Ecoman’s cliff garden at Canada Blooms 2019

Of the things in my folder to share with you about this year’s Canada Blooms, this is the one that excited me most. It’s Jonas Spring’s Cliff Garden. Spring uses reference points from nature to inspire the shape and form of the gardens he builds for clients. Essentially, cities are cliffs; houses are boulders.

Layered on this idea are the – usually native – plants that would grow in those referenced natural environments. He talks about it in this article on his Ecoman website.

Cliff Garden by Ecoman, Jonas Spring at Canada Blooms 2019

Hypertufa is the material for the tall pillars, making them about half the weight of a similar-sized chunk of limestone. A hollow core filled with sand accommodates irrigation. Planting channels drilled diagonally into the sides mimic fissures in limestone cliffs and offer a root zone for a variety of plants.

These include fern species and other herbaceous and woody natives that might take root in rock cavities. There are also a few evergreens – like the junipers that would be found on the faces of the Niagara Escarpment. Serviceberries (Amelanchier) top the the tallest columns in the exhibit. I’d love to see a complete plant list, wouldn’t you? [UPDATE: You can get a faraway look at the plant list on Ecoman’s Instagram feed.)

A frequent question from attendees at the festival has been: Where can we buy these? It’s something the exhibitors hadn’t considered. I hope they do!

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