When you visit Toronto, Ontario, make sure to set aside at least a few hours to see the Toronto Botanical Garden. Even if you've been there in the past, you'll probably want to go back. I know I do.
When I visited the gardens about a month ago for the Garden Bloggers' Fling, I was impressed with the diversity of plant life in the small, four-acre property. I also noticed the creativity of the horticulturists, volunteers, planners, designers, and others involved with this "magical oasis in the city," as it describes itself.
The first area that caught my eye was Terrace Garden, near the entrance. The planners used construction rubble to form the architecture of this west-facing slope, which resembles a quilt made of succulents and Mediterranean, drought-tolerant perennials. I could have spent hours simply observing this exquisite collection.
Just outside the Center for Horticulture, was a lovely display of seasonal perennials, including 'Illumination Flame' Foxglove (a Digitalis hybrid, syn. Digiplexis), which can survive to USDA zone 8, but has been known to overwinter in much colder zones in warm microclimates. Apparently, this is a popular purchase at the garden's yearly plant sale.
One of the highlights of our visit in June was an animated, humorous presentation by Director of Horticulture Paul Zammit, on creativity and fun with potted arrangements.
Paul mentioned he frequently uses Parsley in his creations, like this mixed planting at the base of an Arborvitae (Thuja spp.).
All the potted arrangements were exquisite.
I also noticed succulents everywhere.
In bedded plantings,
And even combined with orchids and graceful lighting in the restroom.
It was great fun to climb to the top of the Spiral Mound, to see the Knot Garden.
And to view the Courtyard, where attendees later gathered for a buffet dinner.
The mixed plantings were impressive--like this one featuring tiers of Alyssum, Heucheras, Acteas, and Peonies.
A few of the other plants I noticed and photographed included:
|Bowman's Root (Gillenia trifoliata)|
|Clematis trained on an obelisk|
|Peony (Paeonia spp.) framed by purple Salvia|
|Bearded Iris hybrid|
|Various Coralbells (Heuchera spp.)|
One thing very evident at the Toronto Botanical Garden was an emphasis on sustainability and environmental responsibility.
This display explained how to create a tripod bee hotel, and showed an example.
Thanks to fellow Flinger Janet Davis, a Toronto Botanical Garden supporter and photographer extraordinaire, some of us also had the pleasure of visiting the pollinator garden for an "up close and personal" view of the botanical garden's urban bee hives.
Beekeeper Mylee Nordin, with the Toronto Beekeeping Cooperative, greeted us with a smile and an enthusiastic explanation of the garden's five working honeybee hives.
It was fascinating to watch Mylee at work.
She shared several tidbits of information, including the fact that the hives are home to several types of honeybees--including German and Russian strains, which can better survive cold winters, but tend to be more defensive and aggressive.
We saw firsthand that the honeybees, native bees, and other pollinators have plenty of sources of high-quality nectar and pollen in the pollinator garden.
Baptisias were in full, glorious bloom throughout Toronto. I believe this one is the hybrid
And on plants throughout the Toronto Botanical Garden.
We witnessed pollinator heaven and plant "eye candy" in every direction!
The Toronto Botanical Garden is planning a major expansion--from its current four acres to about 30 acres. You can read more about it by visiting this link: Toronto Botanical Garden Eyes Expansion.