Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Taking Toronto by Storm


Toronto skyline from Music Garden
Toronto skyline from Music Garden

Toronto. Described as a world within a city. It is vibrant, diverse, friendly and interconnected with its various neighborhoods and culture. It has been more than thirty years since I've been to Toronto and it is a very different place from my memories. Last time I visited I was a college student coming over from Michigan to explore the restaurant and music scene. It was a hop, skip and a jump away and you could pass through the border simply with a photo id and a few answered questions. No passport required. It hardly felt like traveling to another country. Fast forward thirty years and it is a much different world. Passport, homeland security and customs are mandatory.

street scene along Toronto waterfront
street scene along Toronto waterfront

Walking through the streets of Toronto you can feel, smell and taste the diversity of this cosmopolitan city. Multiple languages being spoken at every turn. Bakeries and flower shops on street corners reminiscent of a European town. Lots of bicyclists commuting on the city streets and riding for pleasure along the shoreline. Neighborhoods with their Victorian and Edwardian style homes add loads of character to the city where ravines and parks are a very distinctive feature of the cityscape.

Dog waiting area at Brick Works, Toronto
The variety of dogs reflects the variety of Toronto dwellers

Tall glass buildings shape the skyline with 44 structures measuring over 150 meters high and the CN Tower, known as the largest free standing structure on land until 2007, towering over them all. Cranes are intermingled amongst the buildings, an indication that North America's fourth largest city continues to expand.

Toronto skyline from Wards Island
view of Toronto skyline from Wards Island

I had the privilege of touring this incredible city with fellow garden bloggers last week. And, let me tell you there is nothing better than discovering the life of a city than with like minded gardeners who are as passionate about plants as you are.

official Garden Blogger fling photo 2015
Garden Bloggers descend upon Toronto

Thanks to an outstanding team of local Toronto bloggers who arranged for us to explore the city from high on the rooftops to the bustling streets below. The four days were packed with garden tours from quaint, private gardens to large estates, botanical gardens, rooftop gardens, educational gardens, nature preserves, wildlife gardens and parks. You get the picture, we saw lots of gardens. But there is more. We also had buzztinis at the Farimont Royal York, an evening blog discussion with Gayla Trail from You Grow Girl, a container garden demonstration with the energetic Paul Zammit at the Toronto Botanical Garden followed by hors d'oeuvres, live music and dinner. It was fabulous. And did I tell you I tasted poutine? It is delicious and went right to my hips.

view of Toronto from Hugh Garner Co-op rooftop garden
view of Toronto from Hugh Garner Coop rooftop garden

This was the groups first international fling. Seventy Bloggers from the United States, Canada and England descended upon the city to learn what the Toronto area has to offer when it comes to gardening. But, the fling is as much about the people as it is about the gardens. I meet fellow bloggers in person, who I have known virtually for years. Others I got to know for the first time. This is an eclectic group of passionate gardeners, from professional landscapers and designers to garden hobbyists, horticultural experts, authors and tree connoisseurs. It was such a treat to look at the gardens through the eyes of other enthusiasts.

Garden photographers go to great lengths to get the perfect shot

While Toronto may have a much shorter growing season than I do in Georgia, it is very apparent that Toronto gardeners are enthusiastic about plants, landscape design, color, garden art, container gardening and supporting their local ecosystems. They have some of the most lush gardens I've seen in a long while packed with a fantastical selection of plants with bloom combinations I would never see here in the South.


Allium flowers were the signature plant of the fling

The non-stop touring of more than thirty gardens in four days as well as the fellowship of these bloggers/gardeners left me feeling inspired, rejuvenated, tired (but in a good way), schooled, and enthusiastic. Thanks to the remarkable team for putting on such a fabulous event. A shout out to the bus drivers and entertaining bus captains and very generous sponsors. A big hug to my fellow garden bloggers for such a welcoming experience. And  a very special thanks to all those who shared their stunning gardens with us.

One of our special garden tour guides
Over the coming weeks and months I will be sharing the gardens we explored and my first fling experience. I will intermingle posting about our garden here in Georgia as we move into the peak summer growing season. Our garden is teaming with wildlife, summer blooms lots of fruit and veg and there is much to share.

To read more about the fling you can visit the official fling blog here

9 comments:

  1. I look forward to reading more observations of your first Fling....and here's to many more!!

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    1. I'm already looking forward to next year Janet. Thanks for being my roomie. It was fun!

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  2. What a fun and beautiful post! I love your picture of the music garden--I wish I'd have time to see it. It was super to meet you!

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    1. Linda it was wonderful to meet you too! The music garden was really well done. You must visit it next time you are in Toronto.

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  3. It was wonderful to meet you in person, Karin! Cheers! This is a great write-up. I echo your sentiments. It was a most rewarding experience. Hope we can both make it again next year in the Twin Cities!

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    1. I am planning on going next year and hope it works out with our schedule. It was such a great time and wonderful memories were made!

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  4. I had sooo much fun with you!! I'm dying for my very own Hughie the Roof Spruce although I don't think mine would do well on the roof. ;o)

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  5. That is just a stunning photo of Barbara (I think?) taking a photograph - the rays of light are incredible! I'm really looking forward to hearing more about your garden (esp. the veg patch, of course!). Things are going full speed ahead around here. Unfortunately, that goes for the weeds as well ;)

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  6. What a wonderful Fling and I love Toronto!

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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