Raymond Evison

Aldona at Large: People and Plants = Perfection!

Gardeners know that this is the busiest (and best) time of year, and your faithful scribbler hasn’t been letting any grass grow under her feet (except for the quack and crab variety). It’s not only a busy time in the garden, it’s also a busy time in the gardening world. The last few weeks have brought a bumper crop of pleasant events, though of course I would go to the opening of a door if it had anything to do with plants or gardening.

Garden writers from far and wide flock to the eagerly anticipated Loblaw media event, which was held again at the TBG this year. Along with a host of well-respected growers, clematis guru Raymond Evison, seen above, was flown in from Guernsey to introduce a marvelous collection of several new cultivars now for sale under the President’s Choice label. For many of us, the correct pruning of clematis is a head-scratching mystery. Does it bloom on old wood or new wood? Is it Type 1 or Type 2? So it was a great relief to hear Mr. Evison casually suggest that several of these new cultivars benefit from a “ponytail cut” every year in early spring. “What’s that,” you ask? Simply grab the stems oh, about 18 inches from the ground, hold them in one hand, and whack off the top. The plant will bloom on new wood.

Why Are These People Smiling?

At the Loblaws event, we hear about exciting new plants and ideas (such as the tasty Haskap berry, developed in Saskatchewan and presented by Bob Bors), enjoy a delicious lunch, then stagger out with as many new plants that we can possibly grab. Here, Beckie and Michael Fox of GardenMaking magazine chat with Rob Howard of the Hamilton Spectator.

Right before leaping into the fray, Jennifer Reynolds of Canadian Family schmoozes with Charlie Dobbin and Denis Flanagan. The event was held the day before the parking lot reopened, so full marks to the Loblaw folks for their patience, and to the TBG staff who were out there in force helping garden writers get their myriad plants to their cars. Go, team!

A few days later, off I trotted to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library for the opening of the exhibition of British and Canadian works on horticulture from its collections. Titled “How Does MY Garden Grow: the Education of a Gardener,” this marvelous exhibition is the brainchild and labour of love of its curator, Anne Dondertman, shown above, who is the Acting Director of the library. Anne was a much-valued volunteer at our own Weston Family Library and is still a trusted advisor. She has a real passion for plants, gardens, and garden history. The exhibition is free, and the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is located on St. George Street. Find out more about it here.

Barbara Mayer Dedication Ceremony

Paul Mayer and one of his sons; the Nancy Eaton Director of Horticulture Paul Zammit; former Board chair Geoffrey Dyer.

Although I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting her personally, Barbara Mayer, who died last year, was legendary for her very active involvement in the life of Toronto Botanical Garden, as well as for her generosity in donating the funds that made possible the Westview Terrace. Recently, at a small unveiling ceremony held for family and close friends, the Westview Terrace was rededicated in honour of both Barbara and Bernard Mayer with a new plaque, and a commemorative shrub planted to mark the occasion.

Nicola Mayer with Alice Adelkind

Former Board chair Geoffrey Dyer with TBG patron Camilla Dalglish

Hooray for Moms!

On Mother’s Day, Sara Jamieson, owner/designer extraordinaire of Sweetpea’s, was on hand at our sold-out “Mother’s Day Champagne and Planters” event  to help some 40 moms and their loved ones create their own special spring planters.

Sara told the crowd that after a number of banks turned her down for a business loan to open her own shop, it was her mother who believed in Sara’s dream so much the she managed to scrape together the necessary start-up funds to lend to her daughter. Bolstered by her mom’s confidence, Sara went full steam ahead and since then has garnered numerous accolades and awards—and created a thriving business.

It’s Plant Sale Time!

Recently, the entire Floral Hall was perfumed by the sweet scent of Wisteria ‘Lawrence’, which many experts believe is the best wisteria, at the ORGS hardy plant sale at the TBG.  Speaking of plant sales, our own eagerly anticipated TBG plant sale takes place this week—Thursday is the members-only sale day, while Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday the TBG plant sale will be open to the public. Paul has been sourcing the choicest, most interesting plants he can find, and is often at the Food Terminal by 1:30 in the morning to see what’s what. You can be sure of top quality, interesting plants, and if you’re a TBG member, you’ll also save 10 per cent off the price. The money raised at the sale provides vital funds for the gardens and programs at the TBG, which is a registered charity. Please support us if you can.

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