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Aldona at Large: Sure Signs of Spring

The snow is almost gone from my garden, melting away to reveal such treasures as these snowdrops (other “treasures,” such as the long-buried dog poop, are considerably less picturesque). The air feels softer, the birds are noisier, there’s a bit of warmth in the sun, and last weekend I spotted my first “mad Canuck” in shorts and flip-flops.

At the TBG, the ‘Primavera’ witch hazel has miraculously emerged from the massive pile of snow that was dumped on it when our paths were cleared.

And yet just a week or two ago, I was admiring the skaters in Withrow Park, which is just up the street from my house.

So, are we ready for spring, or what?

Another sure sign of spring is the arrival of Canada Blooms, whose office headquarters are at the TBG. Last week, the Blooms folks were packing up umpteen giant bins of “stuff” for the move-in.

Down at the show, the TBG booth has been slowly taking shape, guided by the creative talents and dogged determination of Paul Zammit and Jenny Rhodenizer, who at midnight on Saturday were still painting the backdrops and laying down flooring.

That same day, my granddaughter and her moms were at the airport, getting ready to head south for March Break to soak up some sun, swim in the sea, and enjoy a well-deserved rest from their teaching jobs.

Even my dogs have have had their spring trims. Here’s a before picture, with Sadie, the “blonde bombshell” looking more like a Yeti.

After a visit to Peggy the groomer, Willow and Sadie are as tidy and soft as can be (I can’t say the same for my hair, which looks pretty unruly. Maybe I should have asked the dog groomer to make it a hat-trick).

As the TBG searches for a new Executive Director to take my place (see the job posting here), the senior staff and certain Board members have been participating in preliminary meetings to work toward a new Strategic Plan that will be more in keeping with the reality of the times. This week, we were fortunate to have Dr. Jim Fisher, a professor at the Rotman School of Management, lead us through a very helpful all-day session to refine our short- and long-term goals. Thanks so much, Jim!

Things That Make Me Happy

This “separated at birth” photo of Mary Gore, a passionate gardener and great supporter of the TBG, with our Nancy Eaton Director of Horticulture, Paul Zammit, makes me smile. “My husband thinks we look like twins,” laughed Mary. And they do! Amazing. They also share boundless energy, enthusiasm, and big, generous hearts.

I spotted this Flower Fairy-like play outfit at Winners for my granddaughter’s “tickle trunk.” Isn’t it great? I would have killed for something like this when I was a little girl. And it was on sale, too.

My friend, the well-known garden writer and author Liz Primeau, recently launched her brand-new website/blog that she calls Born to Garden. You can find it at Not just a lovely writer, Liz is a terrific cook as well. Here, from her recent blog post, is a quick and easy Garlic Soup recipe for fighting whatever-ails-you:

Cold-Coming-On Soup 
(Serves 1)

1 1/4 cups chicken stock
7 cloves garlic
1 slice crusty bread
About 1/3 cup grated cheese of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Peel garlic cloves and slice lengthwise in half or thirds. Simmer in stock till tender, 15 minutes or less. Puree in blender or food processor–the easiest way is right in the pot with an immersion (hand-held) blender. Place bread in bowl, top with grated cheese and pour soup over. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I can’t wait to try it, cold or no.

Next Monday and Tuesday, I’m a co-host at the third Garden Tourism conference, which is held every two years. And this Saturday, I’m looking forward to seeing many of my garden-writer friends at the annual Garden Writers Association Region VII luncheon and swag-fest at Canada Blooms, then checking out the show, which runs from March 15 to 24 at the Direct Energy Centre of the CNE. Remember, a ticket to Blooms also gets you in to the National Home Show, and during the week, after 4:30 p.m., you can park for free on surface lots. To find out more about the show, go here. Yes, even if it snows again (this is Canada after all), spring is definitely in the air. See you at Blooms!

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