Saturday, September 28, 2013


I have not written about our Corporate Guerrilla Garden since June, but that does not mean it has not kept on growing and kept on evolving.

The garden was planted in a 150 square foot strip of mud between sidewalk and parking lot adjacent to my work. 
May 2013
My company sprang for the materials and in doing so supported fundraising efforts for my new not-for-profit the Winnipeg Bulb Project. The WBP is currently raising funds and I encourage you to visit their page, learn more and think about lending your support through social sharing and/or donation.

June 2013
Long term this will be a perennial garden but short term,so that everyone could feel some immediate impact, we planted quite a few Petunias which have been going gangbusters all summer.

July 2013
This really gives perspective to how 'urban' the garden really is!  And yes, I do already have my eyes on the patch of grass in the top-left corner of this photo for future development.

August 2013
I had such wonderful comments from readers of my blog and my Facebook page on what we are doing that I wanted to share them with the people in my neighbourhood. My creative department created weather-proof speech bubbles that have been literally planted in the garden and passerby now stop to read them and share in the love.

Let us just say that the street the garden is on is not exactly 'sought-after real estate' and so having this much positive energy articulated here is really making a difference.

 We have seen thoughtful neighbours 'caught' in the act of weeding the garden - and we love it.

We have heard others say how they have changed their walking routes to include our street just so that they can walk past and enjoy our garden.  
This is exactly what I hoped to achieve.

September 2013
Recently in my pursuit of a garden without any pink blooms I dug up, split and transplanted Peonies, Phlox and Asiatic Lilies from my own garden and added them to this garden.  They look a little haggard at the moment but next year I am certain they will spring forth full of vim and vigour to brighten up this  downtown neighbourhood.

A donation of only $5 provides 20 daffodil bulbs.
If you like the idea of urban or guerrilla gardening please consider checking out the Winnipeg Bulb Project and living vicariously though us as we provide daffodil bulbs for planting in public spaces in downtown Winnipeg.  

Gardeners Unite!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Last year I found tons of great deals at the Friends of Gardens Manitoba Fall Sale, but I knew generally what I wanted and allowed opportunity to influence my specific purchases, i.e. I knew what colour palette I wanted in the Sun Garden, but was not necessarily attached to specific plants.   Now that I know more precisely what I want in order to complete my gardens, I have placed a order online to get exactly what I want.

Our first year here is our most expensive in the yard and each year should be subsequently less so. At least, that is what I am telling my husband.

 Below are the details of an order I placed with Van Fleur, to arrive possibly next week and for which I have already started digging holes.

These small early bloomers will likely be used to highlight the stone paths in the Moon Garden.

These will find a home in the front garden with the rest of the purples and blues. They may mix with Delphinium or Iris; please, weigh in if you have an opinion.

These white flowers actually have flecks of purple in them which makes them the perfect continuation on the graceful transition I have between my white and purple gardens. They will go at the east end of the Moon Garden adding height and substance to a under-developed, sunny area.

10 PHLOX DAVID ($21.50)
Deer resistant, these can be on the front lines: in front of the dining room hedge, both along the front and side given it can make do with both sun and partial shade.

I really hope these get enough sun under the front lilac. They have the height and the colour and if I can just get some blues and mauves to interplant. Wow.

I have been looking for more orange for the Sun Garden and these are going to look amazing inter-planted with purple Blazing Star.

Around the base of the lilac tree; these are going to have to be at the front of the Moon Garden despite their height in order to have enough light.

These tall creamsicle-coloured beauties will rise above above their white & purple bi-coloured cousins at our front stairs.

A perfect colour pallet for the front garden, specifically where I will be removing the Blazing Star from.

Half will reinforce the oranges already mixed in with the purples in the Sun Garden and the other half will join the herons (and the Iris below), behind the hardy Geranium in the front garden.

These intense blues will join the deep orange (above) in a row parallel to the front sidewalk.

A tallish shrub at up to 150 cm, this will add a splash of colour for a short time in the Moon Garden where I recently cut down a Japanese Lilac that had volunteered and would never have reached its potential.  A shrub with gorgeous peony blooms?  I am in.

