Toronto Botanical Garden For all things gardening Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:09:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Visit the Garden Shop for a Complete Selection of Fall Bulbs Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:00:27 +0000 New this fall, the Garden Shop is pleased to offer a mixture of 80 spring flowering bulbs carefully selected to help support spring feeding pollinators in the garden. The bulbs are packaged in a convenient canvas carrying bag. A great hostess gift!

Save 20 per cent* on all regularly priced packaged bulbs when you purchase three or more (mix and match).

*no additional discounts apply

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Photography Thu, 28 Aug 2014 21:42:02 +0000 Twilight in the Garden
Wednesday, September 24, 6 to 8 p.m.
Public $32; Members $25
Bring your tripod and flashlights and see what happens in the garden after the sun sets. Learn how to use your external flash to balance light in the shadows.
[PG14S41] Mark Trusz


Foundations of Photography
Wednesday, October 8, 1 to 5 p.m.
Public $55; Members $45
Learn to use your digital camera with confidence! Learn the basics of digital photography in a friendly atmosphere, including demos and guided exercises.
[PG14F20] Mark Trusz



Capturing Fall Colour
Wednesday, October 22, 1 to 5 p.m.
Public $48; Members $40
Take a walk through beautiful Edwards Gardens while learning how to capture the splendour of fall colour with your camera. With a mix of compositional tips and technical advice, Mark will guide you through the steps for successful autumn photographs. Prerequisite: Foundations of Photography course, or comfortable working knowledge of your camera.
[PG14F21] Mark Trusz



Scenic Snowy Photography
Wednesday, January 21, 1 to 5 p.m.
Public $48; Members $40
Make the most of winter with scenic landscapes and snow-covered plants providing many wonderful photo opportunities that you will want to brave the cold for! Learn how to prepare yourself and your camera for taking winter photographs, then head outside and discover how to take great photos in challenging winter light conditions or weather. Prerequisite: Foundations of Photography course, or comfortable working knowledge of your camera.
[PG14W03] Mark Trusz



Bring your own fully charged digital camera and its manual.

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Gardening Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:57:57 +0000 A Garden for All Seasons
Wednesday, September 24, 2 to 4 p.m. Rain Date: Friday, September 26, 2 to 4 p.m.
Public $40; Members $32
Join Paul Zammit, TBG’s Nancy Eaton director of horticulture, for a detailed review of four-season gardening. Paul shares tips on bulb planting and assorted pruning techniques and discusses how to highlight a garden’s bones and key design features. Enjoy a talk, tour and treats to take home on this special afternoon.
[PG14S40] Paul Zammit

Miraculous Mosses for Garden Design
Monday, September 29, 7 to 9 p.m.
Public $32; Members $25
More than just a groundcover, mosses are a diverse plant group offering great utilitarian value, as well as stunning design potential. Learn how to identify and use various mosses and companion plants in exciting garden applications varying from a moss lawn to green moss accents on garden sculptures. Information on the care and propagation of mosses for both sun and shade is included.
[PG14S42] Frank Kershaw

Winter Preparations in the Kershaw Garden
Saturday, October 4, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Public $60; Members $50
The long and brutal winter of 2013 saw many gardens damaged, trees toppled and spring growth stunted. Join Frank Kershaw at both his own personal garden and an additional private garden for an in-depth class on seasonal preparation techniques to ensure your gardens are fully prepared for the long winter ahead. Learn how and when to prune, to identify the right tools for the job and their proper use and appropriate aftercare of pruned plants. Demonstrations include mulch application techniques, when and where to use special compost materials and how to deep water evergreens.
[PG14F01] Frank Kershaw



Mad About Japanese Maples

Tuesday, October 7, 2 to 4 p.m.
Public $32; Members $25
Elegant, yet bold, Japanese maples add the wow factor to a garden. Marion’s garden has one of the largest collections anywhere with a range of sizes from less than a metre to 10 metres tall. Review varieties and best care practices, learn about new cultivars, including varieties from pale pink to deep rose, amber and purple. Once considered denizens of the shade garden, these trees are ideal for every corner of your garden.
All levels. Directions provided.
[PG14F02] Marion Jarvie



