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Blossom Forth

After a punishing winter and with the first buds of spring still weeks away, awaken your senses with a trip to Canada Blooms (page 45), the Toronto Flower and Garden Show at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, March 3 to 7.
This year’s theme is the Tides of Time, and encompasses everything from drought-resistant gardens for small balcony spaces to the colourful and fragrant gardens of yesteryear. “There’s a real movement back towards fragrances. People will have a major sensory experience,” promises feature gardens horticulture co-ordinator Charlie Dobbin. Landscape Ontario presents new plant varieties created by top breeders and showcases them on their “fantasy mountain” with popular garden classics.
In an astounding 350,000 square feet of exhibit space, green thumbs can dig into 30 natural sanctuaries by top designers from across the country including Allweather Landscaping, Valleybrook Gardens and Heritage Perennials, Oriole Landscaping, City of Brampton and Montreal Botanical Gardens. Highlights include a unique installation by Jardin de Metis that is sure to test conventional perceptions of landscape architecture; the Paws Awhile Eukanuba Garden showcases pet-friendly non-toxic plants and flowers; and Home Depot gets into the act with its Backyard Dream Garden, which features a how-to approach to creating your own botanical oasis.
Every year a feature plant is selected and the proceeds from its sale go to fund charitable horticultural projects. This year’s choice is the Frances Williams hosta—a two-toned shade lover perfect for the urban garden. Breathe deeply when you enter The Garden Club of Toronto’s Floral Hall, which hosts the largest accredited standard judged flower show in Canada. More than 600 prize-winning entries in floral arranging, design and horticulture are on display.Education is an important component of Canada Blooms and the Canadian Gardening magazine’s Speaker’s Series welcomes editor Aldona Satterthwaite and other such notable names as Mark Cullen, David Tarrant and Des Kennedy for seminars, workshops and demonstrations on six stages. If you want to find like-minded green thumbs in your part of the country, the Gardeners Fare hosts 20 non-commercial organizations ready to answer gardening questions and provide membership information.

Canada Blooms runs March 3 to 7 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Wed.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; adults $18, seniors/students $15. To reserve a tour, call 416-447-8655, ext. 30. Advance tickets can be purchased online at www.canadablooms.com—Meredith Birchall-Spencer

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