About

Welcome to The Laptop Gardener

This is a combination website and blog where I can share with you all manner of things that I find interesting and informative about gardening.  So there’s a little about garden design, some tips on how to garden more successfully, a smidgen of serious news that might affect your garden, lots of great plants to know and love, plenty about gardens to visit in North America and beyond, new plants, garden book reviews and anything else that strikes my fancy.

 

A favourite bench to enjoy the rose garden at the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden and School of Horticulture in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

A favourite bench to enjoy the rose garden at the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden and School of Horticulture in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

 

I have had dirt between my toes and under my finger nails since I could first crawl – so all this love of gardening and plants just seems to come naturally.  No wait, I usually just blame my mother for my “hooked on horticulture disease.”  And my mom got her love of gardening from mother and on and on it goes.  Growing up I remember spending a lot of time investigating the nearby fields and woods and travelling to stay for many delightful summers on my grandparent’s farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.  Us kids spent our time yelling “coboss” to help bring in the dairy cows at the end of the day, helping harvest on the big hillside vegetable garden and lending a hand with the hay and wheat harvest.  Add to this the egg harvesting and playing in the big red barn and the picture is almost complete.

At home growing up in Ontario, Canada, there was always a vegetable garden in the back yard with asparagus, beans, tomatoes, lettuce and other homegrown foods.  We lived in an area in between two of the Great Lakes making it ideal for fruit growing, so my daily walk to school would pass peach, cherry, plum, apricot and apple orchards alternating with grape vines.  Early summer always meant helping to pick the various fruit crops for some spending money.  Down the street was a family owned fruit cannery that specialized in canning tomatoes and fruit jams and jellies.  The whole town had the scent of ketchup in the air when the tomato processing season started.  This was replaced by the sweet fragrance of ripening grapes in the fall.

 

 

Enjoying the streetside window boxes on an Amsterdam canal house.

Enjoying the streetside window boxes on an Amsterdam canal house.

From growing up in a small town, adult life meant a move to the “big city” and a postage stamp size townhouse garden in Toronto.  Escaping the city a few years later would find me in suburbia and the first opportunity to design and plant a substantial size garden.  Needless to say it did end up being filled to capacity very quickly.  There was just too much of a repressed need to plant and grow so many great plants that they almost all ended up in this one garden.

Far from the gardening world of my formative years, life now finds me in Texas where summer, the big bully, seems to dominate the seasons with months of triple digit temperatures and 300+ days of sunshine.  Gardening takes on a whole new challenge here.  But with the soil and climate extremes here comes a big appreciation for the fortitude of plants and a new meaning to the mantra “pick the right plant for the right place.”  I have visited many very beautiful gardens in my new hometown and now have a resolve to discard my previous vision of what my garden will look like.  I too can tame this wild frontier and garden anew again.

 

Cheery sunflower greetings at the floating flower market (Bloemenmarkt) in Amsterdam.

Cheery sunflowers greet customers at the floating flower market (Bloemenmarkt) in Amsterdam.

 

And if I need further inspiration or determination, all I need to do is turn on the computer and share some insight with you.  Perhaps a little bit of my lifelong gardening bug will find its way to inspire you in your garden. 

“When gardeners garden, it is not just plants that grow, but the gardeners themselves.”  Thanks to Ken Druse for this quote that shows his wonderful insight (he also creates spectacular photography and beautiful books).

Happy Gardening!

To contact the Laptop Gardener send an email to gardener (at) laptopgardener (dot) com.

 

A magical moment in the waterlily display after dark at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

A magical moment in the waterlily display after dark at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.