Andrea Bake's posts

Keeping it local

You are walking through a nursery sales floor. You see some beautiful looking plants – green and leafy with giant flowers. But are you sure about where that plant is coming from? Final touches are often made on clothing in Ontario after being shipped in from China. But does that make it Made in Canada? With global supply chains this may be how it goes for the shirt on your back. But I'm not convinced “local” is the word for a small sapling that was sent up from the Carolinas - or one that relocated to grow five years in Canada before being sold.

The American Elm: The Comeback Kid

Before the green ash, there was the American elm – a popular street tree, creating majestic canopies in neighbourhoods across North America. Then came word of a fungal infection spreading through the Netherlands - killing elms left, right and centre. Once-leafy 'hoods became desolate wastelands with minimal shade and stumps left along the boulevards. Sound similar to the Emerald Ash Borer’s effect on our urban forest today? But 100 years after the elms started to fall, this once-beloved tree is now making a comeback.

To be or not to be a trembling aspen

The trembling aspen would make an interesting Shakespearean character. There are not many trees in the world you can find with your ears, that can live on for centuries or that make imperceptible connections underground. The tinkling of leaves, like a soft wind chime, can be heard from east to west, one of those familiar pieces of natural Canadiana. Often mistaken for birch, the trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) stands apart from its lighter-barked friends in a few key ways.

Where have all the Mammoths gone?

Out of all the species we offer in our Backyard Tree Planting Program, I get the most calls about the Kentucky coffeetree. The greatest number of them involves concerns that the tree 1) was dead when planted, 2) has died over the winter, or 3) has full branches dropping off of it in the fall. Fortunately for me (and our homeowners!) these concerns are rarely warranted. And in fact, the majority of these can be explained by looking at the tree’s Latin name: Gymnocladus dioicus.

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag

In the year 1900 Frank Chapman set out to change a Christmas Day tradition. At the time, it was considered a sport to team up and see who could gun down the most small mammals and birds on this holiday, but Mr. Chapman wanted to change this. Calling his proposal the Christmas Bird Census, he sought out people to count the birds – not shoot them. One hundred and thirteen years later, his tradition (now called the Christmas Bird Count) involves 60,000 people across North, Central and South America annually.