The Flower Show Part of Canada Blooms


Flower Show 1 Paola Zattera floral entry

From Italy –  Paola Zattera designed this show stopping arrangement,

When I visit garden shows or county fairs I generally either breeze through or walk on by the flower show part.  You know, the tables with vases of cut flowers, or weird looking arrangements that use sticks and leaves and kitchen gadgets that make the whole thing appear…strange.  I know, I know  – it’s a complicated process; running and judging a flower show takes a lot of time and effort.  You can tell just by reading the info tags beside each display — there’s a million different types/classes of entries.

I took the time this year to more closely tour the winning entries of the Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms.  I was amazed.  I spotted at least four main categories:  dresses based on Disney themes, small planted boxes meant to be viewed from above, front door decorations and arrangements by international floral artists that interpret the ‘experimental’ move genre.   Here are a few of my favourites, with apologies for not noting the floral artists’ names.  Lesson learned!

These are the front door decorations.  Although I loved the snowshoe best, it was the Hyacinth wreath that won the day – these are living bulbs forming the wreath!  I have no idea how the artisan who crafted it manages to keep the roots moist throughout the show; perhaps there’s something between the bulb and the beautiful moss diaper they’re wearing.


These dresses are made from flower petals, bark, leaves, twigs….they’re what I imagine movie stars would wear if there was a red carpet event in the middle of the enchanted forest.


Flower Show 8 as see from aboveI took photos of several of the ‘gardens in a box’ which, the sign said, are meant to be viewed from above, but my shadow was in all of them.  Including this one!

You have to admire the imagination, creativity and tremendous skill demonstrated by all the displays.  The neat thing is, if I had been at  the flower show at the right time I could have seen judging and creating being demonstrated.  Next year!

Going to the Movies at Canada Blooms

Canada Blooms 2018 welcome 1

The theme of Canada Blooms this year is Let’s Go To The Movies.  The creators of many of the feature gardens interpreted or used as inspiration a well known movie such as The Jungle Book, Midnight in Paris and even Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth (the feature garden is called An Inconvenient Garden – its central courtyard is bare concrete and dead Cedars and dead grasses…).

The most colourful and playful bits of the garden show weren’t feature gardens but the accents, small pieces running down the middle of Floral Alley or put together to demonstrate the theme.  Here are a few of my favourites.

Canada Blooms 2018 welcome 3

This giant tub of ‘popcorn’ (tiny white and yellow roses) spilling from the ceiling greets visitors to the main hall.

Canada Blooms 2018 welcome 8

The City of Toronto display right beside the giant popcorn tub is an inviting mass of colour waiting for pollinators to buzz amongst the petals.

These displays running down Floral Alley and the giant red and white popcorn tubs placed here and there helped unify the show and remind people, if they had forgotten, what the theme is:


This manikin couple greets visitors on the red carpet — the dress is a pretty beautiful floral creation!

Toronto in Bloom

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.

Allan Gardens front 1

Allan Gardens Conservatory

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 BloomsCanada 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.

Never Forgotten

Highway of Heroes – unknown photographer

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.