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May 4

Where is the time?

Today I’m off to the Ontario Nature regional meeting in Penetanguishene (followed by a visit to Awenda Park), and tomorrow the day will be spent at Tiny Marsh provincial wildlife area, where there is a group working on a biological inventory (anyone can join, just email me if you’re interested).
Meanwhile spring has sprung and there are no longer enough hours in the day to get everything done – like updating my plant list.
So here, provisionally, is a list of the perennials that are to be added to the plant list ASAP. 
Culver’s Root, Tall Anemone, Wild Bergamot, Wild Ginger, Woodland Phlox, Canada Columbine, Maram Grass, Virginia Bluebells, Sundrops, Shooting Star, Blue Lupine, Sweet Grass, Ostrich Fern, Lance-leaved Goldenrod, Cardinal Flower, Pearly Everlasting.

Apr 26

Don't be seduced, don't be a Sallie Dookey

Just over a century ago, a gardener in Richmond, Virginia established a Japanese garden, importing plants from all over the world. Her name was Sallie Dookey. She died and her garden was left to the city.

In 1951, an entymologist noticed a new alien Asian insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid, on a Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) on a nearby property. It was thought to have come from Sallie Dookey’s garden. The Asian hemlocks and spruces that this parasite was known to feed on have resistance to the pest.

The North American hemlock does not.
Read more
Apr 13

Never enough compost

Every year I produce more compost. But there's never enough.

I have three large bins in which the kitchen waste from the past winter is breaking down – they won’t be ‘cooked’ until July - and two composted piles from last summer that will just need sieving when they unfreeze.

I also have four bins of leaves from the fall of 2011 which have turned into leaf mould, an excellent mulch and, if sieved, a useful element of potting mix. Another large wire bin, filled with leaves from 2012, won’t be ready to use until the spring of 2014.

I need still more material to meet the potting needs of a small nursery so I have to buy. Last year I explained why I don’t use peat and suggested mushroom compost as part of the mix.Read more