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Canada Blooms Newsletter Header Summer 2020

Celebrating 25 Years

The Theme for 2021 is 'Secret Garden'!

As we approach our 25th Festival, it is interesting to point out that Canada Blooms itself was considered an Anniversary Gift. 

In 1997, our founders The Garden Club of Toronto and Landscape of Ontario were both approaching important anniversaries. The Garden Club, with 500 members, had the accumulated knowledge of 50 years of experience, and Landscape Ontario, while 25 years younger, had the strength of 1,200 members companies across the province.

The two organizations decided to join forces and stage a world-class flower and garden show, one that would bring together the entire horticulture and floriculture communities, and showcase the best products, services designs and talent for the public.

The idea of Canada Blooms was born, and after three years of planning, the first festival took place. Canada Blooms was also a gift to Toronto, for as a non-profit event, the proceeds from Canada Blooms went to a number of community garden projects and horticultural scholarships.

Paying homage to our roots, we are going to take the first year’s theme ‘Secret Garden’ and put a 2021 spin on it. Think cozy hideaways, backyard sanctuaries or perhaps a little green oasis. Each garden will be just what we all need a little more of in our lives, places to spend time with friends and family.

We hope you will come celebrate with us in March!



Even though you didn't get to enjoy some of the entries in the Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms this year, you might like to see an explanation about Class 107 in Floral Design -- The Legend of the Firebird, which asked entrants to create a Firebird made from fresh or dried plant material. 

The Legend of The Firebird

The legend of The Firebird originated as a colourful central animal figure in Slavic mythology and folklore. It is often depicted as a beautiful but dangerous avian creature with majestic plumage emitting red, orange and yellow light. It can also resemble a fire coloured falcon with a crest on its head and glowing eyes.

The historic traditions of storytelling have resulted in variations of the story line but several common themes emerge. Generally, it is recognized as a hero for the Russian people since it has been known to steal the king’s magical apples or offer hope to peasants by dropping pearls from its mouth when passing over villages. Often there is a challenging quest to find and capture The Firebird usually initiated by the discovery of a tail feather which continues to glow even after having been lost.

The legends of the Firebird have become the inspiration for many fairy and folk tales and a variety of artistic expressions. The most famous musical work is the production of the ballet called The Firebird composed by Stravinsky in 1910 which is still preformed today.

Make what you will of all these timeless stories as you enjoy our designers’ interpretations of The Firebird.

Martha Pine, Garden Club of Toronto

Photo by Garden Club of Toronto,
Design by: (T) Rosemary Passafiume McLean, (B) Sandra Williams

Class 107 - Firebird Class 2020

Thunderbird Wall by Dry Stone

One of the magnificent displays that would have been seen this year was the Thunderbird wall, which was built in recognition of the violations and abuses of Indigenous women, an issue currently affecting Indigenous people in Canada and the United States, including the First Nations, Inuit, Metis and Native American communities.

The Thunderbird

The Thunderbird was created by Nanabozho, a spirit in Anishinaabe creation storytelling – to fight underwater creatures and to protect humans against evil spirits. They arrived in the spring and headed south in the fall. As ‘spirits of the sky realm,’ thunderbirds were believed to be links between the spirit and the physical world. They are revered and considered sacred.

The Thunderbirds are supernatural, powerful Manitous (spirits), and can create rain, wind and violent thunderstorms with their wings and eyes.

They are gigantic birds who protect the Anishnabek (Ojibwe).

The Saugeen First Nation stone crew is currently creating a large scale Thunderbird in slate at the entrance to the Amphitheatre that is being restored!

— Dean McLellan, H L Masonry Builders

Thank you to Saugeen First Nation #29, Chippawa Hill, ON and the builders: Dylan Roote, James Besito, Andre Lemieux, Andrew Pritchard, Kenny Davies and Dean McLellan

Here are some things you should be thinking about in June:

• Hot crops
like corn, zucchini, squash (all cucurbits), peppers, and potatoes can be planted now, if you haven't already. Those who planted in May will have a head-start.

• Mulch! A 5 cm layer of mulch can cut down watering by 70% and weeding by 90%. Mark uses shredded cedar or pine bark mulch, and Ben uses straw. To each their own.

• Roses, peonies and clematis will start flowering this month - get out there and make sure they are supported before they fall over under the weight of their massive blossoms!

• Fast growing flowers can be sown now wherever you have a blank space in the garden. There are lots of great wildflower mixes out there that can bring pollinators to your garden. An easy way to plant these is by pouring the seed mix into a bucket with some dry potting mix, sand or vermiculite (one packet/25 sq ft). Pour the seed/sand or soil mixture back and forth between two buckets until they are fully mixed. Broadcast the seed by hand over a bed of soil and rake it in.

