Wow and wow! That's the best way to describe Canada Blooms 2010. While the show has left me feeling a bit disappointed and underwhelmed in the past, this year I was really impressed. The new venue at the Direct Energy Centre is far more friendly and welcoming than the cavernous and sometimes dungeon-like Convention Centre. There seemed to be a renewed interest in real plants and people who love plants: horticultural societies and garden clubs got a whole aisle to themselves this year. And all of the really big showy gardens seemed modest, realistic, and attainable compared to the "I'll-never-be-able-to-afford-that-garden-ever" types of gardens that I expected to see. In other words, there were beautiful gardens to see and wonderful ideas to borrow.
"Sea Urchins" by Nippaysage Landscape Architects of Montreal was easily my favourite display. There's simply no way to go wrong with that many tulips. Gorgeous.
"Yellow Beacon," the Canadian Cancer Society's garden, featured a wall of daffodils.
The "Down to Earth" garden billed itself as "a studio garden of earthly energy and edible plants. A place to work, play, create...whatever your passion." It caught my eye with its use of lush ferns and awesome masks.
"Seen Unseen" featured plantings in oil drums to draw attention to Canada's Boreal Forest and how it's being affected by the rapid growth of energy production from the Tar Sands. Gardens with a "message" (like last year's horrible plastic pot landscape) usually make me roll my eyes and groan, but I found this one to be especially effective. The cold, steely drums contrasted well with the warmth of the plantings, suggesting incompatibililty. The size of the drums compared to the plantings also suggested, to me at least, that in the battle of the tulip versus the Tar Sands, the tulip won't win.
Edibles were everywhere, including this edible landscape that can only be described as cute. I just love that little mushroom path! Bright red cherry tomatoes featured prominently in several displays. I was very happy to see the City of Toronto promoting urban agriculture through backyard and community gardens. The focus on edible landscapes as something beautiful in and of itself was such a refreshing change from past years where some of the gardens seemed to be defined only by pavers and patio stones.
There was a lot to see on the floral design front including this eye-catching orchid display. Outstanding!
While there was a lot of creative, avant-garde design, this display of white roses won me over for its simplicity. Classy and classic.
I managed to resist temptation and walked away from Canada Blooms empty-handed. However, if this handmade copper water tree had been for sale I would surely have taken it home. It was just beautiful, as it simulated the sight and sound of rain falling through an oak tree.
Hellebore "Ivory Prince" was the perennial star of Canada Blooms. It was abundant in several gardens as were tulips, daffodils and rhododendrons. All were beautiful, of course, but wouldn't it be amazing to see a garden show in June or July when more plants could strut their stuff? Maybe some day. In the meantime, Canada Blooms 2010 gets a big round of applause from me.