A couple of weeks ago, Connie, my neighbour, asked me to take a look at her beloved Japanese lilac. She was worried about its gradual decline. I could see why Connie was concerned. Half the tree had lost all its leaves. Something was obviously wrong, but what could it be?

Japanese lilac

Written on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 in Plants & Soils

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In the previous blogs, I covered the merits of planting up slopes and the visual delight of terraced slopes. But which method works best for your site? How do we decide? According toUniversity of Nevada Coop Extension, the slope angle decides the method!

planted slope, Brampton, Ontario

Planted slope in Brampton, Ontario

Written on Thursday, September 11, 2014 in Landscaping & Soil

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In my last blog, I covered slope stabilizing native plants used by Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But there are other ways to tame a slope. Some gardeners in Pittsburgh have tapped in to a 2,000 year old idea: terracing. Of course, the most attractive way to deal with a slope happens to be the most expensive.

terraced garden with stone retaining wall in Pittsburgh, PA

The Davidson’s terraced garden in Pittsburgh, PA

Written on in Landscaping & Soil

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania surprised me. The city has a whooping 42 percent tree canopy! In comparison, Washington DC has 36% and Portland, Oregon in the wet Pacific Northwest has mere 30% tree cover. Even Canadian cities known for their leafy nature have less tree cover– Toronto 33%, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal all at 20% tree cover. But enough about trees!

Another visual surprise is Pittsburgh’s topography. Hilly. Steep slopes. It’s a great place to see how gardeners tame their slopes. Since there’s too much information to cover in one blog, I’ve divided it this entertaining topic into three blogs.

planted slope at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh, PA

Written on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 in Plants & Soils

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