Natural Garden News from Grounded – June 8

Inside this edition of Natural Garden News

  • Welcome to our new friends from the home show!
  • Will the deer eat these plants?
  • If you want a Grounded garden…
  • Do you really need that many plants?
  • My most important advice to the owners of new gardens
  • Today’s recommended reading
  • Today’s VIP (Very Important Plant)
  • This week in the garden
  • 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!

Welcome to our new friends from the Home Show!

It was wonderful to see some subscribers at the home show. And to meet so many new subscribers. Welcome!

I hope you enjoy the newsletter. You can download the guide to natural gardens from a link halfway down. And if you find the newsletter is not for you, just click the unsubscribe link at the bottom. (I’ll be sad but I’ll get over it.)

We have a winner of our native plant giveaway! Congratulations to Charmaine C of Kashagawigamog Lake! Your 20 plants will be on your doorstep soon.

Will the deer eat these plants?

At the home show last weekend when I was selling native plants, the #1 question (and #2 and #3) was: will the deer eat these?

(Also: what lies will you tell about the deer not eating these?)

Fair questions! We have, you may have noticed, lots of deer around here. And they like to eat plants.

Here’s my answer: there is no such thing as a totally deer-resistant plant. But these native plants have a better chance of being nibble-free than most.

Deer can be capricious beasts. I heard stories of a Hydrangea that lasted many years before – suddenly and apparently without reason – being eaten to the ground. Or Hostas that survived when all the neighbours’ plants had gone to the great salad bar in the sky.

Here is the definition of a native plant I like to use: a plant that has co-evolved with other plants and animals in its area. In other words, it’s a plant that fits nicely into the mosaic of ecology, where everything is in balance.

This co-evolution has led to some plants being less attractive to deer – it’s how they survive. And those that are attractive to deer have the ability to bounce back. So unless the deer population is out of whack (and, to be fair, it might be if deer are fed and wolves are scarce), everything works out just fine.

For the anxious owner of a natural garden, “just fine” means that deer will nibble some plants, but not all of them. They’re less likely to nibble native plants than non-native plants (which haven’t done the whole co-evolution thing).

And finally, as we plant so many plants because we’re mimicking a natural environment (instead of a few specimen exotics), if the deer eat a few, we don’t notice.

By and large, it all works out just fine.


If you want a Grounded garden…

We have only one more installation booked for this spring. The next ones will be in the fall or spring 2025.

However, if you’re interested in working with us, don’t wait until then. We use the summer to prepare your site and to work on plant lists and designs.

We’re 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.

Do you really need that many plants?

Homeowners (and some gardeners) are sometimes shocked by how many plants I order. But there’s a good reason for that. Read more.

My most important advice to the owners of new gardens

When I install a new garden, I provide a handbook, explaining the plants in the garden and how to manage the garden in the future. Of all the advice in the handbook, this is the most important. Read more.

Today’s recommended reading

Drama in every bush: I adore this article about the Common Milkweed. It shows how by looking closely at something, not only do we truly understand it and the role it plays in the web of life, but we understand our own role in the world also. Read more.

When a book and a woman prevailed: What if Rachel Carson’s society-shifting work, Silent Spring, were published today? Read more

What plant is that? Here’s a very clear guide to identifying various native plants. Yes, it’s from Connecticut, but we have many of the same plants here. Read more.

The windshield phenomenon: Roads kill. Not just raccoons, deer and turtles, but also insects – witness your windshield. And yes, there are fewer insects splatted there than there used to be. Read this fascinating essay by one of my favourite writers on the effect of humans on the natural world. Read more.

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 Smooth Rose

  • Scientific Name: Rosa blanda
  • Layer: Structure
  • Light Conditions: Sun, Part-sun
  • Soil Conditions: Dry, Moist-drained, Moist
  • Bloom Colour: Pink
  • Season of Interest: Summer
  • Suitable for: Lawn replacement, Shoreline
  • Description: This rose just wants to give, with its summer nectar from pink flowers and fall hips for the birds. And what’s more, it has virtually no thorns. So kind!

This week in the garden

Our plants sometimes come already infested – and we’re proud of that!

Here’s a Pearly Everlasting that I planted in a garden this week. Several of the plants have leaves that are stuck together, making them look a bit sick. But fear not! These are the protective “tents” woven by the caterpillars of the American Lady butterfly! And as you can see, here’s one of those very caterpillars.

So yes, they’ve infested. But when you’re gardening for life, you welcome these signs of nature doing its thing. Indeed, if this wasn’t happening, we’d be failing.

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From the socials

Our world tour of Instagram continues. We’ve been to New Zealand and Australia, now we’re in England.

This is the planting by Nigel Dunnett of the moat of the Tower of London. I love it. There’s something about naturalistic planting that is old-fashioned and meadowy, and yet modern at the same time – just like the contrast of buildings in this image. (Click the post for more.)

This type of planting is the future. It’s what we aspire to at Grounded, but using Ontario native plants.

Rufus says let’s go, we have work to do!

Thank you for reading!