All posts by Lisa Pascoe

Miniature Marvels: Singing the Praises of the Lowly Groundcover

MelanieRekolaMiniature Marvels

Story and Photos by Melanie Rekola for Our Home Magazine

Considering groundcovers are often in the forefront of garden beds everywhere, it seems little praise is given to these tough, tiny plants.

Groundcovers can add a whole new dimension of colour to your garden through their foliage, texture and abundant bloom. Many, with their trailing nature can soften hard stonework when tucked in crevices, or be encouraged to spill down the front of retained beds giving an “aged” feel. Groundcovers can also help retain slopes and discourage weed growth. Some are so strong that they can act as a lawn or path substitution. Read on to discover more.


Stonecrop (sedum) – There are so many lovely trailing varieties of the sedum family that I cannot pick just one! The fleshy, succulent leaves of this little plant often look like a flower. It comes in a variety of foliage and blooms colours, plus it’s drought tolerant and happy in lean soil. Bees and hummingbirds love them and the presence of pollinators is an important indicator of a healthy garden. Stonecrop favours sun but will tolerate partial shade. My favourites are:
Angelina (Sedum rupestre) – This spiky evergreen variety offers bright golden foliage and turns orange in fall, with yellow flowers in early summer.
Dragon’s Blood (Sedum spurium) – The well-loved stonecrop is a semi-evergreen specimen with rich reddish foliage and bright pink blooms in late summer.
Bronze Carpet (Sedum spurium) – This showy stonecrop sports brilliant bronze red semi-evergreen foliage with flattering pink flowers.
Miniature Stonecrop (Sedum requieni) – This miniature stonecrop is a tiny leafed evergreen sedum and is the only one that tolerates foot traffic. It forms a dense mat with tiny white flowers and is extremely hardy.

Creeping Phlox (Plox subulata) – Dense and low growing, this soft-looking plant is a prolific bloomer! It’s covered in small purple, pink, white or variegated flowers in spring, with short, stiff evergreen foliage. This low-maintenance perennial prefers sun/part sun and is accepting of lean soils.

Golden Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata) – Very dense and low growing, this mounding evergreen perennial, with tiny star-like white flowers in spring, boasts attractive chartreuse foliage. It tolerates foot traffic easily but its shallow root system requires steady watering to thrive. It prefers part shade.

Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) – I like all varieties of this drought tolerant succulent. Their rosettes display dazzling progressive colour changes throughout the season. They favour full sun to bring out their rich colour. Sempervivums will bloom after the second or third year. An odd looking flower stalk will shoot up from the centre of the main rosette with a cluster of flowers. After the flower dies, gently twist off the stalk. The main rosette has put on new offsets that will fill in.

Cranesbill (Geranium Bloody) – Of the many variations of the Cranesbill family, my absolute favourite variety is Bloody, which, to me, is one of the best Cranesbill introductions ever. It bears handsome dark green foliage with happy, upright clusters of bright violet-purple, cup-shaped flowers. Bloom period begins in early summer and continues on throughout the garden season. It likes sun to part shade.

Creeping Jenny/Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia or Golden Creeping Jenny) – Creeping Jenny is accused of being an aggressive perennial, however the Goldilocks variety is restrained in habit. It is ideal to combat soil erosion or on rock walls and tolerates lean soil. Preferring full sun to part shade, its yellow-green foliage makes a bright statement when paired with common greens typically found in the garden. The name “wort” suggests medicinal use; it was used by early English herbalists to heal superficial wounds of both man and serpents. It was also used for ulcers, scurvy, hemorrhages and ailments of the lungs.

Dianthus (Dianthus) – Dianthus range in colour from pink, to red, to white flowers with notched petals and finely textured leaves. Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus) are large and are biennial or short-lived perennials covered with bicolour flowe4rs in late spring. Pinks are low-growing, low-care dianthus suitable for rock gardens with happy open-faced flowers and attractive grey-green foliage. Dianthus prefers full sun and won’t stand wet soils.

Creeping Thyme Elfin or Minus (Thymus praecox Elfin or Minus) – This tiny gem has gorgeous miniature flowers and compact leaves. This is another “walk upon” plant and when trod on will let go its thymey scent – plus it’s edible! It favours full sun and tolerates lean soil.

A host of mature, entangled groundcovers an rival the beauty of a tapestry. But be careful to consider the aggressive habit of many and choose the right plant for the right environment. Groundcovers are not only at home n the applications mentioned – consider planting a “mini” garden in a planter or two. Children love this pint-sized forest idea, or dare I say living wall. Perhaps it’s just the thing to take a ho-hum exterior wall to a front-and-centre showpiece!

View original story and pictures at:

Rain gardens: Slow water is good water

Rain Garden Video Library

From Mark Cullen’s April Newsletter

Water is flowing though our landscapes faster than ever – paved surfaces prevent it from seeping into the earth, so water has no choice but to flower ever faster into our streams.
The results are flooding, erosion and pollution.

Good news: Every homeowner can make a difference! Rain gardens capture rainwater and allow it to filter down where it is needed, preventing serious problems.
Beyond that huge benefit, rain gardens are beautiful, and can even solve drainage headaches on your property.

Get inspired with a new, seven-part video library hosted by Mark Cullen:
How to build a rain garden 

Canada Blooms is now accepting applications for feature gardens

Vaughan 2017

Canada Blooms is now accepting applications from Landscape Designers and Architects to build at Canada Blooms.
If you have ever considered building a garden feature at Canada Blooms, now is the time to let us know. Canada Blooms is looking for Landscape Designers, Builders and Architects who can create spectacular, memorable and inspirational gardens. Build a garden at Canada Blooms and create an impression that will last a lifetime.  The theme will be announced soon.

There is limited space available to showcase your talent, creativity, craftsmanship and professionalism at Canada Blooms – March 9-18, 2018. If you are interested in submitting an application visit our website or contact Director of Horticulture, David Turnbull for more details.  Notice of intent to build should be received by April 7, with renderings submitted May 26th, 2017.

Note: submissions are judged by an independent committee and successful applicants will be notified by July 2, 2017.

Photo by David Ohashi, Garden by Vaughan Landscaping

Weeding Out The Garden Myths

Melanie Rekola Design

Story and Photos by Melanie Rekola, from Our Home Fall 2016


As a landscape designer and certified horticulturalist, I come across a lot of misconceptions when it comes to gardening.

Myth 1: Cedar trees attract mosquitoes
Reality: In nature, cedar grows in moist soil, which mosquitoes adore. It’s not actually the cedar that attracts them though mosquitoes are attracted to shaded environments of any type.

Myth 2: Garden lines have to be curvaceous
Reality: Some spaces don’t have the room to accommodate the serpentine lines loved by many. Sometimes straight lines just work better and can be equally striking.

Myth 3: Existing garden soil needs cultivation
Reality: Cultivation of the earth around existing perennials and shrubs breaks their vital hair roots, thus injuring the plant.

Myth 4: Gardens are a lot of work
Reality: Start gardens with a thick layer of good quality soil with additional bonemeal supplement. Spread a good layer of mulch yearly to retard weeds and keep moisture in. Do this and a garden will need little weeding and may never need fertilization or supplemental watering after establishment. How’s that for low maintenance.

Myth 5: Vegetable gardens are an eyesore
Reality: Veggie garden placement counts, Raised planter boxes add definition and look great flanking a path. Edibles such as leaf lettuce have lovely foliage and many food plants sport pretty blossoms. Am I the only one that finds beauty here? (article has picture of raised bed – see link below)

Myth 6: Containers are only for annuals
Reality: Many trees and shrubs can live in posts for years. They need less care and watering plus offer the bigger bang for your buck than a typical annual display. For example, a $20 Curly Willow shrub can survive for years in a large pot, has amazing form and makes a bold statement. Compare that with what you have to spend on annual displays over a three-year span.

