Common Ground Landscape Design

Things to see

The Mystery of Prunus Glandulosa.

Why do you suppose this shrub is called a flowering almond?flowering almond I don't think it is a proper almond, is it? Isn't Prunus the genus of Cherry? So, how did almond become a member of the genus cherry? Interestingly, the family that cherry belongs to is Rosaceae. According to Linneaus plants are classified by the relatedness in the flower in terms of pistons and stamens (It always boils down to sex doesn't it?) If this is true then we can see how the cherry and the almond family were designated this classification, as their "internal" flowers as well as the external flowersclose up of flowering almond blossoms resemble roses.

I once saw a hedge of flowering almond that was so spectacular, and surprising that more people haven't thought of this as a possibility before. If you have used flowering almonds in a creative way, I would love to see it. Send me a link and I'll post it.

There are very few pests that bother the flowering almond, and they come as an attractive standard as well as a bush form, for a more formal garden planting. I think the only dissappointing characteristics of this shrub is that you get neither cherries or almonds, and it has a very dissatisfying name. Prunus glandulosa. It sounds like a very serious genetic glandular disorder.

A few months ago I attended a Tu'Bishevat Sedar. This a Spring celebration in the Jewish calendar year that celebrates the new year of the trees. I met a lovely woman there, who told us stories of being in Israel when the almond groves were in bloom. It sounded wonderful, but nothing prepared me for the 2 photographs that she later sent me via email. I was so grateful when she gave me permission to use these images and show all of you this incredible display of blossoms. Enjoy!

awesome almond blossoms

photo:Sharon Ross

single almond blossom

photo:Sharon Ross


I love this time of year, but please be careful when driving out there. The danger of trying to catch a glimpse of something beautiful as you are driving by is too tempting. please keep your eyes on the road. (Yes! I am writing this from direct experience.)

Sweet Scilla

Hello there

We have been cleaning gardens in earnest these past few dasy as the temperatures are slowly rising. Today, we saw the sun shine! We all stopped to eat humus and carrots to celebrate!                                    yans scilla




On Cranbrooke ave between Yonge St. and Ave Rd. there are some really sweet scilla popping through the ground in a lovely rock garden that I had to capture.

Although these specimens are in small confined clumps the most impressive displays are on Spadina Rd, just south of St. Clair. just before Casa Loma. The entire lawn next to the sidewalk on the east side is covered with them. I'll get a picture in the next few days.



rock garden


Ok this is an update. Temperatures in the Toronto area are now soaring. Today, one of my employees got a sunburn on the back of his neck! He went from wearing a winter hat to having a sun burn in the same week! Everything is exploding, plants that have waiting patiently for it ot warm up are going ballistic and popping out all over the place. It is so glorious. I will be out there with my camera to capture it.


                                                        Happy Earth Day everyone! 

Heavenly Hellebores

A few days ago we were cleaning up in a customer's garden, before the temperatures plummeted. We were taking "stalk" of all that needed to get done this year, and as I looked down I noticed these little guys. Well aren't they just the little harbingers of Spring? Hellebores are the first perennials of the season to bloom, and I am always amazed that they can survive the really cold nights of early Spring. I can't tell you where she is hiding, cause she is in a back yard, and that would just be too difficult to explain to myfirst clean up of the season customer what you were all doing back there!









Sweet Crocuses

Today; as I was driving along, out of the corner of my eye I saw a splash of color. At this time of year when I have long days of driving around to see customers, the only colour that I see is in dog clothing. So imagine my surprise when I discovered this sweet littlecrocus with stamens Crocus clumppatch of Crocuses.

 You can visit this patch of Crocuses on Briar Hill Rd. on the north side of the street and west of Bathurst st. You only have a few days, so if you want to see them, go now. Yes now, what are you waiting for!


Crocus close up


This is me

This is me

This is me last year in Bath, England admiring this absolutley beautiful shrub in it's full seeded glory. Does any one know what it is?



 Photo: Gary Marriott