I haven’t been in close to five years, and with a new venue I decided I’d participate on the annual pilgrimage with the local Hort society. It was nice to escape from the dreary, dirty snow that has coated Fergus for the past week or so, and escape to the ‘concrete jungle,’ also known as Toronto for the day. I spent a half hour last night compiling a list of plant materials that fingers crossed, I might just be able to find! [Past experiences reminded me that I shouldn’t hold out for a botanical Hero, but it was fun compiling the list nonetheless!]
There was no end to the ‘blooming’ – with smashing displays of Tulips and Hyacinth at every turn. I’m still not convinced that the new venue [Direct Energy Centre] is the right one – it felt very warehouse-like which made it difficult to create the ambiance that in my mind such an even should encompass, and while they boasted more space, it felt rather barren and sporadic in some sections!
An abundance of gently splashing water was incorporated rather ingeniously into some of the displays. Included in this display was what at first appeared to be a giant water wheel sprouting green. Upon closer examination it turned out to be a way to grow vegetables! I would have taken a photo but the massive wattage bulb positioned in the centre of the wheel was next to impossible to photograph!
There were some impressive displays utilizing large, full sized trees which helped to create an illusion of what completed landscapes might look like. I enjoyed those that had a ‘natural’ ambiance – leaving the outdoors outdoors, and the indoors firmly locked behind glass! I abhor the ‘bringing the indoors out’ trend that we’ve been inundated with of late. My only response is ‘where the hell are the plants?’ Of course this seems to be the mantra of most true plant collectors! Alas, I digress!
This simple, reserved display was presented by the Canadian Cancer Society with a mass of brilliant narcissus inter-planted amongst tall stone tablets. On the back wall are black and white photographs of people [family members] who have been effected by this horrific disease. The Japanese maple in the left corner was the perfect anchor to a heart wringing display. This was one of my favourite displays!
On a more lighthearted note, the use of ‘little red wagons’ as portable gardens on wheels brought a smile to this gardener’s face. Who doesn’t remember pulling a similar wagon while delivering newspapers as a youngster!
Sadly, my biggest complaint was reserved for the lack of available plant material for sale. You can only look at so many lilies and orchids before they start to blur together! I did manage to find a delicious new Helleborus – Helleborus ‘HGC Spring Promise’ with smashing pink blush infused upright facing flowers atop handsome dark green foliage with ruby infused stems and petioles! Delicious!
I snagged myself another delightful Arisaema candidissimum, [the blushing demure beauty with the white and pink striped spathe!] two Meconopsis betonicifolia, and a replacement Roscoea cautleiodes ‘Kew Beauty’ [Sadly my Canada Blooms Wishlist contained close to 20 plants!] Organizers: Pay attention: There are more gardeners than myself who would be more than happy to part with their cold hard cash if an interesting selection of plant material was available for sale!
Here are a few others photos of displays and designs that piqued my interest:
[Pardon the blurriness of some of the photos! The overhead lighting made it next to impossible to capture crisp shots!] Everyone was looking for the double flowering Edna O’Byrne introduction Helleborus x hybridus ‘Winter Jewel Series’ Golden Lotus, as seen in what was my favourite garden, – and sadly they all left disappointed! A small fortune could have been made from this one plant alone!
Aside of the few missing elements [more plants damn it!] it did provide me with a wonderful escape from the rainy, dreary snow and slushy March that 2011 has presented gardeners with. Any sign of green, even a thimble filled with moss is enough to fill this gardener’s heart with joy!