Last year I was approached by a childhood friend who was planning a Breast Cancer Fundraiser. Rebecca Hall is the genius behind Rebecca Hall Photography and an amazing and caring person. Her idea was to use her talents as a photographer to offer photography sessions and invite local business women to participate by providing hair, make-up and other services as well as great SWAG for the ladies who participated. I know Rebecca, and when she has an idea it’s going to fly so I jumped on board to offer up some “gardening swag” to the lucky ladies.

Now anyone close to me knows my family has been hit by breast cancer. I participate in the Run for the Cure each year in my Aunt’s memory and alongside another aunt as well as in support of a friend who has battled this horrible disease. It’s kinda the cause I’ve adopted I guess. I wear pink now when I never would. I introduce people to the plant varieties that are available to them that support Breast Cancer research – and yes, I sneak a few into a garden design every now and then. So this fundraiser was a natural fit!

Last year the total raised was over $2000 and the money went to the Kelly Shires Foundation. The fundraiser numbers from November 4th total $2200 which again will go to the Kelly Shires Foundation.

I just want to thank Rebecca for her hard work and for letting me be a part of the fundraiser. Look forward to next years fundraiser!


20121018-221906.jpgOn November 24th from 10am till noon, I am pleased to offer a workshop on Holiday Wreath Making. This workshop will help walk you through the steps of designing and creating your very own custom Holiday Wreath.

Topics covered during the workshop will include:
– bow making
– ornament layout
– color coordination
– attaching objects securely to your wreath
– tips to make your wreath last all winter

A variety of sample wreaths will be on display for inspiration.

The cost of the workshop includes your 20″ mixed evergreen wreath, all ribbon, decorations and fasteners. Please feel free to bring any special items you want to include on your wreath. Light refreshments will also be served.

The workshop will be held at Innisfil Montessori Academy with a portion of the workshop profits going back to the school to buy books for their library. The cost of the workshop is $35 for a 20″ mixed evergreen wreath (square wreaths will be available for a $5 surcharge).

If interested please call myself to register. Spaces are limited.

Jodie – 705-828-2758

National Tree Day Logo

September 21, 2011 was National Tree Day and to celebrate I visited with my friends at to teach them a bit about our friends, trees!

One of the first things we talked about was what trees do for us. Now for those not familar with IMA, the kids strong>range in age from 2 to SKso their answers were incredible! I had everythings from: “Give us shade” to “Give us water” to “Build furniture and toys” to “Grow apples” to “Paper!”. I was pretty impressed! We further discussed some of the things they might not have known come from trees, like the polymers for toilet seats, medicine, fibre for cereal, tires, or the additives in bubble gum! A quick look around their classroom and we were able to count a lot of things that came from our friends the trees! We also discussed how much oxygen is provided by trees, and the kids were excited to learn that just two trees provided enough oxygen for a family of four!

I had brought a pile of leaf samples, expertly pruned from my yard that morning, to show the different types and colours of leaves. We talked about why some leaves were green and some had changes colour, the different shapes and even identified our Maple Leaf! We then looked at the difference between coniferous and deciduous trees – relating them to Christmas trees in our home.

Once we had had a chance to have lunch with some yummy tree cupcakes!
Tree Cupcakes by J. Munshaw
Then we headed out to the school playground for the highlight of tree day. The students and I planted their very own Serbian Spruce.
New Tree at IMA
All the kids had a chance to add soil and mulch under the tree and stomp it in place. The result was a tree that will grow with the students and the school 🙂

The love of gardening can be started very young. I had earlier worked with these same children creating a vegetable garden at their school that was a huge hit! It is incredible how much the children grasp about the plants and love to interact with the plants.

There are many great resources online for gardening with children, but even simple steps like letting them have a small corner of your vegetable patch or their own flower pot can be a simple way to introduce them to this wonderful world! You’ll be amazed at how they amaze you! 🙂

Close Up of Fatal Attraction EchinaceaI thought I would introduce you to some of the more interesting plants in my garden. Now while I love many of the tried-and-true plants, I love to pick up some more unique varieties every now and then.

One plant I love is Echinacea or Purple Coneflower. Now today this plant comes in so many more colors than just purple and in heights from a foot tall to tall enough to hide a small child behind. The names are bizarre enough to remind you of a diner menu (Tomato Soup and Mac and Cheese) to some R-Rated movies, which is where we find one of my favorite varieties in bloom right now.

Fatal Attraction Coneflower is a nice dark pink blooming variety, (almost maroon in color). The blooms are large in size with a flat center (eye) which the petals stick straight out of much like a Daisy rather than droop down like their cousins the ‘Magnus’ Coneflower. The blooms start in mid-summer and will bloom for weeks, especially if deadheaded!

Echinacea in my garden!

Fatal Attraction Coneflower grows to a height of 2′ and a width of 1-1/2 to 2′ making it a perfect addition to the perennial border or for use in planters (remember it will likely not overwinter in the planter unless the planter is larger enough to withstand the constant freeze-thaw cycle). I have partnered my Fatal Attraction Coneflower with Autumn Joy Sedum and the dark blooms of the coneflower coupled with the green “blooms” of the sedum are an excellent contrast!

