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Canada Blooms Newsletter Header Fall 2020
Aurora Borealis Rose by Vineland

Canada Blooms is excited to announce the Canada Blooms Plant of the Year for 2021 is the Aurora Borealis™ rose  from Vineland Research and Innovation Centre's 49th Parallel Collection.

The bright dancing lights of the aurora are captured in the blooming clusters of this dramatic sunset pink rose set against dark green and glossy foliage.

This low-maintenance rose measures one-metre in height with a one-metre spread and features black spot resistance and winter hardiness across Canada.

Vineland’s 49th Parallel Collection stems from Canada’s national rose program at Vineland in collaboration with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association.

The 49th Parallel roses are grown for both strength and beauty, and named for Canadian natural phenomena.

Visit the newly refreshed 49throses.com for more information on Aurora Borealis™ as well as Yukon Sun™, the next rose scheduled for release in 2023. 


October Flowers

Seasonal Flower Shows
The Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms is a large and beautiful show with creative floral designs and extraordinary horticultural exhibits grown by amateur growers. Because of the timing of Canada Blooms, almost all the horticultural exhibits are ‘indoor’ specimens. But the rest of the year, flower shows are being presented by local horticultural societies and garden clubs across Ontario. In a year that doesn’t include COVID restrictions, up until November and starting again in April, these shows ask exhibitors to bring in what grows in their gardens. Even in late October, there may still be the odd rose hanging on in its sheltered spot if the weather is warm.

What else might you see at shows from our fall gardens? Certainly in early October you may still see roses, and those typical flowers and foliage that hang on for fall, like hydrangeas, echinacea, rudbeckia and hostas (if the bugs haven’t gotten to them!) Some gardeners complain about the predominantly yellow flowers of August through October, while others look on them as a bit of sunshine on days when we need it. A late October flower show may ask exhibitors to bring in grasses, or herbs which have “summered outside,” or perhaps a branch bearing seed pods – Mountain Ash and rosehips come to mind.

A few hardy garden plants save their best for a fall showing. And they are probably all the more welcome because we’re starting to think about cooler days and putting our gardens to bed for the winter. The strappy daylily leaves are yellowed and droopy. The hostas look tired. But in early October sedums, asters, helenium and some coreopsis are awake in my garden, looking fresh alongside the bedraggled phlox and crocosmia. Tucked into a spot beside the walkway, the precious little colchicum (autumn crocus) appear faithfully each year when the weather turns cool. There should be bonus marks in a flower show for plants and flowers that turn up in spite of the weather!

~ Ellen Clark

Ellen is an accredited Horticultural Judge and a Design Judge, and co-chair of Canada Blooms 2021-2022.
As you know, Canada Blooms 2020 was set up and ready to go when we had to close due to COVID-19 concerns last March. The Toronto Flower Show and Competition (for Amateurs) and the Floral Alley Showcase (for Professional Floral Artists) were judged and winners chosen.  

We would like to congratulate the participants and winners, and invite you to take a look back with our video highlighting the winners.

Canada Blooms 2020 Floral Artist Awards


Just because fall is upon us doesn’t mean that those beautiful pots and planters have to go back in the garage for the winter. We have some plant suggestions on how to spice up your containers to get a fresh and seasonally appropriate look with bold colours and exciting textures.

Just remember that potted plants don’t have the same insulation in-ground plants have and their roots may freeze, making your perennials annuals. Speak to your local garden centre professional to find the best perennials to plant and special care needed in order to have them return next year.

Fall Pansies: they are hardy, at least for a frost or two and have a great variety of colours. They work well as filler.

Sunflowers: these bright native American plants say “summer isn’t over” like no other. They are tough and easy to grow as long as the soil is not waterlogged.

Asters: they display vibrant fall colours in shades of blue, purple pink and white and also offer a great feeding opportunity for pollinators.

Coneflowers/Echinacea: offer beautiful sunset-like colours and can grow rather tall in your container.

Sedum: is a late foliage that can last past a couple of frosts. They can range from icy blue-green to dark burgundy, offering some great texture to your display.

Ornamental Peppers: have glossy purple leaves and fruit which can make this plant a late-season sight to see.

Chrysanthemums: these are a fall favourite that come in a wide variety of shapes and colours.

Fall Containers


Tips For Growing Fall Mums
Fall Chrysanthemums
Mums are a bright and cheery treat as we start to think of the upcoming Winter. They are a plant that is fairly easy to look after. Better Homes & Gardens has a great article on How To Care For Mums.

