Garden & Landscape Bucket List for 2024

Pool garden design plans

My garden landscape has evolved over the years. When I first started, I focused on designing a garden with shrubs and trees, thinking woody plants would be low maintenance for my big yard. I worked hard to add trees and shrubs that bloomed at different times during the season or offered interesting foliage. I supplemented… Read more »

Extreme Cold: How Did the Greenhouse Radiant Floor Hold Up?

Plants moved to floor of the greenhouse

This is my first winter with radiant floor heating in the greenhouse, and our first extreme cold front of 2024 is here. During my first winter with the Hartley, I had only electric heaters in the greenhouse. Unfortunately, when outside temperatures reached negative double-digits Celcius, the greenhouse temperature fell to 2°C. It was also expensive… Read more »

Making a Collage for Container Garden Planning

collage or mood board of all the annuals I'm growing this year

I’ve been reading Arthur Parkinson’s book “The Flower Yard: Growing Flamboyant Flowers in Containers”. I was intrigued by his use of a collage to plan out his seasonal colour schemes. Arthur calls them ‘mood boards’. The idea is you work out your garden colours using images cut out from magazines and garden catalogues. Since I’m… Read more »

2023 Weather Recap – It Felt Cold But Was It?

average temperatures in my area by month

As gardeners, we may feel we’re in tune with the weather, but our perceptions are often skewed by impressions of events that don’t always align with meteorological conditions. I recently pulled some historical weather data for our area, thinking that 2023 was colder than usual. I was very surprised to see that overall, we experienced… Read more »

How Radiant Heat In A Greenhouse Is Different Than Force Air

FLIR image of floor with radiant heat

Radiant heating significantly changes how a greenhouse is heated, and I’ve had to relearn plant placement. With forced air fans, the floor area was cooler as the cold came up through the ground. The middle was warm since that’s where the heaters were directed. And even though heat rises, it was coldest at the top… Read more »

Planting and Sowing Calendar 2024

snapshot of excel spreadsheet with seed starting calendar

In my working life I was an accountant so it’s no surprise that I use an Excel spreadsheet to calculate when to start seeds indoors. It’s similar to many automatic seed-starting charts across the web, although I’ve customized my spreadsheet for what works in my garden. My plan allows me to work off my expected… Read more »

Germination Stations – Heat Mats and Grow Lights

grow lights hanging in the greenhouse

I spruced up my greenhouse with four spiffy new germination stations for 2024. As I have a greenhouse and am only growing for home use, I didn’t think I needed much supplemental light initially. In 2023, I skipped grow lights during seed starting, and everything grew fine, if maybe a tad slow early in the… Read more »

2024 Seed Buying List – Annuals & Vegetables

Salvia seed packages

I’ve tried keeping lists on Word, in a spreadsheet and on paper, but I am inconsistent at best. Digital copies (Word and Excel) are only convenient if I’m on my computer. Paper lists are good if I’m at my desk. So, going forward, I’m going to try curating my seed list on my blog. I… Read more »

I Got A Robotic Lawn Mower And Love It!

I live on around 2.5 acres. While I’ve added a LOT of garden beds, I still have a little under one acre of lawn to cut. My boys have now grown and moved out, and since I don’t like cutting the lawn, I hired a lawn care company over the past few years. My lawn… Read more »

Finally! The Greenhouse Patio and Beds Are In

greenhouse patio in buff brown flagstone

I installed my Hartley greenhouse in November 2021 but had to wait until the summer of 2023 to complete the landscaping around the greenhouse. Part of this was taking the time to think through what I wanted, part was finding someone to build what I wanted to achieve. One of my challenges was to marry… Read more »