These Coneflowers are not only drought tolerant but also deer tolerant too! Butterflies love them and the dried seedheads make for excellent decoration but in the garden throughout the winter months or in dried flower arrangements. Very easy to grow in almost any soil condition provided you have a good half day of sun!

Walking out my front door right now I am greeted with a wonderful color display in the most vibrant pink EVER! Now you may be thinking I overdid it with the Impatiens or perhaps I have a few too many potted Geraniums, but no…these are Hydrangeas!

Now I know when I talk to my clients about Hydrangeas their minds immediately flash back to their mother’s and their grandmother’s gardens and bushes over run with white flowers that would flop over the minute a drop of rain fell on them.

Well I am here to say, that Hydrangeas have come a long way baby!

Cityline Hydrangea in Bloom

My current Hydrangea obsession is the Cityline Hydrangeas from Proven Winners. Now I had been warned that planting them “this far north” probably was a “bad idea” but I did it anyways! These compact little Hydrangeas (about 2’x2′) make for a great show in the front bed of the house and are just covered with lipstick pink blooms! The foliage is nice and lush and has an almost waxy appearance. Cutting off the dead blooms encourages reblooming and the blooms make a great cut flower! I have paired the Hydrangeas up with ornamental grasses under a Dawyck Beech and have included a miniture Hosta and the effect is quite nice. I love the color blocked appearance the Hydrangeas give to the garden! Not to mention I am not freaking out with each heavy rainstorm!

Cityline Hydrangeas in garden

Yes, there are other Hydrangeas throughout the garden – QuickFire with its early white blooms turning a nice pink-red, Limelight Hydrangeas with their limegreen blooms in late August as well as a gigantic Standard PeeGee Hydrangea. Its almost like there is a new Hydrangea bloom every month!

And here is a tip – did you know the pink or blue color of a Hydrangea is determined by the acidity of your soil? Blue flowers appears when your soil is acidic and pink blooms appear when your soil is alkaline. You can alter your soil pH and therefore change the color of your flowers. To change your Hydrangeas to blue add ‘Aluminum Sulphate’, to make your Hydrangeas pink try adding ‘Dolomitic Lime’.

After sitting inside for months looking outside at the garden, I was happy to finally get outside and have a walk around the garden.

Now, the first thing I had to check was the state of the plants I knew the local rabbits had snacked on over the winter, unfortunately the damage was far worse than I had imagined. The rabbits ate a total of a Dwarf Serbian Spruce, 5 Carpet Roses and a pink Spiarea that was cleverly hiding the A/C. I was sure the buggers had gotten into the bulbs as well but I see the Crocus’ are finally starting to poke through. So to stop Mr Rabbit (and likely the Easter Bunny) from visiting the garden, a quick visit to the garden centre to purchase some Critter Ritter and I haven’t seen one yet!

So once I had surveyed the damage I started walking through the rest of the garden and I could see signs of spring! Perennials poking through, buds on the Hydrangeas, weeds already starting where mulch didnt make it and lots and lots of cleaning to do!

As I closed my eyes on the mess that was before me, I remembered how crazy last years garden was! Everything grew like crazy and I had tried some new plants in some new places – some successfully, some not. So in addition to cleaning up the garden there is lots of splitting and transplanting to do! Not to mention pruning and fertilizing.

So now I am waiting for the weather to change, making my list of what I need to pick up at the garden center and creating my wish list of new plants to try in the garden for this season. The longer Mother Nature takes to cooperate the longer the list grows though – this *could* be a bad thing!

Did you know that the United Nations has declared 2011 the “International Year of Forests”? To be honest, I didn’t. Shame on me! However, now I am aware and I am going to make it a mission to share this information with my friends and clients.

The UN’s website states that 30% of total land area is forests and is home to 80% of terrestial biodiversity. A whooping 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livlihoods! With forests being such a valuable resource you would think we would be trying more to save them!

While we may not be able to plant a forest at a home, we can still do our part and plant a tree (or two or three). Right now I can hear many of you saying, “my back yard is so small” or “I don’t have room” however, I am not talking a Sugar Maple here…you have to select the right tree for the right location. And while it may seem like this new guest in your garden is out of place, you will soon grow to love its architectural interest in winter, sound of its leaves in fall and the shade it provides in summer and wonder how you ever lived without it!

So back to picking the right tree for the right location…if you were to grab a piece of paper and draw a tree and I am willing to bet one of two shapes comes up – either your standard triangular Christmas Tree or a lolipop shaped deciduous tree. And yes, while these are pretty common, there are lots of other shapes and sizes of trees. Columnar trees for instance will grow nice and tall; pyramidal in shape making them perfect for smaller spaces (both in coniferous and deciduous varieties), there are dwarf trees that, as their name implies, will stay relatively small, trees that grow wider than tall and trees that grow taller than wide. There are trees with very dense canopies and trees with very fine leaves that provide a nice filtered light.Flowering trees, trees with great fall color, you name it…you can find the right tree for your location, all you need to do is a bit of research! Or let’s plan a meeting and together we can pick the perfect trees for your yard! (and while we are at it maybe a few shrubs and perennials too!)

So, in this year of the Forest, think about what your garden is missing…perhaps a tree?

For more information on the UN’s Year of the Forests, visit –