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Floral Peacock at Canada Blooms 2020

As you probably know by now, Canada Blooms had to cancel our 2020 festival due to concerns about Covid-19.

We, along with our partner The Home Show – The Big One – on Thursday, March 12, made the decision that the safety of our garden builders, exhibitors, floral artists, partners, staff, volunteers and our loyal visitors was paramount. And, as we can see from the past few weeks, we made the right decision. However, we were still disappointed as we were set up (with only a few finishing touches left) and ready to go for opening day.

Although we did not open to the public, we did continue with the judging of the Feature Gardens, the Toronto Flower Show and the Floral Alley: The Professional Floral Artist Showcase. Thanks to a few exhibitors who were in the building on Thursday and Friday we ended up with some walk through videos so that people could still see the hard work and innovation that went into the gardens and floral displays.

This year’s Canada Blooms festival had so much colour and creativity for garden and floral designers, that it was so disappointing visitors were not able to enjoy the festival in all its splendour.

We would like to thank all the garden builders, floral artists and exhibitors who not only spent many hours planning and building their displays/booths but who also lost their investment in Canada Blooms this year because they were unable to meet visitors as planned.

Visitors might not be aware of the amount of dedicated people that are needed to put on our event, from partners and sponsors, exhibitors, competitors, presenters, staff, volunteers, facility managers and employees from all the service contractor, all of whom were disappointed in the way circumstances worked out this year.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank :
► Adrienne Handbidge and Brigitte Richter and the other Master Gardeners of Ontario who are responsible for planning the Li’l Sprouts activities at Canada Blooms as well as answering questions to get the gardening season started.
Our Board Members and Committee Members -- Feature Garden, Education, Design and Ambience, Morning Tours, Toronto Flower Show – all volunteers who work behind the scenes to make the festival look great, relevant and interesting.
Speakers and workshop demonstrators who donate their time and expertise to provide gardening, floral and industry information that is informative and fun.  
Competitors in the International Class who came from across the globe at their own expense to participate.
The celebrities and artists who painted gnomes for Gilda's Club Gnome Garden & Silent Auction and to Margaret Taylor and her team for coordinating this very worthwhile endeavour. These will be available for bidding at next year's festival.
► Hawai'i NeoTropica, Jennifer Harvey and Floral Day Ambassador Hitomi Gilliam for all the planning for the Canada Blooms Floral Artist of the Year Competition. Hopefully we will see all 20 competitors again in 2021. 
Volunteers who put in long hours to helped design and plant up the planters and feature areas and then had to take them apart just a couple days later.
Niagara College students who created a garden in one day when it was discovered onsite one of our gardens would be smaller than originally planned.
The suppliers who provided plants, sand & mulch, equipment and transportation and stepped up  to remove the gardens, sand and mulch when the timing of move-out was changed.
The visitors who purchased tickets and patiently waited for their refunds, we appreciated your understanding.
All the facebook, twitter and Instagram fans and followers who sent their many words of comfort, it was so nice to hear from you all.

We are now well under way planning Canada Blooms 2021, as we look forward to our 25th anniversary festival, and we hope that you can all join us next year.

Thanks again and mark your calendars for next year:

March 12-21, 2021!



As stated above, even though Canada Blooms 2020 was closed to the public, the Toronto Flower Show and Competition still took place, with judging taking place on Friday, March 13th.

This year's theme was 'Birds Of A Feather' and gave everyone an opportunity to get creative with design classes that covered everything from 'Something to Crow About', 'Fluttering Wings', 'Flight of Fancy', 'Flying Colours', etc. in a variety of unusual designs such as using a painting to interpret their design, an Ikebana design, a Dutch Flemish design just to name a few.

The International class 'Aerial Odyssey'  provided designs from 9 competitors from Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Malta, Pakistan, Mexico, and United Kingdom. These stunning designs exposed everyone to beautiful creative designs from far and wide. 

Meet the Internationals

Our horticultural displays were set out for maximum appreciation of both cultural excellence and education. This year there was a special amaryllis class featuring red and red & white varieties of Mark's Choice Amaryllis. 

Both the photography class and the creative children's class were expected to be a huge attraction in the Flower Show. The children's decorated ball caps atop a display set of bird heads was whimsical and eye catching.

Visit our blog for a full list of winners.

As we look forward to next year, we invite you to check out the Canada Blooms schedule for 2021, available closer to the fall, and encourage your children or grandchildren (under 12 years) to participate in the children's class.

The Toronto Flower Show represents many, many hours of work and pleasure for our volunteers and we would like to thank all who took part to create an impressive competition and show.

