Some 70 garden bloggers had a Fling in Toronto recently. It was my pleasure to party with them as one of their bus captains on the day they visited the TBG.
The gardens were at their best as the bloggers, some from as far away as Texas and England, took pictures, posted to Facebook, twittered and otherwise sent their impressions out to the world on social media.
And Paul Zammit, Nancy Eaton Director of Horticulture, was as lively as ever designing containers for sun, shade and all seasons, even managing to tuck some lacy parsley, blue basil and a few flowers into a pot full of fancy foliage.
It was the eighth annual Garden Bloggers Fling, the first held outside the United States, and included four days touring garden-related sites around the GTA such as Toronto Islands, various parks and private gardens, the Aga Khan Museum Garden and, of course, the TBG.
Mimi Ricketts, Arch City Gardener, from St Louis, Missouri, attending her first Fling, loved everything about it. “It exceeded my expectations,” she said. “I love the variety of gardens we’ve visited. It’s been like going to a great buffet with everything you could ever want.”
Maryland landscape designer Claire Jones, Garden Diaries, was particularly impressed with the TBG. “It’s very accessible in the city and small enough that an hour or two of looking around offers a variety of things that would be easy for people to try in their own gardens.”
Oakville, Ont. blogger Barbara Phillips-Conroy, Barbara’s Garden Chronicles, was “amazed at all the garden-related things to see right in my own backyard, such as the private gardens looking over Grenadier Pond in High Park and Parkwoods Estate in Oshawa. I’ve wanted to go there for years.”
Local organizer Helen Battersby, who volunteered Toronto as a destination three years ago, is delighted with the success of this year’s Fling. “The smartest thing I did was to ask Veronica Sliva, A Gardener’s World, and Lorraine Flanigan, City Gardening, to join the committee. And the TBG supported us from the beginning.” Helen and her sister Sarah, who designed the 2015 Garden Bloggers Fling logo, both blog at Toronto Gardens.
“I wanted to show the diversity of Toronto and our gardens. Arranging this was like doing a jigsaw puzzle with ever changing shapes but somehow it all worked out,” she said.
TBG Executive Director Harry Jongerden told the group that “10 per cent of tourists who visit cities for at least one night visit a botanical garden while there.
“Ten per cent of 14 million visitors a year is a lot, bringing in more than $250 million a year. People don’t understand the impact of a public garden,” he said.
“Amen,” echoed more than a few of the bloggers.
Article by Lorraine Hunter
Photo credit for feature image: Lorraine Flanigan
Container images: Paul Zammit
Other images: Lorraine Hunter