Through the Garden Gate 2010

This past weekend the Toronto Botanical Garden had their 23rd annual Through the Garden Gate garden tour.  Each year residents of the featured neighbourhood are able to showcase their home landscapes in a two day event that has become a must see in the gardening community. 

With it’s hilly terrain, close proximity to the water and natural green space the Beach was this years outstanding choice.  Spread out between Woodbine Avenue and Fallingbrook Road and hugging Lake Ontario, the Beach is a mixture of older established homes, cute waterfront cottages and the eclectic architecture of multicoloured townhomes. With a short jump to the water you can enjoy the 2 mile long boardwalk on the beach or the refreshing splash pad at Woodbine Park.  Routinely called the Beaches, the local business association recently decided to officially name the area the Beach.

This years garden tour spread over quite a large area of geography including 26 different gardens to be enjoyed.  Organizers for the event did a fantastic job supplying shuttle buses, detailled maps and refreshments, including three different ice cream stands.  Master gardeners, volunteers and in some cases the owners of the homes were at each garden location available to answer any questions or provide more background on each landscape.

This was my very first time participating in one of these garden events so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  The weather was unbelievably cooperative with clear skies and bright sun each of the days (note to self #1-wear a hat next time).  My original plan when starting out was that I would take a few pictures during my route and describe the event as a whole.  One garden and 27 pictures later I knew something a bit bigger was in order (note to self #2-soooo glad I charged my camera battery).  The first loop of homes on the map appeared to be in relative walking distance  to each other so I set off leaving the shuttle buses to the “older folk” (note to self #3- map is not to scale).  After 14 gardens, 2 hours, and 1 very steep hill it was time for a rest stop at the tour headquarters (note to self #4- denim….not such a good idea).

A wonderful caterer A la Carte Kitchen Inc.was on hand selling beverages, salads and sandwiches including one of the best tuna salad wraps I’ve had in a long time.  Washed down with a bottle of diet Pepsi and the tail end of my warm bottle of water (note to self #5-thank god for multiple bathroom facilities) I swallowed my pride, hopped the bus and headed to the second half of gardens.  What a great tour it was.

At one point during my lunch break I was asked by a couple of wonderful ladies sharing their table with me if I had any favorite gardens I had seen so far.  I can honestly say that after seeing all 26 I have to say I have no one favorite but lots of favorite elements that different gardens had.  Between stunning views, gorgeous plant choices, calming water features or quirky little hidden gems there was no one garden that stood out as being the best to me, they were just all that great. 

The final picture total for the day? Over 350 give or take a few blurry shots.  So for the next 26 days I will feature each of the gardens I visited, in the order that I saw them so I can share with you the beauty I was fortunate enough to enjoy and maybe encourage more people to check out local garden tours in their areas.  For the privacy of the home owners no actual location will be mentioned.

So enjoy these next 4 weeks experiencing the view Through the Garden Gate.

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