Here are the basics according to them:

Both florist and garden mums make excellent container plants, just pop them into a clay pot or a fall window box by themselves or with other fall plants.

Re-potting is one of the best things you can do for your mums. Most mums in containers will have very compacted root balls after sitting in nursery containers, so gently breaking up the root ball and giving the mum a new home in some fresh potting soil will set your plant up for success.

Don’t forget to water. Chrysanthemums love full sun and all that heat means they also need plenty of water. Give them a good soak after re-potting, then water every other day or whenever soil seems dry.

Whether in a pot or in your garden, mums like lots of light. Choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day. Plants that don't get enough sunlight will be tall and leggy and produce fewer, smaller flowers.

Mums thrive in well-drained soil. If the soil doesn't drain well, add compost and mix it in to a depth of 8-12 inches for best performance. You could also grow mums in raised beds filled with a garden soil mix that drains well. Prepare mums for winter after the first hard frost. Mulch up to 4 inches with straw or shredded hardwood around the plants. Pinch off dead blooms to clean up the plant, but leave branches intact. Mums have a better chance of surviving if you wait to prune old stems until spring.

Pinching: When they're about 6 inches tall, pinch back the tops of each stem by 1-2 inches or so. This promotes compact, bushy growth later on.

Fall Gardening Checklist

Fall Flowers

Falling leaves signal the beginning of the fall garden clean up season. With the cooler fall weather upon us, it's time to get outside and prepare your garden for the onset of a Canadian winter. Maybe you haven't spent that much time in the garden over the past few weeks, with kids going back to school, or you have managed to get away and spend some time off at the cottage, but there are a lot of little tasks that need to be completed to get your garden ready for winter.

Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs, cut back perennials, remove annuals and get your lawn healthy for next spring. Remember to keep watering. Trees and shrubs that are deprived of water now will be easily stressed in the winter. Below is a handy guide to fall clean up tasks.


♦ Transplant shrubs or young trees to new locations.
♦ Cut diseased areas out of perennials. Do not compost.
♦ Rake and compost any fallen leaves.
♦ Clean up garden debris. Remove all vegetable plants and fallen fruit.
♦ Remove dead annuals from the garden, after a frost. ♦ Cut back perennial foliage to discourage overwintering pests. Leave flowers with seeds for the birds.
♦ Continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.
♦ Sharpen lawn mower blade and pruners.
♦ Trim tall grass away from trees and corners of your home to discourage small rodents from creating nests. ♦ Dig up tender bulbs such as dahlia, canna and gladiola. Wrap them in moist material and store in a cool, dark space.

♦ Fertilize your lawn
♦ Divide spring and summer blooming perennial plants.
♦ Turn off outside water connections. Drain garden hoses.
♦ Buy bulbs to force for winter.
♦ Continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.
♦ Wrap screening around fruit tree trunks to protect from small animals.
♦ Mulch rose bushes.
♦ Clean fallen leaves in downspouts and gutters.

~ Landscape Ontario


For years, homeowners have found UNILOCK's Idea Centres to be a great resource as they  plan their products. Fortunately, given that these facilities are outdoor and large in scale, homeowners can continue to visit while maintaining new physical distancing guidelines. 

Explore the centre at your leisure to see a wide range of UNILOCK® products, compare colours and textures and imagine the possibilities for your project. Then, when ready, we can connect with you at a safe distance to answer any questions you may have and provide you with full size products samples.

Want to learn about "How to plan your landscape project"? Call 1-800-UNILOCK or email Kathryn Lotox for date/time.

Unilock Checklist

Unilock Video

Halloween Centerpiece Ideas

This year has been challenging and the next few holidays may not look the same as they have, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't still decorate. Come on, let's get creative and put a smile on everyone's face with how crafty we can be.

Create a Halloween Centrepiece and share it with #canadabloomshalloweenfun and let see what you can do.

Want some more ideas? Check out:
Ethinify.com - Halloween Centerpiece Ideas
Rockflower.co.uk - 7 Ideas For Halloween Flowers
InspireByCharm.com - Halloween Flower Arrangement
MyPinterVentures - DIY Black Twig Wreath 


Harrowsmith Butternut Squash

There’s nothing like a hearty soup made with vegetables from your garden!

Try this Cream of Butternut Squash soup with pureed cashews for a rich creaminess. Cashews add vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that you wouldn’t normally get with plain dairy cream.


