Canada Blooms – Daffodils heard around the world

In Spring, cancer societies in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Ireland and Canada sell daffodils to raise money for cancer research. But here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know: It all started here in Canada back in 1957, when a single volunteer for the Canadian Cancer Society had a great idea… that grew. That’s the difference one person can make.

In Sarah’s 2010 wrap-up for Canada Blooms, she cites the strongly conceptual Canadian Cancer Society exhibit as one of her highlights. The CCS is at the show again in 2011 – this year, with what we might more traditionally call a garden. (If you buy your Canada Blooms tickets through this link, [Update: in 2016, this link is no longer active] $2 from every ticket will go to cancer research.)

The Zenlike, contemplative space spills over with golden trumpets; tall Narcissus ‘Dutch Master’ and more miniature, multi-bloomed N. ‘Tête-à-Tête’. Foliage from low-growing blue juniper to airy Japanese maple complement these early spring bulbs. The construction materials are simple black-stained beams, brown wooden slats and grey limestone.

You can sit beneath a pergola here and hear the trickle of water from a nearby railing fountain – in which piping, drilled with holes and attached beneath a hand-rail, drops narrow ribbons of water at short intervals into a trough below; a gentle, splashing sound.

A surprise awaits around the corner in an enclosed reflecting pool, with a simple mirror at the end, putting you literally into the frame. Votive candles float in the water.

This small garden matches the mood of the show this year. The gardens seem more personal, and more accessible. You’ll find fewer what I call Adventures in Hardscaping. It’s a refreshing change.

Another change I noticed was the new Daffodil Days pin, which volunteers like Drew at right are selling in the Marketplace, along with the traditional bunches of fresh daffs. A neat idea is the cap for the end of the pin to keep it in place. You know how those Remembrance Day poppies tend to leap off your chest! The pins are cheerful reminders of hope and resilience. Hope to see you wearing one.

(Excuse the quality of my photos in this post, as I used my iPhone… more Canada Blooms pictures, of better quality, along with more 2011 highlights to come.)

[Update:] Want to read more about the lovely daffy-down-dillo, then zip over to Daffodil Blogorama 2011 on the Daffodil Planter blog to read posts on everything from heirloom varieties to propagation. Thanks, Charlotte, for including us!


  1. This sounds like a wonderful community project, for a great cause, that 'pays' off every spring!

    My mother had cancer 30 years ago when all the advances we have now did not exist. Research gets better every year, I know.

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