Updated Availability: August 5

Updated availability with new sales.

Iris Synergy

Eupatorium (Joe Pye weed), Oenothera (sundrops), Viburnum, Irises, and Weigela are 25% off for the next week.

Eupatorium Gateway (native Joe Pye weed)

All annuals and tropicals (including succulents) are now 50% off!

Oenothera Fireworks (native sundrops)

Fruit, Clematis (only 1 left), and wildflowers continue on clearance at 50% off.

Viburnum nudum Brandywine
Weigela My Monet Purple Effect

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Updated Availability: July 30, 2020

Updated availability with new sales.

A bumblebee enjoying the Agastache Poquito Lavender (hyssop)

Echinacea (coneflower), Peonies, Agastache (hyssop), Heliopsis (false sunflower), and Helenium (sneezeweed) are 25% off for the next week.

Echinacea Rainbow Marcella (coneflower)

Annuals (excluding 10″ pots) and Fruit continue to be 50% off!

Paeonia Scarlet Heaven (Itoh peony)

Wildflowers, Lupins, and Clematis are now on clearance at 50% off!

Heliopsis Tuscan Sun (false sunflower)

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Updated Availability: July 22

Updated availability with new plants that came in this week in bold at the beginning. There are also some new sales.

Phlox, Dogwood, Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Hydrangea shrubs (not including Hydrangea trees) are 25% off for the next week.

Annuals (excluding 10″ pots) and Fruit continue to be 50% off!

Wildflowers, Lupins, and Clematis continue to be 25% off!

We are now showcasing a number of perennials and shrubs that are native to Ontario on the display benches up front.

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Updated Availability – July 15

New plants are at the top in bold. Some new sales as well.

Daylilies, Baptisia, and Amsonia are all 25% off for the next week. Annuals (except for the new 2 gallon pots that just came in) are now 50% off. Fruit continues to be 50% off.

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Updated Availability & Sale

Quite a few changes on the availability. As of today, tomatoes and hardy fruit (both shrubs and trees) are now 50% off! As well, hellebores, Clematis, woodland wildflowers, lupins, and annuals are now 25% off.

Hellebores are among my favourite perennials. These part shade perennials are the first perennial to bloom in the spring, sometimes coming up through the snow (and not caring when the temperatures dip below -4 overnight). They really are a welcome sight after the winter. For many of them, after they finish flowering, the sepals will stay on the plant, and have a different colour of their own. I’ve seen them stay on for the entire season, so it’s like having blooms from thaw to snow.

Many of the native woodland wildflowers will go dormant before too much longer, at which point we don’t usually sell them. There are some great ones in there. Most people know the Trilliums, and jack in the pulpit, and soloman’s seal, but there’s also shooting stars, woodland poppies, mayflowers, starflowers, violas, virginia bluebells, and bishop’s cap. Bishop’s cap forms a great natural ground cover, especially among trees and large shrubs. Small spikes of white flowers will fill an area, without crowding any other plants out. Very much underused.

Lupins are starting to look a little rough, which unfortunately is what always happens when they’re in a pot, but they’ll be great for next year. There aren’t a lot of lupins (or Clematis for that matter) left, and both would be much happier in the ground rather than a pot 🙂

The annual section is definitely looking sparse, but there’s still enough to fill in holes in the garden and give colour for the rest of the season. And also enough to fill pots still.

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Change in Covid procedures

I’ve been encouraged by the recent downward trend in cases in Ontario, especially in Durham region, so I’ve decided that we will ease restrictions, a bit.

We will still require customers to wear masks while here, and we will still limit the number of people in at a time, but we will no longer require appointments on our version of the weekend, namely Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and HOLIDAY Mondays.

Tuesdays through Thursdays will remain as appointments only (getting a same day appointment through the week is normal now) and we are still doing online orders with pickup. We’re still closed on most Mondays (other than holidays)

For the public days, there are five designated parking spaces, and one unofficial one next to the first space in front of the gate. When you pull in, if the parking spaces are full, please pull to the side of the driveway (close enough that vehicles can get by) and wait in your car. One of us will come to you and make a judgement whether you’re good to come in, or if you’ll need to wait for someone to leave.

