November is an interesting month for gardeners. Bitter sweet really.

There is lots to do in most gardens (with apologies to our Prairie readers who have already seen a dump of snow). And yet, there is precious little to do in the December garden (with jealousy of our western B.C. readers who have a mild winter) so we had better set ourselves to the tasks at hand. Like raking the remaining leaves (onto the garden not into paper bags). And wrapping our evergreens in burlap to avoid wind/sun and salt spray damage (more on this below).

Truth is, we have an opportunity in most parts of Canada to plant tulips, still. 
Which is why we mention the new Rembrandt tulips that are being planted right now, as we speak, in Ottawa in anticipation of the Canada Tulip Festival next spring.

Think about that for a moment: someone (a whole committee of people) is optimistic enough to think that we will be meeting in public places, socializing and visiting the public parks of Ottawa next spring. There WILL be a Canadian Tulip Festival in May next year. Or, so the plan goes.  You have to admire their optimism. 

That is a message here of hope that we are starving for, no?   And if you would like to participate you can buy Rembrandt tulips now to plant in your garden this fall for spring blossoms. The National Gallery of Canada is in on the act. 

And if Rembrandt were alive, we are sure he would be too. 
Rembrandt tulips are unique looking, completely winter hardy in every Canadian garden and they are perennial.

To learn more and order yours go to
November is Remembrance month. We take time (2 minutes) on November 11 to remember those Canadians who made the supreme sacrifice for our freedom. They volunteered to serve in the Canadian military during times of war and many, way too many, died while in service to us, the Canadian people. 

This year we would like to suggest that you take a moment to support the tree planting along the Highway of Heroes on the 401, the highway that carried 159 Canadians by hearses, lost during the Afghan conflict, from CFB Trenton to the coroner's office in Toronto at Keele Street.
Almost 2 million trees are being planted on the Highway of Heroes and on the corridor along the 401 to remember and permanently commemorate their sacrifice.  The world's largest living memorial to war dead and to those who volunteered to serve during times of war.
Donate now and your donation will be matched equally by an anonymous donor.
Not a bad deal. A tree costs $150 to plant and nurture. Will you help? 

Details at
For residents of Toronto, the oldest tree in the city may be of interest. After all, we are working hard to preserve a wonderful, magnificent 250-year-old Red Oak in the north west corner of North York, on Coral Gable Drive. For every dollar that is donated by you and other private Canadian donors $3 is matched by the City of Toronto.
It is a wonderful story, lead by citizens who care enough to ask, “If we don’t save this tree and convert the real estate that it sits on into a public park, what will that say about us as citizens of this century? How much do we care about our history and our future?”
Properly taken care of the Heritage Oak will live for another 200 years.

For details go to
Sorry if this is a lot to ask during a pandemic. We are mindful that many Canadians are not able to help with these causes right now. 
To all of you, we wish good health and an opportunity to spend some time in your own garden.
Below, our list of “things to do in the November garden”.
With our best wishes. 
Mark and Ben Cullen
Merchants of Beauty and Beans

Btw, look for our upcoming story in the Toronto Star, “Pandemic Plan for Gardeners”… how to get through the winter. Our Star stories…
GREEN FILE Episode 11
This week we are talking to Lorraine Johnson. Lorraine Johnson is the author of numerous books on native plant gardening, urban agriculture, and environmental issues, such as 100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens; The New Ontario Naturalized Garden; Tending the Earth: A Gardener’s Manifesto; City Farmer; and Green Future, among other titles.
Her book A Flower Patch for the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee, co-authored with Dr. Sheila Colla, was published in June 2020 by Friends of the Earth Canada. A former President of the North American Native Plant Society, Board member of LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests), current Steering Committee member of Project Swallowtail, and a long-time advocate for community gardens and the legalization of backyard hens, Lorraine’s recent work focuses on biodiversity and habitat gardening in the context of climate change, and on land stewardship as relationship-building in the context of reconciliation.