The blue will sit beside the iris at the front of the front garden where Lamium will take over in the summer.

The east end of the Moon Garden should get enough sun for these spring bloomers.

To mix with other similarly shaded varieties.

I will mix the four blues, purples and a handful of whites together randomly. 

They will most likely be in the front between path and stairs; 111 + another 30 mixed purple/blue I had forgotten I had already bought when buying these.

It remains to be seen how much space 141 will take up.

In front of the white Iris in the Moon Garden.

Image 1
Absolute stunners.  There is room somewhere.

Tiritomba Split Cup Daffodil
I will find a place. Just look at it, how could I not?

I had great success with these sweet smelling beauties at the Ontario cottage.

Somewhere in the Moon Garden, not sure exactly where yet.

While I did not have much luck with Crocus in general last year and I can find the early-blooming species rather small, I could not pass up this shade of blue for the front garden.

I have already dug the holes for this beautiful peony with red flecks in the Moon Garden, lining the stone path to the bench.

Somewhere in the original portion of the Sun Garden since the newer part is now reserved for orange, yellow and red bi-coloured Darwin Hybrid Tulips.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

EUREKA - late night inspiration

The bed across from my new Sun Garden is a bit of a disaster since we removed the tall straggly shrub that had been there for years.  The Lily-of-the-Valley are trampled, the Peony lies flat and invisible against the ground, and instead of casting beautiful shadows the lighting shines starkly against the white wall.


I will move the Lily-of-the-Valley to the Moon Garden and the Daylilies to the driveway strip but am not sure what I want to replace them with.  

Or at least I was not sure until last night.
I feel inspired today because while in the garden after dark last night I had the idea to move the 80 Blazing Star I put in the front garden last year (which do not get enough sun and are struggling) to help fill this space.

Below is how I more or less imagined them my front garden. 
Clearly, not what I achieved. 
Drastic changes are required, so up they come and into the Sun Garden they will go.

The purple from the Blazing Star will act as a bridge between the blue/purple front garden and the colours of the Sun Garden. After all, they are basically side by side so a transition plan is in order.

Their placement will allow me to stay true to my plans of having my NEW Sun Garden technically made up of only yellows, red and oranges (and bi-colours!).

Am I splitting hairs, differentiating between new and old portions of the Sun Garden? 

Perhaps, but these are the trade offs we make with ourselves as (garden) designers.

Have you made any mistakes in your garden this summer that you intend to fix this fall?

Sharing with Outdoor Wednesday Garden Tuesday

& Fertilizer Friday

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

YARD ART - shady lady at night

The 'Shady Lady' will be better once I get around to turning the moss I collected the other week into a slurry and slathered all over her, but I need to buy some water retaining crystals first.  For now the moss sits well watered in my seed planting flats in the garage. 

Of course she needs a mix of tall Ostrich and some shorter ferns around her. Probably some Forget-me-nots. Possibly some Hosta.

Always good to have a project on the go, is it not?

Sharing with Garden Tuesday & Our World Tuesday

Monday, September 16, 2013


And to provide context, below is where this shot of moss was taken.

Interesting to see that chicken wire that was probably put in place to keep deer from eating this tree as a sapling many years ago is still in place and will shortly start growing into the tree. 
If only I had had a pair of secateurs on me!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


For GBBD I have a round up of what is in bloom in the Sun Garden. The later the season, the better the garden is looking.
Three red Chrysanthemum have just recently begun to bloom. I am happy with the colour; remember this is the first time I am seeing these plants bloom in my new gardens.

The Thunbergia vine behind these Heliopsis is one of the few annuals in my gardens and a solid choice for late season colour after the Clematis have stopped blooming.

The Blanketflowers were a great choice and the Helenium behind them are not too shabby either.

The Rudbeckia from Loblaws are settling well and looking as healthy as ever.

This little "Secret Desire" Echinacea is the only of the four I planted last fall that has had a bloom this year, mostly due to being nibbled by rabbits all spring, before becoming surrounded and hidden by the Nasturtium border.

