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Willowcreek Landscaping at Canada Blooms 1998

Canada Blooms would have been celebrating our 25th festival this year.

Unfortunately because of COVID, we will have to delay our excitement until 2022. But that doesn't mean that we still can't reminisce about Canada's largest flower and garden festival.

So we invite you to take a look with us through the old "photo albums" and share your favourite memory with us. Whether you were a garden builder, floral artist, flower show competitor, supplier, sponsor/partner, presenter, exhibitor, attendee, volunteer or staff, we would like to hear about your favourite Canada Blooms. 

Send us a short paragraph, with a picture if you have one, and tell us which year and why it was fun. Was it the colourful exhibits? Was there a favourite celebrity or speaker who knocked your socks off? Did you meet up with an old friend? Were you a builder or a floral artist who created something marvellous in an unbelievably short amount of time? Did all the trees you order not bloom, so you had to brainstorm with only 2 days to go before opening? Did all your plant material for your entry get caught up at customs? Did you meet new friends volunteering at Blooms? Tell us about it. Send your memory and pics to canadablooms01@gmail.com.

We will then share some of those stories in our Throwback Thursday postings on our social media. So we can all enjoy our time together until we are all together again for real.  

Photo: Willow Creek Landscaping 1998

James Tovey Photo - Leaf

Usually in March, the Garden Club of Toronto is busily preparing for the Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms. With no Canada Blooms this year and no Toronto Flower Show, we decided instead to hold a judged virtual floral art show, opening it up to floral artists with our connections to International clubs. This is a concept we have been using within our club at our monthly meetings. Our floral artists create their design, submit a photograph, and eagerly await the decision of the judges.

Many flower clubs around the world have mounted virtual flower shows to fill the need floral designers have to keep creating at a time when social distancing and safety are so important. Our show is called Re–Connections, an International virtual floral art show celebrating friendship through flowers. We are excited by the response to the show schedule, and will be presenting the results of the competitions on March 12. We can’t wait to see what our floral friends from near and far create!

If you are a member of Canadian or International Garden Clubs or Horticultural Society and would like to consider competing click here.


As we peer out the window this time of year, we are grateful for the birds that visit the seed heads of the ornamental grasses that we let stand over the winter. We are so glad that we resisted the temptation to cut them down this past fall.

For the birds in your yard, now is the perfect time to attract song sparrows, chickadees and overwintering Blue Jays and Cardinals with a ‘songbird seed mix’. Or just use straight black oil sunflower seeds. To prevent the mess associated with sunflowers, use the hulled variety – more expensive but all ‘meat’ and no waste or mess to clean up.

Winter feeding birds need the carbohydrates and fats contained in suet. Extra calories are a must for birds whose fast metabolisms are working hard to keep their little bodies warm. We always hang several out for the winter. That way, if we don’t replace one of them after it is finished, the birds always have another to feed on.

The location of your feeders is just as important as the food that goes into them: out of the harsh winter winds and, ideally, close to shelter. Shelter can be anything from a tall evergreen pine to a short deciduous bush.(continue reading)


Backyard Bird Count

Are you taking part in the Great Backyard Bird Count?

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event, taking place this year February 12-15, that engages bird enthusiasts of all ages around the world in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are. Anyone can participate, from beginners to experts. You can count for as little as 15 minutes on a single day, or for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy – and it helps the birds!

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint program of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon with Canadian partner Birds Canada. Visit Great Backyard Bird Count to learn more and get started!

Proven Winner Selections for Pantone Colour of Year 2021

This year’s Pantone colour of the year 2021 is actually two colours – Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (yellow). It somehow seems fitting after everything we have been through with 2020 that the colours would highlight strength and hope.

PANTONE says Ultimate Gray (PANTONE 17-5104) represents practicality and being rock solid and Illuminating (PANTONE 13-0647) Yellow is optimistic, these two independent colours highlight how different elements come together to support one another. Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute states “the union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude.”

So weather you have a small or large garden, it would be easy to imagine beautiful sunny flowers surrounded by slate/gray edging.

