Toronto Botanical Garden http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca For all things gardening Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:12:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What to Plant When… in Fall http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/blog/what-to-plant-when-in-fall/ http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/blog/what-to-plant-when-in-fall/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:52:58 +0000 http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/?p=47148 When it comes to successful gardening, says Veronica Sliva, timing is everything. Fall is the second busiest gardening season Plant container-grown and “balled and burlap”...

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When it comes to successful gardening, says Veronica Sliva, timing is everything.

Fall is the second busiest gardening season

  • Plant container-grown and “balled and burlap” trees and shrubs.
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs so they have time to develop strong roots.
  • Divide and transplant spring- and summer-flowering perennials.
  • Sow perennial seeds that need a period of cold to sprout (e.g., columbines, primroses, shasta daisies).
  • Fall is the best time to plant peonies. There’s time for feeder roots to grow strong before going dormant in winter. A winter mulch is helpful to prevent frost heaving.
  • Plant garlic to harvest next year.

 Fall planting scene.  Plant tulip bulbs in fall.  Plant with pointy end up.

Fall planting scene. Plant tulip bulbs in fall. Plant with pointy end up.

Seasonal Tip

Ken Brown, horticulturist, instructor at the Toronto Botanical Garden and owner of the popular gardening Web site, gardening-enjoyed.com, provides this expert tip.

Fall Transplant deciduous trees after the leaves have fallen. Continue watering until freeze-up to ensure the root ball stays moist going into winter.

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The Buzz About Bees http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/blog/the-buzz-about-bees/ http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/blog/the-buzz-about-bees/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 20:53:05 +0000 http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/?p=46914 Without bees, Cathy Kozma explains, there would be no honey—or apples! For years, bees and Rodney Dangerfield have had something in common. But now, bees...

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Without bees, Cathy Kozma explains, there would be no honey—or apples!

For years, bees and Rodney Dangerfield have had something in common. But now, bees are getting the respect they deserve. Recent groundbreaking Canadian research is increasing our understanding of the vital role bees play in our ecosystem and food chain,, which will ultimately contribute to bee survival, especially in urban areas.

Why bees are important

Bees are the workhorses of the garden: more than 90 per cent of flowering plants need the assistance of a pollinator to procreate and, since bees are nature’s most prolific pollinators, they are essential to the survival of many plants. Without bees, one-third of the food we eat would not exist, including beans, tomatoes, onions, carrots, pears, squash, almonds, blueberries, oranges and apples. In 2010, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) declared that we must change our behaviour in order to save bees and that “pollination is not just a free service but one that requires investment and stewardship.” In Canada, pollination services performed by bees have been valued at $2.4 billion.

There are bees, and then there are honeybees

Of the 18,000 species of bees worldwide, 900 are native to Canada and 250 species live in the Greater Toronto Area. Native bees are being studied by Scott MacIvor, a doctoral student at York University and winner of a 2013 Toronto Botanical Garden Aster Award. His research focuses on how wild bees are adapting to city life, with special attention to their lives on green roofs. He has already found that above four to five storeys, bee diversity decreases markedly.

Although it has adjusted well to our climate, the world’s most important pollinator, the honey bee (Apis millifera), is not native to North America but was brought here from Africa and Europe. Honeybees are specifically adapted to pollinate plants—and as a bonus they produce a wonderful sweetener.

The taste of honey

Like fine wine or cheese, honey has a distinctive local flavour and colour, or terroir. These differences in the look and taste of honey, even among honeys from within an hour’s drive of Toronto, result from where and when bees forage for nectar and pollen, including the flowers in bloom and the mix of plants.

Colony Collapse Disorder

In the past decade the mass die-off of honeybee colonies has prompted concern among governments, conservationists, farmers and the public. In some parts of the world, up to 90 per cent of honeybees are dying. The cause of this phenomenon, called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), remains controversial, but it is likely due to a combination of factors, including bee diseases, habitat loss and harmful pesticides such as neonicotinoids (a.k.a. neonics).

