April 15, 2008
Over 100,000 people had the chance to whet their collective appetites for the upcoming gardening season when they visited the 12th annual Canada Blooms.

The five-day themed festival, ‘Flower Power,’ showcased beautiful feature gardens, displays and special guest speakers from March 12 to 16 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Unlike last year with snow and ice storms, and the infamous ice falling off the CN Tower, there were no serious bumps in the road during set-up. David Turnbull, feature garden coordinator, and Charlie Dobbin, horticultural director, report a smooth operation in both set-up and take-down.
For the first time, Canada Blooms featured theme days throughout the five-day event, including garden travel, plant day, design day, ecology day and City of Toronto day. In conjunction with each day’s theme, Gardening Life presented an educational series by Canada’s foremost gardening and horticultural experts.

“This year we’ve partnered with the City of Toronto to re-use as much of the plant material as possible after Canada Blooms,” says Gerry Ginsberg, general manager, Canada Blooms. “About 600 potted flowers and plants will be distributed to local seniors, while about 75 large trees and perennial shrubs will be re-planted in the city’s green spaces this spring.”

As a part of the donation to the city, flowers and plants were given to residents of a local home for the aged and clients of meals-on-wheels program, as well as to a number of other community clients served by the city.

The trees and perennial shrubs from Canada Blooms will be stored by the city at Downsview Park, until they are planted this summer. In addition, proceeds from Canada Blooms will support the new Woodland Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden. This new pedestrian entryway will be installed this spring.

Landscape Ontario on display

The Landscape Ontario booth was a popular place for visitors. Featuring a display of new plants and framed posters of LO Awards of Excellence winners, consumers were able to see what’s coming to their garden centres as well as see some of the great creations by members of Landscape Ontario. Award winners and staff members at the booth were on hand to answer questions and hand out the very popular Garden Inspiration magazine. Thanks to Proven Winners, University of Guelph trial gardens and Valleybrook Gardens for supplying new cultivars for the display.

Visitors and industry contributors to Canada Blooms were again invited to vote for their favourite display and garden. This year People’s Choice award winners include: Miracle-Gro ‘Do Up the Doorstep Challenge’ which involved celebrity-designed doorsteps. Out of 12 contestants, Paul Zammit of Plant World came out with the top design, receiving $2,000 from Scotts towards his favourite charitable cause. The People’s Garden winner was the Circle of Life – The Urban Hub feature garden, designed by Forestell Designed Landscaping and Brydges Landscape Architecture. Honourable mentions were awarded to Backyard Ecotopia, Jan Gelderman Landscaping and ShadeMaster Landscaping and The Green Playground by Gardens For Living.

“This year we built new partnerships and added new highlights such as theme days and special garden tourism and culinary sections to the festival,” said Ginsberg. “Thanks to the tremendous support of our sponsors, dedicated staff and volunteers, we have enhanced our position as the largest garden and flower event in Canada, and now look forward to an even bigger event next year.”

Thanks to the volunteers for their countless hours of help

J P Bartle, Jamie Carman, Paul DeGroot, Dennis Del Vecchio, Frank Del Vecchio, Steve Duncan, Beth Edney, Jim Gray, Lorraine Flanigan, Allan Hunter, Jordan Jackson, Sean James, David Juhasz, Sara Katz, Ryan Kearney, Sally Keefe Cohen, Lianne Krane, Heather Lindsay, Kent Markley, Lindsay Nightingale, Wolfgang Palleske, Geoff and Kathyrn Pratt, Marg-Rheta Wright and her amazing students, David Roes, Jeff and Stephanie Scott, Tom and Kim Somerville, John Soychak, Catherine Stringer, Alec Turnbull, Carl Turnbull, Paul Turnbull, Scott Turnbull, Kees Vander Kruk, John Valleau, Don Voorhees, Bruce Warren, John Wright, Kim Yeates.