Myth 7: Trees stop growing
Reality: Trees don’t reach a certain height then suddenly stop growing. Some trees do have shorter or slimmer habits that suit smaller spaces. Remember, if trees were planted for the height they reach in 50-100 years, few of us would plant them.

Myth 8: Bees sting unprovoked
Reality: Flowering plant materials are fine poolside choices. Just because you have more skin showing does not make your chances of being stung any greater, though flailing around wildly will increase the likelihood! Stay calm and learn to enjoy and respect bees.

Myth 9: Overwatering isn’t harmful
Reality: All new plantings require water to establish, yet overwatering quickly drowns plants. Stick your finger in the soil. If you feel moisture, don’t water. Plant roots require gaseous exchange for survival and need to dry out a bit between watering to accommodate this.

Myth 10: Vines are bad for intact brickwork and woodwork
Reality: Current studies show vines such as ivy act as a thermal blanket, warming up walls by 15 per cent in cold weather and offer a cooling effect in hot weather by 36 per cent. Plus they look gorgeous! But take care to keep vines out of windows and soffits.

Myth 11: Landscape designers are landscape architects or garden designers
Landscape designers approach design as a whole, including pool, patios and outdoor living spaces, trees and gardens, lighting and even outdoor furniture and accessories. Think of us as exterior designers.

View original story and pictures at:

Florist Serves Her Industry

Jennifer Harvey

Florist Serves Her Industry as Showman, Cheerleader, and Social Worker

Christy O’Farrell
Canadian Florist Magazine
May 1, 2016

Sixteen years into her career, Jennifer Harvey loves doing freelance event work one day, and on the next, either helping a shop customer choose just the right sympathy arrangement or demonstrating a technique to a crowd.That desire to enjoy and share all her job has to offer makes her an enthusiastic champion for the floral and horticultural industries.

Harvey, CFD, CAFA, divides her time between Jennifer Harvey Designs, which she started in 2012, and Gatto Flowers in Mississauga, Ontario, which she joined in 2015 as sales and design manager. Yet she still fits in opportunities to speak and teach floral design to expo audiences, children, women’s groups, and people with disabilities. Gatto Flowers, which has been in business for more than 30 years, is like a home base with a solid team that gives her the freedom to represent both herself and its brand, she said.

“I never wanted to be umbilical-corded to a bench,” unable to get out and see what others create, said Harvey, who also owns BeLeafs Home and Garden Care.

That wanderlust may stem from when Harvey was in high school, and thought she would go into theatre and dance, having been heavily involved in those worlds. Her dream was sidelined when she ripped a tendon at a dance competition. While recovering from reconstructive ankle surgery, she started studying in the floral design program at Algonquin College in Ottawa.

“I had to figure out another art path,” Harvey said. Though she expected, at the time, to return to performing arts and perhaps, one day, teach dance, she fell in love with floral design. “It changed my life and I never went back,” she said. Seeing her theatre friends struggle in their chosen profession also contributed to her decision.

Jennifer Harvey and crew Her floral design class attended Canada Blooms in 2001, where she discovered the “craziest designs” featuring motorcycles cascading with orchids, and others towering 20 feet. “I didn’t think anything like that was possible,” she said, because they were so unlike the majority of traditional vase arrangements found online.

Canada Blooms, an annual festival in Toronto that ran March 11-20 this year, promotes horticulture awareness, and includes the Toronto Flower Show, acres of fantasy garden displays, educational speakers and demonstrations, a plant and product showcase, and flower market. More than 200,000 visitors attest to the “huge number of Canadians with green thumbs,” the festival’s website says.

Over the next decade, Harvey learned the trade working in various flower shops in Brockville and Ottawa, Ontario, and Strathmore, Alberta; got married; and had a daughter, now 11, and a son, who is 9. When she returned to Canada Blooms on her own in 2011, she told Artistic Director Colomba Fuller: “I’ve got to be part of this.” She got her wish the following year, and took four months, working with a team, to create a well-received hot pink gown.

“I just wanted to blow them out of the water.” It was a great feeling taking her place among high-calibre professionals, she said, and it also become her entrée to begin freelancing with internationally renowned designers such as Preston Bailey. She has also helped design for the prime minister of Canada, the prince and princess of the Netherlands, Elton John, Hillary Clinton and others she can’t name because of confidentiality agreements.

Harvey was inducted into the Canadian Academy of Floral Art in 2014. Canadian Florist magazine chose her as one of our “Top 10 under 40” after the inaugural contest that same year. For this year’s Canada Blooms, Harvey designed a 30-foot by 15-foot arch covered in blooms, a booth, a mini garden, and funeral-themed floral display. She also participated in pick Ontario’s Floral Superstars’ bouquet battle, during which panelists design bouquets in 45 minutes and give them away to audience members.


Such stage shows give Harvey ways to integrate dance and theatre into her career, such as performing a few steps on stage to get the crowd moving. She believes all arts are interconnected. “If you have it in your blood, you just can’t get rid of it,” she said. “I don’t think I could go a day without dance. It’s part of my soul.”

“The theatre thing comes out when you’re doing event design,” she said. “You’re creating space and a whole different atmosphere for people.” Her actor’s intuition about how to portray emotions translates into helping customers choose appropriate sympathy arrangements, for example. “I love to see people express their emotions through my art.”

As much as Harvey loves the artistic side of the business, she also likes the scientific and mathematical aspects. She enjoys learning and applying botany and chemistry so that plants and flowers live longer, or studying the optimal margins for successful sales, or memorizing Latin to order flowers from growers in other countries. It’s much more than just knowing your colours, she said. “You have to learn how to take care of them, conditioning and light levels, water pH balances.”

Harvey thrives whether working on weddings that cost anywhere from $150 to $7 million, or showing her daughter’s class a Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day project. She recently recorded an episode to air in June for the second season of “Blind Sighted,” a television show hosted by Kelly MacDonald, a blind reporter with Accessible Media Inc. While previous episodes have found him learning to surf, trying indoor skydiving or interviewing actors, he took a stab at floral design with Harvey.

“It’s all about texture and scent” and communication when you can’t see, said Harvey, who has worked before with blind and deaf people and also with autistic students. It helps to show you have a sense of humour because people with disabilities too often encounter those who are uncomfortable with their differences, she said. “It’s not about perfection. It’s about the therapy that goes with it.”

For example, when Harvey worked with battered women, handling flowers was mostly about creating something beautiful at an ugly time in their lives. “I like to use this medium to do that for people,” she said. “I think everybody should do floral design.”

Keep Your Snow Thrower Winter Ready

Winter Ready with Troy-Bilt

As much as we try  to prepare our equipment to take on winter’s worst, some of us are left with  costly repairs and barely cleaned driveways as a result of misusing our snow  throwers. Keep your snow thrower winter ready by following these top 5 tips and  tricks.

#1:  Read your owner’s manual
You should  always read your owner’s manual before operating equipment. This will explain  how your snow thrower works, as well as help to resolve common equipment issues  like a clogged chute. In such instances, always shut off the engine and remain  behind the handles until all moving parts have stopped before unclogging. You  should never use your hands to clear a clogged chute assembly. Instead, use the  chute clean-out tool that is conveniently fastened to the rear of the auger  housing with a mounting clip. Troy-Bilt snow throwers even have polymer,  clog-resistant chutes to prevent clogs or backup in the chute.

#2:  Always use Treated Fuel
Stale fuel is  the number one cause of hard starting in small engines.  Today’s fuels break down rapidly, decreasing  their ability to ignite.  Use of fuel  that contains more that 10% ethanol, such as E15 (15% alcohol), is not  recommended. Leaving fuel in the fuel tank of your snow thrower will clog the  carburetor over time. To prevent this from happening, add fuel stabilizer or  treatment to every tank full of fresh gas.

