The Art and Magic of Gardening at Canada Blooms

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A rain garden by Parklane at Canada Blooms at Enercare Centre in Toronto
A beautiful composition of a rain garden by Parklane at Canada Blooms

By Diana Condolo

Canada Blooms is the largest flower and garden festival in the Canada, celebrating the very best in Canadian gardening and floral design. Taking place from March 11-20, 2016, Canada Blooms at Enercare Centre in Toronto is where you can explore the eye-catching gardens and marvel at garden architects’ innovation and ingenuity.

Orchid at Canada Blooms at Enercare Centre in Toronto
Orchid at Canada Blooms at Enercare Centre

More than 25 renowned garden architects and builders put together designs that inspire home gardeners.

Garden architects and builders put together innovative and unique designs at Canada Blooms in Toronto
Garden architects and builders put together innovative and unique designs.

Some gardens are practical whereas others are very fanciful.

In the wonderful, colourful, imaginary world of Alice, a crazy little tea party takes place. You’re invited to join in the fun, excitement and musical interludes. The expressive songbird voice of Nicole Coward created just the right ambiance in this cozy corner.

Through the gate with Alice in Wonderland at Canada Blooms at Enercare Centre in Toronto
Through the gate with Alice in Wonderland
The Alice in Wonderland Wine Garden at Canada Blooms in Toronto
Drawing inspiration from the timeless Lewis Carroll story, the Alice in Wonderland Wine Garden is the spot to kick back with some magical elixir and relax.

Canada Blooms isn’t just for eye-catching gardens: the 10 day event has many interesting and useful talks.

Suzanne Zacharczyk’s talk at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2016 coaxed us to try container gardening since not only can containers be moved from one home to another, they can also be moved within one’s home to change décor and atmosphere. Almost anything can be grown in a container, according to Suzanne, as long as they are given the care you would give in a regular garden. Moving herbs inside to continue having fresh herbs year around is very enticing.

Moveable Landscapes: Container Gardens talk by Suzanne Zacharczyk at Canada Blooms in Toronto
Moveable Landscapes: Container Gardens talk by Suzanne Zacharczyk

Later that day, Citytv Breakfast Television‘s Frank Ferragine aka Frankie Flowers in his talk, Food to Grow, shared his decades of experience helping thumbs of all colours turn barren patches and empty pots into bountiful harvests. His talk was jam-packed with info and scattered with witticism, especially when instructing us how to test if the ground soil is warm enough to plant peppers (hint: it involves taking off your pants). The one thing I disagree with Frankie is the number of tomato plants to plant – his rule of thumb is one plant for a family of four. I need one tomato plant just for myself!

Back by popular demand, the Plant and Product Showcase is one of the highlights of Canada Blooms. The Showcase features equipment, innovative products and beautiful plants, including the new plant varieties on sale for the 2016 season.

String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) is easy to grow at Canada Blooms in Toronto.
String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) is easy to grow and provides a unique focal point in the home.

Every time it rains, stormwater run off on non permeable surfaces, such as roofs, driveways, parking lots and patios takes dirt, fertilizer, chemicals and garbage into our storm sewer systems and ultimately into our creeks, rivers and lakes. One of the most effective ways to protect our fresh water resource is to keep the water on site and allow it to percolate into the naturally purifying earth. A rain garden is a garden which takes advantage of rainfall and stormwater runoff in its design and plant selection. We saw some remarkable examples and heard ingenious ideas of how rain gardens can be designed for almost every situation.

Rain gardens are often located near a building’s roof drainpipe.

A rain garden by Parklane at Canada Blooms at Enercare Centre in Toronto
A beautiful composition of a rain garden by Parklane at Canada Blooms

Laura Williams is writing a thesis on the performance and viability of lawn alternatives. As part of her MLA thesis research, Laura is surveying visitors at Canada Blooms to determine their plant preferences. I answered her survey and learned a few things during a discussion with her. I left with a potted harebell for my lawn.

She told us that there are a wide variety of alternatives to grass that could be used in creative ways to provide visual interest for homeowners and neighbours while providing food and shelter for insects that are vital to our ecosystem.

Grass lawn alternatives at Canada Blooms at Enercare Centre in Toronto
Grass lawn alternatives: plants and flowers that could be used on lawns with full or partial sun.

Walking into Canada Blooms, I could smell the freshness of foliage.

Diana at Canada Blooms at Enercare Centre in Toronto
Diana at Canada Blooms at Enercare Centre in Toronto

I left with a wealth of new knowledge and a bunch of seeds to plant at my home and work place garden.

Canada Blooms takes place at the Enercare Centre (formerly the Direct Energy Centre) in Toronto from March 11-20, 2016. Admission is Adult (18+) $20 ($17 online), Senior (65+) $17 ($14 online), Student (13-17) $16 ($13 online), and 12 and under Free. Purchase tickets online or at the show.

13 COMMENTS

    • It would be nice, for sure. I’m hoping to go again! I hope you find time this week or another time 🙂

  1. I absolutely love gardens, but unfortunately I don’t have a green thumb. I just bought potted tulips for my daughter and somehow they are dying already, and we’ve only had them 4 days. 🙁

    • I learned a bit about tulips at Canada Blooms. I found out tulips do not have long lifespan. They usually live from 3 to 7 days. Many other flowers have longer lifespans – try some easy to grow ones like zinnias.

  2. I’ve always wanted to be great at gardening but unfortunately I’m not. Thanks for the info, I need all the help I can get!

    • Laura Williams is a Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate at the Univeristy of Guelph, Lawn Alternative Research.

  3. I love going to this show every year. I get so many ideas for my own garden and it makes me feel like spring is right around the corner.

  4. I loved attending the Canada Blooms shows when I lived in Toronto. My mom would even come up from Montreal to join me.

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