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Ikonik Screens

As we are welcoming the warmer temperatures and sunshine, we want to spend time outside with our friends and family. But, while outside we also want to carve out a space that is just for us, out of sight so that we can relax and enjoy the day in our backyard or garden.

How do we get that much needed privacy?
How about privacy screens? At the end of the busy day or hectic work week we all need time to unwind, relax, and recharge in a space that shelters you from the noise of the outside world. Using Ikonik Laser Cut Privacy Screens in your outdoor space create not only that sought after privacy but also creates beautiful art for your back yard.

Why should you get an Ikonik Privacy screen?

♦ Using Laser Cut Architextural™ Privacy Screens in your outdoor space allows you to escape to a place that is just your own so you can exhale, reset your mind and breathe in a dance of shadow, light, and halftones.

♦ Much like the rooms of the indoor spaces in your home, Ikonik Privacy Screens help delineate the areas or zones of your outdoor space. Laser Cut Privacy Screens around a hot tub can help create a more intimate space for just the two of you while the kids are having fun in the yard. Screens by the Firepit can make for a cozy space while others are playing in the pool. Defining the outdoor dining area will help create an environment where some of the most memorable family conversations happen.


♦ A well thought out design choice can transform your space and transport you to where you once stood…or where you dream of standing.

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Growing Vegetables from Scraps

To Compost or to Plant? That is the Question!

A plant's evolutionary necessity to reproduce is a wonder of nature and how enjoyable it is to watch this inherent unfold. Re-growing edible plants from common kitchen scrap can be a very simple process. In the middle of winter, you can be enjoying fresh celery, or romaine lettuce grown on your windowsill. There are many vegetables, herbs even fruits that you can regrow from waste you typically throw into your compost. Here is a list and suggestions on how to start for your own windowsill garden.

Green Onions: After using the greens, place several of the onion bulbs with the roots still attached in warm water. Then place in a sunny window. Soon you will have new and useable onion greens.

Bok Choy: Cut the bottom off your bok choy and stand it in warm water and in bright light. Soon you will have new leaves for your cooking needs.

Romaine Lettuce: Slice the base off the bunch and place it in warm water in a bright window and watch it grow.

Celery: Cut the stalks away from the base and place in warm water in a bright window. Your celery will grow new stalks which can be eaten within a few weeks.

Herbs: Herbs like cilantro, basil, lemon grass, and mint will root and grow in on your windowsill. In time they can be transplanted into a pot or your garden.

This is a fun and easy way to repurpose food scrap into new edible food. Living examples were on display in the Toronto Flower Show, at Canada Blooms 2020, in Class 34 Second Time Around, where entries called for a plant grown from a food scrap , vegetable (celery, pineapple, carrot, beet, etc) or a stone pit (avocado, peach, apricot, etc). 

Great idea for projects with young people while school is out.

— Rosemary Passafiume McLean, Garden Club of Toronto

Container (Landscape Ontario)

A few very smart people a few years back came up with the notion that we can do great planter design using the simple notion of thriller, filler and spiller.

Some plants are great for tumbling over the edge of a container – the spiller plants. Some plants are big and bold and showy and should be the centre of attention – the thriller plants. Some plants are the right size to fit in-between the spillers and the thrillers and those are the fillers.

What a great idea. We dig into this more with our friends from Proven Winners – who are very responsible for much of the current trends in patio plantings.

Thriller Plants
• Thrillers are plants with height that add drama and a vertical element to the combination.
• Thrillers can either be flowering or foliage plants or ornamental grasses.
• Thrillers are generally put either in the centre or at the back of the container.
• Place it in the center of the container if it will be viewed from all sides.
• Place it in the back of the container if it will be viewed from only one side.
• Some examples are: Angelface® angelonia, Butterfly argyranthemum, Graceful Grasses®.

Filler Plants
• Once you've chosen your Thriller, next start choosing your Filler varieties.
• Fillers tend to be more rounded plants and make the container look full.
• Fillers are generally placed in front of, or around, the Thriller variety.
• Fillers should be placed midway between the edge of the container and the Thriller variety.
• Some examples are Diamond Frost® euphorbia, Superbells® calibrachoa, Supertunia® petunia.

Spiller Plants
• Lastly, you add the Spillers.
• Spillers are trailing plants that hang over the edge of the planter.
• Spillers are placed close to the edge of the container.
• Some examples are Snowstorm® Giant Snowflake® bacopa, Snow Princess® lobularia, Sweet Caroline sweet potato vine.

Article from Landscape Ontario

Orange Zest Container by Proven Winners
Looking for some Summer container ideas, check out these recipes from Proven Winners.