♦ 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and
   chopped into large chunks (about 9 cups)

 ♦ 1 cup chopped celery and celery leaves
♦ 1 cup chopped onion  ♦ 2 cups chopped potatoes
♦ 2 large cloves garlic, chopped  ♦ 1 tsp salt
♦ 2 to 3 bay leaves  ♦ tsp brown, coconut or date sugar
♦ 1 tsp curry powder  ♦ 1/2 tsp dried basil
♦ 1/2 tsp dried oregano  ♦ 1/2 tsp cinnamon
♦ 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water
    overnight in the fridge
 ♦ Salt and Pepper

1. In a large stockpot, place all the ingredients and cover with 8 cups of water.

2. Heat over medium-high until boiling, then turn down to medium. Let simmer until the chunks of squash are cooked through.

3. Remove the bay leaves and discard.

4. Ladle out 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid (it’s OK if there are random bits of veggies floating in it) and put it in the bowl of a large food processor.

5. Add the soaked cashews and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed until everything’s evenly puréed.

6. Scrape the cashew mix into the stockpot and, using a handheld immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth.

7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8. For a stronger curry flavour, double the curry powder.

This recipe makes an enormous amount of soup—about 10 grownup, main-attraction servings. It freezes well, too.

For more recipes be sure to visit https://www.harrowsmithmag.com

Celebrating National Tree Day 2020
Tree Day 2020

National Tree Day serves as a celebration for all Canadians to appreciate the great benefits that trees provide us - clean air, wildlife habitat, reducing energy demand and connecting with nature.

To celebrate trees, the House of Commons passed a private members motion on March 2, 2011 declaring the Wednesday of National Forest Week as National Tree Day. At the insistence of Tree Canada, this special day was created to give Canadians the opportunity to learn more about the great benefits of trees while encouraging them to celebrate our country’s forest heritage. Communities across the country explored nature, enjoying its beauty, and also helped nourish it by planting new trees.

The Canada Blooms team also joined in the celebration by planting a Chinese Beech near our office. It will be enjoyed for years to come.

Past Trees Planted - 2015 Oak, 2016 Maple, 2017 Maple, 2018 Maple, 2019 Willow 

Thanks to David Turnbull and Mike Wasilewski for doing the actual digging and planting.

Tree Day Through The Years


Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign Update  

Highway of Heroes -401

The goal of the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign is to plant 2 million trees that will be a tribute to the men and women who fought for Canada in our wars, and a living memorial to the 117,000 who died for freedom.

Highway of Heroes Tribute is excited to announce that earlier this year, they received a two-year $500,000 Grow Grant from Ontario Trillium Foundation. The grant will allow them to expand our successful highway plantings within the City of Toronto!

This allows them to expand work along 401 in Toronto, adding more than 20,000 trees to Toronto’s tree canopy.

They are incredibly grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant Review Committee for this generous investment in our work and their support of the Tree Campaign.

Highway of Heroes would like to thank their donors because without their support larger donors would not have sent help their way. With this grant they are within 95% of their goal, but they still need to plant trees. So, Double Your Impact is Back!

The Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign is in the homestretch! They are within $500,000 of the $10 million multi-year fundraising goal.

With your help and the help of matching funds, they can cross the finish line, hitting their target before midnight on New Year's Eve. Now that's something to celebrate!

This is your last chance to be a part of this historic campaign.

They are excited to announce new contests and promotions feature prizes donated by generous supporters. Their new digital gift-giving options help you give the gift of a living legacy, no matter how or where you celebrate this holiday season.

We know that 2020 has been an unpredictable year. Your support, in whatever form it takes, continues to be a source of inspiration to everyone at the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign.

They can't do it without you. Please donate now until December 31st, and Double Your Impact!

Read the HOH October Newsletter

Highway of Heroes Double Your Impact Campaign

Trial Garden Spring Planting

What is a Trial Garden?
A Trial Garden is a garden grown specifically for the purpose of testing and evaluating new plants. These gardens are operated by universities, plant breeders and garden-industry companies as well as private citizens and botanical gardens. The purpose of trial gardens is to make sure plants will thrive so that home gardeners have the best plants for their own gardens.

At Landscape Ontario, this year despite COVID-19, the University of Guelph trial garden season has taken place. Along with their regular trials that is done each year, they expanded dramatically with the introduction of a container trial, a pollinator evaluation garden and a large, herbaceous perennial trial.

Read the complete story by Rodger Tschanz

The winners of the trials are the best plants to be grown in our zone and will likely be seen in your garden centres next year.