Photo by Garden Club of Toronto, Design by Carola Kean - UK

International Class 2020

Toronto Flower Show Sets used at Canada Blooms 2020
Beauti-Tone, Canada's Paint Experts, donated all the paint for Toronto Flower Show sets.
2020 Judge's Choice Garden Winner

This year's garden builders took on the theme 'Bird's Of A Feather' and the results were fun and creative.

We would like to recognize the winner of the Tony DiGiovanni Garden of the Year (Judge's Choice) Award, 'Mark's Potting Shed' by J. Garfield Thompson Landscape Ltd., J. Garfield Thompson also won the The Award for Outstanding Use of Natural Stone and Best Use of Plant Material.

'Neighbourhood Flock' by Sylvia Szot Landscape Design won the 'Do Up The Doorsteps' Award presented by Oaks Landscape Products, and there was a tie for the 'Do Up The Backsteps' also presented by Oaks Landscape Products 'The Edible Caja Garden' by The Growing Connection and 'Backyard Birdwatch' by Landscapes by Jodie Munshaw.  Jodie Munshaw also won the Unilock Outstanding Small Garden and the Award for Outstanding Interpretation of Festival Theme presented by Isuzu Canada.

Thanks again to all the participants, and congratulations to all winners. 

Visit our blog for a full list of winners


Canada Blooms 2020 Virtual Garden Tour

2020 Judge's Choice Floral Design Winner

This year, although we didn't have as many competitors, their designs were colourful and creative.

The floral displays were officially judged on Friday, March 13th, and the Judge's Choice winner was Bruno Duarte of Fresh Floral Creations.

Winner of the Best Floral Representation of Floral Alley Theme presented by Ontario Flower Growers Co-operative: Bruno Duarte
Winners of the Most Creative Use of Floral Material presented by Oasis Floral Products: Rada Ristich and Brad Higginson, 4165-Flower/Alma Florists
Winner of the Best Overall Use of Colour: Joezel Yumul

First Place (Tie): Bruno Duarte and Rada Ristich & Brad Higginson
Second Runner Up: Joezel Yumul
Honourable Mention: Melani Nemeskovic, Floresco

We would like to recognize Hawai'i Neotropica and renowned floral artist Hitomi Gilliam who had planned to be the Floral Day Ambassador. 

This year, the front entrance and Parade of Florals, created by Albert Graves of Bloemen Decor, which featured floral material from the Ontario Flower Growers Co-operative would have given visitors their first breath of spring as they entered Canada Blooms. Bruno Duarte provided a floral installation and Jennifer Harvey created an areal floral installation representing the flight pattern of birds.

Floral Designs 2020

1. Rada Ristich,  2. Brad Higginson, 3. Joezel Yumul, 4. Melani Nemeskovic, 5. Bruno Duarte, 6. Albert Graves

Gilda's Club Gnome Garden

This year Canada Blooms reached out to celebrities and artists to see if they would help us to create a Gnome Garden for a charitable organization.

Margaret Taylor, who is a member of the Garden Club of Toronto, an international floral design competitor and winner, an instructor and floral judge, took on the project of the Gnome Garden at Canada Blooms.
Margaret assembled a team of volunteers who reached out to celebrities and artists who generously agreed to share their time and talent through painting gnomes to be offered in a Silent Auction to bring awareness to Gilda's Club Greater Toronto. The gnomes were to be displayed in the Gilda's Club Gnome Garden and each of the gnomes and then auctioned off, with all proceeds going to Gilda's Club Greater Toronto.

Gnomes: Jeanne Beker (#1), Jayne Eastwood (#2), Colin Mochrie & Deb McGrath (#3), Anwar Knight (#4)

Gilda's Club Gnome Garden Video


Mark & Ben Cullen In the chorus that is a living garden, our favourite section is the singing birds. A breeze through tall grass, the crunch of gravel underfoot and a frog croaking, all play their part in this living soundtrack.

Nothing can stop us in our tracks like birdsong. We were reminded of this when we walked through the feature gardens at Canada Blooms March 13th. (canadablooms.com for an amazing video) Yes, this was the edition of our famous festival that no one was able to see, other than a handful of us organisers and the contractors.

Back to the birds in your garden. Our favourite way to promote and enjoy birds is bringing them right into the backyard by providing food and habitat.

Here is what we recommend:
► Plants are a one-stop shop for food and shelter. Birds prefer fruits and seeds right off the plant, and most birds either build their nests in a tree, shrub or stand of grass, or they make their nests from pieces of it.
► Flowers such as asters, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), Echinacea (purple coneflower) and coreopsis, not only add colour to your yard but attract a range of songbirds from cardinals to colourful finches. Leave perennials standing throughout the winter so they can continue to be foraged and cut them down in the spring.

