Author: Marion Robertson

As we build our new website, customers are asking many interesting questions. Top of the list is what separates us from the rest of the pack. There are at least 25+ answers. So let’s get started.

First and foremost, we are solely Ontario sourced seeds. Absolutely all our stock is grown from hand collected seeds derived from Ontario. Just because growing and gardening centers advertise native stocks does not mean that these stocks are Ontario sourced. In fact, many native stocks are imported from the States and resold here.


recycled plant pots

Many of our customers ask us about the funky pots at our nursery. To some people they look unprofessional and helter skelter but to us they are our badge of honor. We ask clients to bring back all pots and containers so that they can be reused, again and again, until they fall apart. Only at this time do we take them away to be recycled. Just one way our nursery walks a little softer on the Earth and implements low impact practices.

People assume that work at a nursery stops once the trees go dormant. Far from it. As a matter of fact, I am still seed collecting for next year. We are now harvesting the conifers, such as the fir. We hand collect all our seeds that we use at the nursery. Proud to say that all stock is Ontario sourced.

Conifer cones


Check out our amazing artisan soaps. We have, also, launched a new line of specialty soaps. Great stocking stuffers.

People are asking what the logo we are sporting on our website is about. The ‘In the Zone’ program is a joint venture between Carolinian Canada and World Wildlife Fund to connect citizens and gardeners to healthy landscapes, trails and gardens. The ‘In the Zone’ program wants to celebrate our native plants and wildlife. When you join this program you can receive free gardening resources.


In a previous blog, I mentioned the Whorled Milkweed. Even though there are 72 native milkweeds throughout North America, of which 7 are native to Ontario, we only ever see 3 types being offered for sale by growers and garden centers. Why? In most instances, the other varieties of milkweed had been eliminated from the landscape. We decided to bring some of these species back.

One of the first reintroductions was the Whorled Milkweed. Germination of this plant was great and it grew well. We were delighted to enter on our online inventory 80 plants for sale…….then the Monarchs found us. They laid eggs, not once, not twice, but three times on these new plants. In frustration, I had to tarp the plants to discourage any further egg laying by the Monarchs and pull the 80 plants from the inventory.

So by pooling our observations and doing some research we began to understand the Monarchs behaviour. Firstly, most butterflies will lay eggs on tender, young plants and growth compared to older plants. The Whorled Milkweed has very slender, tender leaves that the Monarch find undeniable. The female butterfly seeks this kind of milkweed out even though swamp, butterfly weed and upland milkweed are present.

The Monarch and nature taught us some lessons this year and we will be more prepared to grow Whorled Milkweed next spring. Who knows, maybe next year we might even be able to sell it!

So many people despair when considering plantings with walnut. They would rather get rid of these magnificent trees instead of investigating compatible plantings. The group of plants that can survive and grow harmoniously with walnuts is extensive.

Please follow the link to the listing. There are always choices when planting to walnut.

Happy gardening.

Last year, we had a bus tour coincide with the blooming of the false indigo. I love the way one of the passengers described the plant. ‘Pollinators just don’t love this plant, they attack it!’ And he was right. There were insects everywhere. Some were on the plant and others hover waiting for their opportunity.

I disappointed a lot of people that day by saying we had no false indigo. We had been trying different recommendations from different sources but nothing seemed to work. Got lucky on the 3rd attempt. Finally…we have false indigo.

Seriously, there are plants that pollinators love and then…there is the false indigo.

People have been inquiring if the nursery is open and what events we might be attending. I promise, in the winter, I will create a calendar for all this information on the website. But for now this blog will have to do. I am super busy seed collecting, transplanting and going to sales.

So the nursery is open. Please do drop by but just let us know when you are coming since we are doing alot of offsite beekeeping. Here is a listing of places to find us in the near future.

Aberfoyle Farmers Market Saturday August 31 from 8 – 1 pm. 23 Wellington 46, Puslinch

Dundas Farmers Market Thursday Sept 19 and 26. Thursday October 3,10,17 and 24 from 3 – 7 pm 11 Millers Lane, Hamilton

2019 Native Plant Sale at the Royal Botanical Gardens Saturday September 21 from 9 – 3 pm. At the Arboretum at 16 Old Guelph Rd, Hamilton

Many customers browse through our current inventory and place an order to be picked up at one of these events we are attending. For some people this saves alot in time and travelling. Be sure to give us ample time to get your order together if you wish to take advantage of this shopping option.

Really, I promise. In the winter I will create a calendar of all our events. And remember – the fall is an exceptional time to be planting.

Happy planting.

We absolutely love this time of year. A time to hike and get out into nature on a regular basis. A necessity, in our business, since we hand collect our seeds from Southern Ontario. People ask why we just don’t buy the seeds or seedlings.

To me, that would defeat our whole genetic program. The only way we know, for sure, where these seeds have come from is by picking them ourselves. It is not just about location but the way in which the seeds are chosen. We do not just pick from one tree or one shrub but from multiple shrubs or parent trees to diversify the genetics of what we are picking. Even though they are all from the same geographical location we pick as much as we can from varied parents at that site. In this way, we are diversifying that genetic base.

Is it more work? You bet. But I am convinced that we need to continue these seed picking efforts if we are to diversify our future forests and make them resilient towards climate change.

Have to go now. Seed picking awaits!

We are always looking at ways we can diversify the Ontario landscape and enable assisted tree migration. For the past 2 years, we have intensified our efforts to find more southerly seed sources. These southerly sites will allow for tree and plant migration to the north. The more sites, and parent stock, available the greater the genetic diversity moving northward.

But what about cottage country? Climate change will not skip over this precious area. We decided to include more northerly locations to help assist our lake area with assisted migration. Not only does migration include vegetation moving northward but also laterally. Basically, expanding east to west boundaries.

Stay tuned.