Image of Canada Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis) showing its wheat-like seed head.

Natural Garden News from Grounded – April 13, 2024

Inside this edition of Natural Garden News

  • It starts with one plant
  • Exploring the groundcover layer: grasses and sedges
  • Finally…the book I’ve been waiting for
  • Recommended reading
  • 30 native plants for Haliburton County
  • Right now in Haliburton The Universe
  • From the socials

I hope you enjoy the newsletter! If you have any questions or feedback, please reply to this email.

Simon Payn


Follow Grounded on the socials!

It starts with one plant

If you’re reading this, you already know how bad the biodiversity crisis is. You don’t need me to bang on about it.

A crisis that comes a close second is our own mental health crisis: faced with this environmental nightmare, we feel powerless. It’s so big…and we’re so small.

Grounded’s garden at Lucas House joined the Homegrown National Park biodiversity map this week. Because with the nearly 2,000 native plants there, we’re doing our bit.

And that’s the point. We might think we’re powerless, but we’re not. We can do something, even if in the face of things our efforts seem small.

That something starts with planting one native plant. All these small actions add up.

There are more than 38,000 gardens as part of the network, which aims to create habitat across Canada and the United States. Could you join it this spring?

After all, as we say here: A better world starts just outside your door.


P.S. I will have native plants for sale at the back of Lucas House starting the May long weekend. Reply to this message and I’ll give you the list of what will be available.

Exploring the groundcover layer: native grasses and sedges

The secret to natural gardens often lies hidden in plain sight: within the groundcover layer. These unassuming plants play a pivotal role in the structure and sustainability of native plant gardens, providing an ecological foundation that supports biodiversity. Read more.

Finally… the book I’ve been waiting for!

As someone keen to learn as much as I can about our native plants so I can create locally appropriate gardens and shorelines, finding information has been something of a treasure hunt to piece together a picture of what grows here in Haliburton County. This book goes a long way towards solving that problem – in a beautiful, useful format. Read more

Recommended reading

The ‘Rembrandt of Gardeners’: Take a look at this Piet Oudolf garden taking shape. Oudolf is one of my heroes. The plantsman behind New York’s High Line and Chicago’s Lurie Garden, among many others, Oudolf is a pioneer in naturalistic garden design. Read more.

Growing wild: Kate McMackin sums up why we need natural gardens in this watchable TED talk video. Watch it.

Plan bee: Some excellent reporting by The Washington Post on how honeybee numbers are booming, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. To support biodiversity we need native bees, and there’s a danger they get displaced by honeybees which are in effect livestock. The answer, surprise, surprise, is to plant native flowers on farms and gardens. Read more.

Get the free guide

I’ve updated my guide to natural gardens in Haliburton County and surrounding areas.

Now booking Spring installs

If you’d like me to come and look at your garden or shoreline, please fill out the inquiry form.

3o native plants for Haliburton County

If you’re following Grounded on Facebook or Instagram (if not, click on the links to follow!), you’ll have seen I’ve been posting information about native plants. I’ve spent a bunch of time putting together these information “cards”, which you can also see on my website here. I hope you find them useful and interesting.

Right now in Haliburton The Universe

I travelled to southwest Ontario on Monday to see the total solar eclipse without clouds.

It was one of the most memorable days of my life.

I don’t have any fancy pictures to share with you, but I will tell this story:

We were watching through our special glasses as the sun became an ever-smaller crescent. Then came the second when it disappeared and all we could see was blackness.

It was only then that I remembered we could take off our glasses. So we did and there was a collective gasp of “wow!”).

This wasn’t the kind of “wow” you get in a home makeover show on HGTV, it was a genuine expression of awe. Because here, in front of us, was the universe in action. We take the sun for granted: it’s always there, day after day, without fail. So when for a couple of minutes it isn’t…well, we look at it differently.

We see our place in the universe, utterly dependent on that shining star. We realize we’re nothing without it, just as we’re nothing without all the other elements that make up the world.

That’s a game-changer, a mind-shifter.

And to bring us back to natural gardens, it’s the realization that one thing is nothing without the other that makes it so vital we garden for life, not just for ourselves. I think it’s the only way to be in this universe.


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From the socials

This is the best Instagram post I’ve seen all month so far. The first image is how a naturalized garden by Kelly Norris looked last summer…

And the second, below, is how it looks this spring. I can’t tell you how good this makes me feel as I wait for the garden at Lucas House to green up. Plants grow…we just need patience!

Rufus would say Hello if it wasn’t too much of an effort.

Thank you for reading!



123 Maple Avenue, Haliburton, ON K0M 1S0

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