Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My latest blog post for Proven Winners

The weather looks quite mild this weekend with temp's rising above freezing - finally, a hint of spring! For a bit more spring inspiration, check out my latest blog post for Proven Winners - all about hanging baskets.. click here to read more!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Connecting at Canada Blooms 2013

I would be rather remiss if I didn't post about one of my favourite days at Canada Blooms - The Garden Writers Association annual meeting. Yes, there really is a garden writer association and I've been a member for well over a decade. It wasn't until August 2011, when I attended the annual 4 day symposium in Indianapolis (my first!), that I really felt connected to my peers. Since then, I've really enjoyed these annual get-togethers that allow us to share, learn and network with each other. Here are some images of my favourite Canadian garden writers from this past weekend! There were many more folks I wanted to get photos with - next year!! :)

The awesome Liz Primeau (in middle) and Tara Nolan with me. Tara
is the editor of and the
associate editor of Canadian home Workshop magazine. Plus, she's
a load of fun!! Liz is well known as one of Canada's most respected
and knowledgeable garden personalities and was the founding editor
of Canadian Gardening magazine. Her most recent book is
In Pursuit of Garlic. 

Ellen Novack and Dan Cooper, the authors of the 2012 book,
Gardening from a Hammock.  They've also been guests on
my radio show and are so incredibly enthusiastic about
gardening. The book is a must-read.

Liz and I!! She is a hoot!!

Helen Battersby (who with her sister Sarah), are the bloggers behind
the wonderful blog, Toronto Gardens. She joined me
for a panel discussion about garden writing and social media.

Tara, me, Liz and Beckie Fox, the editor of the excellent magazine,
Garden Making. She too was an editor of Canadian Gardening
magazine, so I'm the odd man out! Surrounded by Canadian
Gardening alumni!

Steven Biggs and me! Steven's most recent book
is Grow Figs: Where You Think You Can't and he,
along with Ken Brown, organized the GWA

Little me between Ellen and Dan! I need higher

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Canada Blooms - Part II

Over my two days at Canada Blooms, I'm sorry to say that I didn't see everything. It wasn't for lack of trying, but there is just so darn much to see! I have plenty of photos to share, but today I thought that I would focus on some of the smaller vignettes.. the smaller gardens.. the smaller floral displays.. the smaller interesting corners of the show that drew my attention. Don't worry, grander gardens are to come, but for now, I hope you enjoy these images from Canada Blooms 2013!

Talk about a magic carpet ride! I love the
combination of the narcissi with the vibrant
cut flowers. 

This was the view directly across from where
I was book signing. And what a charming
view it was! Note the detail of an actual
spring garden - glorious rock garden perennials
tucked beneath the wheelbarrow, bulbs
in full bloom, trees just budding out. Loved it!

A closer look at the wheelbarrow..

And I thought I was having a bad hair day!
It was backlit, so the entire 'hair' was just a-glow.

Is it a pallet garden? Not quite, but a
clever knock-off.. 7 tiers of shelves for
a tidy, no space vertical garden. Available

A water element included in the Sherdian Nurseries
100 year anniversary garden. A fire-reel from
around 1913 that poured a continuous stream of water onto the dense turf.
Gorgeous! It's hard to see, but there are blooming
clematis on the wheels of the reel. 

A living portrait - sedums make an eye-catching vertical
statement in an aged picture frame. 

Who's ready for a nap? This looks like a soft
bed for a rest! Note the painting above
the bed is an abstract landscape design. Very cool!

This wall was made from very thin rough wooden planks
that were then filled in with cement. An
interesting idea for an unattractive wall or fence.

A little bit of the booth for Garden Making magazine!
A doghouse with a living roof. How cool
is that? 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Canada Blooms 2013 - Part 1

I am back!! Just arrived home last night from Canada Blooms and I was blown away by the incredible gardens and the enthusiastic gardeners! I've got a LOT of photos to share.. but thought I'd start (sort of) in the actual order of my experiences at Canada Blooms. 

This past Friday, March 15th I gave a talk and then did a book signing.. Sorry, I have no photos of my talk, but here is one of the book signing. It was a blast and I was able to connect with some of my online gardening friends as well. I did arrive a bit early for my talk so that I could spend an hour or more wandering around the show and snap some photos. Unfortunately, I couldn't live-tweet as there was no wi-fi (what??) - not even in the media room (what??). Anyhoo, I ended up posting/tweeting some photos at the end of each day.. Many of which I will share below and in my next few posts. 