Fifteen European Union countries have imposed a two-year ban on three types of neonicotinoids that are predominantly used in the treatment of corn and soybean seeds. The Ontario government’s establishment of the Bee Health Working Group is bringing stakeholders together to develop better agricultural practices in the use of these pesticides for this year’s planting season.

Mélissa Girard from the Centre de recherche en sciences animales de Deschambault (CRSAD) in Quebec is at the forefront of research into the mix of pollens bees collect while foraging. When resident in monocultures (large swaths of the same plant), colonies can suffer from a nutritional deficiency, which leads quickly to a decline in the overall health of both bees and the colony.

Keeping bees in the city

As an urban beekeeper in Toronto I have learned a lot: Toronto’s microclimate is hospitable to bees; the diversity of our gardens offers the variety of forage needed for a well-balanced bee diet; and the cosmetic pesticide ban in Toronto and Ontario has improved local conditions for bees. Feeding the public hunger for locally grown foods means that the success of urban beehives will not only provide local honey but also improve the bounty of Toronto’s urban gardens overall.

Cathy Kozma is the founder of Bees Are Life Inc., co-chair of the Toronto Beekeepers Co-operative and a Toronto Master Gardener.

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Down to Earth Up in the Sky at Rye’s HomeGrown Garden http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/blog/botanical-buzz/down-to-earth-up-in-the-sky-at-ryes-homegrown-garden/ http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/blog/botanical-buzz/down-to-earth-up-in-the-sky-at-ryes-homegrown-garden/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 14:43:38 +0000 http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/?p=47075 Did you know there is a 10,000 square foot vegetable garden in downtown Toronto? Never seen it? Well, neither had I until Arlene Throness took...

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Did you know there is a 10,000 square foot vegetable garden in downtown Toronto? Never seen it? Well, neither had I until Arlene Throness took me on a tour of the edible roof atop the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre at Ryerson University along with my sister Janice Winton, Ryerson’s Vice President Administration and Finance. (Arlene and Janice are eating fresh carrots, above.)

Arlene, Agriculture Coordinator for Ryerson University’s rooftop urban farm, is the recipient of this year’s Toronto Botanical Garden’s Rising Star Aster Award. With the help of students, staff and faculty, Arlene has created an urban farm with more than 30 different crops and over 100 varieties. The team, known as Rye’s HomeGrown actually maintains six edible gardens on campus. The project began as a student initiative and Arlene was hired to design the gardens. The rooftop plot is literally the hidden jewel in the crown.

Arlene will be honoured at the Third Annual Aster Awards on Nov. 19 along with Canadian Astronaut Roberta Bondar and Evergreen founder and CEO Geoff Cape. Arlene has been chosen for her commitment and achievements in urban farming.

There are beets, carrots, cucumbers, eggplants, kale, lettuce, onions, potatoes, strawberries, winter squash, tomatoes, zucchini and more in the garden. Borage and flowers such as calendula and marigolds have been planted to attract pollinators and they must be working because there are lots of bees and butterflies buzzing and fluttering around some six stories above the ground.

Potatoes on a roof?

“Yes, we’re getting five to 10 potatoes per plant,” says Arlene. It’s usual to get only about four to a plant. Winter squash and zucchini are larger than in Ryerson’s other, ground level gardens. Arlene says that’s because it’s so hot up on the roof plus the soil has actually been up there for 10 years.

Arlene and her crew compost everything from the site including all kinds of weeds and they have built beds into that compost where they grow cucumbers and other cucurbits in unfertilized compost.

Harvest from the rooftop farm is used in Ryerson’s campus kitchens, sold at the weekly Gould St. Farmers’ Market and distributed to individuals who pay into the project and get baskets of fresh produce all season long.

Ryerson’s rooftop garden is a hands-on way to teach students about the sustainability of urban agriculture and how to grow food. “The roof is a learning ground,” says Arlene who hails from Vancouver, studied at Concordia University in Montreal and has worked in farms, kitchens and greenhouses across Canada.

