Canada Blooms 2015

Canada Blooms

Some people say that seeing a Robin outside their window is the first sign of Spring, while others swear by sprouts appearing where they have planted their flowering bulbs.  For me it’s always the week leading up to Canada Blooms that really signifies the end of our harsh winter and the hope of brighter, greener things.  It is a week that historically brings on a warm snap, where snowbanks dwindle away and winter coats are shed for their lighter, cooler counterparts.  Realistically I know we will still get a snowfall or two and I shouldn’t be dusting off the patio furniture. Yet the air feels less crisp, less damp and the promise of warmer days is just around the next corner.

Canada Blooms

This year Canada Blooms is 19 years old.  When I hear that I can’t help but cringe a little, it reminds me how time has past since I started in the field of Horticulture. I worked at the event when it was located out near the Toronto airport, back  before the show was aligned with The National Home Show.  It was close to the second or third annual flower show and I was representing at a booth for my first ever Horticulture job in the years between my college program.  The first thing I remember was how exhausted I was at the end of each day and oh how my feet throbbed.  Most importantly I remember how big and beautiful it was.  Garden vendors lined up row upon row through the cavernous building.  Gardens overflowing with blooms, waterfalls reaching towards the ceiling.  As a beginner in the industry it was awe inspiring as well as intimidating.

Canada Blooms

Year after year I returned, as a guest this time as it moved downtown, then joined the Home Show then moved again.  Each year I’ve watched its evolution from a huge show, to a show slightly on the edge of desperation, to a renewed breath of fresh air, and in the last couple years to the show it currently has become.  I am very undecided on how I really feel about all the change.  The marketplace is disappointingly small compared to the original concepts years ago.  There are some seed and plant companies selling their products, though I question the authenticity of the orchid grower selling plants in colours that don’t naturally exist.

Canada Blooms

The garden displays continue to be impressive however focusing more on hardscaping trends and less about the “blooms”.  For anyone missing the green of the warmer days and brighter months you can definitely get back that feeling the minute you step through the doors.  Flowers Canada fills the gap where local nurseries and the late great White Rose used to laden down our arms with wares.  Maybe the focus on the everyday gardener is what I feel is missing.  There is no doubt lots of inspiration to be had.  Lots of great speakers are on hand to give you helpful tips and tricks you can accomplish in your own home.  But unless you are about to completely overhaul your whole property you may only leave the show with ideas and beautiful pictures and maybe not with the hot new plant of the year.

Canada Blooms

Despite my hesitation I continue to come back each year because the gardens are awe inspiring showcasing immeasurable talent in our country. This year the theme “Let’s Play” is beautifully shown with whimsical fairy gardens and over the top playgrounds for the kids while outdoor retreats and expansive entertaining spaces draw in the adults.  As you will see through my photos everything is stunning.  Everything is perfectly executed.  And as I return several more times over the week the show is on I know I will continue to find new things to ooh and aah over.  While the cynical older me just wishes for more, I already can’t wait for next year.

Canada Blooms runs from March 13-22

Direct Energy Building

Monday-Saturday

10am-9pm

Sunday

10am-5pm

Canada Blooms 2010

Sometimes all it really takes is a change of scenery.

Anyone who remembers my post about last years Canada Blooms will recall how deeply disappointed I was.  Very few gardens, not a lot of Horticultural related booths, I was really on the fence about returning this year.  When I saw that organizer decided to use the Direct Energy Center at the Exhibition grounds I was even more unsure since I preferred the convenience of taking the subway to the Metro Convention Centre in previous years.  But being a good blogger that I am, I knew if anything I should check it out and report back to you guys so you can make the decision whether to go or not.

So this years show…..WOW!!!!!!!!!

Where do I start?  First let me apologize because this post will be big…HUGE! But let me tell you….the pictures you will see just scratch the surface of  what’s there is displayed.  My first hour in and I had already racked up 300 photos and that was just in a 1/3 of the space the show occupied this year. 

Garden Hall

Here is where you get a chance to see the floral designs and plant competitions.  I’m not a big fan of poofy flower displays yet this years definitely drew me in since it integrated a theme that I absolutely love, dance.

Here are some of the dances featured.

Samba

Tango

 

Waltz

Can Can

 

The Paso Doble

Hip Hop

 

Jazz

Flamenco

Limbo

 

Jitterbug

Contemporary Dance

Local florists also contributed beautiful designs to be displayed.  Some of them are whimsical, some are a bit odd and other so dramatic they take your breath away.  Here are just a few.

Once your senses are completely overloaded you can stop and take a break while watching one of the many speakers at the Celebrity Stage or continue to wander on to the display gardens.

Feature Garden Area

I’m showing you some photos from a few of my favorite designs in this area but remember what I said earlier. There is so much more than what I’ve shared today.

When you look across the feature garden area one sight towers high over everything else.

Yes its Mickey ears.  And its the centrepiece for the Disney Gardens Magical World of Tinker Bell.  With tunnels to run through, grass animals, face painting and crafts this spot is perfect for taking your little ones.  But who am I fooling.  Any kid at heart can enjoy the magic of the fairies.

Landscape Ontario has an amazing design featuring a patio screen that I want…like right now….plus an interesting entrance covered in moss, ferns and orchid flowers.

 

 

A flash back to the era of the Flintstones and you get this adobe hut design made out of straw, water and clay by Parklane.

