gardenersback

Gardener’s Back

Chalkboard illustration by Davin Risk. There’s a double meaning to this title and I suspect that if you’re over 21 you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve got aches and pains all over. I took advantage of the great weather this weekend to cross several items off of my April garden to-do list. I

sand verbena

Early Spring California Desert Wildflowers

I recently had the good fortune to visit the Mojave desert just after the area received a few days of much-needed springtime rain. The rain was followed by warm, springtime temperatures and sun, and you know what that means… FLOWERS!

Ocotillo flowers Joshua Tree

Ocotillo in Bloom

They look like a cactus, but aren’t. When we were here in June (the height of summer), they looked like little more than dry, thorny whips standing on end in the hot desert landscape. This time, because of the rain, they had come to life, with new green leaves and big clusters of bright red,

Joshua Tree

Greetings from the Mojave Desert!

Last June, Davin and I drove 1000 miles through the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. One of the highlights of that trip was a few days in the Joshua Tree area. We found ourselves captivated by the otherworldly landscape and vowed that one day we would go back in the winter or springtime and spend more

organicgardeningmag_feb08

Still Growing

Organic Gardening magazine recently unearthed a personal piece by me that was originally published in their February 2008 print edition. Some confusion was created by the timing of the story’s promotion. Many people, including in-real-life friends thought it was newly written and couldn’t comprehend why it fixated on gardens that I have long since moved

Community Greenhouse

A Mid-Winter Booster Shot Courtesy of the Community Greenhouse

I started the week out on the good foot with a reinvigorating morning at the community greenhouse I visited last winter in the suburbs of Toronto. Oh that good air and the smell of warm soil and life. The smells! There were smells. I left feeling energetic and doing air punches in my head. Suck

Pumpkins Polaroid

My Year in Gardening: 2013

Happy New Year and welcome to 2014! I started doing new year wrap-ups back in 2010, and while I have since identified that as a gardener, January 1 doesn’t feel like a time of renewal in the way that spring does, the start of a calendar year is a convenient time to look back and

My Garden After an Ice Storm

The Garden in Ice

Two nights ago Toronto was hit with an ice storm. Anything that didn’t move during the night was encased inside a thick, vitreous ice. Trees, bushes, leaves, grasses, clotheslines, metal structures, fences, birdhouses, empty planters… they were all turned into crystalline sculptures. I have never experienced this phenomenon as a gardener, and I am equally

Joshua Tree

Mormon Tea (Ephedra)

Mention of our mid-June desert road trip on Instagram this morning has compelled me to share a little nugget of knowledge that I gleaned on the trip. The plant in this photo is Ephedra (I don’t know which species as there are several), commonly known as Mormon tea. Those of you who are not from

False Holly Osmanthus Goshiki3

False Holly: A Perspective on Garden Writing

This morning I walked into the kitchen to make my tea, as I do at the start of every morning. The kitchen is a mess. If I’m being honest it is always a mess, but right now the disaster has taken the form of camera gear, photo props, 300 pounds of pumpkin, and a few

molly_davin_2013

Gardening with My Dog, Molly

When we adopted our wonderful dog Molly just over a year and a half ago, the most common question asked was, “How will you keep her from destroying the garden?” Molly is a terrier mix, and everything we were told indicated that she might be a bit of a menace in the garden. It was

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