By Diana Condolo
Canada Blooms is the largest flower and garden festival in 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.
More than 25 renowned garden architects and builders put together designs that inspire home gardeners.
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.
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 round is very enticing.
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.
Every time it rains, stormwater runoff on nonpermeable 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 freshwater resource is to keep the water on site and allow it to percolate into the naturally purifying earth. A rain garden is a garden that 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.
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.
Walking into Canada Blooms, I could smell the freshness of foliage.
I left with a wealth of new knowledge and a bunch of seeds to plant at my home and workplace garden.
Are you planning a new garden in your backyard? Check with your local tree experts to determine the best tree species for your location.
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.