Many of you will know me from my garden store,

Hortus Urbanus

which I ran for ten years between 1997 and 2007 in Ottawa. 


Now I garden for clients, design and renovate gardens, write a garden column for the Ottawa Citizen newspaper and find time to walk and play with my border collie dog, Skye.


And when I’m not gardening or walking the dog or writing, I’m either down south or dreaming of being down south.


10 thoughts on “About”

  1. Thank you Janet :c)
    I’d love to come to Scotland; but can I just come visit and not open a store?! ;c)
    I am actually familiar with Hortus Ornamenti; I found it online as inspiration before I opened my store. Beautiful stuff there.

  2. I have just moved to Ottawa from Alberta. I have a 1950’s home with mature shrubs and a shady back yard. I am an experienced gardener but each move has its own learning curve. I have been told by a dog walking friend of yours that it may be possible to discuss a few issues with you.


  3. Hi Ailsa:
    I have a photo and a little moving story to send you!
    Please send me your email address,
    Melodie Broome

  4. Hi Ailsa – I just want to thank you for your wonderful column in the Ottawa Citizen today. I’ve been a very discouraged – and tired – gardener for the last few years (having bought into the myth of the low maintenance perennial garden), but your comments make me feel encouraged and optimistic. I plan to enjoy my garden this year by simplifying, being realistic about how much time and energy I’m willing to commit and not turning a blind eye to all those annuals I’ve been ignoring for the past 10 years or so. Thank-you!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Great to hear from you! Yes, I know what you mean about being discouraged and tired — I just asked my doctor for a prescription for massage therapy, as I know I’ll be needing it soon on a regular basis! Do tune in for the next instalment in the Citizen — hopefully you’ll join me and feel energized about gardening this year. It’s possible to have a new outlook that embraces less work and more lounging while still gazing on our beautiful gardens :c)

  5. We have a large Manitoba maple in our backyard. We like it’s shade but are concerned it should be cut down due to health/safety reasons. What would you charge to consult? And perhaps throw in a few ideas for our changing backyard.

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