#3:  Check Engine Oil Before Each Use
Always check  the oil level before each use on an even surface prior to operating your equipment.  Running the engine with insufficient oil can cause serious engine damage and  void the engine warranty. Do not overfill the engine as this will cause smoking  of the engine and a hard start.

#4:  Brush Off Any Snow, Slush or Salt When You Are Finished 
After each use, remove the excess snow and slush behind the augers before  it freezes. First, engage the augers for at least 30 seconds to ensure no snow  is trapped behind the fan. Then shut it off. Don’t forget to remove any excess salt  buildup to reduce the chance of your snow thrower rusting over time.

#5:  Emergency Spare Parts
There is  always a possibility that you will need a part during or right after a snow  storm, when you really need to use your equipment. To prepare for this type of  emergency situation, we recommend that you keep the following spare parts on  hand: ignition key, shear pins, drive belts, spark plug, oil, fresh (treated)  fuel, skid shoes, shave plate.  Please  consult the parts list in your Operators Manual for exact part numbers.

Troy-Bilt is  a proud to announce its sponsorship of Canada Blooms 2017. Don’t forget to visit our booth in the Garden Hall at this year’s festival.

Click here to find out more about Troy-Bilt

Blooms Flower of the Year 2017: Canadian Shield Rose

Canadian Shield Rose from Vineland

Canada Blooms is excited to announce that it has chosen for  its flower of the year the new Canadian Shield™ rose. The Canadian Shield™ rose has been selected from the Vineland Research &  Innovation (Vineland) rose breeding program. This new variety of rose, branded  and marketed by Vineland will make its debut in gardens next summer in time for  Canada’s 150th birthday celebration. It’s the first rose in a  curated collection to be released in the coming years and known as Vineland’s  49th Parallel Collection.

The Canadian Shield™ is a versatile garden and landscape  rose with a more than one-metre spread, plenty of full, red flowers and glossy  green foliage. It’s a repeat bloomer that stays stunning throughout the entire garden  season. Just as its name suggests, the Canadian Shield™ rose is a hardy flower that’s resistant  to black spot and winter hardy from coast to coast.

Come see the Canadian Shield™ rose  on display at Canada Blooms in  March, and discover why you should have it in your garden for Canada  Day 2017.

Vineland Logo

Vineland Research & Innovation

Media Releases


National Tree Day 2016

Tree Planting courtesy of Landscape Ontario

National Tree Day will serve as a celebration for all Canadians to appreciate the great benefits that trees provide us – clean air, wildlife habitat, reducing energy demand and connecting with nature.

On March 2, 2011 a private members motion to declare the Wednesday of National Forest Week, National Tree Day, received consent from the House of Commons. The motion was presented by Royal Galipeau, M.P., at the urging of Tree Canada.

When is National Tree Day?
September 21, 2016

Where will National Tree Day take place?
Wherever you live! National Tree Day is the celebration of trees and forests in your town, city, and in neighbourhoods across Canada. Check out the event listings or register your own event!

From: Landscape Ontario

The Theme for 2017 is “Oh! Canada”


The theme for 2017 is “Oh! Canada” in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial. Oh! Canada — Canada, a strong and proud Oh! Canada Badgecountry will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation and Canada Blooms is excited to kick off the Spring gardening celebrations showcasing our theme — “Oh! Canada”.
We are inviting our landscape architects, design/build experts and floral artists to dazzle us with their unique interpretations of “Oh! Canada”.
Our curiosity has been piqued. Will they shine a spotlight on the beautiful change of seasons, which makes us a popular tourist destination; our democracy or cultural diversity; our many landmarks or celebrities; or perhaps something as Canadian as hockey (even if lacrosse is the official sport)?
Oh! Canada, there is so much to be proud of, and so much to celebrate. So, mark your calendars now and join our celebration — March 10-19, 2017 at the Enercare Centre.

Help Honey Nut Cheerios in its Mission to Plant 35 Million Wildflowers

Honey Nut Cheerios

Help Honey Nut Cheerios in its Mission to Plant 35 Million Wildflowers
Planting season is finally upon us, and Honey Nut Cheerios wants you make the most of it.
Earlier this year, Honey Nut Cheerios launched Bring Back the Bees, a campaign that aims to educate and engage Canadians on the issue of unstable bee populations and inspire them to join Honey Nut Cheerios in its mission to plant 35 million wildflowers to help bees thrive across the country.
In support of this mission, Honey Nut Cheerios has given away 115 million free wildflower seeds to Canadians across the country and is encouraging people to plant them. Wildflowers are an essential part of the natural habitat bees require to thrive and planting wildflowers is a way every member of
the family can work together to help bring back the bees.
Wildflower seeds are easy to plant and make the perfect addition to any garden, whether it’s nestled into a planter or expanding over an entire backyard. Supporting a healthy bee population not only helps our buzzing friends, but it helps us too. One in every three bites of food we eat is made possible by bees and other pollinators who spread the pollen that crops need to grow including apples, almonds, coffee, and of course, honey.
For more information, including planting tips, visit

Fulfilling the Dream of Farming


Just because you don’t have deep
pockets doesn’t mean you can’t get into agriculture. It’s a venture filled with both obstacles and opportunities.

By  Harrowsmith Magazine’s Maurice Crossfield

Harrowsmith Article by Maurice CrossfieldIt’s a challenge that has scared off many an aspiring farmer: How can a person embark on a career in food production without solid financial backing? Well, it turns out that some innovative souls are finding alternatives.

Across the country, small-scale operators are finding new ways to access land, equipment and markets, making the dream of working the land come alive. But beware: it typically involves a lot of hard work, know-how and some solid business savvy.

In one instance in southern Quebec, a group of five McGill University graduates banded together and leased five hectares (12 acres) in Les Cèdres, a municipality 60 km (37 miles) west of Montreal. Sharing their various skills, the group offers organic food, including garlic, and sells seed to other organic growers. Today, the Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm (tournesol means “sunflower”) is one example among many that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

“All provinces have financing programs of some sort—Quebec probably more so than others—and there’s also Farm Credit Canada at the federal level,” says Hugh Maynard, former head of the Quebec Farmer’s Association, who now works as an agricultural communications consultant. “But [aspiring farmers] still require a realistic business plan, so anyone musing about farming should go out and get some experience and figure out what they want to do and put a plan together. Saying you’d ‘like to farm’ doesn’t get [you] too far anymore.”

In fact, armed with the all-important business plan, including projections, proof that they have some ability to repay their loans and some sort of collateral, many aspiring young farmers have contacted the FCC about financing their dream.

“Our Young Farmer Loans are one of our most popular products,” says Toby Frisk, director of the Lindsay district of the FCC in southern Ontario. “Since 2012, we’ve had to reallocate funds several times and have provided $2.4 billion to young farmers.

” But while the prospect of borrowing up to $500,000 through the Young Farmer Loan program might not be for everyone, Frisk says it’s not necessarily a reason to count out a future in agriculture.

“The world needs to eat, and by 2050 the world will need to produce 60 percent more food,” Frisk says. “Canadian agriculture is considered one of the safest food supplies in the world. It’s a real growth industry—there are opportunities in almost every sector.”

“The local-food movement (not just organic) is gaining momentum, and that does present opportunities for young people without a farm to get into the game,” says Maynard. “Agriculture in Canada is heading in two directions: large-volume commodity producers who maximize their margins by lowering costs because they have little control over price, and niche producers who target specialty products and markets and maximize margins by selling smaller volumes at higher prices or directly to consumers to capture a larger share of the food dollar.”

