Welcome to our Northern Garden, copyright  by Hallie du Preez, all rights reserved

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Index of Things Planted on This Site

Garden Ramblings:

a brief (and sometimes not) commentary on what has been happening in my garden and that of my friends and neighbours.


a list of gardening newsgroups.

Plant Hardiness
Zone Maps

clickable maps of gardening zones in Canada; taken from the zone map issued by Agriculture Canada.

Photo Gallery:

a clickable gallery of photographs taken around my garden and those of my friends and neighbours.

Canadian Plant
Seed Suppliers

a list, organized by province, of Canadian sources for plants, seeds and garden supplies. Some offer mail order service, some are on line and some are personal shopping only. I have provided active links where I could.


I have started compiling a list of books that I have found useful and/or interesting. I expect this list to keep growing as I discover new books. Some of the books aren't particularly valuable for their horticultural information but have very good pictures.


a variety of links of interest to gardeners.

Garden Chats:

a listing of chats with various aspects of gardening as their main focus. Links to websites have been provided where available.


Please sign my guestbook.

Language of Flowers:

a collection of lists showing this old-fashioned way of communicating.

Garden Ramblings

Fall 2000:

Spring was very dry in our area this year and we were hard-pressed to keep our newly seeded gardens watered. Other areas, as usual, had too much rain. My hot peppers, grown in containers as usual, did very well for the most part. The tomatoes on the other hand, produced lots of fruit but were very slow to ripen due to our cool temperatures. Even when I moved the containers to a south-facing wall they seemed to just sit there content with their green state. It was a strange year for gardening. One of the local market gardeners had a failure of his sweet corn - it was slow and the ears were small. My onions and potatoes were very good but I had the worst carrots ever. Oh well, we'll just have to see what happens next year. (grin)

Our annual spring greenhouse and garden center exploration tour was a great success again. We decided to head out in a different area where we had never been. We only had a couple of ads clipped from newspapers and a couple of county maps, however by keeping a sharp lookout for signs along the roadside and talking to people at service stations and in cafes in the small towns we passed through, we found a number of new and exciting locations. Of course, in spite of our "best intentions" we came home with the car stuffed to the gills with our plant treasures.

To reiterate, this is a great deal of fun and well worth trying if you can manage it. I suggest you go with one or two gardening friends - no more than that unless you can take a large vehicle or more than one vehicle as you will probably stuff it to the gills with your great plant "finds". To arrange an outing of this nature go through the telephone books and yellow pages pertaining to the area you wish to explore; read the gardening sections and ads in the local newspapers and get some good road maps. County maps showing ranges and townships are great if you can get them. Pack plastic bags, newspapers, soft tying material such as strips of old hosiery, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, notebooks and pencils (you always forget names), camera and film is a nice addition to pictorially identify unknown plants or plants with no name tags that are labelled on the table only, one or two good plant identification books, water or softdrinks and possibly even a light lunch - this is thirsty work even on a cool day. Wear sturdy shoes and clothes you don't mind getting dirty or mud splattered - you aren't going out to Sunday brunch after all, you are going gardening; take jackets, hats, sunglasses, reading glasses (at my age you need these), boots if it has been at all rainy or wet, and gloves. You are going to be wandering around rose bushes, display ponds for pond plants, narrow aisles between benches full of plants, ducking under hanging baskets and picking your way across sometimes very muddy parking lots. This is all great fun, you will meet interesting people and maybe discover some unusual plants.

By request I have kept the section about tabletop gardening in this edition: I have been talking to a few people who complained about a lack of space in which to garden - people who have to share space in a yard and people who only have balcony space. As a result, I conducted a little experiment with some of my plants that were grown in containers. I have a round picnic table that is about 4 feet in diameter. On it I placed a 5-gallon pot with a Sweet 100 tomato plant in full fruit, a 5-gallon pot with a full-sized tomatillo also bearing fruit, two slightly smaller pots - one with mints, the other with a variety of herbs including sage, thyme & trailing rosemary and two small pots filled with basils. I also added several pots with flowers such as Osteospermum, marigolds, Purple Wave petunia, begonia, mimulus etc. It made a rather striking display and I was quite amazed at how many plants would fit into such a small space. I have scanned a photograph of it which you can see if you look at the Tabletop Garden. One Sweet 100 tomato plant will provide quite a lot of nice fresh eating cherry-type tomatoes. Tomatillos are also very prolific. If you want vegetables more than flowers you could plant some lettuce, a small variety of cucumber, possibly some climbing beans or even some green bush beans if you just want a few. You can grow quite a few herbs in a small space. Some people even grow potatoes and carrots in tubs although I have never tried it. Of course, it would be nice to tuck a couple of pansies or violas in here and there, and a nasturtium or geranium (maybe even a scented leaf geranium), just to add a little more colour. One thing to avoid is overcrowding to the point where you can't reach the pots to water or harvest the plants. Too much overcrowding could also result in some nasty fungal or bacterial problems, but if you use a reasonable amount of common sense these should be relatively easy to avoid.

To add to this idea I want to mention that while on a trip to British Columbia I went to Granville Island in Vancouver. There I saw, for the first time in my life, floating houses. These were actual houses, mostly with two storeys, that were moored to the dock. The most exciting thing to me was the fact that nearly every single one of them had plants growing all over the place. They were in containers, of course. There were trees, vines, flowers of all sorts and I'm sure I saw a few containers with vegetables and herbs. I couldn't quite work up the nerve to go and knock on any doors but I would have loved to have talked to some of the resident gardeners to see what they had to say about their soil mixes etc. Ah well, maybe next time I will be braver. However, it does go to show that if people want to garden they will usually find a way to do it and in my opinion that is just great.

