One of our favourite east-end nurseries, Valleyview Gardens, has sadly moved out of town. Driving to their old location on Kennedy Ave, with my flasher on, waiting to turn into the parking lot, I saw to my horror it had been boarded up. Eek! What happened to one of our favourite garden places?
Pulling into the closest lane, a quick Google told me they’d moved to a new location in Markham. It’s a sad reality that large nurseries—who need a very large lot for their plant lots and greenhouses—will be driven out of the city when real estate is so expensive and sought after. Another condo developer will build where Valleyview was. Valleyview’s new location is 8636 Reesor Road, which was a further 30 minutes or so. So, of course I kept driving.
Valleyview Gardens’ new spot is on a rural road, with quick access via the 407 highway, if you don’t mind the toll. I chose to keep to the quieter roads as I wanted to see a bit of the countryside (or what’s left of it) that was my old childhhood stomping ground. Having lived in the village of Markham for many years, I like to see what’s left of the old town and its surroundings.
The familiar hamlet names brought back childhood memories: Box Grove, Cedar Grove, Locust Hill, all names with botanicals in their roots. It’s something we lose when cities swallow up smaller villages and hamlets: not only do we lose the places themselves, but we lose the evocative names that reflect the botanical diversity that went with them. The odd empty farmhouse, still standing in a field ready for a new development, is often the only reminder of what Toronto’s burgeoning suburbs used to be.
Luckily Valleyview hasn’t changed much. The greenhouse is possibly bigger, and they still have a vast selection of plants, all well labelled, so wandering around can be educational.
If you want a tree-sized plant for your living room or loft, this is the place to come.
Their prices are still very reasonable. One of the things they offer is a variety of sizes for their houseplants. So if you want a starter jade plant you can get one for less than five dollars, and if you want a giant one, they have that too.
They also have a great selection of pots and planters, garden accessories, fertilizers, etc. Even though it’s a little further to drive, it’s still going to be one of our favourite garden destinations.