Maynard says niche marketing can be effective, but you have to do your homework. The demand must be there—at a price that is acceptable to both buyer and seller. ”

My neighbour produces organic popcorn,” explains Maynard. “They’re not successful just because they are producing organic popcorn, but because they’ve done their research, developed a business model, produced a quality and dependable supply of the product and learned how to market their own product.”

But armed with a well-thought-out action plan, there are alternatives. revealed that an increasing amount of empty farmland in the Brome-Missisquoi region of Quebec’s Eastern Townships. Some types of farming had been abandoned, while other farms had been bought by wealthy urbanites with little interest in commercial agriculture. In 2012, the Banque de terres agricoles, a land bank, was created, putting owners of unused land in contact with aspiring farmers seeking to grow anything from hay to garlic.

The service allows landowners and growers to set rental or lease rates, mentorship and possibly even partnerships between the producer and the landowner. A partnership between the county government (known in Quebec as the MRC), the province’s agriculture ministry and the Fédération de la relève agricole du Québec (which helps young people get into farming), the land bank project has proven so successful that it has been expanded to many other parts of the province.

Meanwhile, in the Gatineau region, Sean Butler and his wife, Geneviève LeGal-Leblanc, established Ferme et Forêt in a slightly different way: they asked friends and family to invest in the operation by buying a form of bonds that offered a small rate of return on the investment. They call it community-financed agriculture (CFA), a variation of the more familiar community-supported agriculture (CSA), in which folks pay upfront in the spring and receive weekly baskets of veggies as they come into season.

Urban communities are also getting into the act, in the form of co-operatives that support local food producers. In Hamilton, Ontario, the Mustard Seed co-operative cites local sourcing as its top priority.

“We have been working with more than 200 local producers, including farmers and producers of prepared, processed or manufactured foods (ice cream, milk, cheese, cereals, cleaning supplies—whatever can be local is local). We expect this number to grow,” says Mustard Seed co-founder Emma Cubitt. Those producers are supported by the co-op’s 2,100 members, as well as members of the general public who shop there.

Mustard Seed’s business model is paying off. “We have just passed $2 million in annual sales, which is pretty extraordinary for a two-year-old business organized by the community for the community,” says Cubitt.

She notes that some people are attempting to get into food production by trying to expand a hobby into a business. That can be anything from selling produce from a backyard garden to manufacturing a finished product, such as hot sauce or ice cream. The successful ones are driven by passion for what they do.

“We see young farmers wanting to grow as a personal response to environmental issues (GMOs, organic production and so on) or to have an agricultural living/working lifestyle,” she says.

Maynard cautions, however, that if it’s a vision of a bucolic lifestyle you’re after, you may be better off keeping your day job. Farming hours are long, and at times the work can be very hard. Plus, as any farmer will tell you, farming requires the use of many skill sets: as an operator, you’ll have to have a firm grasp of what you’re growing, as well as finances, marketing, building maintenance and any number of other tasks.

“If you go the niche-market route, do your homework first—remember, producing lavender for jam flavourings and potpourris is a limited market, and just because two or three are doing well doesn’t mean there’s enough room for four,” he explains. “And get some business skills, because you’ll need those as much as you’ll need the farming ones.”

Maynard also suggests that aspiring farmers not limit themselves to the organics market.

“Despite all the hype about going organic, it’s still a very small slice of the food pie,” explains Maynard. “Ted Zettel, an organic pioneer in the ’80s, once said that organic will never really be successful until it competes on the same basis as conventional foodstuffs. He wasn’t popular for that remark, but I think he was right—there are only so many people who will pay the premium for a more limited range of product. That being said, as conventional food prices rise, it will be interesting to see whether organics is considered more affordable. Also, there is evidence that as many people leave organic production as get into—it’s not easy and [it] requires superior production and management skills, so there is some indication that the number of certified-organic producers may have limits.”

But it certainly has its place, particularly for someone looking to get into making a living, or at least a sideline income, from food production. Cubitt cites one Mustard Seed supplier who practises small-plot intensive (SPIN) gardening. He has worked out deals to have 11 backyard plots in the Hamilton area. Paying rent to the property owners, he has managed to support his family of five while incurring no business-related debt, proving that sometimes by thinking outside the box, you can find somethiHarrowsmith Magazineng that works for you.

Subscribe to Harrowsmith’s Almanac and Harrowsmith’s Gardening Digest, and you’ll receive digital versions of these two issues FREE!
As an ADDED BONUS, THEY’LL INCLUDE 2 NEW DIGITAL MAGAZINES to your subscription for FREE! Harrowsmith’s My Kind of Town and Harrowsmith’s Homes.

What is a Rain Garden?

How A Rain Garden Works

What is a rain garden?
According to the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, each year in your yard there will be run off from rain and stormwater that will come from your roof, driveway and other hard surfaces. As the water moves toward the street (and sewer system) it can pick up a number of other substances (waste, salt, oils, etc) that can be harmful to water quality and aquatic habitat.
A rain garden is a much better use of the stormwater. A rain garden is a planted or stonecovered bed designed to receive stormwater and allow it to be slowly absorbed into the soil.
Rain gardens provide a good habitat for butterflies, birds and other wildlife and it requires little upkeep because it will contain native plants.
Parklane Landscapes has a great Rain Garden Calculator on their website that will help you determine the size of the rain garden you should create for your property.
For more information on creating a Rain Garden visit the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority website.

Picture from LSRCA website.

Show your loved ones how special they are this Valentine’s Day


Canada Blooms offers a new spin on an old favourite
Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and with it comes the pressure of giving your special someone the perfect gift that tells them what they mean to you.

While Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic days of the year, it can also be the most stressful; but don’t worry – finding the perfect gift that says “I love you” can be as simple as selecting the right flower.

“Flowers have been part of the Valentine’s Day tradition for as long as anyone can remember,” says Terry Caddo, General Manager of Canada Blooms. “While everyone knows that long-stemmed red roses mean love, there are so many other varieties of flowers that will show your loved ones how much you care. They will appreciate the unique Valentine’s gift.”

With that in mind, Canada Blooms has created a list of Valentine’s flowers and what each flower says about you and your relationship.

Red Tulips:When most people think of tulips they think of spring, but red tulips are considered a declaration of love. Gift your sweetheart with a bouquet of red tulips to show your love this year.

Daffodils: Daffodils symbolize new beginnings. This is the perfect flower to give at the start of a new relationship or friendship.

Orchids: These rare blossoms symbolize love, beauty, strength and luxury. Gifting someone an exotic orchid lets them know that you are a bold person who likes to take chances.

Sunflowers: These flowers represent warmth, happiness and loyalty. While most people associate sunflowers with summertime, they are available all year round and are the perfect gift for that special person who lights up your day.

Gerbera Daisies: Symbolizing beauty, innocence and cheerfulness, gerbera daisies are a great gift for anyone, including mom. They also have beautiful large flowering heads and ability to last longer than other cut flowers.
Visitors to Canada Blooms can purchase the ‘Garvinea Sweet’ series of gerberas that was named Canada Blooms plant of the year.

“Valentine’s Day is a special day to show your loved ones how much they mean to you,” says Caddo. “By thinking outside the box and breaking from the ordinary, gifting them with flowers that have a special meaning will ensure they know that they are worth the extra effort.”

Canada Blooms will be held from March 11 to 20, 2016, at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto. For more information or for tickets, please visit Follow Canada Blooms on Twitter @CanadaBlooms and Like it on Facebook.

#canadablooms #valentines #valentinesday #springflowers

Life Is A Celebration Worthy of Flowers

Toronto Flower Show International Exhibits

TORONTO, Ont. —Flowers are used to celebrate every occasion. Whether it is a birthday, wedding, or a special holiday, flowers show loved ones we care, and help celebrate life’s important milestones. During Canada Bloom’s 20th anniversary, the festival will showcase that ‘Life is a Celebration,’ and flowers are there every step of the way to help celebrate.

