Plants & Soils

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

6 comments | | Read more...

Written by Cristina da Silva

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

Be the first to comment! | | Read more...

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

2 comments | | Read more...

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

Be the first to comment! | | Read more...

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

Be the first to comment! | | Read more...

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

2 comments | | Read more...

Written by Cristina da Silva

Even though I can buy strawberries all year round from the supermarket, store-bought strawberries can’t compare to the first strawberries from my own garden.


Written on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in Plants & Soils

Be the first to comment! | | Read more...

Written by Cristina da Silva

Woke up Monday morning to -11 degree Celsius (12 degree Fahrenheit) with a wind chill of -20 degree Celsius (-4 degree Fahrenheit). With these cold temperatures it’s hard to believe that the official start of Spring is less than two weeks away and that anything will be growing by then.

But the cold and the lack of vibrant green growth got me thinking about last summer’s trip to the largest gypsum dune field in the world: Whites Sands National Monument Park in south-central New Mexico at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert. Here embedded in the pure white gypsum sands, numerous plants and animals survive, nay thrive, in this inhospitable environment.

 

 


Written on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 in Plants & Soils

2 comments | | Read more...

Written by Cristina da Silva

Snow, love or hate it, it’s a reality for gardens zone 6 and lower. I’m in zone 5, and gardeners are almost guaranteed snow every winter. And it is a good thing (to quote Martha Stewart). Here’s my take on it…

 


Written on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 in Building Soil, Plants & Soils

Be the first to comment! | | Read more...

Written by Cristina da Silva

It’s that time again…planting indoor amaryllis. Or should I be botanically hip and say Hippeastrum? Hippeastrums are nature’s own instant package, containing all the elements to grow and flower— you just need to add water.


Written on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 in Plants & Soils

Be the first to comment! | | Read more...

Written by Cristina da Silva