Mother-Daughter Gardens. A bond, a comfort and a continuation.


My mum, Diane Hutchings, really misses her garden and I’m going my best to keep her magical world alive, despite the move to a retirement home.

Mum, who was involved with your society just moved from Creemore into a retirement home near me in Toronto. She was responsible for creating Creemore’s Serenity Garden at the Anglican church beside her house. She herself had the most MAGICAL fusion garden. Picture attached.

I have tried to grow a few of her native plants in my Leslieville garden to remind her of her garden when she comes to visit but I’m having troubles with one corner which is why I’m asking your advice.

I had a dogwood in that corner, but two trees and their shade have taken over, and a web mite didn’t help, and the poor dogwood died. I can’t say for sure that the mite killed it but I can say for sure I really loved that dogwood and would love to try another but am worried I may lose that one too.

I hoped someone could tell me was what kind of tree bush would thrive in a shady corner in a Leslieville front garden and not be vulnerable to that mite should it return. My first thought was berberis. I believe the soil in Leslieville is sandy-ish.

Thanks so much for your help!

Cinders McLeod

PS Any other native suggestions for our shady front garden, including bushes and flowers, would be deeply appreciated.



Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

What a lovely and thoughtful project you have conceived. Both you and your mother will enjoy the process and the memories it holds.

To replace the loved Dogwood, which I guess was a flowering Dogwood Cornus florida, you may wish to consider a Japanese maple  This Landscape Ontario site describes the various varieties, and our own Toronto Master Gardener guide:…/growing-japanese-maples-a-toronto-master-garden…gives full information on choices, planting and maintenance.

For your shady corner of your front garden, 7 Shrubs for Shade Gardens – offers some attractive suggestions, and provides a list with photographs of their suggestions for your native plants front garden.

We hope that you and your mother enjoy these selections.