Part of the sun section
Shade perennials
More sun section
Hostas, Ferns and shade grasses
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Current Availability

New availability is out. Note that it includes some plants that are coming tomorrow (a few had limited numbers, so hopefully we get everything), as well as some of our wintered plants.

There is also a sale on edibles (not that kind of edibles!) Veggies, including tomatoes, and fruit (shrubs, trees, and tropicals) are all 25% off! I’ve modified the list so that fruit shrubs and fruit trees now use common names.

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2020 – Covid changes to our procedures and hours

Hi there

I had intended to use the blog more this year, but then the world exploded, or imploded, whatever. At first, we didn’t know if we’d be able to open, then we could open for curbside pickup and then, just as we were ironing out the kinks in that process, we were told we could open in 2 days. We have been playing catch up ever since. No need for Keto here, I’m already down 20 pounds!!

We are open, but only by appointment at this time. The number of people allowed in the garden centre at a time is very strictly limited. We’re booking two appointments (of 1 or 2 people) for every 30 minutes, starting at 9:00 on Fridays through Sundays, and starting at 11:00 on Tuesdays through Thursdays. We are still completely closed on Mondays, except for holiday Mondays.

Everyone must wear a mask, or face covering, to come in. There are no exceptions, not even for my Mom. Washroom facilities are not available during this time.

People have asked when we’ll open like other garden centres have done. I will not even consider opening in a more traditional sense until the numbers in the province are consistently below 100.

To make an appointment, you just have to call in at 905-862-8175 between 9:00 – 4:00. The phone is not answered before 9:00am or after 4:00pm. The voicemail is full. It’s a new phone and we’re having problems accessing voice mail, and I haven’t had a chance to spend an hour on hold getting that sorted out. So, if you get voicemail, just call back after 2-3 minutes. We are doing our best to limit phone call lengths because of the sheer volume of calls we’re getting.

We are also continuing with the online ordering and pickups. Availability/Order forms are available on our facebook group page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/164345711618977/, as well as by email upon request, johns_garden@hotmail.com. The forms are available in xls (excel spreadsheet) and pdf formats. Honestly, the spreadsheet is considerably easier, so if you have that ability, it is much appreciated as time is not something I have at the moment. Apple Numbers can open xls, just remember to Save As (then choose xls for file type). Completed forms are then emailed to us. We will assemble the order, then give you a call with the total amount and to book a pickup time. We’re accepting eTransfers as well as credit card numbers phoned in from the parking lot. Please please please do not eTransfer until you’ve heard from us. Plants have been selling out fast this year, especially veggies, herbs, annuals, and hanging baskets. We’re doing our best to restock as quickly as we can, but growers are also running out of plants that they’ve never run out of. Plants, it seems, are the new toilet paper!

If I can figure out how to do it, I will also post the order forms here. If anyone knows how to do that, PLEASE send me an email 🙂

Stay safe everyone and happy planting

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At Last

Well, it’s been a pretty long time since I’ve added anything here. Sorry about that.


We have been raising money for The New Animal Shelter since 2014. We started with our annual giveaway. On the Civic holiday long weekend, we’ve always made what was left of the annuals free. In 2014, we asked for a donation for the animal shelter with the free annuals. People have been very generous over the years and we’ve raised approximately $2500.

This year, I was given the opportunity to kick it up a notch. We have 85 new roses called At Last. It’s a new introduction from Proven Winners and isn’t available commercially in Canada this year. It will be available next year. We currently have 25 of these roses that we are raffling. For every $5.00 someone donates to the New Animal Shelter, we give them a ballot and we’ll draw for the winners on the Tuesday after Labour Day; September 5, 2017.  Once we’ve raised $500, we’ll add a rose for every additional $20 raised. This will keep the odds of winning a rose at 1 in 4.  We have up to 70 roses in total, so until we’ve raised $1400, the odds will remain at 25%.  If we raise more than $1400, the odds will go down, but not substantially.



