Going to visit greenhouses is like being a child in a toy store again. I want one of each please! Two years ago – as part of moderation efforts – I decided to go to Greenland Nurseries but only buy discounted plants. All they had were stacks of half dead veronicas at 50 cents each. I put two into my basket. My husband, who usually has limited interest in plants, insisted I buy all of them. It was a rare moment of gardening inspiration.We planted the pitiful clumps along the front walk and hoped for the best. Now, every spring,  a long ribbon of lavender leads visitors up to our front door.

Greenland Graden Centre has gourmet coffee and a lovely lunch room amidst flowers!

Border Primrose on Steroids


What’s in this soil and how can I get some? This border primrose had one measly stalk with flowers last year. This spring it began to bloom in April. Now it’s mid May and it hasn’t stopped. The old flowers are hanging in there so it’s a ball of yellow on the north side of the house where little grows – not even weeds want to take root there. It’s one of those little miracles  gardening books don’t cover. It reminds me a lot of child rearing advice books. As my husband is fond of remembering, our daughter was a footnote child. She didn’t do anything texts suggested except in side notes with exceptions to the rule. I guess this primrose is a footnote flower.



The original owners  who built our house in the 40’s were connected to the University of Alberta landscaping department. Maybe that’s why I keep finding wonderful plants in-between bushes. These anemones looked tiny and miserable as they grew by a tall fence in the back of the garden. But such plants have immense survival “instinct”. As soon as I gave them better conditions they bloomed profusely. I wonder how true that is for people. Would any of us panhandle without the conditions that help us thrive? Would Lenoose, a homeless photographer I befriended briefly before he passed away have been a renowned artist?


Yellow Iris


Visiting greenhouses in the spring became something of an addiction. I could’t resist new flowers lining shelf after shelf and spent far too much money. So, a few years ago I decided to go cold turkey – the AA method for gardeners. Then, one day, we were coming back from a friend’s lake and Peter wanted us to stop at a greenhouse. It was hard but I resisted all purchases until we got to the cashier. There, right by the counter was a cadmium yellow iris. It was too much for an addict. I bought it! Here it is blooming happily in my garden.

Pink Snow


The powerful winds that are fanning disastrous forest fires in Fort McMurray can be felt in Edmonton. As everyone else in the city, I can’t stop thinking about all the people who have been displaced. Images of monstrous flames come to mind every time I feel a sharp breeze. But the only effect these horrible winds had on my garden is that in one day they blew all petals off the crab apple tree. Now the garden is covered with pink snow. Nature is so cruel and so gentle.

Blue Iris


For some reason I have always loved the runts of the litter. As a child my parents got me a puppy. As soon as the owner said that one puppy was rejected by the mother that was the one I unequivocally picked. It’s like that with flowers as well. This spectacularly blue dwarf iris came from a church garage sale down the street. It was sitting in a small pot with maybe one or two leaves on it. Nobody wanted to buy it. Ten years later it lights up my garden with the most unusual colour of blue-purple in the spring. It never has a chance to spread as friends always want it. I keep digging out whatever patches grow.