Here are some picks from Proven Winners:

Flambe® Yellow Strawflower Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Annual):This bright plant has been known to steal the garden with tufted yellow flowers on silvery foliage. They are very heat and drought tolerant. Spring-Fall (Sun)

Double Delight™ Primrose Begonia hybrid (Annual): Do you believe in love at first sight? This spectacular new fragrant vareity of begonia makes the ideal hanging basket plant. It produces an abundance of scented double flowers in soft yellow with apricot accents during the summer months. Spring-Summer (Sun/Part Sun) 

Golden Butterfly® Marguerite Daisy (Annual):  This is the golden yellow version of venerable Butterfly Marguerite Daisy, with large daisy flowers that thoroughly cover the plants all summer, no deadheading needed. Spring-Fall (Sun/Part Sun). 

Proven Accents® White Licorice Helichrysum (Annual): It's OK to play favourites. Do a little, get a lot. Licorice plants are exceptionally easy to grow. They don't need much in the way of fertilizers. This vigorous growth and elegant silver-frosted foliage. Spring-Summer (Sun/Part Sun)

Proven Accents® Silver Bullet® Artemisia (Annual): Fancy yet unfussy, this silver foliage which requires little maintenance. Resists deer and rabbits
Spring-Fall (Sun)

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


Hope is Growing Campaign CiB

We recently saw in Show off nature’s best shades of yellow with a 2021 Hope is Growing Garden, an article in the Toronto Star by Mark Cullen that Communities in Blooms campaign this year is “Hope is Growing”.

After a lousy 2020, Communities in Bloom is inviting everyone across Canada, and beyond, to see all gardens feature yellow, the international colour of hope. Everyone can take part, including municipalities, organizations, schools, colleges and universities, churches, clubs, business and individuals can all participate by planting, sharing and hashtagging.

Plant your garden using flowers, fruit, or vegetables as CiB says “just plant the seeds!” anywhere in any form, then take a picture and share on Facebook and Instagram by tagging @CibCef and using the hashtag #hopeisgrowing. You then can become eligible for national, and global recognition, for your efforts.

So come on everyone, whether individually or in a socially distanced group, let’s spread a little hope and enjoy the illuminating colour of yellow.


The perfect compliment to a bright yellow garden would be gray stone/pavers. And who do you turn to for the pavers? -- UNILOCK.

UNILOCK is offering a special rebate (up to $500) for for residential projects in Ontario installed by a DIY homeowner or contractor using:
a) Elegance™ and  EnduraColor™ products 
b) Windermere™ and Metro™ Slab 
c) Rivercrest™ Wall, Mackinaw Wall and U-CARA™ Wall.

Click here for details

Or how about a rebate (up to $500) when you invest in a stunning paver driveway using:
Unilock Elegance® and EnduraColor™.
Rebate applies to Drive Friendly products only.

If you are interested, check out the Unilock Catalogue or visit Unilock Ontario Homeowner Rebate information on their website for more details.


Unilock Offer  


Come join Landscape Ontario as they present their annual Awards of Excellence a juried competition that recognizes breathtaking design and master craftsmanship in landscape construction, maintenance, design, lighting and irrigation projects created by members.

Winners of the 48th Annual Awards Programs were announced on February 4, 2021 during a virtual ceremony. For more information visit LOawards.com.


From Signe Langford, Harrowsmith Magazine

Move over Valentine’s Day, Celebrate Chinese New Year with Homemade Dumplings. Dumplings formed to look like ingots of gold, and that resemble little purses, symbolically filled with good luck.

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only reason to celebrate in February; it’s also Chinese New Year, and romance be damned, this holiday is all about breakin’ out the buffet pants and tucking in. Seriously, have you seen what kind of eating goes on in Chinese restaurants/homes? All over the world, around spinning lazy Susans, it’s a two-week non-stop food frenzy.

Continue reading for dumpling recipe.

For more recipes and great reading subscribe to Harrowsmith Magazine.

Harrowsmith Magazine's Chinese Dumplings  
Bonneville Homes - Luna

A Japanese Garden, Pyramid Wine
and Tenacious Plants

This episode is about what plants, especially native plants, can teach us about thriving in adversity. We also discover an unlikely Japanese garden in Lethbridge and a B.C. winery where sacred geometry, a pyramid and a reverence for the earth has nurtured award winning vintages.