(continue reading)

Mark and Ben Cullen
Mark and Ben Cullen will be launching The Green File, a new podcast, this Spring.

For more information sign up for their newsletter at markcullen.com.


If you like what you read, go to harrowsmithmag.com to subscribe. We cover food security in every issue and as our part during this pandemic, we are donating $5.00 from every regular priced subscription to Food Banks Canada.

This issue is for the garden junkies! Mark and Ben Cullen dig deep with an informative composting tutorial and tip toe through the tulips. The Cullens’ take us behind-the-scenes of the historical and joy-boosting Canadian Tulip Festival that took place in Ottawa last year. Steve Maxwell, our Home and Property Editor, shares a fool-proof primer on exterior wood finishes and concise plans for a DIY garden pergola.  

Harrowsmith Cover

Harrowsmith Radio

This interview, with Canada Blooms Executive Director, Terry Caddo, was done in February when we were all excitedly looking forward to the 2020 festival, but it still will give you a little background information on Canada Blooms and what we are all about.

Now, with Harrowsmith Radio, Harrowsmith is telling those great stories a new way – via podcasts that put those stories right between your ears.

Subscribe now on the Apple podcast app or whatever you get your fine podcasts, or listen on the Harrowsmith website.


Less Mess™ tells us that before getting knee deep in the garden to plant your favourite summer fruits and veggies, remember that not all plants play nice! Companion planting, which involves strategically placing two or more plants together for mutual benefit, is a useful technique to help ensure your garden thrives. Companion planting enhances quality, growth, and is learned through lots of trial and error!

Read on for the do’s and don’ts of this common gardening practice: 
DO: Plant near beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, radishes, and turnips.
DON’T: Plant near chives, garlic, leeks, onions, or peppers.
TIP: Keep this one away from all bulb veggies!

DO: Plant near cabbage, corn, cucumbers, fennel, lettuce, and onions.
DON’T: Plant near cilantro or tomatoes
TIP: Dill cross-pollinates with cilantro, and if that happens both plants will be ruined. It is also one of the few plants that grows well with fennel.

DO: Plant near carrots, celery, onions, and peppers.
DON’T: Plant near broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, or cucumbers.
TIP: Growing basil about 10 inches from tomatoes increases the yield.

DO: Plant near beets, celery, dill, swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, onions, and potatoes.
DON’T: Plant near peppers, squash, strawberries, or tomatoes.
TIP: Planting near dill will help attract wasps, which will improve pest control.

DO: Plant near beans, cucumbers, peas, parsnips, pumpkins, squash, and zucchinis.
DON’T: Plant near tomatoes.
TIP: Tomato worm and corn earworm like both plants, so be careful. Also, beans and peas supply nitrogen, so keep them close by.

DO: Plant near celery, corn, cucumbers, radishes, strawberries, and summer savory.
DON’T: Plant near chives, garlic, leeks, onions, peppers, or marigolds.
TIP: Anything in the bean family does not grow well with most veggies, particularly bulb vegetables.

(read complete article)

But before you can enjoy your garden bounty you have to choose the right foundation for your garden and that is where Less Mess™ comes in. Their experts can help you determine the type of soil you need and then deliver it right to your door.

Whether you need garden soil, lawn soil, special blends or mixes, Less Mess™ is the ultimate topsoil, mulch, compost, sand and stone delivery solution for less-mess outdoor landscaping and gardening. Rather than have your soil delivery shipment dumped on your front lawn or driveway, leaving a mess that you have to clean up, Less Mess™ is delivered in pre-packed, re-sealable bags that let you use just the amount of soil you need and set the rest aside for future use.

Less Mess™ soils are Earthco Soil Mixtures’ custom topsoil, mulch and compost blends that offer nutrient-rich fertile organic growth environments for your garden. Each bag contains over 1 cubic yard (36" x 36" x 36") of quality garden soil, and the soil is Less Mess Soil Bagdelivered right where you need it. You don't even need to be home – simply mark the desired drop-off area with an "X" and we will arrange a contactless delivery to keep you feeling safe and secure.

Are you a professional landscaper or contractor? We have custom contractor solutions! Material delivery in a Less Mess Enviro Bag™ helps you keep job sites organized and the re-sealable bags keep materials clean, dry, and uncontaminated.

Tight on space? With a 1 meter x 1 meter footprint, the Less Mess™ bag fits neatly into any space. Rooftop garden? No problem. Any material you need for your project can be craned to hard-to-reach spaces.

For all your gardening and landscape solutions, visit lessmess.ca or call 416-789-4749.

Toronto Zoo
Canada Blooms donated two truck loads of shrubs and plant material to the Toronto Zoo to use in their animal habitats.

