Natural Garden News from Grounded – June 22

Inside this edition of Natural Garden News

  • What the Highlands and plants have in common
  • If you want a Grounded garden…
  • A look at two gardens we installed this spring
  • How to weed native plant gardens
  • Today’s recommended reading
  • Today’s VIP (Very Important Plant)
  • This week in the the Highlands
  • 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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What the Highlands and plants have in common

People come to the Highlands for the trees and lakes. They stay for the community.

That’s certainly been true for me. I came as a cottager in 2005 and moved up here permanently in 2009. That’s when I saw how amazing this community is.

At the Home Show the other weekend, exhibitors from elsewhere in Ontario told me the Haliburton one is one of the best attended. I said: that is because this community supports each other.

How does this relate to our gardens and shorelines? One thing I’ve noticed is that in traditional horticulture, people see their gardens as a collection of plants rather than as a whole entity. Each plant is separate. So if one individual gets eaten by deer, it’s distressing. And if another blooms hugely one year, it’s for celebration.

What if instead we saw our landscapes as communities? Instead of a collection of individuals, we have a functioning community, where each individual plant supports the others to make the whole better?

Then, if one plant gets nibbled, it’s no big deal. What we look at is the whole. Is it thriving? Is it being its best self?

I could never move back to Toronto. Not only would the traffic and busyness stress me out, but I would also miss the Highlands community. I’d miss hearing how one family helps each other. I’d miss saying hello to familiar faces on Maple Avenue.

Communities – ecosystems – is how nature works. Plants depend on each other, on microorganisms, on fungi, and on animals. We’re part that ecosystem too. That’s how we all thrive.


If you want a Grounded garden…

I’m now booking garden and shoreline installs for this fall and next spring.

If you’re interested in working with me, don’t wait until then. I use the summer to prepare your site and to work on plant lists and designs.

I’m happy to come out and look at your site for no charge and with no obligation. If we’re not a fit, we’ll depart as friends. Just click the button below.

A look at two gardens we installed this spring

Here are two Haliburton native plant landscapes Grounded has installed this past month. One is a dry prairie-style garden on a septic leach bed, the other is a shade garden on a steep slope. Read more.

How to weed native plant gardens

I was out weeding the garden at Lucas House this week, before it got too hot. Just an hour later, I felt 100 times better. Read more.

Today’s recommended reading

Death and mosquitos: A salesperson visited my home last week trying to sell me a “natural” mosquito killer. I told him no. Spraying, even if it’s “natural”, is damaging. Here’s why – and how to deal with mosquitos in less harmful ways. Read more.

Transforming streets – and minds: I adored this article on people who have created pollinator corridors in Melbourne, Australia. It delves not just into why they’re a good thing but also how culture affects our relationship with nature. A must-read. Read more.

Lawn be gone! Here’s a good CBC report on replacing lawns with native plants. I don’t agree with everything in this video, but the overall message is excellent. Watch it.

Lawn be gone! (2): Here’s a video on using cardboard and mulch to remove a lawn. While it’s made in Los Angeles, the same principles apply here. It’s the most detailed explanation I’ve seen. Watch it.

Get the free guide

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

Now booking garden and shoreline 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 Heart-Leaved Aster

  • Common Name: Heart-leaved Aster
  • Scientific Name: Symphyotrichum cordifolium
  • Layer: Vignette
  • Light Conditions: Part-sun, Shade
  • Soil Conditions: Moist-drained, Moist
  • Bloom Colour: White
  • Season of Interest: Fall
  • Suitable for: Lawn replacement, Septic bed, Shoreline
  • Description: A snack before bed? This aster blooms late in the season, providing essential nutrients for pollinators before they hibernate-and bonus colour for you.

This week in the Highlands

I took a stroll along the Minden Riverwalk this week in the blazing heat (‘cuz I’m silly). The native plants there are looking pretty good! There are more shrubs than I would use in my gardens (unless it’s a woodland edge), and so they are taller. I love the way the plants are knitting together.

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From the socials

I love these pictures of a meadow planting around a parking lot of a museum in Seattle.

It’s a good illustration of the dense, matrix-style planting I advocate, with a groundcover layer – in this case of grasses – with various flowering perennials poking up throughout.

It’s wonderful! Click the images to see the actual post.

Rufus says Hi!

Thank you for reading!