Does that tree have leaves under the snow?

hornbeamwinterWe may be in the dead of winter, temperatures have dipped as low as -40C with the windchill in my neighbourhood but there are still leaves on many of the trees – in fact the tree in this photo is in my front garden!

These trees, which include Oaks, Beeches and Hornbeams are known to exhibit marcescence.

The Latin term marcescent means “to wither or shrivel” – which perfectly describes these trees. In marcescence species the foliage is essentially dead and dry, and is held on the tree until spring when the new foliage emerges and pushes the old off. This may occur on the whole plant or just parts of the plant and may disappear as the plant ages.

There are many theories behind why this phenomenon takes place – from protection from predators such as deer (these trees are less tasty as they do not go through the process of shutting down and shedding their leaves), to creating more mulch by shedding their leaves in the spring.  And lets not forget that many birds and other creatures will take refuge behind those leaves during the cold of the winter months!

I often use these species in my designs to provide much needed winter interest in the garden. The leaves on the trees are excellent visual interest as well as providing sound with the rustling of the leaves in the wind. Many varieties of Oaks, Beech and Hornbeam  also make excellent species for planting near pools as the leaves will not drop while the pool is open.

Next time you take a walk through your neighbourhood or the forest take a look. Are there tree exhibiting signs of marcescence? Can you identify them?


Pantone Colour of the Year 2018

pantone18collagePantone has released their colour of the year for 2018 and it is one of my personal favourites. This year, plan to see lots of “Ultra Violet” on the shelves of your favourite home décor stores, hanging in your favourite boutiques and yes, in your local garden center!

Purple is a colour I use a lot in the garden, in fact I even have a “Purple Garden”. Purple helps add depth and dimension to the garden. Using plants with purple blooms helps create spaces of tranquility and places that people want to gather. Purple provides a sense of calm – making it the perfect colour to use in the garden as well as many other spaces such as yoga studios, meditation rooms, etc. In addition to adding purple in the form of plants to your gardens, you can also use purple cushions, pots and furnishings to add this important colour detail to your outdoor space.

Samples of purple flowers to use in your garden includes: Lavender, Hydrangea, Pansies, Allium, Cat Mint, Clematis, Sage, Liatrus, Balloon Flower, Cone Flower and many many more!

Ultra Violet (Pantone Color #18-3838) “communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.” (source


The Joys Of Your Own Garden

It isn’t surprising that surveys indicate that about 80 percent of Americans enjoy maintaining a home garden and spending time in it. Many people find that a well kept and attractive garden can be a welcome respite from the stresses of everyday life; in fact, spending time in the garden is one of the most popular ways to relax and unwind.

The most popular choice of flower for a home garden is roses, and many people begin to create their ideal garden space by planting and cultivating flowers of some sort. If you are just starting out with your own garden, there are plenty of choices of flowers to choose from; keep in mind that to successfully grow roses in your outdoor space takes more time and effort than other types of flowers.

Vegetable gardens are popular with many people, and they have the added advantage that you can eat the finished product; few things taste better than vegetables grown in your own garden Choosing which vegetables to plant can be more difficult than you might think, given the variety available. Zucchini, cucumber and green beans are all good examples of vegetables that are more suited to gardening in a cooler climate, and it’s important to plant vegetables that are suited to the climate you live in.

Many gardeners like to grow fruit trees, and again the type of fruit should be chosen based on the weather where you live, such as apricots or peaches in a warmer climate. If you are short of space, you may want to consider planting a berry garden and this type of garden is also fairly easy to care for. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are the most common berry choices, although there are also other less well-known types of berry.

If space is limited and you want something easy to maintain, you may want to consider a herb garden and you can also have a herb garden inside your home. And herbs, of course, can be used in cooking; some of the popular ones include basil, thyme, parsley, and cilantro.

Grasses and shrubbery are simple yet effective ways to landscape your outdoor space, and you can make your garden interesting and attractive by adding statues, rocks, ponds and other features. Maintaining your lawn and shrubbery is just as important as looking after your plants and flowers.

If you are looking for an enjoyable and educational hobby for the whole family, gardening is an obvious choice, and seeing your plants bloom can bring an immense feeling of pride to any gardener. Of course, you will need to maintain your garden, whether you have a herb, fruit or vegetable garden and perseverance, dedication and the willingness to learn something new are all essential for any gardener. But the rewards of a well kept and cared for garden make the effort worthwhile.

Winter Plant Protection

Landscaping is a big investment and many of your shrubs and trees may need a bit of TLC before the harsh weather of winter arrives. Often as we drive through the neighbourhood we see shrubs and trees wrapped in burlap and you may wonder why these plants are wrapped?

There are three main reasons that plants are wrapped during the winter months:

  • To protect your plants from drying winds
  • To protect your plants from road salt
  • To prevent damage from snow and ice

So how do you wrap your plants? There are two methods that work well depending on the situation and location of your plants:

  • Wrapping the entire plant – burlap can be wrapped around the plants and then secured with twine to protect the plant and support from snow and ice over the winter months.
  • Creating a fence (best when wrapping larger groups of plants or plants that border a building) – to create a fence use 1×2 stakes and build a fence around the plants you want to protect. It is best to put the stakes in the ground before the ground freezes then go back once the weather has turned colder and attach burlap to the stakes to protect the plants.

Jodie Munshaw CLD – Landscape Designs by Jodie Munshaw

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Splitting Perennials

After a few years perennials tend to become a bit overgrown and leggy, afterall plants are a living thing and therefore require maintenance. Perennials need to have some special attention paid to them every two to three years to keep them looking their best.

Splitting perennials is a relatively simple process and one that keeps these plants in tiptop shape. In simple terms, splitting perennials simply means taking one plant and turning it into two, or three!

Tools Required

  • a spade
  • a knife with a serrated blade
  • a water source
  • a pair of pruners
  1. Ensure that your tools are all clean and have been sterilized (this can be done by using rubbing alcohol on the blades). This step is important so you don’t potentially transfer disease
  2. Dig out around the perennial you are going to split – remember to take as many of the roots as possible.
  3. Remove the perennial from the ground.
  4. Using your hands, carefully part the stems of the plant so you can see the roots.
  5. Using the spade or knife, divide the perennial into two (or more) pieces, cutting through the crown of the plant.
  6. Remove any dead leaves, stems, flowers from the perennial.
  7. Replant the perennial in the desired location.
  8. Water thoroughly.

Fall is the perfect time to split many of your perennials. And remember, if you have too many perennials after splitting, your family and friends are always happy to share in your bounty!

Jodie Munshaw CLD

Landscape Designs by Jodie Munshaw

705 828 2758


Provincial Flowers

Did you know each province has a provincial flower? Below is a list of each provinces flower!

  • British Columbia – Dogwood
  • Alberta – Wild Rose
  • Saskatchewan – Orange-Red Lily
  • Manitoba – Prairie Crocus
  • Ontario – Trillium
  • Quebec – Iris Versicolour
  • New Brunswick – Purple Violet
  • Nova Scotia – Trailing Arbitus
  • Newfoundland – Pitcher Plant
  • PEI – Lady’s Slipper
  • Yukon – Magenta-Purple Fireweed
  • NWT – Mountain Avens
  • Nunavut – Purple Saxifrage