Fall Forest

Considering how much we have all had to sacrifice this year, it is the perfect time to get out and safely enjoy the fabulous colours that Canada has to offer. This can be done by enjoying a car ride or taking a hike, where it is wide open and you can distance.

There are so many places to visit:
Toronto: consider Edwards Gardens, Craigleigh Gardens Park, Bickford Park, High Park, Centennial Park (more ideas check out: Narcity's 8 Serene Toronto Spots or 9 Ways to Enjoy Fall Colours Without Hiking, or Daily Hive's Best Places to See Leaves Change)

Ontario: Duchesnay Falls & Laurentian Escarpment, Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail, Burk's Falls, Blue Mountain (for info on these and more check out: Northeastern Ontario's Fall Hikes, Explorers' Edge's Top 14 Places to View Fall Colours, Daily Hive's 9 Road Trips to Go On, Discover Muskoka's Cranberry Route)

Canada: Winnipeg, Manitoba; Frederickton, New Brunswick;  Waterton Lakes, Alberta (for more ideas check out the National Posts: To 10 Spots to See Floiage, Blog Tugo: Top 5 Destinations for Viewing Fall Foliage).

While the weather is good, get out and enjoy those colours. And if you have kids, encourage them to take the Autumn Scavenger Hunt for fun. Will they get them all?

If you are out in British Columbia, visit Butchart Gardens for some stunning colour. If you are unable to visit in person, take a Virtual Visit, or check out their Autumn Garden Insights by Brian Nixon.

Butchart Gardens Fall Pics

Spooky Tree

Another thing we are unsure about this year is Halloween, this may mean that we should look at some alternatives to the regular trick or treating. 

Here are some alternatives to think about:
Toronto's Haunted Drive Thru - an immersive Halloween experience where people drive through different themed areas (Toronto)
Escape Maze - an outdoor adventure game (Peterborough)
Pumpkins After Dark - over 150 pumpkin sculptures to visit from your car (Milton)
Haunted Walk at Pioneer Village - small bubble tours of Black Creek Pioneer Village complete with spooky stories (Toronto)
Boo At The Zoo - use your own car as a Zoomobile (Toronto)
The Great Pumpkin Trail - follow the jack-o-lantern trail at the Royal Botanical Garden and learn some cool facts about bats, spiders, and of course pumpkins (Burlington)
Scarehouse - indoor haunted attraction (Windsor)
Halloween Night of Lights - an immersive experience featuring more than 700,000 LED lights animated and synchronized to your favourite halloween tunes (Vaughan)

Blue Mountain Light Show (AGORA) - not really spooky, but rather an unusual and magical space inspired by the cycles of nature (Collingwood)

We haven't been to any of these events personally, but they certainly sound like they would be fun, please be sure to follow all the health and safety guidelines in your area and at the attractions. And if you are looking for some other suggestions, here is an article by Hamilton/Halton/Brant.

Canada Blooms Top Pics Canada Blooms Emoji Challenge

Favourite Flower Of The Year

Blooms Themes Emoji Challenge

It's official the top three winners of the Favourite Canada Blooms Flower of the Year from 2004-2020 are the Parrot Tulip, the Anemone and the Sarah Bernhart Peony.  The top honour goes to the Tulip.

The winners of the contest were:
Janis Asdrubolini, Milton, ON
Beverly Buckie, Guelph, ON
Jenelle Fraser, Toronto, ON

As we celebrate our upcoming 25th Canada Blooms, we invite you to test your knowledge about the 25 years of Canada Blooms Themes. Don't worry we have some emojis to help you out.

See how many you can get, and you will be entered into a draw for a $25 Sheridan Gift Card.

Visit our Contest page to enter.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience

The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit has been extended in Toronto until January, so there is still time to enjoy this amazing experience, whether you chose to go by car or by walk through.

Wander through giant projections that highlight brushstrokes, detail, and colour as you have never experienced them. Visitors will be immersed in Van Gogh’s works — from his sunny landscapes and night scenes, to his portraits and still life paintings. (discover more)

Special Offer: Use code ADDGOGH26 to redeem Premium tickets for the price of a Basic ticket!
Valid for purchase until November 30th on Walk Thru tickets only. Tickets must be purchased 48hrs prior to selected date and time.


Our address is:
7856 Fifth Line South, Milton, ON L9T 2X8

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Canada Blooms was founded by the Garden Club of Toronto and Landscape Ontario
Garden Club of Toronto Landscape Ontario

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