Meetings w/ Remarkable Plantsmen: Piet Oudolf & Roy Diblik

I’ve been doubly spoiled over the past month by inspiring encounters with exceptional plantsmen.

First up, I reconnected with über designer, Piet Oudolf in the form of a two-hour transatlantic Skype call to Hummelo, which turned into a one-on-one masterclass in planting design.

This was followed by a three-day visit from American plantsman, writer, and prairie whisperer Roy Diblik, who came up from Northwind Perennial Farm to speak to the Canadian chapter of the Garden Writers Association at our annual meeting here in Toronto.

I’ve learned to never quarrel with serendipity. Continue reading

The Field Trip: A Perennial Summer Adventure

A friend once told me over a beer and frog legs in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Travel is not about the places – it’s about the people you meet.

So true.

Now home after several whirlwind weeks on the road, I’m taking a breather to retrace my steps.

It all started with a visit to Baltimore, Maryland in late July for my first annual Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium.

Next, my partner Troy and I buckled up for a 10-day road trip to Québec driving out along the silver-laced shores of the St. Lawrence Seaway to visit a pair of much revered gardens: Les Jardins de Métis and Les Quatre Vents. Continue reading

On the Roadside: A Great North American Field Trip

I’m packing my bags, setting the water-timer on my perennial holding bed, updating my passport, and getting the oil checked on my trusty yellow Subaru.

There’s travel in the works.

Next week, I set off for my first Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium in Baltimore, Maryland – said to be a mega-flock of plant nerds. Shortly upon my return, I’m heading east to Québec on a pilgrimage to visit the much fabled Les Quatre Vents gardens in Charlevoix.

I plan to see a lot of roadside on the way. All the better to see the wildflowers of the moment… and maybe even some spaceships like the one pictured above. Continue reading

Shady Chic: A Montréal Rendezvous

Montréal! Ooh la la. Cultured, sophisticated, and yes, a little bit seedy. With a history of bootlegging, speakeasies, jazz clubs, hockey dynasties, and organized crime.

But also seedy in a good way as the home to the Montréal Botanical Garden.

Truth be told, Le Jardin Botanique Montréal is my horticultural mistress par excellence. Continue reading