Canada Blooms thanks the following suppliers for their donations of material for the gardens and loans of equipment to build them:

Battlefield Equipment
Beaver Valley Stone
Blue Sky Nursery
Brookdale Treeland Nurseries (BTN)
Champion/Volvo Machinery Sales
Canadale Nurseries
Connon Nurseries, AVK
Connon Nurseries, NVK
Dufferin Aggregates
Green Tractor.ca - Hutchinson Farm Supply/Nobleton Farm Equipment
Hillen Nursery
Humber Nurseries
Ironco Equipment Sales
JCB/Wajax Industries
J.H. Ryder Machinery
J.M. Peters Nurseries
Kobes Nurseries
Komatsu/ Equipment Sales and Service
Mathews Equipment
New Holland - Bob Mark Equipment
Kubota - B.E. Larkin Equipment
Mori Nurseries
Nursery Sod Growers Assoc. of Ontario
Pioneer Flower Farms
Proven Winners
Sheridan Nurseries
Sipkens Nurseries
Slappendel Greenhouses
Somerville Nurseries
Swanston Equipment
Tradewinds International
V. Kraus Nursery
Valleybrook Gardens
Walker Equipment
Winkelmolen Nursery
Yoder Canada.

Winning displays at Canada Blooms included:

Certified Landscape Designer Award (best interpretation of show theme): Oriole Landscaping and Plant Architect

Laguna Water Garden Award (for best overall use of water): Jan Gelderman Landscaping and Shademaster Landscaping

Garden Club of Toronto Award (for best overall use of colour): City of Brampton

W.E. Bridgeman Trophy (for best overall use of hard landscape elements): Royalty Landscaping and Ron Holbrook and Associates

Humber Nurseries Award (for best overall use of plant material): Plant Architect and Oriole Landscaping

Leslie L. Solty Award (for best overall garden design): PMA Landscape Architects Creativity and Toronto Botanical Garden

Landscape Ontario Award (for best overall): Vast Exteriors

Sheridan Nurseries Award (for outstanding garden small size): Sander Design and McCartney Contracting

S.G. Ulbright Award (for outstanding garden medium size): Elite Environments

Gordon A. MacEachern Award (for outstanding garden large size): Parklane

Outstanding interpretation of the show theme: Garden Retreats and May Flower Landscaping Design

Use of artistic elements in a garden: Shawn Gallaugher Design

Representation of sponsor requirements: Gardens for Living

Most imaginative garden design: Landscapes by Lucin

Environmental award: Jan Gelderman Landscaping and ShadeMaster Landscaping

Outstanding educational garden (for students): Humber College

Outstanding use of trees: Vast Exteriors

Outstanding use of interior plants: Aesthetic Earthworks

Use of annuals and/or perennials: City of Brampton

Use of natural stone: Tom’s Landscaping Maintenance and Design

Use of pre-cast pavers: Stone-Link

Use of structure (such as fence, wall, gazebo): Gateway Landscape Group and Deckspace

Use of walkways: Royalty Landscaping and Ron Holbrook and Associates

Outdoor living space: Stonetech Landscape Contractors

Outdoor entertainment area: Forestell Designed Landscapes and Brydges Landscape Architecture

Balcony garden: Mooder Horticultural

Universal access award: Jan Gelderman Landscaping and Shademaster Landscaping

The People’s Garden – Consumers’ Choice Award: Forestell Designed Landscapes and Brydges Landscape Architecture

Miracle-Gro “Do-Up-The-Doorstep” Contest: Paul Zammit, Plantworld

Industry Night promotes pride

Our horticulture industry, the backbone of Canada Blooms, was specially recognized with a new Industry Night event on Mar. 13. Festivities included a wine-and-cheese hour sponsored by Sinclair-Cockburn, a special message from noted green industry trainer Jim Paluch of JP Horizons, and the Feature Garden Awards Ceremony (see winners at right). Thanks go to Industry Night sponsors Techniseal, Brookdale Treeland Nurseries, Ariens Corporation and Zander Sod Company.

Top: The LO garden featured some of the new plant varieties for 2008 and winners from
LO’s Awards of Excellence Program.
Left: Backyard Ecotopia demonstrated everything green, including water recycling
and solar power.
Above: The show’s new festival branding featured a new section with travel opportunities.
Donated equipment and volunteer spirit make the show possible.