Canada Blooms
March 8-11th, 2006
Toronto, ON

It is always a pleasure to go to Canada Blooms for me. I get to see friends I haven’t seen for a while, I get to enjoy our Garden Writers Meeting and lunch with a great group of people plus get caught up on the latest from sponsors of this luncheon and of course I get to see the show, a show that always gets me going for the year. Gardens, speakers, displays are there to dazzle, educate and show us the latest trends in gardens and gardening. The suppliers in the Market Place bring their newest plants and accessories and you just cannot help but leave the show with bags of goodies to bring home.

This year I had the opportunity to listen to a few speakers – and take note, that this is a perfect way to relax and rejuvenate while at the same time learn before heading back out to the show floors.

I want to say before I start the recap, that if you don’t pick up a copy of the Canada Blooms Show Guide, you really miss out. The whole show is in there and you can use it to plan your day or days while there. Lorraine Flanigan is the Editor of this incredibly useful resource. I really enjoy the layouts of the feature gardens that they include, plus there is a listing of all the suppliers in the Market Place, just in case you decide after the show that you really need that garden plant or goodie. I cannot tell you how many times I have done that J

Aldona Satterthwaite, the Editor of Canadian Gardening Magazine, spoke on ‘Colour Magic in the Garden’ She appeared like a colourful flower herself on the stage to present us with ideas on bringing joy to our gardens by thinking that gardening is like painting a landscape. I have often thought of my garden as a a blank canvas that you could paint what ever colours you wanted and it was nice to hear that she thought the same was as well. Don’t be afraid to be playful but at the same time don’t create a ‘horticultural pizza’. Have places for the eye to rest and add surprise elements with colour contrasts. You have seen pictures of gardens and perhaps a gate or bench is in a contrasting colour to the rest of the garden? This is what she means I think and is a wonderful way to get the eye to rest while going over the garden. It forces you to look at it and then take the whole thing in slowly. Now you can start this with just simple containers in your garden then go on to larger areas. If you garden is a bright busy kind of garden, think about putting some of these contrasts in to rest your eyes.

Ken Beattie mentioned that while he is not on television anymore, he would love to be back doing a show again and certainly would if approached. I don’t know about you, but HGTV is not home and garden anymore. Home is where the big bucks are and that is why they have these shows, because companies are willing to spend the dollar for sponsoring the show or advertising on it. It just does not happen with the garden side of things…been that way for years and that is why I think we have no more garden shows that are relevant to us!

Ken spoke on Urban Myths and Legends, telling us to watch out for those catch phrases ‘somewhat invasive’ – it is or it isn’t, it cannot be somewhat! ‘Self pruning’ – where does that come from? ‘Tolerates sun’ – well how much sun will it tolerate? and “I think it should work’ either you know or you don’t!

Others were ‘perennials are so much less work’ well, they are a bit less work, but they still are work. Ken says they require ‘editing’, meaning removal of spent material, division or dividing when necessary and replanting. Don’t forget that you can move your plants if they are not happy where they are. I think new gardeners think that once planted, it has to be left there, but you can move them if you are not happy with them. Things to remember are that it is your garden and you can do what you want with it, and remember it’s just a garden – you are expected to uproot, move, change and relocate everything in your garden at least once! Try new things and keep records of what grew and where it was planted, because they may not come up, or come up later and you want to be able to account for them. Share your experiences with other gardeners and above all – have fun!







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