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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

Entries in Fran Sorin (11)


Web photos That I Like

An island flower bed composed of textures and colors. Click on the image to see more at Fran Sorin's website. 

There is a theme running through my gardening blogs. It's all about perennial gardens and the beauty and pleasure they offer. Frequently, I find myself quoting from other professional gardeners and their websites. It’s not because I’ve run out of something to say. Nor do I use other bloggers images because I can’t find better ones to share with you. I refer to other professionals because they make an important contribution to the world of gardening. I use their material when it echoes my own philosophy or when I learn something new that is worth sharing.

A series of photographs of a beautiful garden in the Philadelphia area were posted to Fran Sorin’s website. I’m glad to have seen them because this garden is in danger of disappearing. The heirs to the estate of Doe Run Gardens have put this property up for sale. No one can predict its future. One might suppose that in better times, there would have been a campaign to purchase this property for the people of Pennsylvania. Under current economic conditions that can’t be a realistic expectation.

Please take the time to appreciate a world class garden right here in North America by clicking on the image above. If you fall in love with the garden, you can read the real estate listing for the property by clicking here.


What Should a Gardener Do in Case of Drought

If you know in advance that rainfall is not expected for some time, or if you are already experiencing a drought, you need to protect your garden. Here’s what to do:-

1] Mulch everything, including trees and shrubs, in order to conserve moisture.

2] If necessary, just water the most substantial vegetation such as trees and shrubs.

3] Ignore the lawn, annuals, and perennials. The lawn will rejuvenate itself in the fall and flowers can always be replaced.

I came across this sound advice in the book Digging Deep by Fran Sorin


Add a Drip and Save the Planet

 After we switch over to cleaner and domestically produced energy sources, we will immediately have to turn our attention to the conservation of water. It doesn’t matter why, but some parts of North America are becoming increasingly vulnerable to droughts capable of destroy crops, livestock, segments of the economy and our quality of life. A natural disaster is waiting for a precipitate in order to happen. If that should occur, investments in our landscaping will also be at risk. One day it may become necessary to resort to continent-altering diversions of water and to modify its consumption. Gardeners and commercial farmers need to start practicing efficient water conservation habits now. Using drip hoses instead of overhead sprinklers would be a good start. Click here to read Fran Sorin's very important article on this subject titled "Drip Irrigation: Common Sense Watering". Not only is this a must read, but some of her readers' comments on this subject are illuminating.


Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening; Book Review for

Digging Deep: unearthing your creative roots through gardening  Fran Sorin, Braided Worlds.        

With a background in landscape design, psychology and communications, the author has built a successful career assisting clients to visualize their garden needs. On occasion, this has turned out to be a challenge because several of her clients thought themselves to be uncreative. Consequently, they would express helplessness in articulating a personal vision for their garden. The author disagrees. Believing that creativity is stored in all of us, she uses her understanding of human nature to help her clients and readers recognize their inner selves. Ultimately, the results produce gardens that meet both deep-seated needs and requirements for outdoor living.

The planning, execution and care of a garden all unfold in a seven step process, utilizing the concepts of Imagining, Envisioning, Planning, Planting, Tending, Enjoying and Completing. Each concept is explained and elaborated in detail and is reinforced with examples from the author’s experiences with her clients. In addition, she quotes liberally from accomplished professionals who not only understand their own creative processes but who are also sufficiently eloquent to share those experiences with us.

Ostensibly, a how-to book, the advice and instructions are amplified through numerous anecdotal narratives, which in turn are enriched with a wealth of side stories. Fundamental advice on the basics of gardening is also included so that when readers are prepared to convert their vision into a reality, the necessary tools and skills will be at hand.

There is a creative process that begins with a vague notion of a garden in our mind and ends with an actual one in our back yard. Everything we need to know about realizing that goal is woven seamlessly into this publication. With the help of the author, developing a garden is a satisfying journey to discover our own creative potential. Seasoned gardeners will easily recognize themselves in this book and will be delighted by the affirmation it brings them. Novice gardeners will be inspired.

Visit Fran Sorin's website.



Where Do I Start? Gardening Advice from Fran Sorin

The best advice, for taking the first steps in gardening, is to be found in the book “Digging Deep” by Fran Sorin. With very minor adaptations of my own, here are her suggestions:

1] When the garden plan is final and you are ready to proceed, start with the big items such as patios, pathways and large structures, such as pergolas and trees.

2] Whenever you are unsure about the size or numbers of plants, always go larger and bolder than you originally think.

3] For small gardens, use no less than three of one perennial specimen. For very larger gardens, no less than five.

4] Work in odd numbers when planting perennials. Odd numbered configurations hit the eye better.

5] If the garden is large enough, plant bushes in groups of three or more unless you are using them as an architectural statement.

6] Always know what the spread and mature height of a tree will be before you plant it.

7] Plant in flowing, wavelike lines [not in straight rows, unless it’s a vegetable garden].There are no straight lines in nature.

8] Consider leaf texture, shape, size, and color when deciding which plants to put where.

9] Place largest plants at the back of the borders and garden beds; smaller plants in front.

10] Think ahead - try to incorporate different plants that will give your garden four seasons of growth

11] Always water your plants before putting them into the ground.

Visit Fran Sorin’s website; Buy her book “Digging Deep” at