July 7, 2010

Canada Blooms 2010

March 20, 2010

It was Saturday morning and the Garden Writers private tour of Canada Blooms was supposed to be going on, but there is no tour guide. “Oh, dealing with those people is like herding cats,” someone said.

I manage to stow my hockey bag in the Garden Writers luncheon room. I brought the bag to carry all the swag from the luncheon.

Dennis Flanagan served the unguided writers coffee and pastries in a hidden room in the Landscape Ontario instillation.

I made my way out onto the floor to find something great to photograph. You can view additional photos at landscapeontario.com and cbc.ca. Below you can see another tour group being guided quietly around by experienced volunteers.

guided tour Canada Blooms 2010
Humber College Instillation, Canada Blooms 2010

I ran into Laura Berman and told her I would be late for the luncheon. I asked her to save me a seat. We joked a bit and I told her where she could find some vegetables to photograph. She specializes in agricultural photography.

Laura Berman, Canada Blooms 2010

Urban agriculture is the big trend this year and there were several examples of it on display.

My one big disappointment this year is that the landscape instillations, while professional, were less than inspiring. Indifference or Ambivalence seemed to be the theme this year, not “Passions”.

Perhaps it is the fact that when so much money is involved with participation, taking creative risks becomes unpalatable.


There were some exceptions to this. The Disney garden was fun, light hearted and whimsical. It wasn't nessesarily passionate, but it was good for the kids.

TinkerBell's Garden, Canada Blooms 2010

The Garden Club of Toronto never disappoints. Their floral projects always evoke an emotional response, usually amusement.

These people have a great sense of humour.

Garden Club of Toronto, Canada Blooms 2010
Garden Club of Toronto, Canada Blooms 2010
Garden Club of Toronto, Canada Blooms 2010

You can see their imagination at work.

Garden Club of Toronto, Canada Blooms 2010
Garden Club of Toronto, Canada Blooms 2010

They were pretty fearless in their creativity.

Garden Club of Toronto, Canada Blooms 2010
Garden Club of Toronto, Canada Blooms 2010

There was One True Star Of The Show.

The one garden instillation that stood out for me was 'Yellow Beacon' by the Canadian Cancer Society. You can be impressed by a garden instillation, you can be disappointed with one, but it is extremely rare to be emotionally moved by one.

They created a series of ramps to guide the visitors through the experience. While you walk through, video testimonials of cancer survivors were being played from flat screen monitors against the walls.

Testimonials and words of encouragement, like graffiti, were encouraged on the black granite walls.

I don't know anyone who hasn't been touched in some way by this disease.

'Yellow Beacon' was a very challenging, inspirational and provocative instillation. Let's hope that next year's participants learn from it.

At 10 am the doors opened to the public and the hall started to fill. By noon, it would be difficult to walk through the crowds.

Below we can see that Dennis Flanagan is being interviewed by local news.

Dennis being interviewed

I ran into Lorraine Pigeon-Ivanoff, Landscape Ontario, and Mark Cullen, national garden personality, on the Grey Power Stage.

It wasn't long before Mark was swarmed by the Red Hat Society.

Mark Cullen and The Red Hat Society

While browsing through Garden Import I ran into Barbara Phillips-Conroy (below). She would also be attending the Garden Writers Luncheon. I asked her to make sure I have a seat there. She asks me why I'll be late and I tell her, “Martha Stewart is coming at 11 and I plan to get some photos for my website... But don't worry I'll bring her to the Luncheon!” I thought at the time I was joking.

Mark and Barbara
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If you are hosting a garden related event in the GTA and would like it covered in gardentoronto.ca or would like to place an e-poster about it on our Events Calendar, just contact me. I am always delighted to promote anything gardening in Toronto.

Mark Disero

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