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

Winter Sowing: Visitations & Workshops

Yoo-hoo winter. Where are you? Can you come out to play?

Here in Toronto, you’ve been pretty much a no-show. Temperatures yesterday shot up to a record-breaking 15.5C for this date in February. The only snow in town are Snowdrops (Galanthus), which are strangely starting to bloom– months ahead of schedule.

For gardeners, winter is anything but dormant. It’s a season to dream, learn, think, and plan. Literally sowing the seeds for a new season of possibility. Continue reading

A Golden Year: The New Perennialist on a Roll

There’s a profusion of things happening lately – running on a scale from good to great.

Here’s the major bit of news: The New Perennialist recently won the Gold Award For ‘Best Overall Electronic Media’ in the 2015 Garden Writers Association Media Awards.

Gold winners were announced at the 67th GWA Annual Symposium held in Pasadena, California.

I was a little stunned by the news. And then elated. Had to pour a dram of single malt. My Facebook friends were euphoric, which is actually kinda touching. 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