Jarvie Garden Fall Seminar
Wednesday, October 15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Public $43; Members $35
Join Marion in her Thornhill garden to review garden tasks for this frequently overlooked season: preparing winter protection, planting cold-hardy perennials and spring-blooming bulbs, caring for vines and clematis, pruning and propagation of woody plants. Learn how to store your tender plants over winter and keep pesky critters at bay. Bring your queries and be ready to get your hands dirty.
[PG14F03] Marion Jarvie

Dwarf Evergreens for Every Garden
Thursday, October 30, 1 to 3:30 p.m.
Public $40; Members $30
Dwarf evergreens are the best kept secret of long time gardeners. Providing winter structure, colour and beauty, these hardy trees exhibit functionality and charm—available in multiple colours and shapes. Sizes range from knee-high hedges to sweeping, magnificent weeping pines and eye-catching specimens, such as variegated hollies. Marion takes you through the collection at TBG and explains how to best care for these tiny giants, including winter propagation techniques.
[PG14F04] Marion Jarvie

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Audio Tours available in the Garden Shop Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:54:24 +0000

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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Tips for fall pruning Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:20:32 +0000  

Acer griseum

Acer griseum

Constant pruning of many trees and shrubs is not a necessity, but rather it’s done for aesthetic reasons to improve flowering, stem colour and foliage and, if necessary, to control size. Here are three plants that benefit from late-summer or early-autumn pruning.

Maples (Acer spp. and cvs.)  Because these trees bleed sap if pruned in late winter and spring, maples should be pruned in late summer or early autumn when the sap is not rising.

Birch (Betula spp.) These trees generally require little pruning. With the many smaller shrub forms available, selecting a size and shape that’s appropriate for your space reduces the need for pruning. However, if pruning is required, do it in late summer or autumn to prevent wounds from bleeding badly.

Wisteria (Wisteria spp. and cvs.) Wisteria is another heavy bleeder that should not be pruned in spring. To promote flowering and contain its size, do the first main pruning in early to mid-summer. Cut back the lateral, or trailing, growths to approximately 15 centimetres. Then, in early or mid-winter, shorten the growths even further, cutting back to two buds. An alternative to this method is to cut back excess trailing growth throughout the summer over a period of weeks. 

Here are Vineland Nurseries’ Jim Lounsberythree three top tips for fall pruning.

  1. Prune no more than 10 per cent of the overall size of the shrub or vine.
  2. After about the middle of October, wait to prune until plants are fully dormant.
  3. Prune macrophylla-type hydrangeas down to the first fat bud, never right down to the ground. If you prefer to leave the dried flower heads for winter interest, wait until spring to prune to the strong bud. 