Sharing with Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Friday, September 13, 2013

SUNFLOWERS - autumn blend

Last night when it was finally time to come in I brought another Sunflower with me that the squirrels had left on the ground. 

Could it be they snip them first and check for seeds second? That seems backwards but it also seems unlikely that they are so clumsy.

Any 'squirrel whisperers' out there?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A NIGHT IN THE LIFE - busy bee

I dug out these yellow daylilies on Monday but then it got too dark and for once I did not feel like putting on my headlamp.  I felt tired. Actually tired of gardening. 
It was a strange feeling.
While we have done an absolutely enormous amount of work here this year this feeling still felt unfamiliar and it took me a minute to understand what it was.  

The daylilies sat above ground for days until this evening when we were able to come home earlier than expected, otherwise they were going to have to wait even further, until early next week. 
Dug up. 
Drying out.
Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew in the garden? 
This is not my first time.
Now you understand my motivation for taking advantage of today's unexpected window of opportunity.  Once in the yard I felt refreshed and glad to be outside, so much so that when it got dark I donned my headlamp and happily kept going for another hour.
I prefer to tease apart plants when dividing but this was one giant mass of roots and a flat-edged spade was definitely in order.  These taller yellows will join the shorter reds I divided in the spring.  There is no question that I am going to enjoy having them intermingled rather than in side-by-side clumps AND there are going to be plenty more of them since they had not been divided in a donkey's age.
The clump made 8 very decently sized smaller plants that are sure to thrive next year, daylilies being daylilies.
The cup in the photo was for slugs, which I detest, but at least there are fewer than there were in my Toronto shady gardens
Mint and Chives had to come out. One of the few times I have put plants straight into the compost; it felt terribly wasteful, another unfamiliar feeling.  I decided I am going to take them all out but will wait until I have the time to guerrilla garden them this fall.
The Hardy Geranium I divided the other week is coming in nicely. I do not think we will get another bloom but the plants are very healthy. Under the glow of my headlamp I transplanted Petunias from the Sun Garden since I had to make room for moving around the Rudbeckia I started from seed (which I hope will look the same as a gift I received for the Lakefront Garden earlier this year).
While this little fella I found stunted and hidden under a Petunia may look like the rest of those Rudbeckia, it may actually turn out to be a red one I direct sowed but had thought none had survived.
To be certain I just need to get a bloom before the frost comes.
Tick tock.

Good night!

Sharing with Fertilizer Friday.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

NATURE NOTES - frog and hungry squirrels

Once again I had to rescue frogs from the deep window wells we have in our garden at the side of the house.  This time I believe I actually saved the same frog twice in one day.
My bad for releasing it close to the windows.

  The other interesting challenge I am having now is that I realized I am growing my beautiful sunflowers right next to 'squirrel highway', i.e. my back fence.

Now that the plants are as tall, or taller than the fence the squirrels are simply snipping off the flower heads and running away with them.  What you do not see in the photo above are flowers, when you should be seeing these.

Sometimes they even drop them and I find them lying in the grass. Do I have clumsy squirrels?

I am thinking of trying tinfoil on top of the fence, I have heard it is good to keep pets off of furniture so maybe it will work for squirrels too!

Any thoughts on how I can stop the squirrels from using the back fence as their highway without hurting them?

Wednesday update: I implemented feedback I received from the Facebook group "An Honest To God Gardening Group" and placed "Critter Ridder" (that I already had in my garage!) along the top of the fence at each end for about 4 feet. 
We shall see.

Sharing with Nature Notes

Monday, September 09, 2013

Thursday, September 05, 2013

GARDENERS UNITE! - winnipeg bulb project

Let me bend your ear a moment about the not-for-profit I started earlier this year.  
The Winnipeg Bulb Project has kicked into high gear with City of Winnipeg Recreation Services helping to distribute the first 2,000 free daffodil bulbs to downtown youth in Winnipeg, which is my goal in this inaugural year.  (And if we beat that number I am confident we will be able to distribute those too!)