Traditional green roofs reduce energy consumption by keeping buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in winter and they absorb rainwater instead of sending it into the sewer system. Roof top agriculture adds local food security to the existing benefits of green roofs. A Toronto bylaw passed in 2009 states that all new buildings more than six stories high must have a green roof.

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Wasp or Bee? http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/blog/trellis/wasp-or-bee/ http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/blog/trellis/wasp-or-bee/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 20:45:02 +0000 http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/?p=46967 Distinguishing between these two pollinators is easy, says Bug Lady Jean Godawa. But keeping them away from your outdoor buffet requires a few precautions. Mosquitoes...

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Distinguishing between these two pollinators is easy, says Bug Lady Jean Godawa. But keeping them away from your outdoor buffet requires a few precautions.
Bumblebee
Paper Wasp

Mosquitoes are no longer biting, aphids have disappeared from your plants and you haven’t seen a hungry caterpillar in weeks. Just when you thought you were rid of all the season’s pests and could enjoy the pleasant temperatures of autumn, more unwelcome visitors arrive.

Bees and wasps are very busy in late summer and early fall. Bees are collecting nectar from late-blooming flowers to keep their colony fed throughout the winter. But at this time of year, it’s wasps that are landing in your drinks and buzzing around your garbage and recycling bins by the dozens. Distinguishing between the two is easy—bees tend to be hairy and wasps are hairless.

Paper wasps, hornets and yellow jackets (Vespidae) are social wasps. While they make our autumn al fresco activities difficult, they are still beneficial insects. Throughout the spring and summer they collect a variety of insects, including many plant pests, to provide a protein-rich food for their immature colony members. Once the brood has matured, the workers’ responsibilities are complete. They disperse from their nest and throw a sort-of wasp retirement party. They won’t live much longer so they spend their last several days eating all the food they can find, usually at your expense—sweet carbohydrates are particular favourites.

Some wasps display swarming activity in the fall. This is associated with mating behaviour. Males die, usually with the first frost, and select mated females survive the winter to begin a new colony in the spring.

To prevent wasps from ruining your autumn outdoor dining, be sure to clean up any fallen fruit from nearby trees. Keep food well covered or indoors until you are ready to serve it, and remove dishes immediately after eating. Tolerating the increased activity of bees and wasps in the fall is important for ensuring a strong presence of these pollinators and predators in your garden next year.

 

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Audio Tours available in the Garden Shop http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/explore/tours/audio-tours/ http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/explore/tours/audio-tours/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 15:54:24 +0000 http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/?p=11114 TBG is now offering handheld audio tours  of the gardens. These audio tours are easy to use and can be done at your own pace...

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TBG is now offering handheld audio tours  of the gardens. These audio tours are easy to use and can be done at your own pace by following a map and/or signs in the garden. Just punch in the corresponding number on the device’s keypad and off you go on your own private tour of the gardens.

The tour is one hour of enthusiastic narration by Paul Zammit, the Nancy Eaton Director of Horticulture with special guests including Mark Cullen, Sonia Day, Charlie Dobbin, Denis Flanagan, Marjorie Harris and Marjorie Mason.

The audio devices can be rented from Garden Shop ($5 each) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.

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The Edwards Summer Music Series: Gardens of Song http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/enjoy/special-events/gos-summer-music-series/ http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/enjoy/special-events/gos-summer-music-series/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 05:01:57 +0000 http://67.205.111.109/~torontob/?p=1261 Thursdays starting at 7 p.m. | June 25 through August 27, 2015 Come enjoy 10 concerts by an eclectic roster of popular artists, set in...

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Thursdays starting at 7 p.m. | June 25 through August 27, 2015

Come enjoy 10 concerts by an eclectic roster of popular artists, set in the natural beauty of the gardens, rain or shine. (indoors in case of extreme weather). Some seating available or bring your own.

FREE Admission. General seating.

