More stories

  • mint in container garden

    The Many Varieties Of Mint

    The little, red squirrel was determined, I’ll say that much. He, I assume it was a he because he couldn’t take a hint and go away, kept jumping on the patio door window and trying to climb inside. He wanted to join me while I watched the evening news. I don’t know why; there was […] More

  • natural path

    Marking The Way Naturally – Rustic Garden Edging

    It really began with the secret garden. No, I’m not referring to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel by that name, though it is a favorite, and I’ve always wanted my own secret garden. Perhaps now I do. My secret garden really was a secret. At least initially. And hence its name which it holds to this […] More

  • weigela flowers

    Weigela: A Flowering Shrub To Rival Your Rhododendrons

    Moving to the country had its pros and cons. There were a lot of things to learn, especially in the garden. I tried to take my entire suburbia garden, one plant at a time, but some of my shrubs, sadly, had to be left behind. They were too big and the roots too deep to […] More

  • bee balms

    Bee Balms Or Bee Bums?

    “Mom,” my six-year-old called from the front walk where he had been riding his bike back and forth. He had paused in front of my display of red and purple, firework-like flowers and admired them. At an age where he wanted to know everything, it wasn’t unexpected that he would ask about the different flowers […] More

  • the holly and the ivy

    Homestead Stories: The Holly And The Ivy

    “The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown. Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.” I hummed the tune happily as I dialed my parents’ number. I would be going home in a few days to spend Christmas with the family. I was excited and […] More

  • jack-in-the-pulpit

    Jack-In-The-Pulpit: A Beautiful Flower With A Weird Name

    Growing up in the 1960s, just about everyone in my class at school went to church, and most churches were similar in layout, including, at the front by the choir, a pulpit. So, when the lessons turned to studying the wildflowers of Ontario, the one plant which captured our attention was the Jack-in-the-pulpit. The teacher […] More

  • false solomon's seal

    Homestead Stories: What’s False About False Solomon’s Seal?

    “False Solomon’s seal? What’s that? And why is it false? What’s the real thing?” Questions. Always lots of questions. Each new discovery on my country property opened up a new page of learning, understanding, and appreciating. I had been studying the knee-tall foliage that arched over my flower beds. With oval-shaped leaves draping along the […] More

  • bird in pussy willow shrubs

    Homestead Stories: Growing Pussy Willows

    “What is that yellow fluff covering the bush in the corner?” I asked. It was my first spring living in the country, and I still had a lot to learn. I had been watching the snowdrops and the crocuses do their early spring color display, and I was keeping an eye on my lilac bushes, […] More

  • trout lily

    Homestead Stories: How I Accidentally Grew Trout Lilies

    When I first moved to the country, I was amazed at the bounty of both wildlife and wildflowers. I had a big job ahead of me—tidying the forested part of our property. I wanted to clear out the brambles and remove the garbage that had been randomly dumped in a place the previous owners believed […] More

  • dandelions

    Why You Should Keep Your Dandelions

    Yellow, yellow everywhere. Interspersed with the yellow, were just as plentiful white puffballs of fluff. Hardly any green. It was a dandelion haven. As a child, I recall picking dandelions as a flower bouquet for Mom or Gran. They loved them, or so they claimed, and made a big deal of placing them in water […] More

  • chipmunk

    How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of Your Garden Naturally

    They’re cute. They chirp and flirt around, scurrying from one food source to another. But don’t deceive yourself. If you love your garden, you don’t want to be overrun by chipmunks. One chipmunk means many chipmunks. They’re rodents, and like mice and rats, they multiply quickly and they love to dig. They dig holes in […] More

  • Heirloom Tomato Varieties

    “Oh, my! That’s an interesting vegetable. What is it?” I looked at the colorful display of greens and reds and purples that made up the market stand, admiring, in particular, the luscious glossy red of the Beefsteak tomatoes. Between the red tomatoes and the yellow and green zucchini, there was a small, roundish vegetable that […] More

  • easter lilies

    How To Care For Easter Lilies

    Walking into church Easter morning, the air is rich with the powerful scent of lilies. But not just any lily, the prolific white lily, popularly known as the Easter lily. Its symbolic association with Christianity stems from Biblical references, but its association with Easter is evident in the shelves of blooming white lilies in grocery […] More

  • maple trees tapped for sap

    Homesteading Stories: Maple Sugaring

    There are a lot of different types of maple trees – at least 128 species. Some grow better than others. Some are a harder wood, making them ideal for use on bowling alley floors, while others are considered a weed maple because they grow too big, too fast and too soft. There’s the silver maple, […] More

  • apples on tree

    9 Tasty Apple Varieties You Should Try

    Dad climbed into the passenger seat. The children were already settled in the back. We were off to the orchard to pick apples, bring them home, and make some much-loved applesauce and apple pie. Dad asks, “What kinds of apples do you plan on getting? Your mother always loved the Northern Spy. She said they […] More

  • basil in pot

    Everything Basil

    Of all the herbs, basil is by far my favorite. The sweet, subtle aroma washes over me like velvet. And the taste? It certainly embellishes many of my savory dishes with flair. The benefits of this luscious herb are multiple. And the best part is that it’s easy to grow, both indoors and out. Consequently, […] More

  • african violets in bloom

    How To Care For African Violets

    Only one? I don’t think so. It’ll shrivel and die. It likes company. It likes to outshine its neighbors and cousins; the more the merrier. But be careful. There are some colors that really like to dominate, and if you have too many of that color, the other colors will convert. What plant am I […] More

  • white orchid in winter

    How To Care For Orchids

    “You should be advised, sir,” the clerk advised my husband, “that when the blossoms die, it doesn’t mean the plant is dead. It does go through a dormant stage. And don’t over-water.” My husband smiled as he paid for the purchase and accepted the carefully wrapped plant to bring home. “Not to worry. My wife […] More