This really was a fabulous kick-off to spring and I'm ready to get planting.. which leads me to ask, "Why is it -27 C today?".. brrr..!! Here's hoping spring arrives darn soon. Until then, it's time to keep seeding indoors - more tomatoes, onions, eggplants, peppers, parsley, leeks, etc. etc. etc.. 
Look - I'm in the middle of the sign!! 
Me at the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) booth signing
my books! Thanks to Jenny of the TBG for snapping a
photo!! Look closely and you'll see my book
behind on the shelf!
The TBG booth - it was PACKED with people
so this was my private corner.. Love the aged
wooden desk where I did my book signing.
Check out the blackboard - I signed
books right after Mark Cullen!!
A sampling of some of the many books they offered to
the visitors of Canada Blooms - love Teaming with Microbes,
Gardening in a Hammock, The Compost Gardeners Guide, The
Canadian Garden Primer.. and more!
I can't escape Amanda Thomsen of 'Kiss My Aster'!! Not
that I'd want to.. both Amanda and her book are hilarious,
informative, zany and just plain awesome. (I believe
that word was actually invented to describe her.)
I didn't know Ellen Zachos new book had been
released until I noticed it beside my book
signing table.. LOVE Ellen and love her new
book. Very unique and packed full of
solid info and gorgeous photos.  I've been waiting
about a year for this book!

Last glimpse at the great job the folks (including the wonderful
Paul Zammit) do at the TBG booth. It's incredibly charming
and a great place to poke around, assuming you can
get through the crowds of people who also want to
poke around the booth!! 

Many many more photos to come of Canada Blooms 2013!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Canada Blooms!

I've just arrived in Toronto and will be heading to Canada Blooms in a few short hours. I'll be tweeting photos from the show and hope to post some here as well later today.. If you want to check out details of Canada Blooms, just click on their website.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring - The Countdown is On!!

An overall look at a few of the Halifax Seed seed racks..
Spring is here!!
Yep, we're just over a week away until the 'big day', when we can officially celebrate the start of spring. Personally, I've already got a bit of spring fever and have started celebrating early. This Friday I'll be at Canada Blooms in Toronto talking about Year Round Veggie Gardening, but I've also been inspired by my recent visit to the Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market and I may have 'accidentally' stopped into Halifax Seed this morning. Oops! But 'tis the season and it's such a fun place to visit.. I may also have 'accidentally' picked up a 'few' packets of seed..

I will be live tweeting and blogging about my Canada Blooms adventure this Friday and Saturday, but for now, I thought I'd share a bit of spring with you! To follow my tweets on Canada Blooms or my random garden musings, click here. For facebook, click here.

Owen Bridge, the owner of Annapolis Seeds sharing his
wares at the farmer's market.

Owen's new seed packets, with art from one of his talented friends.
I perused the seed racks at Halifax Seed this morning - they
have some wonderful new varieties, including pattypan zucchini!
Love these prolific and pretty summer squash.

More of their new varieties - many from my book!
Including Vit corn salad, Broccoli Raab, Kossak Kohlrabi,
a spicy mix microgreens (generously filled packets),
Green Wave Mustard, Baby Boo pumpkins and
Jack Be Little pumpkins. LOVE it!

Always a classic - Bright Lights Swiss Chard. One
of the best edibles for edible landscaping, flower borders,
pots, veggie gardens, cold frames, etc.  

I grew these petunias last year - Fusables Silk N'Satin. This is the time
to plant them indoors now!! Gorgeous HUGE flowers in
bold and vibrant colours. Very easy to grow.

And look, Halifax Seed shares the local seed-love by
carrying a rack of Annapolis Seeds varieties. This
pole bean is a favourite of Owen Bridge.

Drool.. amazing light racks for starting seeds.

Cloches! Great for protecting early clumps of
salad greens and kale, or tender tomatoes, eggplants
and peppers from frost. Also, note their sign - a
Fruit Tree seminar tomorrow!

These are what I use to start my seeds. Trays with
cell packs are an efficient use of space and can be
reused or recycled at the end of the season.

A new cosmos! The experts at Halifax Seed (Carla and
Margie) tell me this is a top seller. I love Cosmos, but haven't
tried this new one. Compact and great for attracting
pollinators and beneficial buggies to the garden. Plus
 you can cut the flowers for long-lived bouquets.
One more squash - an heirloom favourite of mine!

Look Ma, it's my book! Just 3 copies left and now
freshly signed. Oddly enough, the Backyard Homestead
beside my book is a wonderful book by my book editor,
Carleen Madigan.. weird, eh?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Blomidon Nurseries tomorrow!!

Join me tomorrow at Blomidon Nurseries at 1 pm - Sat, March 9th - for my fun talk on growing veggies and herbs in pots, pallets, windowboxes, and more! For more info, click here.

Call Blomidon for info and to pre-register if you get a chance. Last year this talk was filled as space is limited..

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The new look of Annapolis Seeds

For the first Saturday since Christmas, I was able to get to the Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market this morning.. in a word, awesome! The best part? I got to connect with Owen Bridge of Annapolis Seeds and check out his new seed packets. Love the design! Plus, one can get lost in the range of heirlooms seeds - especially tomatoes that he now offers. He also told me that his website - Annapolis Seeds - now takes online orders for the first time, which has made life much easier for both him and his customers. Here are a few photos from today..

One of Owen's new seed racks packed with
his wonderful wares.

Owen answering questions!

Owen's new seed packets and displays.

Owen's offering the Reisetomate - see my photo

Yep, this is a single tomato fruit!

So many heirloom tomatoes, so little garden space!

Other images from the farmer's market - love
this bunch of garlic.. 

Still a variety of winter crops available.