Keystone Plants: Flowering Perennials in Ecoregion Five
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Keystone Plants: Flowering Perennials in Ecoregion Five

Author: Claire McCaughey, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission. “We can each make a measurable difference almost immediately by planting a native nearby. As gardeners and so empowered, and the stakes have never been so high.” Bringing Nature Home , Douglas Tallamy By now, having followed the first three parts of our series on…

Essential Farming Tools: A Checklist For Every Gardener
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Essential Farming Tools: A Checklist For Every Gardener

Gardening can be a rewarding yet challenging endeavor. Picture yourself knee-deep in soil. You’re wrestling with overgrown weeds or struggling to prune hard-to-reach branches. It’s a familiar scenario for many gardeners. This common struggle highlights the critical need for the right tools. This article provides a comprehensive checklist of essential farming tools. With the right…

Ten Common Gardening Mistakes
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Ten Common Gardening Mistakes

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission As any gardener knows, gardening mistakes are as common as dandelions. Heaven knows, I’ve made a fair share of them myself during nearly four decades of gardening. As the old saying goes, everyone makes mistakes, but wise people learn from them. Here are a few…

Homemade Vinegars From the Garden
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Homemade Vinegars From the Garden

Author: Rebecca Last, Gardening at Last, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission I really enjoy finding culinary uses for my plants. So, I was thrilled to learn that those lovely pinky-purple chive flowers make bottles of deliciously flavoured vinegar. It’s so easy that even a non-cook like me can make it. Making Vinegar from Chives Garden…

7 Dos And Don’ts Of Wiring Bonsai Trees
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7 Dos And Don’ts Of Wiring Bonsai Trees

Wiring shapes bonsai trees by training branches to grow in desired directions. Mastering the technique lets you shape your bonsai into aesthetically pleasing forms, but wiring incorrectly harms its delicate branches. Before you even grab your pliers, learn the essential dos and don’ts of wiring bonsai trees. This guide will help you choose the right…

Gardening for Birds: Planting for Blue Jays
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Gardening for Birds: Planting for Blue Jays

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission The blue jay is notably recognizable by its shrieking, sharp calls and its beautiful blue, white, grey and black plumage. Considered to be an intelligent bird, it has a complex social system and tight family bonds. Where you can find Blue Jays These birds are…

Nasturtiums, An Incredible Edible
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Nasturtiums, An Incredible Edible

Author: Nancy McDonald, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are wonderful flowers for both our gardens and kitchens. This vibrant annual comes from South America, was brought to Europe in the 1550s and was found in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Virginia, garden in the late 1700s. Some nasturtiums grow as climbers (3 m), others as…

Gardening for Birds: Planting for White-Breasted Nuthatches
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Gardening for Birds: Planting for White-Breasted Nuthatches

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission White-breasted nuthatches are sometimes called ‘upside down’ birds because of their unusual ability to perch and move upside down on trees. In any position, they can probe into bark furrows, cling to a tree, and move up and down to forage or hide food. It…

Gardening for Birds: Planting for Black-capped Chickadees
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Gardening for Birds: Planting for Black-capped Chickadees

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission Frequent visitors to my backyard garden are the curious little black-capped chickadees. They are easily recognizable with their black cap and bib, white cheeks, and warm buff-tone flanks and sides. Usually they visit my garden in small flocks for safety. Sometimes they arrive with other…

Plant of the Year
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Plant of the Year

The “Plant of the Year” is often designated by various gardening and horticultural societies or organizations, and sometimes by individual countries, so there can be multiple plants receiving this title in a given year. One of the more recognized programs is the “Perennial Plant of the Year,” designated by the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) in…

Gardening for Birds: Planting for Sparrows
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Gardening for Birds: Planting for Sparrows

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission Many different species of sparrows visit my backyard garden, no matter the season. Sparrow sightings in the Ottawa area include song sparrows, chipping sparrows, swamp sparrows, house sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, and white-throated sparrows, among others. Even the dark-eyed Junco is part of the North American…

Bringing Plants Inside for the Winter, Washing Your Plants
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Bringing Plants Inside for the Winter, Washing Your Plants

Greetings fellow gardeners,  It is time to decide what to bring inside and what to take to the compost. Even though my space is limited, I decided to bring a few of my annuals inside. As my fellow Master Gardener Mary Reid mentioned at her talk the other day, many of these annuals are perennials,…

How (And Why) You Can Grow Hemp At Home

How (And Why) You Can Grow Hemp At Home

Hemp, often overshadowed by its controversial cousin, marijuana, is a plant of many talents. Its fibers are transformed into textiles, paper, ropes, and innovative bioplastics. The seeds, often overlooked, are nutritional dynamos, teeming with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and a suite of minerals. And the flowers? They’re not just for show. They’re rich in cannabinoids,…

Lavender
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Lavender

Lavender, known for its fragrant purple flowers and silvery foliage, is a popular plant for gardens and landscapes. It’s relatively easy to care for and can be used in various applications, from landscaping to essential oil extraction. Here’s how to grow, care for, and propagate lavender: Growing Lavender Choosing the Right Location Sunlight: Lavender thrives…

Why Eye Care is Important for Keen Gardeners
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Why Eye Care is Important for Keen Gardeners

Gardening can be a relaxing opportunity to connect with nature, and it’s no surprise that more individuals have been taking up the cherished pastime in recent years. However, this tranquil activity is not entirely without its share of potential dangers. Certain plants, from leadwort to ragweed, can pose unexpected threats. Pollen and sap from these poisonous…

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