Aldona at Large: Cheep Thrills

By | Aldona At Large Blog | May 29, 2012 | 4 comments

I’ve been a little bird-brained lately. Out in the TBG gardens, an arborist found and rescued this cheeky little cockatiel and brought it inside. Our kind-hearted facility and events manager, Paulina Cadena, rushed right out and bought it a cage and some food, and the poor wee thing ate like it hadn’t seen a morsel in weeks. The cockatiel then settled into the Moriyama Wing where it held court and charmed staffers, volunteers and visitors, but we knew that someone was missing it badly. So somewhat reluctantly, we started a search for its rightful owner. Happily, yours truly found her through the Humane Society website—and not only that, the owner is a TBG member! So a happy ending and smiles all around, though we were sad to see Ginger (for that is her name) go.

Plant Sale Pandemonium    

Our Plant Sale was a roaring success, and no wonder: the quality and selection were enough to make even the most jaded plant connoisseur drool with desire. Here, all is in readiness for the anticipated crowds.

On members’ day, first up was a lovely breakfast and sale preview for our generous TBG Friends. A record number turned out to nosh and to shop, bless their cotton socks.

Our always enthusiastic Nancy Eaton Director of Horticulture, Paul Zammit, got everyone fired up about a handful of choice plants that he showcased. They didn’t last long!


Our Honorary Patron and Friend, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson—also attended and went away laden with a beautiful selection of plants.


Happy shoppers make their selections.

I too couldn’t resist buying just a “few” things—this is a portion of them–which I stored in my office until it was time to take them home. Warmest thanks to the myriad volunteers and Toronto Master Gardeners who sorted, priced, arranged, tidied, advised, manned the till, schlepped and in general helped make this sale such a success!

Through the Garden Gate Media Tour

A clutch of garden scribblers gathered for a little preview of this year’s 25th anniversary Through the Garden Gate tour of 21 fabulous Rosedale gardens. Needless to say, I never pass up an opportunity to see a great garden, so I went along as well.

My verdict? Wow, wow and wow! Talk about elegant and generous spaces, a wealth of plant material and wonderful ambiance.

And talk about gorgeous details and embellishments (I couldn’t help compare this magnificent old spire—an artifact from a church—to my modest collection of galvanized watering cans). Be still my shaking heart.

In fact, by comparison to what I saw at the preview, this corner of my own small garden is “ever so ‘umble, Mr. Micawber,” though I do love it dearly. Still, a girl can (and should) dream lofty dreams, and I plan to go and see every one of the 21 gardens on this tour to glean some fresh inspiration for my own patch. To get your tickets, click here.

Fresh from the farm!

Meanwhile, back at the TBG, our organic farmers’ market is up and running and will be here every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. through to October 4. This year, we will have up to 12 farmers—twice as many as last year– and on the first day, I wasted no time snapping up fresh baby greens and arugula, a few tomato plants, some sausages and cheese, a loaf of bread, spring onions and rhubarb (not to be cooked together, mind), and so on. Thanks to Shelly Candel, who is the driving force behind this market and a generous TBG supporter.

And a reminder that the Garden Café is now open as well, serving delicious sandwiches, treats and specials of the day at moderate prices. The good folks at A La Carte Kitchen promise to send some recipes to post in the newsletter, so stay tuned.

Things That Make Me Happy

I’m grateful to our good friends at Edwards Gardens, who are such a pleasure to work with, and Area Supervisor Jim McKay, who  is wonderfully helpful and supportive. To show our appreciation to our nearest neighbours, we invited them over for the second annual TBG/Edwards Gardens luncheon. TBG staffers who work with the Edwards folks, such as members of our education, maintenance, events and facility and hort. teams, played host, and a good time was had by all.

This bubblegum pink Preston lilac makes me smile. It blooms alongside my front porch, and though not as sweetly fragrant as Korean and French lilacs, I love its eye-popping colour.

….which is echoed by this columbine, one of many varieties that seed themselves merrily throughout my gardens and the gravel in my driveway.

And did I mention that my clematis is going bonkers? I don’t know the name of this cultivar—it was there when I moved in—but it’s never bloomed this freely.

And finally, this sculpture sums up a wise philosophy: “when all else fails, eat chocolate!” That’s it for now, sweet cheeks.

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Aldona Satterthwaite about the author: Aldona Satterthwaite

Aldona Satterthwaite started gardening as a child and has never stopped. Until recently, she was the executive director of Toronto Botanical Garden. Previously, Aldona was editor-in-chief of Canadian Gardening magazine, which during her eight-year tenure was twice named Magazine of the Year (large circulation category) by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors. In 2007, she was co-named Editor of the Year. Aldona, who’s a Master Gardener, completed her journalism studies at the Regent Street Polytechnic (now Westminster University) in London, England and studied landscape architecture at Ryerson University. She’s enjoyed a varied and successful writing and editing career that has spanned magazines, advertising and the museum world, and has included stints as Director of Writing Services at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and as manager of creative services at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

  • Cathy

    Hi Aldona, your clematis appears to be “Snow Queen”.

  • Jane

    As Ginger’s breeder, I am ever so grateful that you found her and took her in and fed her until her owner was found. Thanks you for your kindness!

    Best,
    Jane Gillespie
    Homestead’s Hatchery
    Niagara on the Lake, Ont.

  • Aldona

    Hi Jane,
    How nice to hear from Ginger’s breeder–she is a lovely, friendly, affectionate little bird. We’re glad she’s safely home again. I know her owner (and her twin children) were very, very happy to have her back. All’s well that ends well!
    Aldona

  • Aldona

    Hi Cathy,

    Thanks so much for the i.d. It’s a cracker of a clematis!
    Aldona

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