cholla garden Joshua Tree National Park

Teddy Bear Cholla in Joshua Tree Park

We are still on our desert road trip. Yesterday we drove through Joshua Tree National Park, down a road that took us through a box canyon with some crazy terrain, and then down along the east coast of the Salton Sea. I was surprised to see a lot of agriculture out there in the middle

agave queen victoria

Dispatches from Two Deserts

We arrived in Phoenix, Arizona on the hottest day of the year. We got a car at the airport and hightailed it to the Desert Botanical Garden where a day that started out unbearably hot got worse. And worse. Few people were in the garden that day, except us, the crazy Canadians.

Santa Fe Cholla

And Away We Go

I’ve packed an arsenal of high SPF sunblocks, camera gear, and several light, long-sleeved shirts and am now on my way to the desert. The forecast says it will be 111°F in Phoenix when we arrive and I am already imagining myself in the Arrested Development scene where Michael reaches for the door handle of

Marsh Marigold

The Fentastic Voyage: Part 3 Petrel Point Fen

The following is the third part in a series on a trip I took up north to Ontario, Canada’s Bruce Peninsula to see carnivorous plants growing in the wild. Of the handful of fens I have visited so far, Petrel Point is without a doubt my favourite. There is just something about it. It’s unassuming.

Sonoran Desert Food Plants

Books to Take with You to the Desert

T-minus just a few days before we leave on our 10 day desert trip and the madness is in full swing around here. I am never again going away on such a long trip at the height of planting season. Lesson learned. Still, I figure I will stop fussing and fretting about my own garden

Davin and Molly

The Fentastic Voyage: Part 2 Oliphant Fen

The following is part 2 in a series on a trip I took up north to Ontario, Canada’s Bruce Peninsula to see carnivorous plants growing in the wild. We left the beach area, and doubled back to the Oliphant Fen, which we had passed on the way in (see map here). Note that there is

Oliphant Wetland

The Fentastic Voyage: Part 1 Oliphant Coastal Wetland

This journey began with a mystery. More than a decade ago, on a long weekend cottage trip with friends, I was told that there was a place, somewhere north of our destination on the Lake Huron shoreline — no one seemed to know where it was for sure — where there were carnivorous plants growing


Desert Road Trip

Davin and I recently celebrated our 20th anniversary together and to REALLY celebrate we are going on a road trip through the Mojave and Sonoran deserts! !!!!! !!!!!! [Infinite exclamation points here.]

tall grass

Tall Autumn Grasses

It was a fall evening some years ago, just before the golden hour (my favourite time of the day). My friend Laura was headed out to Humber Nurseries to take some photos in their private garden and offered to take me along. Not one to forgo a chance to get out of the city or


Spring Plant Sales

Readers often ask where I find such unusual and interesting plants, and the answer is that I am always looking. ALWAYS. I scan corner shops as I walk by. I look in places you would not expect to find plants. I beg friends with cars to take me on buying trips to hole-in-the-wall nurseries outside


A Kitchen on a Rock

In the wee hours, just as the sun had begun to illuminate the sky, we made our way along dusty, winding paths towards our destination, an organic farm 2 miles across the valley in the shadow of Mount Kuchumaa (High Exalted One). It was amazing to see the landscape bend and shift before me as

cactus garden by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Learning from Nature: Observations on Cold Hardy Cacti

Throughout my gardening life there have been many plants that I tried to grow with middling success, until I observed them growing in the wild. Sarracenia (pitcher plants), venus fly trap (Dioneae muscipula), episcia, and ginger are just a few that come to mind. Seeing them in their natural habitat helped me understand something about

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