and enjoy the camaraderie of being with like-minded friends who might be with us.

Visits to public gardens aren’t possible now, at least not for several weeks, but a few organizations have created special virtual tours to help us keep in touch with these beautiful treasures. Here are a few online virtual tours to provide a respite from the news:

•  Five virtual garden tours, including a stunning tropical garden in Papaikou, Hawaii.

•  Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens are in this compilation of botanical gardens in the U.S.

•  Travel across the pond (in your armchair) to view nine grand gardens in the UK and abroad, including Highgrove, Hidcote, Kew and Giverny.

•  Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania has short videos showing what’s in bloom now.

Longwood Gardens border
A border of allium, camassia and aquilegia at Longwood Gardens in May a few years ago.

•  Closer to home, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario, has begun posting YouTube videos to help keep their members and visitors connected and informed. A recent clip shows how to start basil from seed.

• Of interest to avid orchid fans: A 21-minute tour of the New York Botanical Garden’s 18th annual orchid show, which began in February but needed to close.

We all hope to travel to our favourite Canadian public gardens soon. Here are articles to peruse for when it’s time to plan real-time visits.

Profile of native merry bells

Soft yellow merry bells (Uvularia grandiflora), sometimes called bellwort, is an elegant beauty in the spring garden. Plants prefer moist soil, but will tolerate drier conditions in summer. For more information on this native woodland plant, see Three Dogs In a Garden.

More perennials for damp conditions

Finding other perennials that will survive in soggy soil can be a challenge. (I speak from trial and error; mostly error.) More beauties to consider can be found in “16 plants for soggy soil”, many of which are native. One of my favourites on Stephen Westcott-Gratton’s list is may apple (Podophyllum peltatum).

Your daily vegetable gardening fix

Author and gardening expert Mark Cullen and son Ben in Ontario are posting daily videos — Mark from his greenhouse, Ben from his suburban garden — as they get ready to plant their vegetables. Lots of tips for new and experienced gardeners.

No rush to fertilize

Timing is everything, they say, and that’s the case with fertilizing, too. “When to apply fertilizer” cautions against feeding too soon.

Who’s sustaining whom?

Many of us are at home, seeking every opportunity to get into our gardens for exercise, therapy, solace, distraction, a sense of purpose, fresh air, quiet or whatever we might need that day. In “Porch postulating on 45 years in one garden,” Bob Hill reflects on his relationship with his garden in Indiana. “Nobody gets a 45-year do-over,” he writes while regarding the trees he planted years ago.

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