Natural Garden News from Grounded – April 27, 2024

Inside this edition of Natural Garden News

  • Wakey, wakey! Spring is springing!
  • Haliburton native plants explained
  • Useful gardens for those damp places
  • Recommended reading
  • Today’s VIP (Very Important Plant)
  • Right now in Haliburton County
  • From the socials

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

Simon Payn


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Wakey, wakey! Spring is springing!

With the early end to winter, it seems spring has taken a long time to get going. That feels especially true to impatient old me at Lucas House, Grounded’s demonstration garden in Haliburton village.

But things are happening. And they’ll ramp up as we go through May.

It’s a nail-biting time in the world of natural gardening. All those perennials have been waiting through the winter, ready to get going when the weather is warmer. There’s always the worry in my mind…will they actually turn green? Or are they all dead?!

The good news is, they’re starting. In this picture are Pearly Everlasting, Prairie Smoke, Black-eyed Susan, Heart-leaved Aster, Wild Strawberry and Slender Mountain Mint. Also showing some green but not pictured are Nodding Onion and Bottlebrush Grass.

Bottlebrush grass is a cool-season grass, which means it greens up in the spring but might go dormant in the summer when it’s hot. That’s in contrast to the, you guessed it, warm-season grasses, which need the summer heat to get going.

One thing I learned from Lucas House for future gardens is to include more cool-season grasses, so they green up earlier. After all, I don’t want Grounded’s gardens to look brown when all those cool-seaon (and non-native) lawns are a lush green. Right now, a lot of the grasses at Lucas House, such as Little Bluestem, will need another few weeks to look alive.

Spring is springing! Now I just have to wait… But it won’t be long!


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.

Haliburton native plants explained

An in-depth look at the benefits of native plants, how we decide what’s native to Haliburton County, and a list of plants considered native. Read more.

Useful gardens for those damp places

There are many ways to create a natural garden – and some of those can fulfil vital roles for us. A look at bioswales, SuDS and rain gardens. Read more.

Recommended reading

Native Plants are Not Yard Ornaments: Greatest title ever – and so true. This article is about the shift we need to make from seeing plants as pretty things in the garden to something more holistic. As we say here, Gardening for Life. Read more.

“How strange to be a species that engineers its own demise”: The wonderful Robin Wall Kimmerer on why we need to think of ourselves as part of nature, not separate from it. Don’t know who she is? Rush to Master’s Book Store right away and buy Braiding Sweetgrass. It’s my book of the decade. Read more.

Dead right: We’re familiar with snags here in Haliburton County. They’re those bare, dead trees – a drumming joy for woodpeckers and home to thousands of insects. But have you thought about leaving them as sculpture in your garden? 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.

Today’s VIP (Very Important Plant)

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.

Today let’s look at Lanceleaf Coreopsis

  • Common Name: Lanceleaf Coreopsis
  • Scientific Name: Coreopsis lanceolata
  • Layer: Groundcover, Vignette, Structure
  • Light Conditions: Sun, Part-sun, Shade
  • Soil Conditions: Dry, Moist-drained, Moist
  • Bloom Colour: Yellow
  • Season of Interest: Summer
  • Suitable for: Lawn replacement, Septic bed, Shoreline
  • Description: A forgiving powerhouse that attracts pollinators like crazy, plus its sunny yellow flowers start in summer and just keep going before happily setting seed.

Right now in Haliburton County

A big round of applause today to Minden Hills council. They’ve voted to apply to become a Bee City.

The Highlander reports: Bee City Canada is a federally-recognized charitable organization with the goal to educate Canadians about the importance of pollinators and to inspire action to ensure pollinator habitat protection.

This means the township could see all sorts of wonderful things, such as using native plant seeds to cover landfills, or creating pollinator gardens or a wildflower meadow at township parks.

All this comes hot on the heels of the Master Gardeners creating a self-guided tour of the Riverwalk, which points out the native plants that grow there.

We could also be seeing the celebration of Pollinator Week in June.

Kudos to Minden for leading the way.


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From the socials

Here’s Rebecca McMackin on…arrrgghhhh… ticks! One reason people are reluctant to have meadow or prairie-type natural gardens is because they think ticks lurk in the long grass. But the truth is, they hang out mostly somewhere else. Watch the video to see where.

One of these logs is not like the others.

(Rufus says Hi!)

Thank you for reading!