“Presented by The Garden Club of Toronto, the Flower Show will present another year of competitions amongst amateur floral designers and garden club members at Canada Blooms. The competitors enter  classes competing in horticulture, special exhibits, floral design and photography. International competitors from around the world have been invited to participate for the first 5 days. Artists in the garden will provide a new focus on floral painting. Arrangements  will be on display throughout the duration of the show providing guests with a colourful, bright and exciting look at how flowers can be used in a variety of ways.

“The arrangements produced by our florists during the show always go above and beyond our expectations,” says Terry Caddo, General Manager of Canada Blooms. “They really help give Canada Blooms a necessary surge of colour that helps drive away the winter blues.”

Also adding a pop of colour to Canada Blooms will be Bayview Flowers Floral Alley where six professional floral artists will showcase their take on the different ‘Seasons of Life.’  These floral artists include:

-Students from the Canadian Institute of Floral Design
-Opening Night Flowers
-Alma Florists
-LadyBug Florist
-Fresh Floral Creations
-Jennifer Harvey Designs

“Continuing with this year’s theme of ‘It’s a Party,’ floral artists will create designs focusing on the different ‘Seasons of Life,’” says Caddo. “Every season of life is a celebration, and that is what we are asking our professional designers to focus on.”

Awards for the Flower Show will be handed out on March 20, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. on the Canada Blooms main stage.

Canada Blooms will be held from March 11th to 20th, 2016, at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto. The schedule for the show is available at for anyone wishing to enter, as well as being found on the Garden Club of Toronto website.

For more information or for tickets, please visit Follow Canada Blooms on Twitter @CanadaBlooms and Like it on Facebook.

About Canada Blooms

Canada Blooms is an annual world-class festival that connects people to the joys and benefits of nature through experiences with gardens and flowers by promoting, educating, inspiring and celebrating all aspects of horticulture. Co-locating with the National Home show to create North America’s Largest Home and Garden event, Canada Blooms is a not-for-profit organization that gives back to the community throughout the year by funding community garden projects around Ontario, Canada Blooms is also dedicated to providing the community with horticulture expertise, education and resources on an ongoing basis.

Now in its 20th year, Canada Blooms was founded by Landscape Ontario and The Garden Club of Toronto. Each year it is supported by a committed group of partners, sponsors and volunteers.


We can now take Gerberas outdoors all season!

Garvinea Sweet Glow - Florist Holland

Canada Blooms is pleased to announce that it has chosen the ‘Garvinea Sweet’ series of gerberas as its 2016 plant of the year.
Gerberas, the longtime favourite houseplant and cut-flower for Canadians, are now available in the outdoors friendly ‘Garvinea Sweet’ series from Florist Holland, especially suited for outdoor use in both containers and the gardens.
Intensive plant breeding , interspecific hybridization and tissue culture propagation have combined to make the ‘Garvinea Sweets’ a reliable garden performer in the spring, summer and fall with increased disease tolerance, cold tolerance and an excellent rebloom habit.
Proven locally at the University of Guelph trial garden program during the 2014 and 2015 growing seasons, ‘Garvinea Sweets’ were grown in containers at 2 different sites as well as in 3 different ground bed sites under a wide range of watering and fertilizer regimes. As long as the soil was well- drained these plants thrived and bloomed continuously from planting time until winter arrived. As a fringe benefit, the flower stem length on the Garvinea is long enough to allow use as a cut flower in the home.
You can get a head start on buying these beautiful ‘Garvinea Sweets’ at Canada Blooms in March 2016. The following ‘Garvinea Sweet’ selections will be available for purchase at Canada Blooms: Sweet Glow(orange), Sweet Heart (pink), Sweet Honey (golden yellow), Sweet Smile (yellow), and Sweet Surprise (pink-violet).

Picture courtesy of Florist Holland: Garvinea Sweet Glow


Evergreen Wreath

November has come to an end and with that, the festive season is upon us. Many of us now to turn our thoughts to decorating our houses and even our businesses for the joyous season ahead. A very traditional and beautiful method of doing so is to adorn both the exterior and interior of our dwellings with freshly cut branches and boughs of evergreens. This practice originated in pre-Christian times as a way for the Pagans to mark the Winter Solstice and the increase in day light after the passing of the celebration. Winter, being bleak, dark and cold, often signified death. While almost everything in nature was seemingly dormant during this period, the evergreen plants stood out in stark contrast. As such, Pagans would cut evergreen trees and decorate them. Boughs of holly, laurel and other plants were also utilized in similar fashion. The observation that these plants remained green during the winter, was explained by them being in a sense, magical and symbolic of the return of life and rebirth in spring.

Today, that tradition continues in many cultures and there is a diversity of evergreens and non-evergreens from all over the world to choose and decorate with. Hailing from the northern hemisphere, we find red-stem dogwood and paper birch. While not evergreen, the brilliant red of the dogwood and the white of the birch illuminate any arrangement. The southern United States contributes with the beautiful broad evergreen leaves of southern magnolia, dark green and glossy on their upper surface with a most unique rust coloured and pubescent underside. Circumboreal in nature, the firs, particularly balsam, lend the traditional smell of a Christmas tree. Keeping in step with aromatic firs, are the gracefully arching and soft incense cedar boughs. The southern hemisphere gives us a couple of types of eucalyptus with varied shapes and the silvery cast they are known for. Of course, not to be forgotten and one of the first to be used, there is holly with the branches of female plants covered in bright red berries. This is just a small sample and one must visit their local garden centre or florist for many more. Why not also look towards one’s own garden for a few more boughs?

If the point of keeping these evergreens is to symbolize renewed life while beautifying our homes, then we must make it a priority to keep them green! Here are a few pointers that should help in keeping them looking better, longer.

Firstly, while not possible under all circumstances, try to keep the evergreens out of direct sunlight. Winter sun can be bright and combined with cold winter winds, will dry out the plant material and turn boughs into drab, brittle messes.

Use the ‘Stay Fresh’ type preservatives that are recommended for Christmas trees or the preservatives that come with fresh cut flowers. If you are keeping the greens in a container without water, prune the bottom of each stem or bough and then do a twenty-four hour treatment in a water/preservative mix prior to assembling your arrangement.

Mist your greens as often as possible. At the least, once a day misting with water from a spray bottle to the point that small water droplets form on the foliage. The sunnier and windier, the more frequently this should be done.

Use an anti-desiccant spray such as ‘Wilt-Pruf’. Here at Humber Nurseries LTD, we have had great success using this product on all our greens once they are unpacked and on display. The naturally derived coating minimizes further water loss. Such a spray may not be recommended on any plants with a glaucous or silver-blue colour, if that colour is to be maintained.

If lights are used in any arrangement, use LEDs over incandescent bulbs. Not only will you save energy, but incandescent bulbs put out more heat that will dry the plant material. Of course, when not being viewed, turn any lights off.

Lastly, use a floral foam to arrange the material in. Prior to assembly, soak the foam in water. Our chief decorator, Natalina, prefers wet sand above all, as it keeps the boughs and branches looking fresh and provides good weight to the urn or container, should your area experience high winds.

Most importantly, have fun and all the best over the holidays and for the year ahead!

Shawn Patille
Senior Horticulturist
Humber Nurseries Ltd.

Volunteer Toronto Youth Expo Sees 1000 Teens Inspired To Give Back

Canda Blooms at Youth Expo 2016

Canada Blooms was excited to take part in the first annual Youth Expo presented by Volunteer Toronto on October 24th at the Toronto Reference Library.

