Wild-ish at Heart: Naturalistic garden hacks

If you’re curious to try out a more naturalistic approach to planting design, here are some practical hacks to help you get the root ball rolling

Since many gardeners are likely working with a current gardens vs. the freedom of a fresh canvas, these ideas can help you test out some smaller projects and experiments over time.

In Part One of this post, I talked about the concept of seeing plants differently: in terms of beauty and purpose, and the roles they can play within a biodiverse plant community. Continue reading

Wild-ish at Heart: Naturalistic planting design

It’s about setting aside our desire for control to instead work in partnership with nature. This is essentially the guiding principle behind the naturalistic garden, a plant-driven approach to landscape design that has been around in one form or another since Englishman William Robinson first published his first edition of The Wild Garden in 1870.

But now with signature projects like the High Line in New York City and Chicago’s Lurie Garden, a growing global movement in planting design has found a bolder, modernist expression of this ideal with a collective dream to re-wild our nature-deprived urban worlds. Continue reading

Enter the Matrix: New Perennial Planting Stratagems

It feels like forever since I’ve been able to post photos of an actual garden of my own.

Let me change all that with spring fresh images from the past few weeks of my new pond garden up at our cabin in Mono, Ontario. It’s zone 4b at elevation, so we’re a month or more behind Europe.

There’s been ceaseless rain in a cool extended spring, helping my young woodland garden find its feet. I’ve been planting up adjoining areas and getting busy with my Dutch hoe while watching this section burst to life. Continue reading

The Rites of Spring: Awakenings

Up in our neck of the northern woods, you catch the first signs of spring in the mosses on the forest trails. On a dank cloudy day, they appear to glow like emerald velvet clouds come down to earth to hug the rocks.

By the time you hit mid-April, life has erupted in micro with the first ephemerals and sedges poking their heads up from the tapestry of the woodland floor. Continue reading

In a Dark Time: The Skeletal Garden

These are dark days indeed.

All traces of life slowly fade from the landscape as the hours shorten and shadows lengthen.

The autumnal dance now done, the trees lie brittle and bare to the sky. The last perennials splay and shiver like a ghost army defeated by the rain and wind.

But with this kind of darkness, there is nothing to fear. Continue reading