The skies were clear and the sun was shining bright. The gardens were lush and bursting with blooms. And the food was delicious and plentiful. The North Toronto Horticultural Society hosted another successful Members Garden Tour and Potluck Picnic Party on Tuesday July 10, 2012. Here are some highlights of the day. Click on any image for a closer look.
The first stop of the day was Christine Moore's garden which proves you don't need a lot of space to enjoy a lot of plants. Christine grows pine trees (in containers! even in winter!) plus Japanese maples, hostas and her famous roses.
The drumstick allium were buzzing with bee activity as members toured the garden. One of Christine's favourite trees is Acer Palmatum "Koto No Ito" which grows right by her gate. In spring, the leaves look like thin pieces of green string and open gradually. In the fall, "Koto No Ito" turns crimson quite quickly, adding some drama to the autumn garden.
Christine happens to be the President of the Canadian Rose Society so it was a real treat to see some of the roses she's so famous for. Come out to one of North Toronto's flowers shows and there's a good chance you will see some of Christine's award-winning blooms.
Christine (in the red hat) answered lots of questions about her garden. Here she is chatting with Iris Hazen, another rose afficionado. Next time you see these two together, listen carefully and start taking notes. These ladies know all the secrets to successful blooms.
This trellis is just one of the custom-made pieces in Christine's garden. All the pieces have been crafted by Doris Treleaven of Metalscape. The sign says it all: it was indeed a blooming good day in Christine's garden.
The next stop of the day was the garden of Lucie and Alex Frirdich. Even from a distance, it was obvious that there would be a lot to explore. Lawns still dominate the urban landscape but in Lucie and Alex's front yard there isn't a square inch of lawn to be seen. Instead, hostas, ornamental grasses, daylilies and purple coneflowers form a stunning tapestry of texture and colour. All of this before you even reach the front door!
But wait! There's more. An equally stunning garden awaits in the backyard. Lucie definitley has an artist's eye. Just look at the way the potted geraniums pop against the golden foliage of the hostas and ornamental grass.
The charming garden shed is adorned with window boxes overflowing with petunias. Notice how just a little bit of colour can have a huge impact and draw the eye. One thing you will notice about the garden is the use of densely planted perennial selections and ground covers. The weeds just can't compete.
Lucie (second from left) wowed her guests including Mary, Diane and Bonnie with her green thumb. Lucie is the gardener but, as anyone who has ever wielded a shovel or battled goutweed knows, gardeners can always use a little help.
That's where "garden supervisor" Alex comes in. Not only is he a great supervisor, he's a great host who's more than happy to spice up your punch. Thanks Lucie and Alex for sharing your garden.
The final garden on the tour grows under the care of Eleanor Cosman. This sunny poolside border features peonies, phlox, purple coneflower and yarrow. What a great selection of sun-lovers and heat seekers. There has been no shortage of either sun or heat this summer.
Here's an example of a plant that pulls triple duty. The plume poppy is a majestic plant standing about seven feet tall so it is impressive all on its own. But Eleanor has put this plant to work: a giant stand of plume poppies hides a backyard pool pump. The stalks also serve as a natural trellis: check out the clematis scrambling up to the top of the plume. Eleanor has a warning though: if you're thinking about growing plume poppies, come up with a way to keep them contained!
Eleanor tried a variety of plants for this planter before deciding on begonias and the result is pink perfection.
You'll find a bit of green thumb wisdom in Eleanor's garden...
...as well as some green thumb humour.
This hibiscus was blooming its heart out in the heat. Eleanor's advice for reliable blooms is to get out the pruning shears and give your plants a haircut. They will reward you with flowers galore.
Thank you Eleanor for sharing your garden with North Toronto members.
While North Toronto members were wrapping up the garden tour portion of the day, another member was hard at work. Diane Chappelle (second from left), who always makes sure we have an excellent selection of refreshments at our meetings, was busy putting the final touches on the set-up for the potluck picnic party.
She had some help from Don Cockburn who hauled out tables and chairs and opened his garden to the hungry masses.
The food, as at every North Toronto potluck picnic, was delicious. There was more than enough for return trips to fill your plate.
And there was lots of friendly conversation and garden chatter and advice to round out the evening.
Missy Kitty, incredible, inspiring and our oldest participant at age 94, and Miss Maja, our youngest participant at age 8 (almost 9) both agree: the 2012 North Toronto Horticultural Society Members Garden Tour and Potluck Picnic Party was a huge success.
Thanks you to everyone who came out. If you missed it, please consider joining us next year.
Have a great summer. We hope to see you all at the Annual Show in September.