The Art of Gardening : The Canada Blooms Festival 2018

I had the good fortune of going to “Canada Blooms : The Flower and Garden Festival” on Saturday. In its 22nd year, now I’m wondering why I’ve never been before.

Well, actually, I know why I haven’t been before — I had a mistaken impression of what it was, and believed it wasn’t for me. I thought it was a trade show where visitors could see and purchase gardening and landscaping components from various vendor booths. I imagined there’d be a cavernous space, crammed with large posters advertising goods such as state-of-the-art garden hoses, gravel and paving stones, alongside displays of water fountain pumps and hot-tub filters.

While I’m sure this type of show would be appealing to many, it would be more of a tease for me, highlighting things I cannot have, given our small and shady urban garden.

However, when my friend Leslie contacted me to say she had tickets and wondered if I wanted to join her, I gladly accepted because I wanted to hang out with her. I knew that, no matter what environment we were in, it would be fun. She’s always good company and we would be able to catch up while admiring the rain barrels and sliding screen doors.

So, off we went, by streetcar, down to the Enercare Convention Centre, on the CNE grounds, on Saturday afternoon.

Little did we know that we’d be seeing outstanding works or art, where plants, trees and flowers were the medium. It was awe inspiring and enchanting.

The theme this year was “Let’s Go to the Movies”. Each designer/artist/builder kept this in mind when creating their display. This event is also a judged competition for the participants, so there were plaques, trophies and ribbons attached to the winning entries.

There were many different categories, from large gardens you could walk through, to small wreaths to hang on a door.

The experience engaged several senses, the obvious being sight and scent, however there was a sound element, as well, as there was water flowing and hidden speakers in some of the gardens, emitting the sounds of crickets and birds.

Here’s a look at some of the beauty …

Beginning with the Large Scale Garden Installations : (I plan to provide links and details about the creators, however the Canada Blooms website has been down. I’ll update when I can.)

“Midnight in Paris” :

↑ The aroma in the greenhouse was amazing, with this large bunch of lavender. ↑

“This is Our Movie” :

↑ Leslie relaxing by the fish pond, in one of the rustic Muskoka chairs. ↑

“Zen Garden” : (I’m calling it that as I didn’t get the details on this lovely installation)

↑ A perfect clump of irises, my favourite flowers. ↑

↑ A Dogwood Tree in bloom, Leslie’s favourite tree. ↑

“Oscar After Party” :

“Hollywood After Party” :

Mid-sized gardens that you admired from the edge, Front Gardens :

“Do up the Doorsteps” – Welcome to the Front Yard

“Do up the Doorsteps” – Alice

This is a good time to insert the shots we got of us …

↑ I didn’t notice until I looked at the photos later, that Leslie was holding the Mad Hatter’s hand. She’s so funny! ↑

Mid-sized gardens that you admired from the edge, Back Gardens :

“Do up the Backsteps” – La Vie en Rose :

“Do up the Backsteps” – Lost Treasure Island :

“Do up the Backsteps” – Star Trek :

Small Gardens, Balconies and Decks :

“Floral Alley” Installations :

Dining Table Arrangements :

Sculptures and smaller scale pieces :

These pictures only represent a fraction of the displays that were at the Canada Blooms Festival. There was also an area for shopping, with vendors offering very nice garden and flower related items.

This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention that the Horticulture Show was sharing space with The Home Show this year, which did consist of basic booths, examples and sales reps.

There was an unexpected added bonus from going, in that I’ve realized I do want some things I saw, particularly a rain barrel and a sliding screen door. And now I know what to get and where to get them. I also want to make a “bee hotel” and have an idea how to go about doing so.

The festival ran for nine days, from March 9-18, 2018, so it’s over now, but I hope my photos will cause you to add Canada Blooms to your list of things to do in Toronto, during the cold winter months. I know, it is now something I’ll be looking forward to each year.

(Note: The Canada Blooms website is down right now, but I’ll update this post with links once it’s back up.)

Thanks for reading,
xo loulou