Monday, March 14, 2016

The Flowers are Back at Canada Blooms

Even though it has been an easy winter, everyone I've spoken to feels a little bereft of colour. The sky has been dull. We've missed the gorgeous reflective quality and brightness that snow adds to this long season.  So I was especially hopeful that this year's Blooms, now 20 years old, would provide that flower tonic I was craving.

This is the fourth year the Home Show and Canada Blooms have been combined.  I still remember the horror we all felt when we learned that Blooms would be co-locating with the Home Show.  "It will be ruined!"  While it is different, it hasn't been ruined.  In fact, I think they made the leap over the improvement line this year, giving me what I wanted to see - lots of flowers.

This arch welcomes you to Blooms.  This year, Helen Battersby (our excellent tour guide!) pointed out the Home Show placed outdoor vendors along the corridor to Blooms, putting you in the correct frame of mind.

Here's a closer shot.  Great nose candy.

The growers set up displays along the aisle:

This is the new Gerbera Garvinia Sweet.  It did very well in the Guelph Trial Gardens.  Liked to be picked.  Great cut flowers that just keep on coming from June to September.

If you go to Blooms, I would encourage you to start on the left and visit the floral displays of the Toronto Garden Club.

This Teddy Bear's picnic was darling and a big crowd favourite.

Gussied up dresses.

Miniatures.  Oh the patience these people have.  I liked this one, the judge not so much.

This was the winner.

As beautiful as many of the designs were, I'm always interested in something like this, that someone with a little weenie balcony might do.  This way you get some flowers and still have room for a table and chairs.

This looked like it had been growing for quite some time.  Everyone wanted to plant their head against the wall to check out the mechanics and figure out how much it must have weighed.

And, you know how we all liked to be asked our opinion...the fact the judges have taken courses and worked for years....we all think we know better, and here's the box to let them know who the winner should have been.

Lovely and creamy.

This fun arrangement was made up flowers light and bubbles.  Christine De Beer told me she had to replace not only the tired flowers, but the battery every morning.

Just shows you don't have to spend a bundle to make a pretty display.

Random flowers:

The city of Toronto had a small but packed cork garden that was fun:

I spoke with Julie Moore about this garden.  What a challenge - how do you create a garden around a sports car?  She said that her concept was to present the yin and yang of a garden - the fast exciting pace of the car and the serene spot where lovers might spend an afternoon.  Hearts of thyme:

When asked where she'd prefer to have her picture taken - no car for her - although you notice she does have a bedazzled hat that blends perfectly - she said, I'll sit where the lovers would sit.

The car costs a bomb, and the umbrella is in the $15K range (Cdn).

Garden #41 was influenced by a Winners find.  Enjoyed the design here.  As an aside, Helen told us that those evergreens are just Christmas trees - no root systems - they've just been poked into the ground.

Just shows you don't have to be fine carpenter to do a design.

 Jennifer Connell has declared the lighting "5 minutes to midnight".  Why do they turn the lights off?
Hand held this is what this display looks like - the second shows what it looks like with a flash.

I think this one by James Thompson was my favourite.  It was called Natural Flow:

Wouldn't it be nice to have someone deliver and install such a big chunk of rock:

Here's a Secret Garden Party:

Why is the piano drooling?  Now this wasn't for me, but for everyone else who came along, they loved it.

This is the Plywood Pavilion:

Yes, my thoughts exactly.

Now, here's something to think about.  Cool design.  Doesn't cost a lot.  Good for a small space.  And, nice that they added some pretty flowers.  Called Garden Celebration:

Some of the best bits were the smaller displays:

There are those who come to the shows just to shop, and they won't be disappointed.  Lots of good floral vendors.  And of course the Toronto Botanical Garden.

And the crowd once the show opened:

Tiny little doorway gardens:

More random flowers:


A very pretty garden Carnival of Colour by Vandermeer Nursery and Earth Art Landscapes with some unusual plant material.

