Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Toronto Botanical Garden


The final event of the 2015 Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto, Canada, was held at the Toronto Botanical Garden. Word is that this tiny gem (it's almost 4 acres) might be North America's smallest Botanical Garden, but it was just the perfect location for our group to spend one last evening together.

Our buses unloaded near this wall...

Parts seemed empty, but others were overflowing with happy Sempervium, bricks, rocks and bottles.

The wall divides the garden proper from the parking lot and forms one side of the Terrace Garden.

This is the back-side.

Curving back around to the front, parking lot side...

A glimpse of the garden beyond.

It is tiny, but the garden packs lot into it's space.

Larix kaempferi, known as Japanese larch.

The cones are just gorgeous.

Along the other side of the parking lot is the Entry Garden Walk.

From the TBG website: "designed by Dutch garden designer and plantsman, Piet Oudolf.  His first Canadian project, this garden is inspired by his New Wave Planting style using bold drifts of perennials and grasses, punctuated with shrubs and trees.  These plants are carefully selected for their architectural form and texture, as well as autumn colour and winter silhouette, thus taking precedence over flower colour.

Planted in naturalistic waves, plants were not dead-headed for three years to allow for self-seeding and the formation of the “sophisticated meadow”.  Plants are dead-headed selectively, otherwise are left standing through winter."

Amorpha canescens, or Lead Plant.

Penstemon 'Dark Towers'

Allium, "the" plant of the 2015 Fling...

This pathway led along the parking lot beyond the Oudolf garden.

Their pot ghetto...

I would think not!

This elevated succulent planting is along the main pathway as you enter the garden.

Lots to look at!

There is an excellent diagram with plant names here (while the link lasts).

The Knot Garden...

And the Herb Garden.

Janet Davis, the lady in yellow on the left, climbs the Spiral Mound while my camera is focused down on Westview Terrace.

Looking from the mound out across the Knot Garden.

And back down on the ground, next to the water channel in the Westview Terrace.

While I began this post out in the garden our actual visit to the TBG started off sitting under these lights...

Listening to a container planting presentation by Paul Zammit, the Director of Horticulture. Yes the photo is blurry but if you've ever met this man you know why. He doesn't stop moving, ever. I am thrilled to have captured this good of a photo!

This is his work on display out in the courtyard, where we enjoyed drinks and tasty hors d'oeuvres (yes even Poutine - which I hated when Andrew and I tried it in Montreal but this version was actually good. Or maybe I was just so hungry I didn't care?).

Paul's specialty seems to be cramming at least 12 more plants into a container than you would have thought possible. He definitely has a great eye for design!

Notice the brown sticks over on the left hand side of this planting, it's actually a plant - and it's alive! Euphorbia platyclada, which Paul claims as a favorite.

I lifted the photo below (which is credited to Paul Zammit) from the TBG website. Paul writes this about the Euphorbia: "Yes, brown is a colour, a beautiful colour both inside the home and out in the garden. This plant may not be for everyone (although it has long been a favourite of mine). It’s a unique, unusual, slow-growing tropical. Although it is not new and has long been in cultivation, it’s available only occasionally, and I am thrilled to have a few specimens as part of this year’s plant sale. Euphorbia platyclada is endemic to Madagascar where so many distinct plants and animals have evolved in isolation over time. (Sadly the wild native populations are threatened as a result of habitat loss.) I invite you to at least have a look at this unique plant. From personal experience, I can say that it will grow on you!" It's certainly growing on me, I need to track one down. Tomorrow we'll return to the TBG - kinda, sorta but not really...
All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

34 comments:

  1. As you say small, but seems to hold many treasures! I knew you'd like that "stick plant" :)

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    1. I'm kind of easy to figure out aren't I?

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  2. Can't look at that brown stick plant without thinking of Peter's saying "Looks dead, gotta have it!" I do love those raised succulent planters.