Canada Blooms was one of 75 non-profit organizations who set up booths to connect young adults who are interested in volunteering.  Aimed at high school students, the Expo was a great way for attendees to get an impression of the many different types of organizations looking for volunteer help.

The response was amazing, and the teen who took part had a real purpose —  to find the position that was just right for them.  They asked direct questions and wanted direct answers to enable them to make informed decisions. The attendees didn’t just want to fill a mandatory school requirement; they want to make sure that their time counts for something.

Many organizations, like Canada Blooms, could not function without those dedicated individuals who donate their time and expertise to make a difference, and we welcomed this opportunity to reach out to a new audience. We hope to see many of the teens we connected with at our 20th Anniversary Festival, March 11-20, 2016 at the Enercare Centre.

Thanks to the Volunteer Toronto staff and volunteers who created a great event and to the hundreds of students we met. We can’t wait until the next Youth Expo to meet a brand new group of inspired individuals.

Canada Blooms is a fun way to meet new people and help promote a love of gardening, horticulture and floriculture to nearly 200,000 visitors over 10 days.  Canada Blooms needs your help in a number of areas and we offer different shifts that can fit almost everyone’s schedule. So, come join the party in March!
If you are interested in volunteering at this year’s Canada Blooms, please visit complete our online form.

May: It’s All About the Gardens

J Garfield Thompson 2015

For the past 19 years Canada Blooms has reached out to the Garden Builders and Landscape Designers who might be interested in building a feature garden at Canada Blooms towards the end of summer, usually September/October.  Moving forward for 2016 and beyond it has been determined that the best time to ask for submissions for the next festival should be April/May.  This will allow a longer period of time for garden builders to work on their designs.

So here it is May, and Horticultural Director, David Turnbull, has sent out notices through a variety of channels inviting Garden Design/Builders to submit a concept drawing and description of the garden they would like to build at Canada Blooms.  These drawings and descriptions are submitted and evaluated, by an objective panel of industry professionals, to determine if the garden builders meet the criteria to build at Canada Blooms.

That’s right, not every garden builder who wishes to build a garden at Canada Blooms will be accepted.  First they submit a concept drawing (a version of these drawings are usually the plans that are seen on the website and in the festival guide) and a paragraph or two describing their concept.  Then company information is removed from the paperwork and the concept and drawings are judged using a number rating system based on: did they submit on time, did they include all elements, is the concept imaginative, has the required plant material/element met the right ratio, is the concept professional?  The Judges also look at how well the concept fits the current year’s theme, is there something new and innovative, etc.  Once the plans have been evaluated, they are given a score and that score will be used to determine if a garden builder is accepted.  For those that are not accepted they are given pointers that will help them for future submissions.

Once the Feature Garden Builder Submission is given a ranking number, those with the highest number will then receive their acceptance notification first and the builder will be given a location based on size available/requested.

Canada Blooms offers qualifying Landscape Ontario Members a subsidy to help them defray some of the cost of building a garden at the festival.  Depending on budget constraints of the festival year, Landscape Ontario members may or may not receive the subsidy amount requested. Canada Blooms does however, provides ALL garden builders with sand, mulch and logistical/materials handling on site.

We are excited to announce that we have nearly double the amount of space requested to build gardens at Canada Blooms 2016.  The drawings have been assessed and builders will be notified of their status by the end May.  Soon we will start to create the first draft of the floor plan.

Also this month, the various Festival Committees meet to discuss plans for the 20th Anniversary in 2016 and plans for 2017 as well.   

Administratively, we are updating databases and clearing up any outstanding paperwork from 2015. We are also still reaching out to partners and looking for future partners who wish to align with Canada Blooms to promote their messages.

Next June….

April: The Festival In Review

Canada Blooms 2015 - Near North

I always seem to get asked the question, “now that the festival is over, what do you do for the rest of the year?” So if you are interested in taking the journey with me, I will take you through what we do each month up until the next festival.

It should be noted that we are always working on two events simultaneously, the current (the upcoming) and the next festival (the year after that) in terms of strategy, marketing, sponsorship, theme, décor and ambience, and much more. This means that although as we get closer to the current festival there is a noticeable increase in time pressure, we are busy throughout the whole year.

So let’s start with April.

April is the month of reflection. Throughout this month there are many meetings where we dissect the festival and see what worked, what didn’t, and where we want to go in the future. There is a staff assessment, a board assessment, and an assessment from each of the many committees that are run and “staffed” all by volunteers who have generously donated their time, talent and expertise to put on a world class event.

The consensus this year:

The Move to Hall G:
95% of visitors and media loved the move to Hall G, although it was not without its challenges. What those looking in sometimes don’t realize is with a move to a different location, whether it is from a venue or just a hall within that venue, a whole new event is created. All those things that you discovered and put into place in the past – stages and rooms, move-in times/docks, booth locations, etc. – are now out the window, and you are essentially starting from scratch.

Luckily we were still in the same facility and using most of the same suppliers which created less snags, but as any event managing/planning team will tell you there are always hiccups.

It is interesting how things you never anticipated can sometimes pop up. For instance, although “Canada Blooms” the festival changed halls the Garden Marketplace did not (it has been in the same location for four years) and yet some people had difficulty finding it. We are currently looking at different strategies to solve this dilemma in the future.

One of the great things about Hall G, which many are not aware of, is Canada Blooms is no longer taking place above the underground parking. What does that mean? Well, garden builder/designers can now build their gardens using materials and styles they couldn’t use before because of weight restrictions. This will allow for more interesting designs, and the lower ceilings really do make the gardens and floral displays stand out.

Final Assessment: the move was seen as very positive and welcome change.

The Lighting:
This created some concern from a small minority who we believe didn’t see the full picture when it came to the ambience lighting. Canada Blooms spent a great deal of time planning the lighting for the festival this year. We knew that we were going to be changing the whole look and feel of Canada Blooms, so we made sure to consult a number of lighting professionals. We also fully anticipated there would be some people who might not appreciate the effect, and as it turned out the lighting was something that was either loved or hated . . . nothing in between.

If you caught the Facebook feedback that you would think the festival was dim and grim, but if you followed Twitter it was a wonderful experience. The overall consensus from the visitors at the event and the feedback on social media was that the majority (over 75%) were happy and found the theatrical lighting really set the gardens off.

So now I will let you in on a few secrets about the lighting….

First of all, the lighting grids in the older building were somewhat of a puzzle and a challenge to manipulate. Meaning if you turn off a light in the front left grid you also might turn one of in the back right and somewhere in the middle.

Secondly, the effect of coming from a 100% lit hall (where the National Home Show was on display) to a 50% illuminated hall, forced visitors into an abrupt visual adjustment which made the whole hall appear even darker. But once you let your eyes adjust, the effect in the gardens was quite dramatic.

Another unanticipated consequence of the lighting, discovered onsite, were the lighting boxes. They ended up right next to support pillars and for safety reasons; they had to be covered with a hard wall which resulted in unintended visual barriers much smaller aisles.

Final Assessment: The lighting for the most part was positive and we have learned a few things that will make the dramatic lighting better for 2016.

The Temperature:
Whoa Nellie, it was cool in there this year.

We have always had to maintain lower temperatures in the hall displaying gardens and floral features in order to keep the flowers from popping too soon. When we moved from a 5- to a 10-day event, we became aware that there would have to be a replacement the plant/floral material part way through in order to maintain the quality of the event. Since 2012, we have designated Monday/Tuesday as the change over night (note: although the festival starts on Friday many of our plants come in the Saturday prior to the festival start in order to be placed in the gardens and planters during the build).