The concerts will take place in the courtyard adjacent to the historic barn in Edwards Gardens. Come early to find a spot on the Garden Cafe patio which also overlooks the concert venue. The Garden Cafe will be serving a farm-fresh supper menu along along with local wine and craft beer by Beau’s All Natural.

On Thursdays you can also take a free guided tour of the gardens, departing from the main entrance at 6 p.m. or rent a handheld audio tours ($5, available in the Garden Shop) for your own personal tour. Be sure to bring the family for local shopping and dining at the organic farmers’ market (2 to 7 p.m.), Garden Cafe and Garden Shop (extended hours on concert evenings).

Here is the lineup for this year. Click on the musician/group for more information.

June 25, 2015  |  Cates Fomin Project

July 2, 2015  |  Jayme Stone – The Lomax Project

July 9, 2015  |  Autorickshaw Trio

July 16, 2015  |  Amélie et les Singes Bleus

July 23, 2015  |  Michael Lalonde Quartet

July 30, 2015  |  Lemon Bucket Orkestra

August 6, 2015  |  Flavia Nascimento

August 13, 2015  |  Eddie Bullen Trio

August 20, 2015  |  Sarah MacDougall

August 27, 2015  |  Quique Escamilla

VIDEO

(Courtesy of SVPMedia.ca)

In The News:

GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY
THE EDWARDS CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

MEDIA PARTNER
Wave fm

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Free Summer Garden Tours http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/explore/tours/weekly-free-summer-garden-tours/ http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/explore/tours/weekly-free-summer-garden-tours/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 00:56:19 +0000 http://67.205.111.109/~torontob/?p=2238 Volunteer Tour Guides conduct 90-minute informative and engaging tours designed for people to gain a greater understanding of plants, the natural landscape, landscape design and...

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Volunteer Tour Guides conduct 90-minute informative and engaging tours designed for people to gain a greater understanding of plants, the natural landscape, landscape design and the history of designated public gardens.
**Please note these free tours are for individuals or small groups of up to 6 people only. Groups of 6 or more must pre-book as a private tour. Due to space restriction, groups attending with more than 6 people for the free tours may be turned away.

Toronto Botanical Garden and Edwards Gardens 
Commencing Tuesday May 26, 2015 (May through September)
Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Thursdays at 6 p.m.

toronto music garden overhead

Toronto Music Garden (May through September)

Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.

Tours will run as scheduled unless there is inclement or severe weather. No Reservations required.

2015 Toronto Music Garden Performances

**Please note these free tours are for individuals or small groups of up to 6 people only. Groups of 6 or more must pre-book as a private tour. Due to space restriction, groups attending with more than 6 people for the free tours may be turned away.

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Photography http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/learn/adult/photography-new/ http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/learn/adult/photography-new/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:42:02 +0000 http://67.205.111.109/~torontob/?p=1224 Bring your own fully charged digital camera and its manual. Framing the Bees Sunday, August 23, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Public $65; Members $50...

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Bring your own fully charged digital camera and its manual.

Framing the Bees
Sunday, August 23, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Public $65; Members $50
Join the summer’s sweetest photography course in the garden. This special fusion course combines macro photography skills and urban beekeeping! Providing hands on experience, we’ll literally be getting into the hives, while focusing (pun intended) on developing your macro photography skills with the thousands of honey bee models. Meet and learn more about one of the world’s most popular pollinators, and become a more experienced shutter bug. The outdoor, in-hive component will be complemented with indoor class time to review images. It’s bound to BEE a good time!
[PG15S24] Haley Chambers

REGISTER TODAY 

Connecting Through Colour
Saturdays, Sept. 12 to Oct. 3, 10 a.m. to Noon
Public $90; Members $75
In this exciting, unique way to reinforce family bonds, children, parents and grandparents will be guided to docu¬ment their family connections. Using basic colour theory, colour harmony and nature, this workshop will help children take notice of the similarities between themselves and their parents/grand¬parents by bringing about an awareness of connection despite the age differ¬ence. The workshop embraces the elements of nature and photography as they are both excellent tools for provid¬ing visual documentation/evidence of growth and connection. Students for this course are considered a pair – one adult and one child.
[PG15F07] Kelly Gauthier

