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

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

Autumn Requiem: Dawn of the Day of the Living Dead

Boo! It’s that time of year again when pagan festivals, monster horror films, and religious holidays all converge into an unholy clash.

From Hallowe’en to Night of the Living Dead to El Dia de Muerte, there’s something sweetly macabre about our autumnal obsession to summon forth the denizens of the spirit world and celebrate the enigma of life beyond the grave.

With all this morbidity sanctifying the air, it makes me wonder: What about our gardens? Do they really die each year? Or is it more like a form of reincarnation? 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

The New Perennialist: A Moment in the Sun

Two weeks back, I met up with 70 of my peers coming to Toronto from all over North America for the annual Garden Bloggers Fling.

It’s a gathering of the tribe to meet up in a different host city each year, visit gardens, talk plants, eat some great food, and grab some amazing swag.

The next week by pure coincidence, I was stunned to learn that The New Perennialist had received a 2015 Garden Writers Association Silver Award of Achievement for ‘Best Overall Blog’.

It’s also eligible to win Gold at the 67th GWA Annual Symposium in Pasadena, California this September. Continue reading