Some of the big firms went small this year.  Parklane is the company that requires someone in the household to successfully rob a bank in order to hire them.  Their work is perfection.  This year they did a little demonstration piece.  A rain garden.  The concept was illustrated along the edges, and at the end there was a model home where you could watch the designer, before your very eyes, install various types of rain gardens.

Very cool.

So, final words on the show.  Definitely better.  More flowers.  Lots of good speakers.  Good design.  You can definitely learn something new.  And in my books, that's the #1 reason to go.  Well, actually, the flowers are #1, learning something is #2, and if you are lucky like I am to have so many friends to visit with while I'm there, I'd say I'd accomplished a hat trick of marvellous things.  So all in all, it was a terrific show.  If it continues to be as rainy as they forecast, what could be better than spending an afternoon looking at flowers?  Grab a buddy and go!


Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

My goodness this was balm for my color starved soul! Gorgeous displays to delight!

Barbarapc said...

And to mine as well Donna - it was a great w/e!

Paul Jung said...

Your deadpan humour was the highlight of this post, especially regarding the wooden construction pieces. I didn't know if the wood pavillion was an exercise in post-modern landscape design or used hoarding from a local condo project.

Nice pictures and commentary as usual, thanks! Looks like your camera's flash had a good workout. Yes, there seemed to be a ton more flowers this year. The excessive hardscaping at last year's show just broke me down, along with the, um, overly eager Home Show vendors.

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

What a graceful and colorful show! Yes, I imagine that display was incredible nose candy--it certainly is impressive eye candy! Thanks for sharing! Lovely images!

Jennifer said...

After the GWA lunch and talks I felt so worn out I did not have the energy or enthusiasm to really take a proper look at the show. I am rather disappointed I didn't get up early enough to have made it to the pre-opening tour first thing in the morning.
Why do they turn the lights out anyway? It certainly makes photography a challenge, although you did very well with your shots. Spring should be bright, fresh and colorful. I am not sure that the show overall managed any of those things. The Garden Club area of CBlooms might be the exception. It did feel spring-like and pretty. I have stayed silent on my blog rather than be critical, but I worry that if no one says anything, the show will fail to get any better.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Thanks barb for this post so I could have an idea of how it went this year.
My favorites are the rustic designs and certainly the rain garden display.
It is still missing that chunk of what real gardens could look like on display there .. more plants .. circular , vertical , some trellis ...designs for reality ?
Maybe I am asking too much from the exhibitors ... in any case, great pictures and commentary girl !

Barbarapc said...

Jennifer: The lights were turned out to add atmosphere. I saw in the Star that Sonia Day really liked the dark. And, according to the Canada Blooms folks, (I asked them what's with the bad lighting?) those on Twitter are fans as well. For people who like plants and taking photos and reading tags, it's a challenge isn't it? I prefer the show in the early morning before the lights go out. There were lots of improvements, but I'm with you, more flowers and more colour would be great. I'd also like the designs to be submitted and accepted based on their adherence to the theme - unfortunately they are in no position to pick and choose and welcome all the firms who are willing to put up the cash, time and hard work to submit even though their gardens have nothing to do with the overall theme.
Joy: Thank you. I know what you mean - remember the old Loblaw displays with scads of different varieties clematis. The workmanship of the gardens was excellent, and I guess that is what the landscapers hope to sell. I'd love to see a whole whack of little gardens too. If they were really beautiful, I don't see why someone wouldn't want to hire them? If we don't ask, we'll never get! This year was an improvement over last year and fingers crossed, next year will be even better.

Barbarapc said...

Paul - Like the Dream Home that was unfinished in time for the start of the show, I thought perhaps this project was unfinished as well..... Except kudos to the folks at Landscape Ontario - they never, ever have unfinished projects. The only thing in its favour was the wonderful scent of freshly sawn wood - may the wood live on in another project for another day!
Beth - thanks so much. It was the perfect way to spend a day - flowers, friends and gardens.

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