Aldona at Large: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

By | Aldona At Large Blog | Tags: , , , , , , | November 7, 2012 | 4 comments

My heart is full. The staff and I are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support—both monetary and written—that we have received in response to our financial plight and our Hearts and Flowers fundraising campaign. Thank you. (For those who haven’t yet given, a matching fund challenge grant doubles your donation, and all donations over $10 receive a charitable tax receipt. And please let our City Councillors and the Budget Committee know that the TBG matters and deserves increased support from the City.)

Yes, things have been a bit grim. But being the TBG, we’re still managing to have fun. The photo above is of Adult Programs Coordinator Anna-Liza Badaloo and Volunteer Services Head Sue Hills getting ready to greet guests at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party. A great time was had by the large crowd of volunteers, staff members and Board members who attended—quite frankly, I think we were all more than ready for a good knees-up.


Volunteer Sara Katz, Board members Joan Lenczner and Mary Fisher, and Volunteer Carol Gardner get into the spirit of the evening.

Our wonderful volunteers deserve nothing but the best, and the staff and Board went all out to ensure there were enough gifts for each of them, and plenty of yummy things to eat and drink, too.

The theme was Halloween and people were encouraged to dress up.

For those who didn’t, there was even a “tickle trunk” table with fun bits of costume finery to borrow.

A few days later on a rainy and miserable Saturday, families turned out for our annual Halloween Howl, which was then followed by our MPP Kathleen Wynne’s Boo Bash in the Floral Hall. She wore a great witch’s hat (see above) and bright red boots—a touch of the wicked witch and Dorothy all in one?! And now, she’s thrown her hat (not this one, presumably) into the ring for the provincial liberal leadership race.


From left: Charlie Dobbin, Valerie and Karl Stensson of Sheridan Nurseries

Your faithful correspondent has been out and about conducting radio and television interviews about our financial situation, so it was a great pleasure to take my mind off things at Landscape Ontario’s Fall Expo. There, I checked out all kinds of interesting garden-related products, and admired this display at the Sheridan Nurseries’ booth, created to commemorate their 100th anniversary, which is being celebrated in 2013. I was also the emcee for the early morning Awards of Excellence breakfast and had the added pleasure of listening to a lively talk by British gardening guru David Domoney, who feeds Viagra to his plants!


Mary Desjardins of TD Friends of the Environment and Mark Cullen

Then late last week on a cold, grey and blustery morning, Director of Education Liz Hood and I drove out to Archbishop Romero Catholic Secondary School in the Weston Road/Black Creek Drive area to celebrate the completion of the first official project of Trees for Life, of which the TBG is a proud member. This urban tree coalition is dedicated to doubling the tree canopy and was founded last year by horticultural superstar and all-around super guy, Mark Cullen. Thanks to the labour and expertise donated by several members of Landscape Ontario, the leadership of the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority and the generosity of TD Friends of the Environment, 82 trees were planted on the school’s grounds.

Representatives turned out from City Council, the Provincial Government, the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority, Landscape Ontario, the Toronto Police Force, other Trees for Life partner-members and several classes from Archbishop Romero Catholic Secondary School. Students mulched the trees, and have pledged to look after and protect them.

Last Gasps

Talk about golden moments. I snapped this photo just before the strong winds and rain knocked down the last of the leaves from the huge old elm tree two doors up from my house.

And Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’ is one of the best late-season pleasures in my garden, given to me by my friend Marjorie Harris. It’s looking a bit more bedraggled now, but it’s still holding its own.

So that’s it for now, cherubs. Thanks again for all your support. I’ll be posting more about my fabulous trip to the Irish Republic very soon. Until then, keep well, wrap up warm, and get the rest of those spring bulbs into the ground this weekend.

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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.

  • barbara thurber

    Aldona, Have you thought about charging for parking to collect some revenue? So many people use the parking lot to walk the trails, why not put in a parking kiosk. Volunteers and staff can get passes. It would be a good steady flow of income and I don’t think the public would mind knowing that it is helping our wonderful Botanical Gardens!

  • Aldona

    Hi Barbara–the parking lot is not ours. It belongs to the City and we have no jurisdiction over it. However, we will be meeting with them to explore various possibilities for raising revenue. The most important thing is to get the TBG on a sound, stable footing with a reliable, ongoing foundation of income, so that we don’t need to “start from scratch” every year.

  • Jill

    Would gardening-focused vendors pay a sponsorship fee at an Edwards Lecture in exchange for the opportunity to set up a table and sell their goods? Lee Valley, etc.?

  • Aldona

    Hi Jill–we have had some sponsorships of this nature from time to time, and it’s certainly something we could better promote. Thanks for writing.

TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN, 777 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, ON CANADA | 416-397-1341 | info@torontobotanicalgarden.ca