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A couple of weeks ago, gardeners in northern North America were worried about the buds breaking prematurely. Gardeners on social media were wringing their hands in worry. But really it’s not a huge problem. Sure, there may be a few less flowers in spring, but most shrubs and trees will survive. The real problem is the numerous freeze/thaw cycles, which damage plants if garden beds haven’t been mulched.

 

 

 


Written on Thursday, February 9, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

It has been a weird winter so far. Up and down temperatures, freeze and thaw. It’s the freezing part that worries me. Freezing means having to use salt on walkways. And as I gardener I try to minimize my salt use. Salt  damages the soil ecosystem and many types plants.


Written on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Today, I volunteered 6 hours at the Mississauga Master Gardeners’ booth at the International Home Show. My reward for giving advice all day is discovering the number one gardening question in late October.


Written on Friday, October 28, 2011 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

It was the uniformity that gave it away. Fifty or more anthuriums packed together in a tiny booth resplendent with glossy red spathes, all absolutely alike. There’s only one form of propagation that produces such uniformity: micropropagation.

 

westland greenhouses anthurium 6 inch

Image courtesy Westland Greenhouses


Written on Thursday, October 27, 2011 in Soils & Growing Media

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Life is always full of choices. Today, I had a couple of choices to make.


Written on Monday, October 24, 2011 in Landscaping & Soil

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Grading … it’s one of my pet peeves. Landscapers/developers should know better, but they don’t always get grading right. Or they forget to check for it, or it was done (sort of) but with time, erosion and settling, the grading changed.


Written on Monday, October 17, 2011 in Soil in Landscaping

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Written by Cristina da Silva

My Christmas cactus has started blooming!

These lovely houseplants with spectacular blooms, Schlumbergera hybrids, challenge our paradigms. They are cacti, but don’t originate in a desert. Their native habitats are rainforests. The flowers appear at the end of what appear to be leaves, but are actually flattened stems.

 

xmas cactus pink


Written on Sunday, October 16, 2011 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

I’ve heard gardens are a metaphor for life. Lofty, idealistic words, I thought, and possibly a pile of crap. Well, nature provides.

 

empire apple

 


Written on Saturday, October 15, 2011 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Fall is a glorious time of the year. As gardeners we don’t just appreciate the spectacular fall foliage colours we also rejoice in the sheer amount of potential leaf compost or leaf mulch. But we need to guard our transition from fall into winter. What we do today will affect our garden soil tomorrow.


Written on Thursday, October 13, 2011 in Building Soil

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Mulching: the best gardening practice! And it’s trendy.

But mulching’s trendiness has a double edge sword. The upside is that more people are mulching. Yay! But the downside is that many of the products touting themselves as mulches are either a waste of time or money.


Written on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 in Building Soil

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Written by Cristina da Silva