Sunday, March 17, 2013

Canada Blooms 2013

The feature gardens were outstanding this year, and I made the modest investment to beat the crowds with a guided, early morning tour. Unfortuately I had no camera, so I jotted down points of inspiration instead.

Tangerine geum
Elements of play... In the Canadian Wildlife Federation Natural Playground built by Bienenstock, they brought all 5 senses into play. Building sculptures, banging drums, sliding, colourful mosaics embedded in patio stones, a blackboard for writing, playing in sand and water. If I got a backyard drum it would drive my neighbours insane. Maybe a slide down the slope of the ravine? When I win the lottery.

Elsewhere, in other gardens, the orange geums and ranunculus really caught my eye and might add a playful touch of colour.

Magic... Tourism Ireland and Parklane Nurseries created the greenest corner in the show, incorporating beautiful mosses and grassy knolls that made me want to visit the Emerald Isle. Dragons, standing stones, portal tombs and stone carvings almost had me seeing sprites and faeires. A Spring Gathering was helping to raise awareness about Ireland's 2013 call to welcome friends and family from all over the world. Other gardens, like Magicool, created a display of rainbows through mist and droplets and The Magic of Teamwork showed how different teams interpreted space, given different recycled materials and individual dynamics.

Movement... There were two different gardens that created space for physical activity. Body and Soul had a tai chi station and laid a reflexology path made of different-sized stones to wander across to massage your bare feet. Otium engineered step-stairs of different heights into the design and laid exercise balls artfully into the patio design. Of course, movement was also built into the landscape designs, with flowing paths or splashing waterfalls.

Tranquility... Evident in so many different gardens, like the NTDTV Chinese Culture Garden, that imported a pagoda and installed a Suzhou-style wall. This feature garden was a gorgeous construction, and included a few exotic blooms... however it was missing the water elements and plant life I fell in love with when I visited Dr. Sun-Yat Sen classical garden in Vancouver.

Pinwheel Aeonium, planted as a carpet
under Boxwood, great combo
& low-maintenance display
Reif Estates was there, providing a different interpretation of their Wine Sensory Garden than they do at their winery. Later in the day there would be a scheduled tasting with cheese pairings, but their tasting bar was already enjoying long line-ups. The sensory garden itself didn't really get the focus it deserved in this setting, but participating in Canada Blooms was a very smart way to cross-promote their winery and build more awareness about their Estate. I made a mental note to visit again this summer.

Hellebores were the 'official' plant this year and included in almost every garden.

The blooms of the Lenten Rose will be making an appearance in my garden, soon...

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