Published in the Toronto Star, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016
In exactly two weeks the opening of the premier flower and garden festival on the continent occurs here in Toronto. Canada Blooms is, indeed, the largest event of its kind in North America, with an expected attendance of more than 200,000 over the 10 days that doors are open (Friday, March 11 to Sunday, March 20th).
“There is much to see” is a popular chant but frankly, it is a gross understatement. The ‘shared’ event with the National Home Show demands that you wear sensible walking shoes, bring a camera (because you won’t remember all of the magnificent images) and carve enough time out of your schedule to do it justice. A full day works for most people, several days for gardening fanatics.
This edition of Canada Blooms marks the 20th anniversary for this venerable event. I think that it has earned the right to be considered a permanent part of the events-calendar, along with TIFF, The Exhibition and the Santa Claus Parade. It is a ‘part’ of this city and if you have never been, well, this is the perfect year to give it a go.
For the uninitiated, I can recommend that you head straight for the 27 feature gardens as soon as you arrive. Award winning landscapes, created by the country’s leading designers, landscape architects and landscape companies are second to none.
The theme for the gardens this year is ‘It’s A Party’, a nod to this significant anniversary. Indeed, this is an occasion worthy of celebration!
Based on my ‘inside’ information, these are some of the ‘can’t miss’ feature gardens.
- Landscape Ontario. “Choose Your Path”. A play on words that reflects the many career opportunities in the industry, illustrated by a walk down a wonderfully enhanced garden path. Landscape Ontario focuses on the vast number of careers available outdoors and in the ‘green’ professions. As always, this garden is a collaborative effort between many designers and landscapers, each dedicated to a mutual interest of promoting the industry. This is a tangible expression of pride.
- Modern Landscape Design, Julie Moore ‘The Stingray Garden’. This feature garden provides an artistic approach to ‘form and function’. Thematic zones – think in terms of a quiet space in your back yard, replete with garden art and comfy places to lounge and add in a special area for entertaining – ‘form’ and ‘function’. This special addition to the festival knits the outdoor gardening experience together with soft music. Prepare to slow down!
- University Pro Landscapers, “Party of a Lifetime”. Entertain AND relax. Fully equipped with an outdoor kitchen, glass wall infinity pool and lots of room for guests to lounge. Lots of water in this amazing garden: kids will enjoy playing in the pool [but not during the festival], party guests can linger by waters edge and when the party is over you – the host – will enjoy the quiet side of nature, surrounded by a backyard filled with the sounds of song birds and gently flowing water.
- Genoscape Landscaping, “H 20 Yeah!” Last year Genoscape earned the top award for garden design at Canada Blooms. Owner Joe Genovese pours his heart and soul into every project and this year is no exception. Come and meander through the winding pathways and let the sights and sounds of water lead your way. Be sure to take a detour into the one-of-a-kind wood igloo that is constructed out of old pallets. This is where you party in a natural setting! Genoscape specializes in the use of water in the landscape. If you are thinking of adding a water feature to your yard this year, this is a must-see garden.
- Royal Stone & AquaSpa Pools Landscape and Design. “Let’s Party” reflects a carefully planned outdoor living space that is ‘livable’, a home with a vacation feel. Knowing that this garden is waiting for you when you arrive home from work, it will tempt you to leave early and to skip some Fridays or Mondays to create a long weekend experience in your back yard. The strong linear lines of this garden make excellent use of space while the walls of trees, the small lawn area, the outdoor kitchen and the lap pool create a warm and inviting space. There is an excellent 3D video of ‘Let’s Party’ on line. When you visit canadablooms.com click on the feature gardens and look for it. Amazing!
There are other amazing gardens at ‘Blooms besides. Landscapes by Lucin returns and they always create an amazing display. This year their garden is called “A Night Under the Stars” and features a mixture of old, chic and bohemian. “A garden for all!” they announced on the website
Whatever you do, be sure plan a visit to the 20th edition of Canada Blooms.
As I like to say, it is the greatest show in earth!
Starts Friday, March 11 through the 20th. Details at www.canadablooms.com