Return of the Native - About Us
Sep 30

The summer of Monarch abundance

It was 8 degrees outside yesterday morning, windy and raining. I decided to cocoon. The day before, it was 10 Celsius, sunny and calm. It felt lovely to be outside. The change had come Thursday afternoon. The date was interesting, because September 28 is when our first frost can be expected. Not this year – but still, it went down to 4 last night and it's chilly today - even if it’s due to rise to 25 C by Tuesday.

So, it’s fall. But I’m not over summer, which this year was enhanced by an encouraging abundance of Monarch butterflies. During the warm weather earlier this week, observers along the Lake Ontario shoreline were amazed by the spectacular parade.

Some of us raised Monarch caterpillars this year and became transfixed by the unfolding spectacle of the species' metamorphosis. When last I blogged, I had seven chrysalides, with one final caterpillar hanging in a ‘J’ from the top of its cage. It pupated a few days later.
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Sep 3

Downsizing the garden library – and updating on Monarchs

It’s been fun, going through my garden books, many of them dating to the ‘90s and early ‘00s when I was writing reviews for the Toronto Star, and beautiful and interesting books just flowed my way. But I have to reduce my collection, this is the year I am trying to get rid of stuff... so I will have a whole lot of books for sale when I re-open this Saturday, September 9, after which they will be gone.

But it’s hard, deciding what has to go!

There are some I won’t take leave of, even though I have long outgrown them – like my first gardening book, purchased in 1978 when I finally had a garden. Carters Dictionary of Gardening was my guide in those early years (this was in the U.K.) – but a keen interest in growing food – dealt with rather too succinctly by Carters in a few short pages under ‘K’ for Kitchen Garden – prompted an investment in a slim paperback by D. G. Hessayon called the Vegetable Plotter. It’s simple and still valued, with you-can’t-go-wrong instructions on growing 25 vegetables, from broad beans to turnips.

Returning to Canada in the early ‘80s, I started my Simcoe County garden and refined my vegetable growing techniques with the Harrowsmith Northern Gardener by Jennifer Bennett. My volume is not in good shape, having weathered a rainstorm or two, but just seeing the cover brings back many happy memories.
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Sep 3

Saturday September 9 - nursery opens + book sale

I am open from 10-4 every Saturday in September from now on, except for Sept. 23. Just let me know by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 705-322-2545 if you want to come at another time.

Check plant list.


New to gardening? You'll find the perfect primer here. Need to refine your design skills? Here are books for that. Or just looking for a couple of enjoyable reads to curl up with? - there'll be something for you on this list, on offer when I re-open on Saturday September 9.

Hardback $3

The Aroma Therapy Garden – Julia Lawless – 2001 – Kyle Cathle
Gardening with Herbs – Tolley Mead – 1995 – Clarkson Potter
Aromatics – Angela Flanders – 1995 - Clarkson Potter
What Plant Where - Roy Lancaster – 1995 - Cavendish Books
Window Boxes Indoors and Out – James Cramer et al – 1999 – Artisan
The Gardener’s Iris Book - William Sher - 1998 - Taunton Press
Bulbs and Tubers – Klaas Noordhauis and Sam Benvie – 1998 - Key Porter
Tulips – Arend Jam van der Horst and Sam Benvie – 1998 – Key Porter
The New Perennial Garden – Noel Kingsbury – 1996 - Henry Holt
Larousse Gardening and Gardens – 1990 - Hamlyn Publishing
How to Garden –John Cushnie – 2001 – Kyle Cathie
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