Garden Bloggers Fling 2015: Highlights
I attended the Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto this last week. After four full days of garden touring with two bus-loads of plant nerds my camera is full…but not necessarily of things most people would want to look at. Oh there are loads of pictures of the usual suspects…plants and flower blooms…but after a quick review, I seemed to have gravitated toward design elements such as paving details or steps, the trim on planter boxes and houses, and a few quirky things I noticed.
There are some pics of the the expected gardens…lots of gardens…both public and private along with a park restoration project, a quarry restoration project, and the grounds of a grand historic home. The private gardens ranged from tiny patio gardens (very tiny), to charming cottage gardens, to large formal gardens and everything in-between.
Private garden on the islands of Toronto.
The public gardens…three very different botanical gardens…graciously hosted the hoard of picture snapping bloggers as we explored iris collections, wide-open spaces, and formal herb gardens.
Niagara Parks Botanical Garden
One thing was consistent throughout the weekend…there were garden bloggers everywhere! We poured out of the buses at every stop with cameras ready speaking botanical-ese…a language most people (me as well) find to be confusing, difficult to pronounce, and intimidating at times.
And as expected, there is a crazy person in every crowd! Actually…this was my roomy…she isn’t crazy…just lots of fun!
Marian St. Clair of Greenville, SC
Bloggers are a bit tenacious about taking photographs. It’s important to get just the right shot, and it takes lots of shots to get it right!
There was a great deal of art on the streets of Toronto and in many of the gardens. I spotted a statue tucked away in a private garden that seemed to be pleading to the heavens to take us all away.
Toronto and the surrounding area is truly beautiful. My memories of the city from my first visit many years ago is that of a sparkling glass city reflecting the water. The tour of the gardens afforded us a taste of the many views.
View of the lake from a garden gazebo.
We spent a day touring the Toronto Island gardens. A quick ferry ride swept us away from the busy city to a world all unto itself…no cars…tiny cottages and gardens…no stores. The view of the skyline from the islands was spectacular…even on an overcast day.
Waiting on the dock for the ferry for the return ride, we watched the storm roll in behind Toronto. Yes, we got soaking wet.
Along the way I spotted a few quirky structures such as this rather oddly shaped tree house. I couldn’t decide if it had just landed or was getting ready to take off.
And then there were a few little things that I truly coveted, such as this greenhouse. I don’t know a single gardener who wouldn’t want this beauty tucked away in their backyard.
The artwork on the streets of Toronto is large and bold, and we saw very expensive pieces tucked into both public and private gardens. I was particularly enamored with the many pieces of garden art that were fashioned by re-purposing everyday objects.
Who knew that an old office chair could be used to display a collection of small pieces of art?
Even though this isn’t a piece of art, I was amused at how this basketball goal was re-purposed for a trellis. Or was it just taken over?
We visited one of the most spectacular children’s garden I have ever seen. Children were very busy playing in the water and digging in the dirt and no one was telling them not to get dirty!
Of course there were flowers on the tour. Lots and lots of flowers. And I took lots and lots of pictures of these flowers. We visited a peony garden with row after row of every peony imaginable.
Yes, peonies are pretty and each one is different and beautiful…but the interesting event was occurring on the rows of plants that were not yet in bloom. Upon close inspection, you will see that the buds of peonies are coated in a sticky sap that provides a delicious meal for the ants and even some pollinators. I found this to be rather interesting…
In that same garden there were three different weddings going on…or at least wedding pictures. What happened to dressing your bridesmaids in beautiful spring colors?
But apparently a wedding is rather stressful as I caught this wedding party lighting up. The bride joined in the fun. Again…where is the color…in the dresses?
One of the highlights of touring gardens is getting to look at all the homes. From the grand traditional homes to the quaint colorful cottages, we saw it all. These cheerful entrances added a touch of charm to their surrounding gardens.
I particularly loved the Toronto Island gardens and all the quirkiness of the island lifestyle. Since there are no cars on the island, residents walk and ride bicycles. This front-end bicycle cart was carrying six small children across a bridge and back to the ferry.
I spotted these boys climbing a tree outside one of the small restaurants on the island. They had the blessing of the adults who were watching them, and it was raining! Such lovely freedom for these kids!
A water feature is almost a must have in most gardens. It can be as simple as a birdbath or a pond. We saw a sampling of every type of water feature imaginable from Japanese-style gardens with tranquil ponds…
to grand, formal water features…
to the granddaddy of them all water features! Isn’t Mother Nature the most amazing garden designer?
I actually did take many photos of plants and plant combinations such as the pairing of this weigela and barberry. Such a beautiful contrast in foliage color.
Poppies are a favorite of mine and this was an unusual color.
I do believe that alliums were the flower of this year’s fling. They are a stunning addition to most gardens and certainly make a statement whether in full bloom or as a seed head.
There were 70 garden bloggers who attended the fling this year. Each has his/her unique approach to documenting and blogging about the fling. Take a look at the others’ work as you will enjoy the differences. You may also find a blog that speaks so dearly to you that you will want to follow the blog. I know I had the great pleasure of meeting some very interesting people along this journey and look forward to following the work and gardens of these fine writers and gardeners.
Click here for a list of Garden Blogger Fling 2015 attendees.
Want to know more about Garden Blogger Fling in general? Click here
I will be highlighting some of the gardens and features of the gardens in posts throughout the summer. So stay tuned…