One of the unexpected things that caused lower temperatures this year was due to new fire regulations at the facility, this required additional access doors be left open which in turn let frigid air into the hall from outside. As well, the somewhat variable heating that comes from an older building (think lighting grid above) meant some plants received more heat and some received less, resulting in us simultaneously trying to keep plants from drying out (and appearing past their prime) and trying to get them to bloom. Needless to say, some of bulbs did not actually bloom until the last few days of the festival which led to a somewhat lack of colour and fragrant odor.

Final Assessment: we now have a better understanding of the temperature issues in Hall G and that is a priority for next year.

The Smell?
I found the issue of smell a little strange because we had been in the building for a number of days setting up prior to the festival and had no issues. But during the festival we had a few people mention that they could smell the cattle from the building (Hall G is used as the animal building during the Royal Winter Fair). So both Festival and Building management did a complete walk through of the hall again like detectives hot on the trail of the elusive “odor” menace. And we think we found the culprit or culprits – the odor was not a distant manure smell, but was in fact the earth from the gardens mingled with a new mulch that was used this year. This gave the gardens a more earthy smell, and that coupled with the lower ceilings as well as delayed in bulbs flowering may have caused people to believe they were smelling something they actually weren’t.

One last thing to note is that we created an impressive allee of tropicals that lined the roadway carpet leading to Canada Blooms, but the tropicals that we actually used were lush plants rather than blooming flowers and as a result of this changeup there was not that fresh fragrance of Spring that we had all hoped for.

Final Assessment: we are aware and it is being re-evaluated for our twentieth anniversary.

So we have hashed and rehashed the good, the bad, and the not so bad, and we are now hard at work on the plans for making our twentieth anniversary a very special festival.

Also in April: the administrative side of things, invoicing, paying invoices, getting all the details out of the way so that we can move on to 2016. We also start meeting with our partners to gain their insights on how the festival worked for them, so we can create an even better festival next year.

Next, May…..

Garden Trends for 2015 – Native Plants


According to, one of the new (& hot) trends for 2015 is Native Plants.

“Plants native to a particular habitat thrive in gardens that mimic those same growing conditions. And with water conservation becoming more prevalent, native plants are becoming more commonplace in water-wise landscapes.  Rain gardens—gardens that rely on specialized native plants to wick water into the soil—will also become an increasingly popular solution.  At the top of this list, I think we’ll be seeing a variety of small-mounding ornamental grasses as the new “it” plant in native gardens.  With careful planning and good design, you can use water-wise plants and still get any style and look that you want.”

Read the full article at:

Photo from

Piega Benches at Canada Blooms


When at Canada Blooms check out the Piega Benches that will be in the Parklane Speakers Area located in Hall B, near the presentation room.

Piega Collection (benches)
The Piega (fold) collection is a family of furniture made in solid walnut and ebonized with a steel wool and vinegar solution to give each piece a natural dark appearance. This colouring compliments the figure of the wood and the shaping of the form. The stools and benches are designed with inward tapered legs to imply delicate qualities that act nicely with the playful application of seating. Corners of a selection of legs are sliced off to adhere to the source of inspiration: folding, creases, and qualities of paper and pliable materials. The polyester wrapped elastic cord for the seating is done in a variety of colours and provides comfortable support. Each piece is finished with danish oil for indoor application and a water resistant finish for outdoor use.

About the designer

Katrina Ennamorato is a graduate of the Furniture program at Sheridan College where she has received a variety of awards for her work and dedication within the program. She has also been awarded with a Designlines Magazine LoveTag for her work which was exhibited during Toronto Design Week in 2013. Prior to Sheridan, Katrina earned a BFA with honours at Ryerson University in New Media which gives her a unique perspective on handmade goods and on the craft of furniture. Currently Katrina is a resident artist at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

Taking Care of Your Poinsettia

Picture of Poinsettia

In Canada, poinsettia are the most popular of all Christmas houseplants. Millions of poinsettia are purchased each year during the Christmas season by people who enjoy the colour and warmth they provide to the home. Proper selection will help to ensure a long lasting plant that you will enjoy throughout the Christmas and winter months.

With proper care, your poinsettia will last through the holiday season and right into late winter.

Pay close attention to the following tips:

  • Place in a room where there is bright natural light but not where the sun will shine directly on the plant.
  • Keep the plant away from locations where it will receive hot or cold draughts.
  • Place the plant high enough to be out of reach of unmonitored children and pets.
  • Set the plant in a water-proof container to protect your furniture.
  • Water the plant thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Discard any excess water which remains in the saucer after 10 minutes.
  • The bright colour of the bracts will remain longer if temperatures do not exceed 22°C.

Reflowering your poinsettia
If you cannot bear to throw your poinsettia out when it is finished providing colour, you may want to try your hand at reflowering your poinsettia next year.

  • December            Full bloom. Water as needed.
  • April                       Colour fades. Keep near sunny window and fertilize when new
    growth appears. Cut back stems to about 20 cm.
  • June 1                   Repot if necessary. Fertilize with a balanced formula 20-20-20.
    Continue to water when dry to touch. Move outside if temperatures
    do not fall below 10°C. Place in light shade.
  • Late August       Take inside. Cut stems back, leaving three or four leaves per shoot.
    Sunny window. Water and fertilize as needed.
  • Sept 20 -Dec 1  Keep in light only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Put in dark (NO
    LIGHTS) 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Remember the key to success: Follow the strict light/dark instructions carefully.

– By Landscape Ontario:

Picture from

Garden Club of Toronto Members Place at W.A.F.A.


On June 18th, 2014,  the 11th World Flower  Show of the World Association of Floral Artists took place in Ireland. What a  spectacular event—31 countries were represented by 670 competitors in 31  classes. The class size ranged from 15 to 34 competitors with the average being  20 entrants per class.  Eleven Garden Club of Toronto members had the courage  to accept the challenge to compete on the world stage. Canada had 26 entrants  in total with 5 placements.
Each member country is invited to present a  “national” exhibit which is not judged, but forms the entry to the show. Our  representative designer was Trudy Grantham, who repeated her award-winning  design from the GCO Flower Show of 2013, depicting Canada in pine sticks with  red anthuriums from sea to sea to sea. The 670 competitors exhibited in two  large halls of the Royal Dublin Society in 31 classes, ranging from small  designs to abstract ones to children’s designs. Garden Club members Celia  Roberts placed 2nd in class “Conundrum, Line,” (see photograph) and Rosemary  Passafiume-McLean took honourable mention in the imposed class  “Spontaneous Approach.” Congratulations to all- this is like winning an Olympic medal!
Canada Blooms is such a highly respected flower  show on the “International Flower Show Circuit.” Many people spoken to had  competed at or attended Canada Blooms, and many more want to come. As  competitors, they raved about our hospitality, and for sure a big part of that  credit goes to the Garden Club’s Floral Design Committee, which organizes all  the events for the “Internationals” every year.
— from the Garden Club of Toronto

Picture Celia Roberts 2nd place submission courtesy of

Other Canadian Winners included:
Class 3 Forgotten Place: Corrie Outerbridge, 2nd prize
Class 17 Illusion: Susan Suter, 1st prize
Class 22 Defining Line: Audrey Van Holst, 2nd prize


The Canada Blooms Rose is the official flower of 2015

Canada Blooms Rose

Rosa CA28, first emerged in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec and was later adopted by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association. The CANADA BLOOMS Rose is a classic looking Hybrid-Tea rose that was grown under the same Canadian Rose Breeding Program that developed the genetics for Emily Carr, Felix LeClerc, and Campfire rose.
This beautiful rose has everything a rose should have: it is pink, fragrant, hardy and resistant disease and our Canadian winters. You might have noticed her at Canada Blooms 2014 where she made a brief appearance thanks to J.C. Bakker & Sons. If not, plan to meet her this March, and you will agree she is the perfect accent to any garden.