We received 10 roses initially, and they were kept in our back area. Plants in the back area don’t receive a lot of attention. These initial 10 roses have been sitting back there for just over 3 months, with the rest being added about a month ago, roughly (it’s hard to keep track of time during the spring and early summer as we’re so busy).  They have had to deal with tons of rain this year, cooler than normal temperatures, a few hot spells where they should have been watered more frequently than they have been, and have never been deadheaded.  THEY LOOK AMAZING!  Tons of blooms and the foliage is so clean!  I have never been so impressed with a rose before.


This beautiful apricot blend floribunda rose was bred in 2010, and introduced in 2015. It has a wonderful strong fragrance. I went down to where we are keeping them to take pictures and I could smell them from 25 feet away. They are disease resistant.  I saw no sign of black spot, even though this is a banner year for fungus problems on plants because of the weather.  I also didn’t see any sign of bug problems.  No chewed foliage, and the flowers were being allowed to complete their cycle.  Wow!  It’s a continuous bloomer and will do so without deadheading.  It’s also not an overly big rose, making it easier to work into a landscape or mixed garden. It’s listed as between two and half and three feet tall, with a similar spread.  Here’s a link to the Proven Winners page about the rose:  https://www.provenwinners.com/plants/rosa/last-rose-rosa-x


In 2011, a group of volunteers started raising money to build a new animal shelter for Uxbridge and Scugog townships. The current shelter is getting old, it’s condition is deteriorating, and was only built to house 16 cats and 7 dogs. The population in the area has increased substantially since it was built and it routinely has twice the number of animals that it was built for. Structural concerns prevent a renovation and the site doesn’t allow for an expansion. The new location will fix these problems, and allow ample outdoor space for the animals. The existing shelter is a no-kill shelter and the new one will be as well. The townships had set aside funds to replace the shelter in the long-term, but the need is more urgent for an updated shelter before then. Both townships have committed $240,000 each to the project.



The New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog has, to date, raised $1,080,000 towards their goal of $1,700,000. They have more than 100 volunteers helping with this and have put together a number of fundraisers. The bulk of this money has been raised by citizens and businesses through these fundraisers and by private donation, which is amazing. Building is expected to begin in 2018 with the shelter to open late next year. Their website is: http://www.animal-shelter.ca/


Come by, make a donation for this great cause, get a ballot for this amazing rose, and get some free annuals. I’m adding to the selection of freebies on a regular basis. I just added most of the hanging baskets yesterday and will add the rest as room becomes available on the benches.



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Attracting Birds & Butterflies to your garden

I did a talk last night at a garden club about attracting birds and butterflies to the garden and mentioned that I have a summary of the talk. Some people were interested in getting a copy so I figured I’d share it here as well (especially since I haven’t put anything up in a very long time)



  • Provide birdhouses
  • Provide shelter from wind
  • Layer the garden
  • Evergreens, dense shrubs, and trees (esp River Birch) provide a home for nesters
  • Ornamental grasses give many birds a hiding spot, as well as providing
  • Shallow water features (esp the sound of running water) attract many birds
  • Cedar Waxwings love our native juniper (Juniperus virginiana)


  • The more different perennials and shrubs in your garden, the more birds will be attracted
  • Augment your natural food with feeders (remember to clean them occasionally with bleach)
  • Resist the urge to rake everything in the fall –this also provides nesting materials next spring
  • Cut back perennials in Spring instead of fall (except self-seeders you want to keep contained)
  • Look for fruits that persist to help feed the birds in the winter
  • Chicadees look for high protein seeds in the winter (like milkweed pods)
  • Avoid pesticides and herbicides – more insects equals more birds
  • If we eat it, so will they


  • Feeders will help attract them to your garden (remember to clean them once a month)
  • Stagger the flowering time so that there is always “food” in bloom
  • Hummingbirds see in the yellow-orange-red spectrum
  • Once they learn that they can rely on food in your garden, they will return every year


  • Absolutely no pesticides
  • Provide food for them – most caterpillars prefer certain plants
  • If possible, leave weeds alone – they also provide food
  • Don’t sweat it when they start to eat your plants