REGISTER TODAY 

Foundations of Photography
Sunday, Sept. 13, Noon to 5 p.m.
Public $50; Members $40
Get a firm grasp of the foundations of photography by learning with your own digital camera and renowned photography instructor Mark Trusz. Learn the essentials of digital photography, get to know your equipment, learn basic techniques and receive one-on-one feedback in a friendly atmosphere. This fun, engaging course takes place indoors and out, including demos and guided exercises.
[PG15F08] Mark Trusz

REGISTER TODAY 

Nighttime in the Garden
Thursday, Sept. 24, 4 to 7 p.m.
Public $55; Members $45
Bring your flashlights, sparklers and cameras and have some fun making long-exposure photos in the gardens at twilight. Learn the camera settings and lighting tricks for taking fun and interesting photos in the dark. The use of a tripod is strongly recommended.
[PG15F20] Mark Trusz

REGISTER TODAY 

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Harvest Day (Family) http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/enjoy/special-events/harvest-day/ http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/enjoy/special-events/harvest-day/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 12:10:57 +0000 http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/?p=5726 Finish the growing season with TBGKids! Stroll up to the Teaching Garden to sip cider, plant bulbs and enjoy some family-friendly garden activities. Make crafts...

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Finish the growing season with TBGKids! Stroll up to the Teaching Garden to sip cider, plant bulbs and enjoy some family-friendly garden activities. Make crafts with DiscoverAbility and harvest veggies from the Teaching Garden for the North York Harvest Food Bank. Meet the new Myseum of Toronto and their panel of experts with free talks on the hour. Bring your objects, photos or stories that represent how Toronto is your city within a garden and have them documented into their digital collection!

Saturday, September 26, noon to 4 p.m.
FREE! No registration required. Stroller accessible.

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Welcome to the Weston Family Library! http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/learn/weston-family-library/weston-family-library/ http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/learn/weston-family-library/weston-family-library/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:06:24 +0000 http://67.205.111.109/~torontob/?p=1502 Click here to link to our online catalogue or to log in to your library account! Our collection consists of over 9,000 books and magazine titles!...

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Click here to link to our online catalogue or to log in to your library account!

Our collection consists of over 9,000 books and magazine titles! We have resources to suit every interest and skill level from the novice to the Master Gardener. From flower arranging to gardening to plant taxonomy – we can help you find it!

Only current Garden and Book Lovers members enjoy borrowing privileges, but everyone is welcome to browse and use our collection in the Library. We have comfortable seating, great views of the Pollinator Garden and urban beehives, and two public computers for all to enjoy!

A Book Lovers membership is only $10 for a full year, with the proceeds directly supporting your Library in the Garden!

Quick Facts

  • We are open to everyone and would love to show you our Library! We invite you to come and visit us.
  • Our friendly volunteers can help you find books and resources on your subject of interest.
  • Access the Internet or create new works from our two Microsoft Office equipped public workstations.
  • Visit our Kid’s Corner!  Children’s books and a kid-sized table and chairs for activities with free colouring pages!
  • Free storytime every Monday at 11 a.m. with nature-themed stories and activities. No need to sign up – just drop in!
  • Printing and photocopying are available for $0.20/page for black & white and $1/page for colour.
  • The Library is open weekdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon until 4.

Special Collections

  • We have a robust and growing collection of books about herbs and their uses!  Thank you to the Toronto Herb Society for their generous grant support!
  • Love orchids? The Southern Ontario Orchid Society collection of books and journals is available to the general public. Some items are for in-library use only.
  • Explore the Toronto African Violet Society’s collection of books and magazines!
  • Are you interested in green roofs? We have a growing collection to answer your questions and help you get started.

Click here for the library catalogue and to log in to your library account.

Click here for hours and directions.

Got a question? We’re here to help you answer it!
Phone: 416-397-1343
Email: librarydesk@torontobotanicalgarden.ca

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