Expo 2011 is the Landscape Ontario show that used to be mainly for the cut flower trade. It's evolved and grown over the years and is a terrific opportunity to see what some of the stores may be picking up to sell. A group of garden writers were invited to learn about what was new. We got to hear a few sneak peaks about Canada Blooms (now combined with the Home Show, it will be the largest indoor show in North America): it will have its own building; they have a number of international contributors interested in doing displays; and the organizers are delighted to see that there are even more landscapers interested in participating. So, after being disappointed when we discovered last year that the garden and home shows were combining to be the Ten Day Hot Tub and Plastic Pots of Tulip Show, we learned we should expect to be pleasantly surprised.
Also at our pre-tour meeting was Kris Kriofske, the rather baffled, Director of Marketing for Woodbine who is responsible for the digdropdone marketing bulb campaign. Knowing nothing about plants (his confession) he set out to find why the bulb industry is in such decline. While established gardeners may know about bulbs, they aren't buying as many - and they need to look further afield to find new markets. The problem seems to be with the Barbie-esque figures they've come up with to show that bulbs are for everyone - he thought it would be humorous, fun and thus attract some attention. The videos are borderline Saturday Night Live silly. Unfortunately, and this is were's he's baffled, the campaign is being roundly slammed for being sexist. Even this a.m. in the Star Sonia Day has pulled out her hockey stick and put some rubber at the head of digdropdone - followed by a very nice article about how squirrels eat bulbs, but if you plant daffodils all will be well.
I'm a bulb-convert. Digdropdone isn't for me. Give me the sizzle of the scent of a tulip and I'm there. The digdropdone part plays into the minimal gardening psyche of time-crunched women. As Kris said, "Many people don't know what bulbs are, and what they're for." (No doubt the relatives of those folks who returned a plant for butterflies, because it was full of caterpillars - not an urban legend, they were real people and I was working that day.) Sadly, nice articles about squirrels and bulbs haven't exactly been the ticket for bulb industry. The dust-up about the campaign is causing quite a bit of traffic to the site - let's hope people will take it a step further and maybe buy a few bulbs.
The show was in the new North Building at the Toronto Congress Centre
- very cool building - very good modern plantings outside and Award Winning Bathrooms - Girls LOOK AT ALL THOSE STALLS (actually your own little room!!!) on the left side of the photo. Heck, I'd give it an award, just for finally having enough spots for us to "go".
So, here are a few trends - plants growing up walls - specially built receptacles for growing plants vertically. Here's Smartwall.
And, Natur Garden Wall System.
Walls made out of plants - this is new from Mori Nursery. The idea is from Holland. Vines are trained up heavy-duty fencing. The planted fence can be purchased in sections and installed either in the ground or in containers. I think this is a great idea for an instant view block. The panels are being tested around the Mori Nursery sales territories to see if they can make it through the winter. Great idea if it will work.
Newish dipladenia from Fernlea. Very pretty flowers.
More easy-peasy gardening peripherals - this is from Eserro.com. A Canadian company, the bases are manufactured in the US, the legs sourced somewhere else. I spoke with Tom Korzeniowski who designed the product - he's had it on his deck for the last 3 years. It's made out of polyethylene just like water barrels and so for the water gardens (not pictured) the same rules apply - drain 'em for winter! They are very light weight as well.
If it's not lack of time, it's lack of space - see how much has been incorporated into this small seating arrangement.
Lots of lots of succulents - this is the display from Floral Dimensions. They're located in Fenwick. I haven't seen so many lovely little succulents all on one table.
To end this - look at what I found. Considering they were just shoved under a bench I thought these asters were awfully pretty - They are Epic Plants Aster oblongifolius 'Raydon's Favorite'. If they look this good in rotten conditions, consider how lovely they'd be in the garden. Something I'll definitely be looking for next year at the garden centres.