The Canadian Cancer Society has a very piognant and special exhibit.  The Yellow Beacon is a display of daffodil covered walls, a tranquil pond and most importantly a stone wall where guests can leave a chalk message of survival, hope and love.

But my favorite of the whole show is The Cellar from D.A. Gracey.  If I ever moved to Italy this is what my place would look like.  Until that time I have to find myself one of those giant wine glasses, a few tons of grapes and maybe a tall, dark and muscly man to fan me while I lounge.

The Marketplace

Last but definitely not least.  You can find pretty much anything you want here.  There are booths specializing in fertilizer, garden tools, landscape design, different horticultural clubs, garden specific travel destinations as well as plants, plants and more plants. 

Of course The Niagara Wine Garden is back again this year for those in the 19 plus catergory and after all that walking need a beverage or 2. Did I mention I went alone? Completely a comparison study…..

 

What a great day! 

Canada Blooms continues through the weekend ending Sunday March 21st.  Check out their website www.canadablooms.com for hours, directions and ticket information.  Try to find time over the next couple of days to check out this show.  While the weather has been beautiful and it feels like Spring has sprung, spend a few hours here and then there’s definitely no turning back to winter.

Canada Blooms

One sure sign of Spring is when Toronto showcases all things green thumb as Canada Blooms: The Flower and Garden Festival rolls into town. Starting Wednesday March 17 and running through till Sunday March 21, enthusiasts can enjoy days over 6 acres of landscaped gardens and 100, 000 square feet of shopping space.

Seminar ranging from Eco friendly home gardening to choosing the perfect water lily, there is something for everyone.

Check the following link for all the information you need: Canada Blooms.

Garden Trends

Every year a new trend comes out that is a little bit different, a little bit inventive that people suddenly go crazy over and “have to have”, and next thing you know it’s everywhere.

Way, way back it was garden gnomes. More recently it was iridescent glass insects that you skewered into the ground. I try not to get caught up in that stuff since I much prefer a plant to be the eye catcher in a garden.

However at Canada Blooms this year I saw a trend that I may just jump on the bandwagon for.

Upright Vases

Upright Vases

What intrigued me was this variety of stand-alone vases that help showcase individual cut flowers as opposed to big bundles. Some of these vases were tall columns with individual test tube size glasses at different gradations of height while others were long and horizontal cylinders in different lengths.

Horizontal Vases

Horizontal Vases

What a brilliant idea for flowers like Calla Lilies and Gerbera Daisies that don’t need fillers like ferns or baby’s breath because they are so beautiful all on their own. With their contemporary glass cuts you could choose to add rocks, gels and sands for even more interesting looks.

I haven’t jumped yet but these vases look like they could be around for a long time.

Gerbera Daisies on display.

Gerbera Daisies on display.

Any trends you’ve avoided like the plague or bought shares on the company?

Garden Show Wine Club

I had a dilemma this past weekend. The Wine and Cheese show or Canada Blooms. My weekend was too busy to do both so I decided I needed a burst of spring. I choose Canada Blooms. Ironically while I was there I joined a wine club.

Inniskillin and Jackson Triggs wineries had a beautiful pavilion showcasing some of their great wines which for a small price you could sample. I was instantly drawn to a sign that mentioned something about joining a wine club. (Quite honestly I really only saw the words “wine club” and was drawn in). After being directed to the VIP section we were given the whole spiel about the benefits, price etc between the two. While talking with the winery representatives they offered us a choice of wines to sample. I only drink sweet wines like whites and blushes while my boyfriend prefers the dry reds. This can be a pain when dining out and wanting to get more than just a glass with our meal since our preferences couldn’t be any more different. Naturally I choose a Jackson Trigg 2006 Sauvignon Blanc and he picked a 2006 Cabernet Franc from Inniskillin to taste.

2006 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc

2006 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc

I always insist on trying any red that he does drink in hopes of finding one that makes it down my throat without raising the goose bumps on my arms. In turn I make him try mine hoping to bring him over to the sweet side. What a pleasant surprise when I tried the Cabernet! Instead of catching in the back of my throat it slid down so smoothly that I had to double check I was trying a red. I loved it! It had such a mellow fruitiness to it yet wasn’t at all sweet. Of course we were both excited to finally have a wine we both agreed on.

So oddly enough I left the garden show with a case of red wine and membership to the Inniskillin wine club. I wondered what would have happened if we had gone to the Wine and Cheese Show?

Canada Blooms 2009

I think everyone somehow has been touched by the economic downturn in some way but I think I was a bit surprised to see it happen to a trade show.

I’ll admit it had been a couple of years since I had last visited Canada Blooms so imagine my surprise this year. Many, many years ago when I was in my early twenties and just starting in the field I was fortunate enough to work at a booth for my employer. By the end of the week my feet and back were aching yet I was so pumped by the wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling horticulture.

Beautiful spring blooms.

Beautiful spring blooms.

The display gardens were outlandishly huge and the vendors cramped together row after row. It was so overwhelming and I loved it.

This year the display gardens were very well done but few and the vendors seemed to sell more condiments and As Seen On T.V. ideas than gardening items. What I saw was great but I could feel the impact of a shaking economic by the sparseness in the Convention Centre.

Canadian woodland garden.

Canadian woodland garden.

It worries me that this year gardening and all that it encompasses will suffer because of tightening of the purse strings where people are trying to save money and eliminating extras. If Canada Blooms was any indication it’ll be a lean summer season.

What do you think? How did you enjoy Canada Blooms?