Orange Zest Container Layout - Proven WinnersRecipe:
1. Luscious® Royale
Red Zone™ Lantana camara (filler)
2.Proven Accents® Plum Dandy™ Alternanthera hybrid (filler)
3. Superbena Royale® Peachy Keen Verbena hybrid (spiller)

*This recipe assumes 4.5" plants.
Lemon Raspberry Meringue Container by Proven Winners

Lemon Raspberry Meringue Container Layout1. Proven Accents® Sweet Caroline Kiwi™ Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine Ipomoea batatas (spiller)
2. Hippo® Red Polka Dot Plant Hypoestes phyllostachya (filler)
3. Heart to Heart™ 'Lemon Blush' Shade Caladium Caladium hortulanum (thriller)
  *This recipe assumes 4.5" plants.
Precious Opal Container by Proven Winners

Precious Opal Container Layout1. Proven Accents® Pegasus® Begonia hybrid (thriller)
2. Proven Accents® Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Jet Black™ Sweet Potato Vine Ipomoea batatas (spiller)
3. ColorBlaze® Dark Star Coleus Solenostemon scutellarioides (thriller)
4. Catalina® Pink Wishbone Flower Torenia

*This recipe assumes 4.5" plants.

For more container ideas, visit your local garden centre or check out the Proven Winners website.

Highway of Heroes Tree Planting
HOH Logo

From Mark Cullen Article in Highway of Heroes Tribute Newsletter:

We did it. We broke our own record and supported the planting of over 500,000 trees this spring! This includes well over 10,000 of our “Hero Trees” that are planted directly on the Highway of Heroes.

This accomplishment is the result of many hours (years, really) of work on the part of our staff. Special thanks to Mike Hurley, our Executive Director; April Stevenson, our Service Tree steward, who is responsible for planting off the Highway right of way; Forests Ontario; David Turnbull, our Hero Tree steward, who is responsible for coordinating with the MTO to plant on the highway; and countless others who support this team.

I have been reflecting on our activity this spring, and have been thinking about all of our youngster trees sitting out there, on and near the highway, just waiting for the early summer weather to provide the natural nourishment they need to put down roots and grow.

Young trees that will mature over time to provide a permanent, ecologically beneficial living memorial to the Canadians who have served and the 117,000 who died during times of war for our freedom. (continue reading article)


Landscape Ontario Frontline Worker Contest

Do you know a deserving frontline worker?
Nominate your hero for a $25,000 garden makeover!

Landscape Ontario wants you to share stories of friends, neighbours or family members who have helped to improve the lives of those in their community throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Nominees have a chance to win the grand prize $25,000 garden makeover or one of nine valued at $5,000 — one in each of Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association's regional chapters. Help Landscape Ontario to celebrate the dedication of healthcare professionals and frontline workers and nominate your local hero today!

Nomination Criteria: Must work in a healthcare or frontline position

Winners will be selected in each of Landscape Ontario's 9 regional chapters:
Georgian Lakelands (Barrie, Huntsville, Collingwood, etc.)
Golden Horseshoe (Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford, Niagara)
Upper Canada (Belleville, Kingston)
Waterloo Windsor

In addition, Landscape Ontario will conduct a provincial makeover project worth $25,000.



Nominate Your Frontline Worker Here

For indoor gardeners everywhere, Darryl Cheng offers a new way to grow healthy house plants. He teaches the art of understanding a plant’s needs and giving it a home with the right balance of light, water, and nutrients. After reading this book, the indoor gardener will be far less the passive follower of rules for the care of each species and much more the confident, active grower, relying on observation and insight. And in the process, the plant owner becomes a plant lover, bonded to these beautiful living things by a simple love and appreciation of nature. The New Plant Parent covers all of the basics of growing house plants, from finding the right light, to everyday care like watering and fertilizing, to containers, to recommended species.

About The Author
If you've ever tried to Google houseplant care advice, you'll probably be left with more questions than answers. Darryl Cheng, creator of
House Plant Journal, is here to help! He has helped thousands of people understand the essentials of houseplant care to become confident plant parents. Darryl’s commitment to excellence, his passion for plants and thirst for knowledge have turned him into the king of the internet houseplant world - with over 400,000 followers on Instagram!

To get your copy of The New Plant Parent, visit Amazon or Chapters.

Darryl Cheng

Royal Botanical Gardens Iris are in Bloom

As part of a phased re-opening, Royal Botanical Gardens will be opening all outdoor garden areas to the public, beginning Friday, June 5.

These areas include Hendrie Park, David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden, Laking Garden and the Arboretum. RBG Centre and the Rock Garden Visitor Centre will be open only to provide access to garden areas. Building amenities and areas such as the Mediterranean Garden remain closed to the public. A mesmerizing rainbow of colour, over 1,000 types of iris bloom at Laking Garden.

Iris are in bloom!
The Iris collection is at peak bloom in RBG’s Laking Garden. Find out What is in Bloom, or for tickets or more information visit RBG.ca


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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