Sunday, October 11, 2020

Still Learning After All These Years

Much has changed since I last regularly blogged in 2015.  While I converted about 500 sq ft of lawn into garden and added a swimming pool, in the grand scheme of things, my gardens have not changed much. So what has?

My own awareness has changed.

Awareness of the twin crises of biodiversity and climate, though to speak of them separately doesn't do justice to the interconnectedness of these existential risks to life-as-we-know-it. 

In May of 2019 the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) declared the world's biodiversity crisis was unprecedented in human history with around 1 million animal and plant species threatened with extinction. Many within decades, not some distant future.                                                                   

Then in November of 2019 over 11,000 scientists from around the planet unequivocally stated the world was in a global climate emergency. Further, they made it crystal clear we must change how we live if we are to secure a sustainable future.

Luckily for our planet I am not alone. Though scientists have been warning about declining biodiversity for years, the message had not caught on with the public. People adapt to gradual change and we literally didn't see what we were losing. 

With increasing climate disasters around the world, people are more open now to understanding the whole picture, including the impact of species loss and declining biodiversity

What have I done with this new knowledge?

I increased my donations to environmental organizations, changed how my family eats and shops, I regularly sign petitions and write government - and I began to think critically about the impact my favourite hobby is having on our planet. Despite already having a certified 'wildlife-friendly' yard, I have begun to change how I garden. 

Here is some of what I have learned so far:

I look forward to sharing with you what I lean as I strive to turn my property into a space that supports even more biodiversity.

Are you changing too?
I've love to hear in the comments about how you're changing your own gardening practices to help the planet. 

Image credits:

"biodiversity jenga" by Kalense Kid is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

"Invest in our childrens future, leave coal in the past - Climate crisis rally Melbourne - IMG 7672 (49569082897).jpg" by John Englart from Fawkner, Australia is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Friday, July 06, 2018

Nature Manitoba Garden Tour 2018

Thank you for supporting Nature Manitoba. 

I hope you enjoy my gardens at 115 Girton and the whole tour. 

The most frequent questions I get from garden visitors are: 
  • "How long have you been here?
  • "What was it like when you arrived?"

To that end I have posted posting photos of the gardens when we arrived in the fall of 2012

In case you are curious about any of the plants I am also posting maps of some garden beds.

From front to back



Fountain Garden show the PLANNED map, needs to be updated with actual plants.

Nature Manitoba's Mission

Nature Manitoba is people sharing a passion for nature. Our goal is to provide opportunities to connect with nature, promote an appreciation and understanding of nature, and to enjoy it in a non-intrusive and nondestructive manner. We promote ecological integrity as the basis for stewardship of our parks and natural areas.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


A walk through the Sun Garden, past the Rock Garden and out to the Monet Garden
View from the driveway of the Sun Garden
4 years ago there was no garden on the left-hand side, nor any cherry tree.

Yellow Heliopsis form a border around the whole are, not just this garden.

Blanket Flower, Poppy, Heliopsis, Sea Holly, Iris, Crocosmia, Liatris

Soon purple Liatris will join the blooms to make the colour combo complete.

Left, back to the driveway

Right, into the rock garden
Ostrich Plume Astilbe, year 2
Irish moss, year 1 and doing well between paving stones
Stonecrop ground cover (bottom right) all native, simply grouped together for effect
Entrance to the Rock Garden from the Monet Garden

The curved back border reflects where this garden was lawn 4 years ago.
A hot mess with Forget-me-nots taking over.
An endless supply of daylilies means they are always used in my planters.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

MOON GARDEN UPDATE - spring 2016

Above is the most up to date map of my Moon Garden, where 99% of the plants are white with the exception of the orange daylilies and the purple hardy geranium, making the bench a great place to sit and take in the garden in the evening.

Since the last update there have been a number of changes. No longer will you find Allium, Daffodils, Foxglove, Candytuft, Iris or Hyacinths.  Instead you will find more of what was working well, such as Bleeding Heart, Astilbe, Daisy and Goat's Beard.

To reduce the overall number of plants and focus in on those that work well in a garden's specific conditions is a natural process and far from missing the plants that did not thrive in this space (whether due to soil, light or moisture conditions), I am pleased to have found those plants that are thriving and to build on what I have learned about the space.

You will also find a couple of non-white plants!  I had extra Hardy Geranium and Forget-me-nots and did not think that their purples and blues would stand out too much. We shall hopefully see this spring/summer.

Below are some photos of the garden from last year to give you an idea of what I am expecting.

Each year fewer Impatiens will be required to fill in between Astilbe, Hosta and Bleeding Heart. 

Liatris may not be getting quite enough sun and Obedient Plant in the foreground was a new edition last year so we shall see what year 2 brings for them all...

Peonies, Bleeding Heart, Coneflower and Shasta Daisy are all doing well, whereas white Nasturtium turned out to be more pastel-like and is not welcome back. Impatiens fill in as needed.

Goat's Beard and Lamb's Ear take over at this end of the garden where foliage rather than blooms rule.

Sharing with Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, Maple Hill Hop, Outdoor Wednesday