Photo: Janet Davis

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Paul’s Garden-Tending Checklist Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:03:27 +0000
  • Water responsibly: Water is a precious resource – every drop is important. Although it depends on the crop, rather than applying several light, shallow sprinkles, water less frequently but deeply. Use soaker hoses to deliver water at root level where it’s needed. Sprinklers deliver a lot of moisture to the leaf surfaces, much of which is lost to evaporation.
  • Control weeds: Weed often, keeping in mind that it’s easier to remove young seedlings than mature, well-rooted plants. If you can’t remove the entire weed, cut off the flowers and any seedheads to prevent weeds from going to seed and spreading. Planting densely and disturbing or turning the soil as little as possible helps limit weed growth. Mulches are also good weed suppressants.
  • Fertilize: Feed, feed, feed. Veggies and herbs can be heavy feeders, so adding organic matter to the soil is vital. Supplementing with organic fertilizer and blood and bone meal also helps. It’s important to rotate crops to avoid one type of plant from depleting the soil of nutrients. (A practical way to do this is to swap with neighbours.) Keep a garden journal and plan (or pictures) as a reminder of where plants were in previous seasons.
  • Control pests and disease: Look for insect pests every day, but know the difference between a beneficial insect and a pest. The best organic control is to squish bad bugs between your fingers – it’s fun! And, having a garden that provides habitat for a wide variety of insects and birds offers a natural way of controlling pests. Also, learn to accept that some plants, depending on the year and the growing season, are prone to various pests and diseases. For example, tomatoes and white fly, and mildew on squash and zucchini. To reduce the spread of fungus and bacteria, avoid wetting the foliage and watering in the evening.
  • Vacation planning: If you go away for part of the summer, plan your crops so they’re ready to harvest when you return home. Avoid quick-growing crops like zucchini, cucumbers and beans. And when you’re back, sow for a late summer or fall harvest. If things do get out of control, donate your fresh produce to a local food bank.
  • [image: photo of Paul tk]

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    Donation Station at TBG Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:38:44 +0000 With the generosity of Precise ParkLink, the Toronto Parking Authority and MasterCard under the Community Champions program, the Toronto Botanical Garden has been afforded the opportunity to accept your donations in this simple and easy way. We sincerely appreciate all donations from our patrons and community. 100% of monies collected through this Donation Station will support the garden maintenance, programs and operations of Toronto Botanical Garden.

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    Make this Compact Herb Garden Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:36:38 +0000 Paul Zammit demonstrates how to pot up savoury herbs for a miniature culinary garden.

    1.Select the right container
    Plants need ample space to develop a deep root system, so make sure the container is deep enough and large enough to accommodate the roots as the plant matures. Containers can be made of anything from terra cotta to plastic recycling bins. The one we’ve chosen is a heavy vintage wrought iron, which has a classic look and holds the heat many Mediterranean herbs like. The pot must have drainage holes. To discourage slugs and snails from moving inside where they hide during the day and emerge at night to feed on the plants, the trick is to cover large drainage holes with a piece of fine mesh.

    2. Add potting soil
    Fill the container with freshly bought, porous potting soil to which you can add up to one-third of well-aged manure or compost.

    3. Prepare the plants
    Before transplanting the herbs, water them well while they’re in their original pots. Then, gently remove the plants and tease out and loosen the root system so they’ll grow into the soil of the larger container.

    4. Start with tall plants
    This low rectangular planter will be viewed from the front, so the taller herbs – we’ve used three ‘Perpetual Pesto’ basil plants – should be placed at the back. The variegated foliage of this basil is extremely fragrant and hard to resist. Unlike other basils, ‘Perpetual Pesto’ produces fresh new growth all season. When planting, firmly pack enough potting soil around the roots to cover and eliminate any large air pockets.

    5. Have fun – mix it up!
    Add two curly parsley plants in front of the basil, setting them slightly off-centre. Then, place three ornamental perennial coral bells specimens, which are not edible, but add contrasting foliage texture and colour. (You can also substitute a golden or purple sage for the coral bells.) Finish off with three specimens of the non-edible Hedera helix ‘Pink ’n’ Curly’ ivy as a trailing accent or else with lemon thyme.

    6. Add finishing touches
    Water the completed planting and top up the potting mix if necessary, allowing for about 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) of space between the soil surface and the lip of the container. This ensures water will soak into the soil instead of running off over the sides of the planter. For large containers such as this one, apply a layer of cedar mulch, about 2.5-centimetres (1-inch) deep onto the soil surface to help conserve moisture and keep the roots cool during summer heat.

    7. Tend with care
    Monitor daily and water thoroughly when the soil, at about a thumb’s depth, becomes dry. Herbs in containers require regular feeding with a water-soluble organic fertilizer, such as liquid kelp or fish emulsion, applied at the recommended rates. Slow-release, granular fertilizers may also be used.

