I’ll be in Toronto this weekend enjoying two annual sensory feasts – the Allan Gardens Conservatory spring flower display and Canada Blooms, Canada’s largest flower and garden show.
I try to visit Allan Gardens several times a year. It’s centrally located in the city, easy to get to by subway or streetcar, and it’s free. There’s a half dozen interconnected greenhouses that feature both permanent and seasonal displays. They’ve just opened their spring show, with thousands of hyacinth, tulips, narcissus and other spring bulbs filling the air with a heady fragrance that invites you to close your eyes and picture yourself in a blooming garden in May.
Trust me, Allan Gardens any time between November and March is the perfect antidote for the winter blahs, and the perfect size for an hour of blissful wandering.
Canada Blooms, in comparison, is HUGE and, opening tomorrow, is only around for 10 days. To be honest, I haven’t visited the show in a few years, since it moved from the downtown convention centre to the larger buildings at Exhibition Place, a few kilometres west. Easier parking there but a bit of a hassle by public transit. Still, they’re expecting more than 200,000 visitors this year!
I’m eager to tour the feature gardens – Toronto area landscape designers and builders will be showing off their skill and artistry interpreting this year’s theme: ‘Let’s Go to the Movies.’ There will be gardens inspired by movies such as The Jungle Book, Star Trek, Midnight in Paris and Alice in Wonderland. A ongoing trend in landscaping is creating outdoor rooms, and for this show, those rooms are outdoor movie spaces.
I’m also looking forward to seeing two feature gardens The first is called ‘Fusion Oasis Under the Stars’ – a garden designed to stop storm water runoff, another growing trend in landscaping. The second is called ‘… Never Forgotten.’ It’s a “living tribute to Canada’s fallen soldiers” and an homage of sorts to the Highway of Heroes, that portion of southern Ontario roads and highways that form the route of a fallen soldier’s final journey after he lands at CFB Trenton and makes his or her way to the Toronto Coronor’s building.
The Highway of Heroes is a big thing – with hundreds of people lining the sides of roads and highway overpasses to bear witness and pay tribute as a fallen soldier’s convoy passes by.
Inspirations for small gardens and balcony gardens will also be on display; these should have good ideas both for city dwellers and for those of us with larger rural properties who, like me, want to tackle the yard one small section at a time.
I’ll take lots of pictures and share next week.