Tune in - now available on Apple Podcasts AND Spotify!
-       Apply Wilt-pruf to broadleaved evergreens like rhododendrons, boxwood, holly and the like to prevent winter desiccation (apply when temperatures are above freezing).

-       Wrap fruit trees. Wrap the trunk of fruit trees with a plastic spiral guard to prevent rodent damage in winter. Mice and rabbits can wreak havoc on young, tender bark.

-       Plant garlic cloves about 4 cm deep and 10 cm apart. Use loose, open, sandy soil as they like water to drain away from them. Your garlic crop will be ready to harvest next August. Watch our video.

-       Wrap evergreens with two layers of burlap. One layer to protect against the burning sun as it reflects off snow and another to protect evergreens from wind. This is especially true for cedars, junipers and like, that are on the east side of a road, where they catch the prevailing west wind with salt spray.

-       After the first serious frost, dig up your dahlias and lay the 'bulbs' (tubers) in the sun to dry for a day or two. Store in a large, craft paper leaf bag with dry peat moss or shredded newspaper in a cool but DRY place.  Plan to plant them up in March for a repeat performance next season.

-       Do not cut back fall flowering ornamental grasses, coneflower, rudebeckia and all autumn flowering plants that produce a seed head. The birds will forage the seeds well past the first snow fall.

-       Rake leaves onto your garden. Off your lawn, on to your garden. Or into your compost pile. Either way, they will rot down over the winter and provide needed nourishment to all plants that grow. Do not put them to the curb.
High Capacity Mixed Seed Birdfeeder
Easy to fill feeder has two large seed compartments that can hold several types of seed.
Attractive copper finish and metal construction will enhance all outdoor decor.
Attracts all varieties of clinging and perching birds allowing all to feed at once.
Item# 5453-015
To purchase, visit
We write a weekly column for the New In Homes & Condos section of the Saturday Toronto Star.
In case you missed it, these are the exciting gardening/environment columns we wrote in October.
BIRDS IN FOCUS: Help Birds from Home!
Join Project FeederWatch
By: Kerrie Wilcox
*For this month’s feature I’ve invited my colleague Kerrie Wilcox to provide some background on an exciting project for people who enjoy feeding and watching birds from home – Jody Allair.

One bright spot during this pandemic – watching birds from home. Staying home and observing nature and birds has been an incredible source of entertainment and solace this year. Spending time with birds and nature even through a window makes us feel happier and more relaxed.
Red-breasted Nuthatch and Black-capped Chickadee at feeder.
Photo credit: Gord Belyea
Project FeederWatch turns your love of feeding birds into scientific discoveries. FeederWatch is a November-April survey of birds that visit backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. You don’t even need a feeder! All you need is an area with plantings, habitat, water or food that attracts birds.

The schedule is completely flexible. Count your birds for as long as you like on days of your choosing, then enter your counts online. Your counts allow you to track what is happening to birds around your home and contribute to a continental data-set of bird distribution and abundance. With FeederWatch, your observations become part of something bigger than your backyard.

We will send you everything else you need to get started identifying birds. New participants receive a research kit with instructions for participating, as well as a bird identification poster, a calendar, and more. Each fall participants receive our 16-page, year-end report, Winter Bird Highlights.

The 34th Project FeederWatch season is fast approaching. Anyone can join Project FeederWatch in Canada by making a donation of any amount to Birds Canada. Visit BirdsCanada/FeederWatch to join. For more information contact Kerrie Wilcox, Canadian Leader, Project FeederWatch
Good Birding!
Jody Allair
Director, Citizen Science and Community Engagement
Connect with me on Twitter at: @JodyAllair
Stuff their stockings with a great read!
Give Harrowsmith - a gift that gives all year with unique, 100% Canadian content. The perfect gift for those who love to garden, DIY, cook and enjoy the great outdoors.

$29.95/year (4 issues)