Subscribe now on the Apple podcast app or wherever you get your fine podcasts, or listen on our the Harrowsmith Website.

Highway of Heroes Campaign

A message from Mark Cullen from the Highway of Heroes January Newsletter:

I have some good news for you, and it comes with a giant Thank You.

Here at the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign, 2020 was our best year ever.

► We planted over 600,000 trees, bringing us to within more than 45% of our goal of 2 million trees

► The Ontario government supported us with $1 million

► Our Double Your Impact campaign produced a significant amount more than that of our campaign last year: over $100,000 matched by a private Canadian donor.

You could say that this past year set us up for an outstanding 2021. And you would be right.

This coming year, our plan is to plant over 700,000 more trees. You might be interested in our partnership with Forests Ontario and a one-time opportunity to plant 2.5 acres or more, within 30 kilometres of the 401, from Windsor to the Quebec border, for a few nickels per tree. Click here for more details.

We have a lot of people to thank for our success thus far, including you. (continue reading)

Valentine Flowers

Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be valentines without roses.

It has been reported that 51% of people by red roses for Valentine’s day, and according to Teleflora in their blog post “5 Most Popular Flowers to Give On Valentine’s Day”, says it makes sense as they have a heavenly aroma. They come in a variety of colours and are associate with romance, passion and beauty.

Teleflora suggests that there are also a few other plants you might consider for that special someone:
Carnations: playful ruffly blossoms are linked with fascination, making them a great pick Valentine Lilies: pink, white, orange or red, lilies are the ideal blossom for an elegant recipient
Alstroemeria: delicate, eye-catching petals that represent devotion and pair well with other flowers
Tulips: simple in appearance, available in almost every colour, and they last longer than most other flowers in a vase.

In the Woman’s Day article “Use These Flower Meanings to Pick out the Perfect Valentine’s Day Bouquet” they suggest picking out your bouquet based on the meanings of flowers. 
Think about:
Peonies: associated with romance, prosperity and bashfulness
Red Chrysanthemum: fiery red flowers are all about lover and passion
Ranunculus: symbolize charm, attraction and radiance
Daffodils: considered lucky
Gerbera Daisies: symbolize beauty, innocence and purity
Orchids: symbolize love, beauty, luxury and strength.
Sunflowers: represent warmth and happiness

Whichever flower you choose to give to your special someone, please support your local floral businesses. 

If you are looking for something a little different consider a succulent valentine box.

Garden Therapy, says it is just what the doctor ordered without the calories. This impressive project would be welcomed by any garden enthusiast.

Follow these easy to follow steps (with pictures) on their website to make your own sweet & succulent valentine.

What you will need:
♦ Metal heart-shaped candy box with plastic insert ♦ Bamboo skewer
♦ Cactus and succulent soil
♦ Succulents (potted or cuttings)
♦ Small paintbrush
♦ Reindeer moss

How to make it: 
You can make a succulent valentine with either small succulents in pots or with cuttings (my preferred method). If you have some overwintering succulents or overgrown succulents in need of dividing, those will work well. When shopping for succulents, look for ones that are growing pups or have multiple stems. You can divide them up and root them for summer projects.

Remove all of the candy from the box and give it away. I won’t judge you if you eat it yourself! I know that’s what I will be doing when I’m able to indulge again.

Use the bamboo skewer to poke a hole in each one of the candy cells to provide some drainage.

Fill the candy tray with cactus and succulent soil mix and water it to give the water time to absorb before planting.

(continue reading)

Succulent Heart from Garden Therapy

And speaking of roses, it is never too early to start planning your garden.
If you have or are planning to have roses, you might start thinking about Spring pruning.  Here is some helpful advice for Landscape Ontario.

Spring pruning
As soon as thawing permits, take away the evergreen boughs or remove the rose collars if you installed any. Somewhat later, remove the soil that you mounded up around the base of the canes the previous fall, and rough prune by cutting winter-killed tips down to the live wood. When the yellow flowers of forsythia are in bloom, your roses should be showing signs of life. The buds should be swelling and quite obvious but showing no leaves. At this time, cut out all dead stems, twiggy growth and retain only three or four strong canes at the most. Cut these down to about 15 cm and cut within 6 mm of an outward-facing bud.

