Canada Blooms


I arrived into Toronto on March 3rd and was picked up at the airport by my friend and tour buddy, Wendy Downing. She has been on five of my Chelsea tours and is now coming along on the Garden Writers tour in June. Wendy is past president of the Canadian Rose Society and very active in a lot of things. We made our way to the Fairmont Royal York and got settled in there. As usual the Fairmont offered me a beautiful room with a view overlooking the soon to be springing to life roof top gardens. The Fairmont is my choice when I travel to Toronto – it is so close to the show – and you don’t even have to go outside to get to the show! Just a real treat because in March you just never know what the weather will be like (more on that later).

The Fairmont Royal York

Thank you Melanie for making my stay so pleasant! Great room, great food and wonderful service.

After getting changed I met with Roger Wheelock and Kathy Renwald of the Royal Botanical Gardens for a nice relaxing and newsy drink at the hotel bar. They are planning some wonderful things for the RBG and I can tell that Kathy is very excited to be a part of this. Wendy and I then had dinner and bed early as Wendy was judging at the show early the next morning.

Friday I got over to the show and made my way to the Speakers Series to listen to Des Kennedy. He was speaking on ‘A Gulf Island Gardener in Ireland’ Part of this presentation was on the gardens he visited while a host of my Ireland tour and the rest were on gardens and sights he saw after the tour was over. A lively presentation was had by all and I know anyone planning on joining the tour this year will be in for a superb offering as there are 19 places to visit and we stay in just one hotel! Des is hosting again, so don’t miss it!

After Des, I decided I had better see some of the show, so started with the booths because I knew I would have a later opportunity to see the gardens without the crowds. The booths were plentiful – as usual – you are able to find just about anything you want for your garden or your home. The big shock was that Loblaws was not there this year, nor did I see some other booths I had always seen at CB but perhaps next year. I always loved the Loblaws booth because of the fresh flowers – tubs and tubs of them. I always took some back to my hotel room for my stay. I did see some really neat booths – one that offered pressed concrete ‘leaves’ in wonderful shapes for ponds or little areas where you wanted some water, mesh with tiny black rocks attached to the mesh so that you could lay this as pathway or form around a pond edge or even put it at the bottom of a pond for an interesting and more natural look and a company that has taken those ugly plastic/resin chairs and dressed them up in fabric. Lots and lots to see and judging by the bags going out, a lot of people found lots of goodies to take home with them. I always look for neat pots filled with bulbs and take this home with me. I get to enjoy them now and can pot them up later with herbs or whatever. Met David Tarrant while walking around and we had a coffee together. David is looking great and so excited about his new show called ‘Spring’ that is starting on March 20th on HGTV. 7 pm eastern time. Then weekly starting on Saturday April 10 at 7 pm eastern time.

As always, Canada Blooms for me is a chance to meet all my old friends and even make some new ones. I enjoy it so much and the time just flies by. In the afternoon, I visited the Canadian Gardening show garden for a reception to launch the new book ‘City Gardens’. Again a great chance to visit with some friends, of course Liz Primeau was there as well as Aldona Satterthwaite – and so they should be as Liz was the editor of this book and Aldona did the foreward. We all know that Aldona is the editor of Canadian Gardening magazine and I must tell you that you could not miss her with her very spring like stockings! Aldona is also coming on the Garden Writers tour and it is going to be a blast! This garden also took three awards at the show – Best creativity in garden design, best large size garden and Judges pick – kudos to Oriole Landscaping. Ltd. I also had a chance to chat with Charlie Dobbin and Denis Flanagan – nice to see their show coming back for another season. I heard that Mark Cullen will not have a show any more.

Every year there are great speakers and try as I might I just cannot get to all of them…as well as long distance speakers like Des and David, they had many local speakers and each and every one of them had something worth listening to! That is why it is so important to get out to these shows… there are also the demonstrations that take place throughout the day. I know it is hard to come and stay for a couple to three days, but you really need to – in order to take it all in. I was walking by the International Designers that were on stage – they were showing how to put an arrangement together, but of course I was on my way to a meeting and could only grab a few minutes…they make it look so easy!


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