The Bulb Project's goal is to play a small role in connecting people with nature but there are a few other side benefits like:
  • beautifying downtown Winnipeg one-bulb-at-a-time
  • building community; recipients agree to plant only in front yards or public spaces
  • providing blooming plants for pollinators in decline
  • sparking an interest in gardening 


No amount is too small since every dollar raised goes straight to purchasing 3-4 daffodil bulbs. For the cost of an 'iced tall skinny dry latte' you can provide a good number of bulbs to brighten someone's neighbourhood and a whole neighbourhood's day.

If you live in Winnipeg and would prefer something in return for your money we have you covered. We are currently raising funds by selling bulbs for your own personal use from Vesey's fundraising catalogue.  Half of all proceeds go to the Winnipeg Bulb Project.  Just shoot me an e-mail, send a cheque (made out to Winnipeg Bulb Project) and I will let you know when your bulbs become available in the fall.

An area everyone can help with is by spreading the word.  If you think this is an intriguing way for a gardener to give back I encourage you to friend and share us on Facebook, tweet our links, +1 us on Google Plus or send an e-mail with encouragement to your friends, your colleagues and your connections at the Washington, National and Huffington Posts.

This has been an exciting project to get started and I am confident that with your help we can reach our goals.



We just finalized our logo. 

The bulb is a daffodil which we choose because they multiply over time, are reliably hardy, generally do not need as much sun as Tulips and deer & rabbits avoid them.

Sharing with Fertilizer Friday

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


Let us not forget that I am a marketer as well as a gardener, so when a publicist for Loblaw's contacted me about getting some plants from their store you can bet that I jumped on board.  I am used to working with bloggers on behalf of my clients but this is the first time the shoe is on the other foot. 

Thank you Loblaw's, or in the case of Winnipeg, "Superstore" as people here know it. 

A few weeks ago I was supplied with two Rudbeckia plants which turn out to be a great addition to my Sun Garden.  

 Since I try and picture my beds three years out I did what I generally do when a store-bought container clearly has multiple plants: I split them apart before planting. Yes, when they were in the middle of blooming & no, this is not generally recommended for short term performance, but as I always say, "as long as they come back next year...".  I want to delay having to dig them up and divide them as long as I can but still have them pack a punch in their first year.

 Three plants in each container were split and planted as six separate plants, which already have a much grander feel than if i had just planted the two bushier plants as-bought and they have hardly skipped a beat despite my aggressive treatment.  

I did not realize how much something taller was missing from the west side where I started more plants from seed and so where they tend to be shorter, at least for this year.  You can see in this fish-eye perspective the role they are playing in bringing height-balance from one end of the garden to the other.

From this perspective you can also see the colour-balance they bring with the Heliopsis on the far right.

All in all a great addition. Thanks Real Canadian Superstore.

Monday, September 02, 2013

MACRO MONDAY - bachelor's buttons

I've been spending so much time talking about my Sun Garden that you may be wondering if I have blooms in any of my other gardens.  
My front Monet Garden is blue and purple but the colour of these beauties is convincing me that I need to move away from purples and only add more blue.  Next year in the portion of this garden closest to the house (where I held off on planting last year) I will be adding blue Delphinium in the sunny corner and Blue Phlox where there is more shade. 

Above is a shot of 'Jubilee Gem' Bachelor's Buttons (Cornflower) with Vinca and Iris foliage that I direct sowed in the garden this year even though it is zoned as a 5 and I am a 3.

Very fine foliage, relatively petite plants, let's hope some magically reappear next year.

I definitely need to add more blue flowers to this garden, I just love them!

Sharing with Macro Monday 2

Sunday, September 01, 2013


These three photos are all of Coreopsis "Roulette".  All the same pack of seeds I direct sowed in the spring.  I was not expecting the variety and just love it!

They are just perfect in the Sun Garden where they complement the other reds and yellows.

They appear to float above the other plants with their wispy foliage.

Of all the plants I started from seed this year I believe these Coreopsis may just be my favourites...though those Bachelor's Button are a wicked shade of blue.

Sharing with Weekend Flowers

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