Archive for container planting


The first time I saw this strange plant I though the flowers were wilted as they were hanging down. Looking like a poinsettia, is also a plant growen for its colorful bracts. Hello to the genus, Mussaenda. A tropical shrub with colorful bracts that come in pink, white and also a double red. We have both the pink and white planted at my complex in Barbados.

 Its common name can be Tropical Dogwood, or Buddah’s Lamp.

Mussaenda is native to tropical West Africa,

where it can grow as tall as 30 feet,

and it makes a terrific tub plant for areas with hot and humid summer weather like Ontario. It can be used as a substitute for Poinsettia, as the genus Mussaenda is more disease resistant and less likely to have insect pests.

Perhaps another one to bring back to Kilbourne Grove as a little reminder of my time in the tropics.


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Two Gardens, Two Countrys, One Gardener

Not that I really have two gardens, although I do have a terrace, and a balcony, and lots of pots, that counts as a garden, doesn’t it? And I am certainly in two countries, and do not have any help in the garden, (except the lawn cutting, and I only do that as I know the bylaw officer would be around if I didn’t).

Sometimes I feel stretched very thin, it would be a lot easier if my large garden was where I was most of the year, and my smaller pot garden put up with me for the other 12 weeks, but it is not to be.

Instead I come home to this,

Yikes, hard to see all my freshly applied gravel

twice a year, and spend 4-6 weeks on my hands and knees weeding. It certainly looks great when I go back to this,

where I lounge around by the pool, tee hee, and then come back to this,


Now, I have even more pots as I have added a lot of herbs.

I am tired just thinking about it.

How about you? Any other two garden gardeners out there? Any gardening in two different countries like me?

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Spring Urns at the TBG

I love copying, I am a thief of ideas, although my mother always said ‘Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery’. Here are a few ideas of spring urns at the TBG, that are worth copying.

When I was working at East of Eliza flower shop, I had an order for a sympathy plant arrangement. I took a lilac in flower, would a flowering clematis up its stem, and added forget me nots and violas at the base. I love using trees or shrubs for height in containers, especially spring where the plants are shorter than those flowering later in the season.

I can’t wait until I return to Canada full time, and I can have spring urns of my own.

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Breadfruit Fern

At Kilbourne Grove, there are a number of hooks attached to our porch. I love the look of hanging baskets of ferns, and think they would look amazing hanging all along it, but as we have never lived there full-time, it was not to be.  Some day, when we are retired, I hope to have them. Boston ferns certainly seem to be the standard variety in North America, but here in Barbados I see hanging baskets of this fern all over.

It is called the Breadfruit fern here, as the leaf shape bears a strong resemblance to the shape of the leaf on the Breadfruit tree.

But after Googling it, I am still not able to finds out its Botanical name, perhaps one of you knows it? 

 They certainly are a lot tougher than the Boston, obviously able to take a much higher temperature, and some sun as well.

I actually think they are prettier then the popular Boston Fern, maybe another one to grow at home…..

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Top 11 of ’11

In case you were curious, I certainly was. These were the 11 posts written in 2011, that had the most page views. I was surprised that so many of them have to do with Barbados, not quite sure why I was surprised, I guess because I feel like my blog is about my garden, although now it feels more like about my life. And my life is now in Barbados, it least for the next two years. And I only like to write about personal things, not take a picture from the internet, and write a brief paragraph about it like some bloggers do. My blog has become a journal, a snapshot of what is happening in my life at this time, and that certainly includes Barbados.

1.  The Magnificent Seven

I was surprised this one was the number one post of 2011. I wrote 2 posts on my trip to Trinidad, but the post about the seven amazing houses was the most popular. It was certainly one of the most interesting things for me, I am sure you all know I love old houses, look at Kilbourne Grove.

2. Gardening in a Cold Climate

My visit to the amazing garden of Brian Bixley was sparked by reading a review of his book by Kathy Purdy on her website. Luckily I was in Canada for his first open garden of the year (you all know I love bulbs), and took a million photographs. Kathy was kind enough to post a link from her blog to mine, and she became my second largest referral site in 2011. Thanks Kathy.

3. Pride of Barbados

After gardening (and floral design) for soooo many years, it is disconcerting to live in a country where I only recognize 10% of the vegetation. It is fascinating for me (and I hope you) to discover new plants.

4. Gotta Have It: Bougainvillea

I have long loved bougs, and was super excited to find them in full flower when we moved here last December. The flowering seemed to go on and on and on. Luckily, I was given one for our terrace here, and have found it a super easy plant to grow, just wish they were hardy in Canada.

5. It’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to


What I left behind!


This post was a bit of a moan for me, sorry about that. At the time I was feeling a bit unhappy, leaving my friends, family, job, home and garden, to live in Barbados. When we moved to London, I was beyond excited, but that was LONDON, I could work, travel to Europe, and I am a bit of a city girl at heart. However, after spending most of the spring and fall in Canada, when I wanted to be there, and spending the winter in Barbados (who wouldn’t), I have adjusted.

6. St. Nicholas Abbey

Back to point number one, I love old houses. And Barbados has 2 of the 3 Jacobean houses in the Western hemisphere. St. Nicholas Abbey was sooo gorgeous.

7. Drax Hall

Funny that the second Jacobean house in Barbados was the next most popular post. This one is not open to the public, so we were only able to see the grounds.

8. Ah, Life!

For some reason, some of you wanted to know a little bit more about me, so I gave you a lot more, more than you asked for, sorry about that, I do like to ramble. Here is the story of my thoughts about moving to Barbados.

9. Pots, Pots, Pots!

Frank Kershaw was my garden design teacher at George Brown College and he opened his garden to the public. There was so much to see, I had to break it down into a couple of posts, but his pots were the most popular.

10. Porters Great House

Barbados has its own National Trust, and during the ‘season’ a number of homes opened to raise money for it. This was the only home I visited in 2011, but hope to visit more this year. I was surprised more people did not read Part 2, where I talk about the garden, that is where my true love lies.

11. I’m going home

Not sure why this one was so popular, unless you were happy to see me head back to my ‘forever’ home.  I certainly was.

There you have it, my most popular posts in 2011, what will 2012 hold…

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