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Trim with Care: Line-Trimmers

Line-trimmers are great for grass but can be deadly for trees. A peek inside a tree shows why. Bark is composed of a protective, corky outer layer and an inner layer of phloem, which is essential for transporting sugars. In...

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Dried Flowers

Nowhere is change more evident than in the garden. A bloom that was perfect only a day ago can quickly become a little tired, or succumb to a hungry beetle. Seize the moment and consider drying some specimens from the...

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Chrysanthemums: Mums for Moms

The chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China in the 15th century and was introduced to the Western world during the 17th century. While the earliest illustrations of chrysanthemums show them as small, daisy-like flowers, hybridizers have developed a veritable rainbow...

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With Flying Colours

Spring is, as they say, bustin’ out all over, and some of the most visible activity in our gardens comes not from the plants, but from the birds that have chosen to nest in our yards. Our province’s resident birds,

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Garden of Enchantment

To stroll through the garden of Margaret Baxter in one of the leafy purlieus of Greater Victoria is to feel oneself in the glades of some enchanted semi-tropical isle straight from the imagination of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. For here, as...

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Dilly Beans

• 2 quarts (2.2 L) whole green beans • 4 whole heads of fresh dill, one per jar • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled • 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) dried red pepper flakes per jar (or to...

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Bountiful Beans

While it may be possible to buy beans in season at your local supermarket, nothing compares to these tasty morsels plucked fresh from the vine for maximum snap and flavour. Luckily, it’s not difficult to grow a wide selection of...

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Sweet Beets

Are your beet roots bitter or stunted? This is not uncommon in coastal areas of B.C. where soil can be acidic. For beets, any reading under a pH of 6.5 is too sour. Sweeten the soil by working in plenty...

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Cucumbers Revealed

Gardeners often complain that their cucumber plants stop producing fruit early in the season. How can this be prevented? The secret is to pick the fruit young and often. The cucumber’s life cycle is dedicated to propagating seeds. As long...

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Eye on Potatoes

Did you know that if whole, sprouted seed potatoes are planted in the spring, your potato yield will almost double? The tubers themselves may be a bit smaller than if the traditional cut seed potato eyes were used, but the...

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Rambling Roses

All gardeners can name the time each year when their garden reaches its peak, the moment that they wait all year to witness. It may come with a display of spring bulbs, or the hues and textures of a brilliant...

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Eryngium

So I brought in lavenders, phormiums, and thrift - by the dozen - Achemilla mollis (lady's mantle) rhizomes by the score, Senecio greyi, heathers and (a mistake, this) Berberis (barberry). And then I came across sea hollies, or Eryngium, as...

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Prolong Perennial Blooms

Planning an early-autumn outdoor wedding? Prolong or delay the flowering of hardy perennials by selective hard-pruning. When monkshood (Aconitum spp.) reaches one metre in late May or early June, carefully (and courageously) remove the top one-third, flowerbuds and all. Or prune...

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Grow Apples in Your Backyard

Growing beautiful and delicious backyard apples isn’t hard to do in south coastal B.C. Diseases and insects can be a problem, but one or two trees in a garden attract far fewer pests than do thousands of trees in an...

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Dry Flowers

A bloom that was perfect only a day ago can quickly become a little tired, or succumb to a hungry beetle. Seize the moment and consider drying some specimens from the garden in a flower press. They make a delightful...

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Tomato Tips

Gardeners generally associate any abnormal plant development with a plant disease. Some diseases are a result of an infectious organism, such as a fungus, invading the plant. But many plant problems are simply due to poor cultural or environmental conditions.

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