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  3. A pretty nice BG considering it is so small. I like the Oudolf garden, and most especially the knot garden--everything looks so lush, established, and not one bit thirsty. Plants that have never been thirsty in their lives!

    Not thrilled with the barrier wall at the entry. Craftsmanship doesn't appear tip-top, but they probably had a shoestring budget to work with.

    I saw the E. platyclada at the Huntington C&S show--the one there was heat and drought-stressed to a nice bronzy-orange color, even better than the brown.

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    1. I suppose there's a chance they could look thirsty now, after a long summer, but somehow I think you're right. They've never wanted for water.

      I thought I remembered that Euphorbia from your posts!

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  4. Wow that garden looks amazing! Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures!

    Greetings, Sofie

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  5. What a gem of a place! Seems fitting to end the Fling here, really wonderful. Love the dead plant, too...haha....maybe that will be the "It" plant here next summer....hmm...Xera? Anyone?

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    1. We closed out the event with a lovely dinner and then boarded the buses back to the hotel. Ah the memories!

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  6. I loved that Terrace Garden with all the succulents! Funny--I didn't even see that metal sculpture that you photographed out in the meadow. That's nifty! I need to look "up" more. What a great place! I hope to make it back there someday. :)

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    1. Really? It showed up in several of my photos, I must have really liked it.

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  7. There's a LOT packed into 4 acres. My local botanic garden is 87 acres and it doesn't have anything nearly as interesting to offer. There's quite a bit of formal structure but enough wildness to keep my interest.

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    1. And what is the name of your local botanic garden? Have I been there?

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  8. It's very...herbaceous. Sorry, I'm not really an Oudolf fan. I'm sure it's great for the Midwest, East Coast, and much of Europe, but that style just doesn't seem to suit the West Coast, to me. I do like the succulent plantings and containers.

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    1. Hehehe, thanks for the honest assessment Evan. I'm not either, but it looked grand there.

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    2. Any time. ;) I should have said that it does suit the Toronto area. I'm just a tad too PNW-centric at times.

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  9. Fabulous lights & it looks like an interesting place for the closing of the fling. Of course the brown dead-looking stick plant is cool and your last picture with the three specimens is beyond wonderful! I like a good meadow and find them highly decorative on the sides of freeways.

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    1. Hahaha, you too huh? (meadow trasher)

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  10. It looks like an adventurous dream. I would love to explore it. Live in UK

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    1. There were several folks at the Fling from the UK Neyon!

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  11. Wonderful tour! Paul Zammit inspired me to plant coleus and other beauties in a container that was being wasted on a perennial I didn't enjoy. Now they are flowering and the bees are happily visiting them.

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    1. What a great testament, he is inspiring for sure!

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  12. Nothing Euphorbia does surprises me any more...but that comes close.
    The "bones" of this garden are so good.

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    1. It really is a crazy, all encompassing, genus isn't it?

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  13. You present a great perspective of this garden. I enjoyed seeing it through your lens.

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  14. Great photos and review. I had completely forgotten about the wall and almost everything else except for the Oudolf Entrance Garden.

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  15. Those Japanese larch cones are gorgeous. Great photos!

    Can't believe I'm saying this, but I love the photos of the meadow and am just 'meh' over the elevated succulent planting. The containers themselves don't work for me at all, and my fave garden bloggers (cough*like you*cough) have terrific container plantings -- these suffer by comparison. Had to go back and check Hoov B's E. platyclada photo: "pile of sweet potato fries that has been run over by a truck," heh. They do look cool in that last photo, though...

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    1. Yes!!! I remember the sweet potato fries comment, ha. I'm typically not a fan of container plantings that are mash-ups of a gillion different things (I'm a one plant per pot sort of gal) but I think it was Paul's enthusiasm that pulled me in here.

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  16. Those elevated planters are mostly to keep kids from taking the shortcut up (and down) the mound. There sure is lots to see in this small space. We're very proud of the TBG and of Paul Zammit -- but I'm starting to wish people would stop talking about him. We want to keep him!

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