  • Provide shelter from the wind
  • Stagger the flowering time so that there is always “food” in bloom
  • Butterflies also see in the yellow-orange-red spectrum
  • They prefer tubular flowers that they can get their proboscis inside – this means less competition from other insects
  • Diversity will increase the number and types of butterflies in your garden
  • Butterflies are very attracted to mass planting
  • Puddling stations help keep them in your garden

A couple of great references:




Blueberry (favourite among song birds) Sunflowers (annual)
Grapes Millet (annual)
Plums Bottlebrush Grass
Raspberry Big Blue Stem
Strawberry Little Blue Stem
Wild Cherry Wood Millet
Barberry Asters
Bayberry Black Eyed Susans
Bittersweet Vine Butterfly Weed (Asclepias)
Choke Cherry Coreopsis
Cotoneaster Cup Plant
Crab Apples (some persistant) Echinacea
Dogwoods (esp Pagoda, Cornelian Cherry) Evening Primrose
Elderberry False Sunflowers (Heliopsis)
Firethorn Vine (persistant) Goldenrod
Hackberry Helenium
Hawthorn Hibiscus
Honeysuckle Shrub Hyssop
Hop Tree (Ptelea trifoliata) Ironweed
Junipers Joe Pye Weed
Mountain Ash Liatris
Oaks Maples
Pines Sedum
Russian Olive
Snowberry (persistant)
Winterberry (persistant)
Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
Gro-Lo Sumac


Ajuga Beebalm
Cardinal Flower Catmint
Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) Coral Bells (esp red flowering forms)
Crocosmia Daylily
Foxglove Hostas
Hyssop Liatris
Lupins Obedient Plant
Penstemon Salvia
Speedwell Virginia Bluebells
Butterfly Bush Honeysuckle Shrub
Honeysuckle Vine Lilacs
Summersweet Trumpet Vine
Fuschia (annual) Salvia (annual)
Cigar plant (annual) Lantana (annual)



Butterfly Weed (Asclepias)


Snapdragons, Verbena

Pearl Crescent


Spicebush Swallowtail

Spicebush (Lindera)

Black Swallowtail

Carrots, Fennel, Parsley, Dill

Anise Swallowtail

Carrots, Fennel, Parsley, Dill

Great Spangled Fritillary

Violas, Passion Flowers

Mourning Cloak

Poplars, Elm, Willows

Old World Swallowtail


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Wild Cherry, Poplars

Cabbage White

Nasturtium, Cabbage

Grey Hairstreak

Peas (most legumes), Mallow (Malva), Clover

Baltimore Checkerspot

Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

Harris Checkerspot


Compton Tortoiseshell


Red Spotted Purple

Birch, Willow, Poplar

White Admiral

Birch, Hawthorn, Apple, Plum

American Lady

Sunflowers, Pearly Everlasting, Ironweed

Zebra Swallowtail

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Giant Swallowtail

Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)


Ajuga Globe Thistle
Asters Globeflower
Astilbe Goldenrod
Bachelor Buttons Helenium
Baptisia Hibiscus
Beebalm Hollyhock
Black Eyed Susan Hyssop
Blanketflower Ironweed
Bugbane Joe Pye Weed
Butterfly Weed (Milkweed) Liatris
Cardinal Flower Lupins
Catmint Meadowsweet
Coral Bells Mint
Coreopsis Mums
Culver’s Root Obedient Plant
Cup Plant Pincushion Flower
Daisies Red Valerian
Daylilies Salvia
Echinacea Sea Holly
Evening Primrose Sedum
False Sunflower (Heliopsis) Soapwort
Fleece Flower (Persicaria) Speedwell
Foxglove Sunflowers
Geraniums Turtlehead
Geum Yarrow
Butterfly Bush Choke Cherry
Dogwood Elderberry
Lilac Mock Orange
Ninebark Potentilla
Roses Summersweet
Cosmos (annual) Heliotrope (annual)
Marigolds (annual) Pentas (annual)
Sunflowers (annual) Verbena (annual)
Vervain (self-seeding annual – moist spot) Zinnias (annual)

table of butterflies & their caterpillars

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