Return of the Native - About Us
Sep 23

All good things come to an end

Well, the time is now. Not even the best experience lasts forever and so it is that I have decided to call an end to my role as a merchant of native plants. I’ll be closing for good at the end of October.

Return of the Native is for sale or available to be taken over by a suitable person or organization – the plants and their paraphanalia like pots, lights, flats, signage, as well as the name and the website, which along with word of mouth has been the source of my clientèle.

And my clientèle has been wonderful!

If you have made the effort to find me and trekked all the way to Elmvale, you’re already a kindred spirit, already converted to the cause of making the world a better place for living things. I’ve had so many good conversations, met such interesting people, and made firm friends along the way – all in the driveway of my home which from spring to fall has been crammed with pots of plants.
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Sep 18

Let's take jumping worms seriously

We gardeners are among those who are on the front lines of the interface between human activity and nature. When good things happen, we're among the first non-scientists to notice, and the same goes for adverse occurrences. So when the Master Gardeners of Ontario are warning that jumping worms are a real threat, we need to pay attention. Below, I am reproducing a compelling examination of the jumping worms issue by Claudette Sims, on the premise that step one is to know the enemy.

Claudette notes that the many species of mostly European worms that we welcome into our gardens are in fact destructive invaders. They refashion the layer of organic matter that naturally accumulates atop the soil, to the detriment of native organisms, plants and creatures, including songbirds. Of all the species of worms found in Ontario, only two are native, and they are rare. Yet, we see worms as an indicator of soil health and fertility.

Unfortunately Asian jumping worms are exponentially more of a problem than the worms we know. I corresponded with Michael McTavish of the Smith Forest Health Lab at the University of Toronto, who is quoted by Claudette, to see what gardeners can do. At this stage, not much; our role is to observe and report. Protocols are being set up for a new community science monitoring program to collect more data. I've added his comments and more info on the program to the end of this post.

There have been 20 to 25 jumping worm sightings, the first in 2014 in the Windsor area and in various locations in southern Ontario, including Toronto and Hamilton, in 2021. By themselves, they might move a metre a year. With our help, they can leapfrog across long distances - which is why gardeners everywhere need to be vigilant and exercise caution in transporting plants and soil, for instance, from the GTA to cottage country.
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Aug 31

Yes, fall is a good time to plant trees, shrubs, perennials etc.

People plant in spring and fall. In my view, fall is better because it gives the plant a chance to settle in and go into dormancy. It is then in position as soon as growth begins the following year. I have planted right up to freeze-up without a problem - but September / October are the best times as the plants get to adjust to the gradual change of season. 

We are open by appointment. It is a good idea to check the plant list before you come, as our on-site labelling and signage lags behind the growing. This list is updated on a regular basis, so you can be sure that if it's on the list, it's available. Though if you're coming from afar because you're interested in particular plants, check before you come, just to be sure. And place an order, to be extra sure it's still here when you arrive!

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