Pruning to encourage reflowering
Observe the arrangement of the leaves on the rose stem. Under the flower will probably be a single leaf and then sets of leaves with three leaflets and then a series of leaves with five leaflets. Do not simply remove the dead flower, but cut quite low in the stem to the five-leaflet leaves. This form of pruning in mid-summer results in strong, vigorous, fast replacement of new blossoms and is practiced by the cut-flower rose trade. Remember to cut just above an outward-facing bud. The bud originates in the corner where the leaves emerge.


Hard pruning
Stems are cut back to three or four buds from the base, leaving short, sturdy stems about five inches long. Recommended only for newly planted roses or to rejuvenate old or neglected shrubs.

Moderate pruning
Recommended stems are cut back to half their length. Weak stems are cut back further. Always cut to just above an outward-facing bud. Winter weather may have already killed the top half, so cut to the first live wood.

Light pruning
Stems are cut back by one third. Not recommended as it produces tall spindly plants with early but inferior blooms.

Read the full article.


What roses should you be considering for your garden?

We have to say that we are a little partial to the Canada Blooms Plant of the Year 2021, the Aurora Borealis™ from Vineland'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. It is a low-maintenance rose which measures one-metre in height with a one-metre spread and features black spot resistance and winter hardiness across Canada.

Not to be outdone, the other two roses in Vineland's 49th parallel collection are equally as beautiful.

The Chinook Sunrise® burst on the scene in 2019 with a continuous bloom of exotic coral colours and was a 2020 Gold Medal Winner at the International Rose Trials in Nyon, Switzerland.

The Canadian Shield®, the Canada Blooms Plant of the Year 2017 is a low maintenance versatile garden and landscape rose with full, red flowers and glossy green foliage. It’s a repeat bloomer that stays stunning throughout the entire garden season. 

Visit 49throses.com for more information and where you can find these roses in your area.

Landscape Ontario also has a list of the must see Spring Roses for 2021 tested in the University of Guelph Trial Gardens at their head office.

Be On The Lookout For:
Enchanted Peace (Star Roses)

Sunset Horizon (Florabunda Roses)
Funny Face (Baily Nurseries)
Sitting Pretty (JK Bakker & Sons, Willowbrook Nurseries)
Petite Knock Out (Star Roses, JK Bakker & Sons)
Ringo All Star (Proven Winners ColorChoice, Spring Meadown Nurseries)

These would all would bring added beauty to your garden, and should be available at your local garden centres.

Toronto Botanical Garden Online Courses

Have a little time on your hands?
This is the perfect time to take in an online class from the Toronto Botanical Garden.

There is a wide variety of topics from experts:
Take in Love in Bloom with floral expert Margaret Taylor where you can learn the history and evolution of Valentine's floral design, on Valentine's Day.

Or how about learning to grow Tomatoes to suit any garden with Emma Biggs on February 22

Or how about Unlocking Potential, Big Ideas for Small Gardens with TBG Director of Horticulture, Paul Gellatly. Paul will share how he maximizes his own garden on Feburary 27.

For a complete list of upcoming online courses please visit the Toronto Botanical Garden Website.


A Free Gardening Gift for Canada's Local Gardener

In this time of fear and self distancing Canadian's Local Gardener Magazine wants to give you a gardening gift. ‘Beautiful Gardens’ is their celebratory issue of the year featuring stunning gardens of 2019. They hope you find a cozy place to sit down and unwind as you enjoy this issue.

Click here to read this exciting digital issue.

Taking a look back at the Landscape Ontario build at Canada Blooms 2014.
Toronto 250 year old Red Oak photo by Edith George

Toronto City Council has voted to save the 250-year old red oak tree.

The City Council agreed that if enough funds were raised they would turn the area surrounding the mighty red oak tree into a park. So the call went out and a campaign to save this magnificent piece of history began.

They were close, but as the deadline loomed, unfortunately if fell short by about $40,000. But the City Council has voted and they will work around the short fall.

Here is the story from Francine Kupon in TheStar.com

Photo by Edith George


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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