Check these out at Canada Blooms 2018

No more nay-sayers, please. There’s always something to see at Canada Blooms, if you look for it. Often, you don’t need to look too hard. Here are a few of the things I’ve pointed out on the early-morning tours I’ve led this year.

The Gardens

The big gardens are often exquisitely done, and this year is no exception. Standouts were the Genoscape Highway of Heroes garden. Keep your eyes open for the small, soldierly water feature. Our covergirl, Julie Moore’s Midnight in Paris garden was just a dream, especially that Victorian greenhouse, doubling as an artist’s studio. And, as always, John Thompson excelled at creating a tranquil setting for his Last Samurai garden.

Yes, Let’s Go to the Movies is this year’s theme.

The Small Gardens

Loved the little guys, too. Designers showed what could be done in gardens of 150-300 square feet and even balcony gardens, including a veggie garden. There were big-money gardens and budget gardens, like Skai Leja and Ecoman’s found-object garden, with its home-made rain chain made of key and binder rings. Creative!

The Plants

New introductions from Proven Winners were there, plus plenty of roses such as the new Double Knockout Rose (because roses proved easy to force this overcast winter). Notable are all the columnar trees, including not-the-usuals like sweetgum (Liquidambar) and pin oak (Quercus palustris). Narrow trees are ideal for small spaces. Great labelling on the plant material, team!

The Techniques

A big educational component proved you can be eco-wise and beautiful, too. Landscape Ontario worked with Parklane to create the cool Fusion Garden, labelled to explain what you’re looking at. Be sure to pop round the back on the wine garden side to see the Rube Goldberg-esque water feature feeding a “self-watering” veggie plot, all designed by Bufco. Envirolok bags got a new look in the call-before-y0u dig garden, making them more design-friendly. You’ll see ideas for small-space vegetable growing and living walls, too.

The Flowers

Once again, the florists and floral designers almost steal the show. My pictures are from the first round of competitors in the Toronto Flower Show. Do spend some time looking at the creative ideas they pull together – sometimes with a time limit.

Have you been to the show this year? What stood out for you?


  1. Some great images here! Your Toronto flower show looks fabulous. I love the Star Trek garden, and whatever that braided grass thing is in the flower arrangements. And that water bowl with the rocks under it in your first picture — so simple, clean and tranquil.

    1. Thanks, Alison! It was really hard for me to whittle down my pictures to a mere 35. That bowl/pond was as you describe: simple, clean, tranquil – and the perfect place to float a few blooms.

  2. Beautiful photos. Loved the many garden displays and came away with loads of inspiration. The lighting in displays was good, but overall lighting was so poor, that it was a constant source of comment. In most cases it was impossible to really see individual plants and flowers or read anything. Hopefully they will work on that for next year!

    1. When Canada Blooms was first moved out of the main exhibition hall at the Enercare Centre, or Direct Energy Centre, as it was at the time, the garden show was given extra money for lighting in the darker heritage space. I’m not sure that’s still the case. While I do prefer the lower ceilings (they feel more intimate), lighting is always an issue in that setting. We seem to be viewing many of the gardens at twilight, and should probably pack small flashlights to read the plant labels!

  3. The garden builders prefer the low light. It allows them to feature their ‘night lights’ in the garden for atmosphere. It’s a tough call ….

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