April 15, 2011
LO member volunteers achieved the wow factor and then some, with this year’s Green for Life Garden at Canada Blooms, held for the second consecutive year at the Direct Energy Centre.

Over 90,000 visitors were welcomed from Mar. 16 to 20 into the country’s largest flower and garden show, with the LO garden as the first impression to the event. And impressive it was. The 10,000-square foot area involved all sector groups in the project. From waterfalls to green roofs to a huge wall of flowers, the site was one of the most photographed areas in the festival.

This year’s show contained 24 feature gardens, many demonstrating the new green and sustainable theme, while still showing off the beauty that professional members of Landscape Ontario can create. Marketplace was also its usually busy place, as many were checking out a huge array of products all under one roof.

The Green for Life Celebrity Stage featured a number of attractions, ranging from celebrity flower arranging to garden experts Mark Cullen, Denis Flanagan, Charlie Dobbin, Marjorie Mason, Paul Zammitt, Frank Ferragine and Jim Hole.

Garden communicator award

Denis Flanagan, LO’s public relations director, presented LO’s Garden Communicator Award for 2011.The special presentation was held in conjunction with Garden Writers’ Association annual meeting on Mar. 19. This special honour is given to a writer or broadcaster who consistently promotes the world of horticulture through his or her efforts in communication. This year’s recipient Donna Dawson was awarded for her important and insightful communications with the gardening public. Her i-can-garden.com website has helped to raise awareness for the therapeutic, tourism, recreational, economic, environmental, social, and spiritual benefits of landscapes, gardens, green space and plants.

Bienenstock Natural Playground was a big attraction to the children visiting Canada Blooms. The award-winning garden encouraged the kids to enjoy the exhibit, encouraging them to become future gardeners. 

Students put Skills on display

Teams from six Ontario schools demonstrated their skills at Skills Canada - Ontario’s 2011 Landscaping Contest. The event required students to create a garden from an established set of criteria. Each team was required to use materials such as landscape rocks, precast wall and paving units, landscape lighting, wood, sand, composted mulch and plants.

The event provides an opportunity for students to measure themselves against established standards and compete in Skills Canada – Ontario in May.   

New products showcase

Canada Blooms New Product Showcase demonstrated the newest gardening products on the market. The display was located in the popular marketplace which was a busy place throughout the festival.

After the show, over 1,000 flowers were donated to the Senior Citizens of Toronto. The City of Toronto, Canada Blooms and Procter’s Cartage partnered to distribute over 1,000 spring blooms and shrubs to seniors living at Castleview Wychwood Towers, a long-term care facility. Canada Blooms also donated trees to the City of Toronto.

In addition, Canada Blooms and Landscape Ontario, in partnership with Peace, Love and Landscaping, raised over $12,000 for the Canadian Red Cross Tsunami Fund.