Picture by J.C. Bakker Nurseries

Theme for 2015 “Let’s Play”

Jennifer Harvey Designs

Canada Blooms is excited to announce that ‘Let’s Play’ will be the theme for our 2015 festival.
Apart from the meaning of “contending in a sport or game”, play is also the absence of work, a careless behaviour, the undertaking of an activity for pleasure and freedom. It generally includes diversion or amusement. Playing brings us joy, health benefits, energy and youth.

We all play all sorts of games….card, board, ball, sports, games of chance and games of love, we play musical instruments, we joke and strategize and more.

Given the many interpretations of PLAY we are eager to see how the talented garden designers and builders and floral professionals will utilize this year’s theme when creating their stunning displays. Join us at Canada Blooms, taking place March 13 to 22 at the Direct Energy Centre where we will once again co-locate with the National Home Show to create North America’s Largest Home & Garden Event. Plan to spend your March Break at Canada Blooms 2015 and Let’s Play!!

Canada Blooms names new General Manager


TORONTO, Ont. (JUNE 17, 2014) – The Board of Canada Blooms Horticultural Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Terry Caddo to the position of General Manager of Canada Blooms.

Terry brings a wealth of experience in management, marketing and sales, communications, horticulture and trade shows to provide the leadership and strategic direction to enhance the continued success of Canada Blooms.

As General Manager of Canada Blooms, Terry will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the world class festival that connects people to the joys and benefits of nature through experience with gardens and flowers, by promoting, educating, inspiring and celebrating all aspects of horticulture.

Prior to joining Canada Blooms, Terry spent three years as the Director of Operations at Royal Botanical Gardens. He was responsible for the RBG Christmas Train Show, the exhibit Battle of the Titan and the RBG Garden and Home Show.

Terry also spent seven years as Director of Marketing and Communications at Ontario Place.  While there, he developed the Rogers Chinese Lantern Festival and created the Canada Dry Festival of Fire.

He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Lakehead University and a Post Diploma Degree in Sport and Event Marketing from George Brown College.

Canada Blooms donations brightens up Etobicoke’s Wesburn Manor



Spring is in full bloom at Etobicoke’s Wesburn Manor – thanks to the donation of hundreds of plants from Canada’s largest flower and garden festival.

On Tuesday, Canada Blooms helped bring a little taste of spring to the lives of Wesburn Manor residents by delivering more than 600 colourful plants with the help of Procter’s Cartage, which donated transportation of the flowers.

“I can’t think of a better way to wrap up Canada Blooms than by donating the flowers to the residents in long-term care,” Bruce Sudds, Marketing, Communications and Sponsorship manager of Canada Blooms, said in a statement. “Through this donation, the event continues to spread the joys and benefits of flowers and gardens to people who truly appreciate them.”

During Tuesday’s celebration at Wesburn Manor – one of the City of Toronto’s 10 long-term care homes – York West Councillor Anthony Perruzza, chair of the city’s Community Development and Recreation Committee, lauded the donation as yet “another example of the good that can be accomplished through corporate partnerships with the city.”

“Canada Blooms has once again demonstrated that it supports the communities in Toronto, and particularly the residents in our long-term care homes through this donation,” he said in a statement. “These flowers will help to brighten the rooms of residents at Wesburn Manor and in the community.”

This marks the seventh year that one of the city’s long-term care homes has benefited from the Canada Blooms donation, which provides a loving home for hundreds of healthy plants while improving the quality of life for long-term care residents.

Some of the flowers will be distributed to clients who live independently in the local area, but use support services offered by the city such as Wesburn Manor’s Adult Day Program or Homemakers and Nurses Services.

Our Own Tropical Forest


Inspired by our 2014 theme, WILD!, our Celebrity stage will carry you away to another world…you can dream about South Asia, the Indian Ocean, Australia…it’s all here.

Thanks to the generosity of Valleyview Gardens, the stage has been planted with ornamental bamboo originally from East Asia.  There is also Draceana Song of India, a tropical tree native to Madagascar, Mauritius, and other islands in the Indian Ocean; Kimberly ferns, which originated in Australia; and mass plantings of large leafed colourful Croton Magnificent, Neon Algerian Ivy, and variegated Ginger which is native to tropical Asia.  You will also notice Blue Bismarckia Palms, native of Madagascar, with its silvery-blue, fan shaped leaves; and Phoenix Roebelini, a species of small date palm native to Southeastern Asia. The front of the stage, a mass of bromeliads of all sizes, and variegated pineapple, all in the yellows, blues, greens and pinks complete our wild tropical stage.

Larry Varlese, owner of Valleyview Gardens, and his team worked with Canada Blooms to come up with a concept for the stage. Upon delivery of the plants at the Direct Energy Centre, the team was very active in the placement of the plant material in order to highlight the colours and textures of the different plants. Thank you, Larry and the team for your great work and generosity.

Canada Blooms Build For Tourism Ireland pt. 2


Sunday, January 12, 2014
Wild Atlantic Way, Day Two
Having worked up an appetite after climbing the cliffs of Moher, we headed to the Doolin Hotel and had a fantastic dinner of locally sourced fare, expertly prepared by the hotel chef. Just what the doctor ordered! The next day, fully rested we enjoyed a full Irish Breakfast with freshly baked scones and muffins made in house by the excellent pastry chef, just the thing to set us on our way.

As we drove up the coast the glacial landscape was a sight to behold, large boulders dotted the fissured limestone on the coastal side while pastoral fields led the way inland. Rare arctic species of flora occupied some of the fissures creating the illusion of a collection of hundreds of miniature bonsai gardens.

Canada Blooms 2014 Garden Build for Tourism Ireland


“Wild Atlantic Way”
Day 1: Our Landscapes By Lucin team arrived at the Cliffs of Moher, met by Flan Quilligan from Feilte Ireland, Geraldine Enright from the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, and the ever-illustrious Pat Sweeney our nimble cliff walking guide.

A cool rain greeted us at the airport, and a light mystic fog enveloped us as we walked the cliff top trails, with the sun breaking through the clouds depositing a beautiful rainbow in the cold Atlantic. The sheer magnitude of the cliffs became apparent as we ascended the limestone steps, traversing the pastoral fields of woolly sheep.

The ocean view was unparalled in our experience. The sublime majesty of the cliffs in all their grandeur, the pastoral fields of the rolling countryside, the sound of the waves crashing against the cliff face, and the feeling of the ocean mist instilled an unrivalled sensory experience. This site must really must be experienced in all it’s natural glory with all one’s sensory faculties. Photographs alone will not do the Cliff’s of Moher justice, you really have to be here!!!!

Best, Arvils Lukss, Joe Pereira, and Sean Anderson

Landscapes by Lucin

Bouquet Battle at Canada Blooms


Canada Blooms had its first Media Launch on January 28th. Members of the media were invited to preview the Feature Garden and Floral Artists that will be at this year’s festival.
Our special thanks to the InterContinental Toronto Centre for creating a wonderful experience, Albert Graves and pickOntario for providing exquisite floral pieces for our Bouquet Battle, J & B Greenhouse who provided beautiful cyclamen on a cold winter’s day. Thanks also to Unilock for their generous support of Canada Blooms.
Check out our website next week to see which of our floral artists who participated in Bouquet Battle will receive the bragging rights of Ultimate Floral Designer 2014, as chosen by the visitors to the event. Artists included: Bella Jackson (Floral Fetish), Nicholas Smith (Opening Night), Jennifer Harvey, Todd Kjargaard (Jackie O) and Giancarlo Cianciotta (Flower Workshop). Visit our website to find out more about our Feature Gardens and Floral Superstars. Also checkout our facebook page for pictures of the event. #CanadaBlooms #BouquetBattle