    Zammit’s tips

    • While many herbs are well known for their fragrant foliage, others offer a wide range of colour, texture and leaf forms. Try mixing golden oregano and variegated thymes and sages.
    • Pinch back herbs frequently throughout the growing season to keep them producing new shoots. If plants become long and straggly, shear them back to promote new growth. Dry or freeze the clippings for future use.
    • Add edible flowers to your containers: calendula, violas, pansies, nasturtiums and dianthus are good choices.
    • Some herbs, such as rosemary, parsley, sage, thyme, oregano and lavender, are cold-tolerant which ensures a continuing fragrant and delicious fresh harvest well into late fall.
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    REGISTER Your School Class Today Fri, 08 Aug 2014 19:37:22 +0000 SCHOOL VISIT DETAILS

    • $9 registration fee per student per program
    • Two-hour programs running from 9:30a.m. to 11:30a.m. and 12:30p.m. to 2:30p.m.
    • Spring programs run Tuesday through Friday, April 15 to June 20, 2014
    • Fall programs run Tuesday through Friday, September 23 to October 31, 2014
    • Maximum of 30 students per program
    • No charge for each adult supervisor for every five students
    • Schools interested in booking more than one class (even it on same day) must fill out separate registration forms for each class
    • All teaching garden programs include outdoor components; please ensure students are properly dressed for the weather
    • Classes interested in staying for the full day must sign up for Hike-in-a-Bag ($1/student extra), and cannot be guaranteed indoor lunch space
    • All food brought to these programs must be nut-free


    Cancellations must be made at least two weeks in advance. If a program is cancelled less than two weeks prior to the scheduled date, the projected cost of the program must be paid in full by the school.


    • DATE: (Top 3 Choices)
    • Programs run Tuesday through Friday Spring Dates: April 15 to June 20 Fall dates: September 23 to October 31 NB: Dates cannot be guaranteed
    • For more information please call please call 416-397-1288
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
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    Look Up! Thu, 07 Aug 2014 15:36:22 +0000 If your garden is a postage stamp, Ken Brown shows you how to grow up and feed your family garden-fresh vegetables.

    There’s lots of room in even the tiniest garden to grow an amazing amount of vegetables. Growing vegetables vertically is the answer. Brussels sprouts are the simplest; they grow on their own vertical stem with no guidance at all. Just tuck the little plants into the ground in early spring and then break the delicious sprouts off after the first fall frost.

    Many other vegetables can be encouraged to grow vertically. Everybody’s favourite, tomatoes, are a good example. Simply stake each plant or, for a sky-high tomato garden, build and sink a T-shaped wooden structure into the ground using a 2.4-metre- (eight-foot) long central post with a 2.4-metre (eight-foot) crosspiece at the top, which extends equally on either side of the post. Hang lengths of nylon cord, about .5-centimetre (one-quarter-inch) thick, from the arms, spacing them every 30 centimetres (12 inches); nylon is preferable to other materials because it sheds water well. Finally, loosely tie the ropes around the base of the plants below. Choose indeterminate varieties of tomatoes because they continue to grow and set fruit all season. Each week over the summer prune them to a single stem by pinching out the side shoots. As the stem grows, twine it around the rope. By late summer you’ll have a tomato garden that’s 2.25-metres (7.5-feet) high!
    Another easy vertically-inclined vegetable is beans. Forget about growing the back-breaking, space-consuming bush beans. Instead, search the seed catalogues for the many interesting varieties of pole beans. At the base of a tall trellis or obelisk, plant beans together with morning glory seeds. By midsummer you’ll boast the prettiest prolific bean patch in the neighbourhood. In the fall, if you cannot eat all the beans fresh, just let them dry on the vines and harvest them to make baked beans.

    Ken Brown is a garden writer and TBG instructor. For more innovative ways to grow vegetables vertically, sign up for his course, Getting Started: Spring Crops & Veggie Garden Designs, on April 17 and visit

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