This year's Colour of the Year is Pantone 19-4052 (Classic Blue), as we enter the decade of 2020s this year's colour “instills calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era”. So you can expect to see a number of deep blue flowers in gardens this year.

Here are a few from Proven Winners to consider:

Million Dollar Blue Hybrid Bee Delphinium (Perennial): Strong stems carry the prominent blossoms above the dark green, deeply dissected foliage in early summer and then again in late summer or early fall. ‘Million Dollar Blue’ is very heat tolerant.

Beyond Midnight® Bluebeard Caryopteris (Shrub): Dark and dreamy! You'll love this new caryopteris - it has extremely dark, glossy foliage, a compact habit, and deep blue flowers. It adds much-needed colour to the late summer landscape and makes a handsome companion with perennials. A great favourite with pollinators of all types!

Let's Dance® Rhythmic Blue® Reblooming Hydrangea (Shrub): This easy-to-grow, no prune hydrangea was developed in Michigan for superior cold climate performance. An outstanding rebloomer, the Let's Dance Rhythmic Blue hydrangea will provide you months of flowers.

True Blue Gentiana (Perennial): This beautiful floriferous gentian produces large (2”), tubular, true blue flowers which open at the nodes all up and down the stems from midsummer into early fall.

Check out these at your local garden centres. For some more ideas visit the Proven Winners Website.

Visit our Contest Page to Enter our Blue Flower Challenge.


Proven Winners Blue Plants
Gather At Home by Monika Hibbs

“Fresh, airy, bright, and beautiful! Everything I expected this book from Monika and her talented team to be!" --Jillian Harris, author of Fraiche Food, Full Hearts

Popular blogger and lifestyle influencer Monika Hibbs shares her favourite recipes and crafts to bring thoughtful touches to all of life's moments--big or small.

Monika Hibbs has found joy in planning gatherings since she was a little girl, but it's not just the hallmark occasions she spends time thinking about. Over the years, she has learned just how important it is to slow down and savour life's simple, everyday moments, in addition to the holidays and milestones.

In Gather at Home, Monika Hibbs shares her favourite relaxed and easy ways to make your everyday moments and seasonal celebrations special. Use Monika's collection of over 100 simple recipes, crafts, and do-it-yourself projects, conveniently divided by season, to turn your Friday family games night, Mother's Day brunch, holiday dinner, or outdoor evening barbecue into something memorable, and to create other effortless moments that your friends and family will cherish for years to come. You'll find breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert ideas to fit the mood of every season, as well as crafts and do-it-yourself projects you can easily get the kids involved with. Draw inspiration from the lush photography, and add Monika's extra-special touches to make every moment a well-crafted one that will show your family and friends just how much you care.

Author Bio: MONIKA HIBBS is the founder and creative director of the blog Monika Hibbs and one of Canada's most influential lifestyle trendsetters. Known for its gorgeous imagery and inspirational content, the award-winning blog provides a lush landscape rich with the latest trends in entertaining, home decor/interior design, beauty and fashion. Monika loves to entertain, and is always dreaming up her next event or finding new ways to make memories and build traditions for her family. She lives in Vancouver, BC.

To get your copy of Gather at Home, visit PenguinRandomHouse.ca.

Canada Blooms had some of the best speakers and industry professionals ready to share their knowledge with you on the Unilock Celebrity Stage, Isuzu Garden Solutions Stage presented by Harrowsmith and the Outdoor DIY Centre presented by Home Hardware.

Many of our presenters where well known authors. Check out the authors who would have been at Canada Blooms 2020 and we hope they can join us at our 25th Anniversary Festival. 
Authors at Canada Blooms 2020 Books

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, landscape and horticulture professionals across Ontario have worked tirelessly to follow instructions from public health officials. Nursery growers, garden centre operators, and contractors have implemented enhanced safety protocols, acquired non-medical personal protective equipment, and mandated physical distancing. Their number one priority is ensuring the safety of their employees, clients and the public.

Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association represents over 2,500 companies throughout the province, and has provided up-to-date resources to the industry since the crisis emerged. The association recently produced a video to express appreciation for healthcare professionals and front line workers who have been working so hard to keep us safe and to ensure essential items like food and medicine are available in our stores.
Landscape Video

As of May 8th Landscape Companies and Garden Centres are on the list that Premier Ford will allow to be open, provided proper precautions are taken.

Finally, we can put those garden dreams into action as we approach the 24th of May weekend, where we all agree that the days and nights will warm up (Canada weather sometimes laughs at our plans, but we plan anyway).

So support your local landscapers and garden centres, this year they really need your help with a late start to their season. But remember to be safe, and have patience because shopping will take a longer than usual to get your garden treasures. 


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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