Natural Garden News from Grounded – May 11

Inside this edition of Natural Garden News

  • A message of joy and hope
  • New book about ecological landscaping in the Highlands
  • My list of books, articles and other helpful resources
  • Today’s 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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A message of joy and hope

Today’s introduction will start a little gloomy but it will end on a positive, hopeful note. Please stick with me as this message is important.

Here’s the gloomy stuff. I read in The Guardian this week that climate scientists believe we will blast past the 1.5C target because we’re not doing enough to fight climate change.

Second, Facebook brought back a “memory” from ten years ago. It was a post where I said bugs were splattering on my windshield like it was raining. I got to thinking: that doesn’t happen much anymore, does it?

We all know the mess we’re in with the climate and biodiversity. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t care about it. But we also feel powerless.

I think that powerless feeling can lead us to put our heads in the sand and try to forget about it. Otherwise we’d be wracked by fear and guilt. The trouble is, when we do that, we fall into a kind of cognitive dissonance: deep down we know we need to be concerned but we’re trying not to feel it.

The reason I quit my previous job to launch Grounded was because I stumbled upon a way to do something about it in a very direct way. Creating natural gardens and planting native plants isn’t going to change the world all by itself, but it changes my small part of the world.

I want the garden at Lucas House to be a source of joy and inspiration. I hope each natural landscape I create will be another source. Each of these small landscapes adds up, each helps spread the message, and each is a seed of hope… and of power.

You don’t need to start big. One plant will do. This week I noticed one of the Wild Strawberries I planted at Lucas House was blooming, and on that little white flower was a pollinator, head in the yellow pollen.

That brought a spike of joy and hope. It was more than enough to get me through the day.


P.S. I will have native plants for sale at from “The Chicken Run” 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.

New Book about Ecological Landscaping in the Highlands

This new guide from Haliburton County Master Gardeners provides an excellent overview of what ecological landscaping is – and how you can transform your landscape into something that’s beautiful to you and to the rest of nature. Read more and find out how to get your own copy.

My list of books, articles and other helpful resources

Here are books and articles about natural gardens and landscapes I’ve found essential reading. I’ll keep the list updated with any new stuff I can. Read more.

Today’s recommended reading

Canadians who are ditching lawns for biodiversity: Super article in The Globe and Mail that talks about exactly the kind of thing we advocate for here. Read more (link bypasses paywall).

40 useful garden design tips: Plenty to keep you busy here…and lots that I find myself nodding my head to. Such as this one: You’ll never regret more plants. Read more.

It’s not about cleaning up: Here’s a great take on the whole “when is it time to clean up the garden?” debate. Benjamin Vogt says it’s not about cleaning up. Nature doesn’t need cleaning up. And I agree: Gardening for life means we learn to think differently. WWND? (What Would Nature Do?) 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 Spotted Joe Pye Weed

  • Common Name: Spotted Joe Pye Weed
  • Scientific Name: Eutrochium maculatum
  • Layer: Groundcover, Vignette, Structure
  • Light Conditions: Sun, Part-sun, Shade
  • Soil Conditions: Dry, Moist-drained, Moist
  • Bloom Colour: purple
  • Season of Interest: Summer
  • Suitable for: Lawn replacement, Septic bed, Shoreline
  • Description: You’ve seen this plant in our roadside ditches, but why not plant it and keep pollinators happy? As a bonus, its seed heads stay all winter like sculptures.
  • Native to Haliburton County

Right now in Haliburton County

May is when it all happens. The end of the month looks very different to the start of the month. A week ago, there were no leaves on the trees. Today, there’s green everywhere.

Here are some pictures of spring in Haliburton County.

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From the socials

Fishermans Bay Garden isn’t in Ontario. It’s in New Zealand. I don’t even know if it uses New Zealand native plants.

But I think it’s wonderful: the perfect blend of gardens and stunning natural scenery.

Click on the image below to watch a video of it, or go see many more pictures on Instagram here.

Rufus says Hi!

(And when can I get in the boat?)

Thank you for reading!