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I have been reading some newsgroups that I have found interesting. If you have a news reader such as FreeAgent or one of the others you might take a peek at:

rec.arts.bonsai; rec.gardens; rec.gardens.roses; rec.gardens.edible; rec.ponds.

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Canadian Plant Hardiness Zone Maps

Link to plant hardiness zone map of Eastern Canada - 61Kb

Link to plant hardiness zone map of Western Canada - 81Kb

These maps are to be considered as a very rough guide as to the areas in which you may reasonably expect perennials to survive. I scanned them in from maps I had clipped from an old seed catalog (can't remember which one anymore) with a 256 grey scale hand-held scanner and converted them to 256 colours.

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Photo Gallery

We have taken several photographs of flowers we are growing and that we have seen in various gardens and garden centres we have visited. Most were taken with a 35mm camera and the prints scanned with a colour flatbed scanner. Due to the fact that these images range in size from about 9K to 18K and the total on the page is about 213k I have made this clickable.
To view the flower photographs just select the violet 
To come back to this page use the "back" button on your browser or the return link at the bottom of the page. Due to space considerations the images are not high resolution but you will still need to be prepared to spend a little time while the page loads. These pictures will be changed from time to time.

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Canadian Suppliers of Seeds and Plants

I have compiled a list of several Canadian suppliers for seeds and plants. I have not dealt with all of them and make no warranty or claim as to the reliability of their service or the quality of their products. If you know of other Canadian suppliers you would like to see listed here please email me with the name, address, mailing address (if different), phone and/or fax number, email address and website if they have one, whether or not they have a catalog, and a short description of what they offer.

 Alberta  British Columbia  Manitoba  Newfoundland  Nova Scotia 

 Ontario  Prince Edward Island Quebec  Saskatchewan 

This is only a partial listing and I'll add to it from time to time as I locate more sources of seeds and plants. I hope you find it useful. If you have a favourite Canadian supplier of plants and/or seeds that you would like to see added to this list please let me know.

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Here are some links to other sites you may find interesting:

Alberta Agriculture

a very interesting site with a lot of useful information

Brent's Bonsai Page

Brent has a catalogue here (he doesn't ship plants to Canada unfortunately) and lots of pictorial examples of bonsai, links and information.

Butchart Gardens

check out this site if you plan a visit to Vancouver Island

The Calgary Horticultural Society

a comprehensive site with events, links and membership information

Canadian Gardening Magazine

they have added a very interesting interactive gardening forum

Craig's Bonsai Page

a really great collection of bonsai links and pictures

Devonian Botanic Garden

information on what is happening at the gardens; courses available and much more

Gerald Filipski's Gardening Homepage

Gerald Filipski is a garden columnist for The Edmonton Journal; you can email him with gardening questions for his Q & A column.

I Can Garden

This is Donna Dawson's wonderful gardening website which is packed with useful information.

Internet Bonsai Club

if you are interested in bonsai, whether or not you have access to a local bonsai club, this site is worth investigating. You can subscribe to the free email list.

The Toronto Bonsai Society

lots of interesting bonsai info here

Dan Hubik's bonsai site

bonsai as an art and horticultural practice

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Here is a short listing of chats of interest to gardeners:

#bonsai on StarChat; Monday and Thursday evenings at 6:00pm Mountain Time. Server access as listed for the #prairiegarden chat above. Lively group with bonsai as the main topic. There is also browser access available for people with java-capable browsers.
For more information about and/or to access the chat select this link.
Sometimes the java chat is not available due to changes on the chat server over which I have no control.

#prairiegarden on StarChat; Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm Mountain Time. Server access through liquidnet.starchat.net on port 6667. Starnet's website is at http://www.starchat.net. This a chat with the focus on general "cold-climate" gardening mainly in zones 1 through 4. If there is enough interest some morning or afternoon chat times could also be arranged. Look for allium.
NOTE: I have now added (courtesy of StarChat) a javachat access to the prairiegarden chat. You need a java-capable browser take advantage of this.
To access the browser chat select this link.
Sometimes the java chat access will not be available due to changes on the chat server over which I have no control.

There is a garden chat available using your web browser; it is called Garden Escape. It is best to have Java installed to use this chat but not absolutely necessary as you are offered the choice. You can enter the chat as a "guest", in which case you will be assigned a chat name, or you can register (no charge) and pick your own chat name and password which you will use for future sessions. The website is Garden Escape and to enter the chat click on "Let's Talk Dirt". You can set refresh preferences - if you are used to irc you will want to set the fastest refresh rate you can; if you are not used to live chatting you can set a rate that suits you but you will probably soon find that you will want to see the refresh rate speeded up. When you explore the site you will see that there are special chats scheduled with 'experts' on hand who can answer your questions. If you find that irc is not for you then this is a reasonable alternative.

IRC is an interesting and easy way to talk to others in "real time". There are lots of very nice people on IRC who are very friendly and helpful. The chat channels I have described above are all moderated and controlled, no harassment is allowed. If you need help in getting on IRC, such as locating the necessary software programs please email me and I will do my best to help you get started.

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If the guestbook doesn't work,
just email me
and put Northern Garden in the subject.

Designed and copyright 1996-2000
by Hallie du Preez,
all rights reserved.