The spring gardening season is upon us with even more speed than it usually assaults us, since winter lingered just a little longer than some people had hoped.

So it comes as small surprise that the Ville and its annual “embellissement” campaign (this translates to “embellishment,” but also “beautification”) is coming to many boroughs just a little late, on the fourth weekend of May, this year (with exceptions).

This annual campaign gives residents of Montreal a panier — a basket — of seedlings for their gardens and balconies: impatiens and begonias, an annual flower such as echinacea, fine herbs like sage, rosemary, and basil, and sometimes mint and tomatoes or cucumbers. Also included is as much compost and wood chips as you want to take.

Pepper plant from the garden giveaway
A mature pepper plant from the garden giveaway

I’ll update this page if I get more information, but here’s the schedule with links where you can find the event locations and details. Community groups should follow the links because the dates for collection come before the rest of us.

Ville-Marie – downtown Montreal: The earliest date of the boroughs, being Saturday, May 18th, beginning at 9 o’clock.

Le Sud-Ouest – my borough – also announced theirs on Facebook. It’s on May 25th at 9 o’clock, but it runs all day in its four zones (St. Henri, Little Burgundy, Point St. Charles, and Ville Émard). Remember: most boroughs have more than one location!

Ditto for Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is from 9 – 12 o’clock.

Le Plateau‘s is on the same day (May 25th) starting at 10 AM (those late night revellers!), but they’ve one-upped everyone else! They have a separate date, June 13th, for distributing vines for people’s fences and walls. The ones on offer are Clematis tangutica « Golden Harvest », Lonicera x « Mandarin », Hydrangea anomala ssp petiolarisParthenocissus tricuspidata « Veitchii » and Wisteria macrostachya « Blue Moon ». Parthenocissus is the family of Virginia creeper and Boston ivy; this variety is Boston ivy. You can also buy a tree at a discount right now; this offer is open to any Montreal resident.

I have a climbing Hydrangea on my eastern wall, where it’s bright in the morning and shady the rest of the day, and a Lonicera at my fence. I’m trying to get Boston to grow against my house at the front, where I have Virginia creeper against my garage wall, and clematis against my front stairs to decorate the rails.

Both Pathrenocissus tricuspidata - Boston ivy - and Hydrangea anomala - Climbing hydrangea
Both Pathrenocissus tricuspidata – Boston ivy – and Hydrangea anomala – Climbing hydrangea. I’ve moved the ivy; the hydrangea has taken off!

Rosemont-Petite-Patrie is holding their garden day on June 1st, and so is Ahuntsic–Cartierville, but take note: the distribution window for this borough is only from 9h00 – 11h00 AM.

I would love to report the dates for Ville-St-Laurent, Verdun-Île-des-Soeurs, and any other borough that has published its information. Comment below if you know!

What to do with your garden beyond the annuals and the vegetables

I decided to join everyone else who’s offering workshops to encourage you to garden, and offer an easy, online Live Q&A on Friday, May 17th, at 7 pm. It’s actually targeted to anyone who feels like they’re a lazy gardener, but still would love to have a zen haven out of their yard or balcony.

Because face it, I go away almost every summer now, and that’s made me a lazy gardener too. Plant tomatoes and squash? No problem! But my guests must water them, and they get to eat the fruit. (I usually get quite a few later in the season.)

I’d really rather have a beautiful but low-maintance yard that breaks up the neighbourhood monotony of pavers, asphalt, and grass. In short, I know how to help the lazy people look good AND do the right thing. For biodiversity. For real.

If you want to register for the event directly, get your “ticket” here (it’s free, and it’s virtual – I’ll email/notify you before we go Live):

(While you’re on EventBrite, browse around and see what other workshops are taking place. There’s quite an impressive lot. Just make sure not to miss mine!)

Here’s the announcement on Twitter. Click through to register in the event, or Retweet/comment Retweet to share it.

And finally, here’s the announcement on Facebook. Give my Page a Like so you receive notifications when we post to Facebook; this may include a notification when the event goes Live!

Finally, send in your questions! You can comment with them below, you can email them (my email’s in the footer!), you can tweet them at me, and you can post them to the Facebook Page or even to Messenger.

Send in your questions. Comment below! Share the event.