“Sustainability: to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

World Commission on Environment and Development (1989)


A couple months ago I agreed to do a tweetup on  #gardenchat. I had first wanted to do something on natural pest and disease control since most of Canada has banned pesticides for home use. But Brenda Haas, moderator of #gardenchat, felt it already been covered.  I put my thinking cap on and came up  with “Sustainable Garden Design.”



Written on Saturday, June 23, 2012 in Soil in Landscaping

13 comments | |

Written by Cristina da Silva

Because of all the marketing hype around this book, I was a little leery reviewing it.  I wondered if the book could match the marketing hype.  With every book review, I read the book from cover to cover. Then I wait. I let the essence of book percolate. Reviewing [amazon_link id=”1603425683″ target=”_blank” ]The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live[/amazon_link] took a while.  It’s a big, information-packed book (225 pages, not including appendixes and index, which are an extra 20 pages).

Written on Thursday, June 7, 2012 in Book & Product Reviews

51 comments | |

Written by Cristina da Silva

A couple of weeks ago, Fern Richardson sent me her book — [amazon_link id=”1604692413″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs[/amazon_link] — to review.

 I know a thing or two about balcony gardening. Not only have I gardened on balconies for years but I also wrote the Toronto Star’s “Condo Gardening” column from May 2006 to January 2009. And I have to tell you upfront, this is a great resource book for balcony and small space gardeners. Fern Richardson knows her stuff.


Written on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 in Book & Product Reviews

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Written by Cristina da Silva

What’s hot this year? Haskap berries. At least that’s what I think. But I am biased. I’ve converted my backyard into an edible and ornamental delight, so all things edible are foremost and forefront in my mind. How about those haskap berries?

New haskap berry. Photo courtesy of President’s Choice

Written on Friday, May 4, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Remember I talked about letting Nature guide you with gardening tasks? Well, another sign has popped up. The serviceberries are blooming…it’s time to plant potatoes.

Written on Monday, April 16, 2012 in Book & Product Reviews

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Written by Cristina da Silva

My weekly soil tweetup has transformed to #groundchat.  Same day, same time, same great chats!

Written on Saturday, April 14, 2012 in Soils & Growing Media

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Written by Cristina da Silva

With weeks of warm weather in March, many trees and shrubs’ buds broke and started growing and perennials sprung out of the ground. Some gardeners — with uncharacteristic enthusiasm – planted their vegetable seeds.

But now the weather has returned to April temperatures…and risk of spring frosts. Northern gardeners started to worry about frost damage on even the most cold hardy plants. But there are ways of protecting our prematurely growing plants. Read on…

Written on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

I am a great fan of Twitter, but with so much information and people, it’s easy to spend most of your time tweeting without really “talking” to anyone. The solution?  Tweetups: an organized focused session on a particular gardening/landscaping topic.  It’s the best filter for finding excellent garden-related information.

Written on Thursday, March 29, 2012 in Soils & Growing Media

8 comments | |

Written by Cristina da Silva

Last year I found out that plant breeders follow fashion to determine colours for their annuals. I was surprised. It’s not the gardening community that was setting the colour trends. So I wondered, how are other gardening trends set?

Canada Blooms Pallet Garden by bsq. design

Written on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

What is it about human nature that always wants what they don’t have? Last weekend my friend, Mary, was complaining about her sandy soil garden. None of her favourite flamboyant colourful flowers could grow in her small sunny front garden. If only she had rich loamy soil, her gardening problems would be over.

Written on Thursday, February 23, 2012 in Plants & Soils

8 comments | |

Written by Cristina da Silva