Toronto Botanical Garden For all things gardening Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:08:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 DONATE YOUR GENTLY USED GARDEN GOODIES Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:04:11 +0000 Donate your gently used garden tools and pots in support of our garden equipment fundraising efforts. Drop of donations at reception between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Tues. to Thurs. and Sat.) between April 7 and May 2, 2015

We Accept:
Outdoor containers (concrete, metal, ceramic and terra cotta), gently used garden tools, vintage garden tools, garden ornaments, clean bird houses, bird feeders, bird baths,
fountains and small garden furniture.

No Thanks.
Anything cracked, broken or not working, plastic grower pots and hanging baskets, vases, anything electrical, fertilizers or chemicals.

Please contact Trudy (Volunteer Sale Coordinator) at 416-694-4460

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City Critters Family Programs Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:01:55 +0000 Join TBGKids for these hands-on, interactive educational programs about Toronto’s misunderstood urban wildlife. Programs are open to all ages but are geared towards kids aged 5 to 12. Register your family for all five City Critters sessions and save! Family is defined as four people with a maximum of two adults.

City Critters: Animal Tracking
Use your detective skills to uncover the signs of life hidden in the winter world all around us. Join TBGKids and a special guest tracking expert to follow animal footprints, identify tracks and learn how animals move through an area without being discovered. [TG15WAT]
Sunday, February 22, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

City Critters: Backyard Birds
Can you swim like a mallard, soar like a hawk and flap your wings like a blue jay? Waddle on down to the TBG and discover the many backyard birds that come to our bird feeders and nest in our gardens in early spring. Learn some birding basics, play games and go on a nature birdwatching hike. [TG15SBB]
Saturday, April 11, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Family: Public $30; Members $25; Individual: Public $10; Members $7

City Critters: Hop on Frogs
Peep…peep, quack …quack, jug-o-rum. Spring sounds are in the air! Did you know that the smallest frog is as loud as a jet plane? Learn about the wonderful world of frogs through games, costumes and a frog symphony after dusk. Meet some real live frogs with a special guest visit from Creature Quest. [TG15SHF]
Wednesday, May 13, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Family: Public $30; Members $25; Individual: Public $10; Members $7

City Critters: The Take on Snakes
Have you ever seen a snake wink? No? Well, that’s probably because they don’t have eyelids. Get up close and personal with some of Ontario’s 17 snake species. Find out why these misunderstood reptiles are under threat, go on a hike to look for snake shelters and meet some real live snakes. [TG15STS]
Saturday, June 13, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Family: Public $30; Members $25; Individual: Public $10; Members $7

City Critters: Monarchs on the Move
Every September Toronto’s monarch butterflies migrate all the way to Mexico. You won’t want to miss this enchanting evening, where we’ll learn about these incredible pollinators. Families will plant some milkweed to bring home and release a real monarch butterfly to start its long journey south. [TG15FMM]
Wednesday, September 16, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Family: Public $30; Members $25; Individual: Public $10; Members $7

Take-All-Five Family [TG15FS]: Public $125; Members $90

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GROW OP 2015: THE CULTURE OF LANDSCAPE Thu, 19 Mar 2015 22:55:30 +0000 TBG heads downtown to join forces with Grow Op, the contemporary landscape design festival and show at the historic Gladstone Hotel. As a sponsor of GROW OP TALKS, TBG is able to provide a limited block of tickets free to TBG members.


Getting Grounded: How Landscape & Design Shape Urban Culture takes place on Thursday, April 23, 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.  Members will receive a promo code via email to reserve their tickets.

Gladstone Hotel’s 3rd annual Grow Op exhibition greets spring with open arms from April 23rd to 26th, 2015. Curated by Victoria Taylor and Graham Teeple with Britt Welter-Nolan, this four-day exhibition celebrates innovative ideas and conceptual responses to landscape, gardens, art, and place-making under this year’s theme, the culture of landscape. Read more…

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TBG’s Plant Sale in May Sun, 01 Mar 2015 11:50:06 +0000 Choose from top-quality perennials, annuals, natives, herbs and vegetables, succulents, shrubs, vines, and small trees. Friendly gardening advice.
New this year! We’ll be having used garden tools available for sale.


Thursday, May 7, 2015


Friday, May 8, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, May 9 and 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Members enjoy a 10 per cent discount. Please present your card.

All proceeds support Toronto Botanical Garden.

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Visit our Pollinator Playground Tue, 03 Feb 2015 22:08:08 +0000 Butterflies, Hummingbirds and Bees… Oh my!

Discover playful and positive ways you can welcome “special guests” into your home garden. Visit our attractive balcony gardens (“attractive” in every sense of the word) at Canada Blooms and First Canadian Place which will showcase pollinator-friendly plants along with easy DIY projects and insider tips on creating a pollinator habitat.

Create a buzzzz!

Share your favourite #PollinatorPlayground ideas on Instagram or Twitter


Changing your planting style can be a win-win for you and your “special pollinator guest”. By attracting pollinators to your garden, you can increase your garden’s yield while improving the health of your local beneficial insect population. Mix it up. Incorporate edibles in your plantings. Use parsley and thyme as edging plants in the veggie garden, in your pots or a perennial border. Rosemary, too! All of these are fragrant when you brush up against them, cold-tolerant so they last well into the fall, and look great too!. Good for you…and good for pollinators too.


More than 90 per cent of flowering plants need the assistance of a pollinator to procreate. Start a trend in your neighborhood by giving your garden an “attractive” makeover. Plant pollinator patches of bee and butterfly-friendly plants. Install a DIY bee house to attract native solitary bees. Leave a few bare batches of earth amongst the mulch for ground-nesting bees. Place some rocks or branches in your birdbath where pollinators can rest and have a drink. Then dust off the welcome mat and get ready for your guests to arrive.


A garden is one of the simplest ways to bring balance and serenity into your busy urban lifestyle. Plants and gardens feed more than the table, they feed the soul. Our bodies’ immune systems respond positively to the time we spend immersed in nature’s beauty. Reap the personal benefits of connecting with nature by turning your green oasis into a restorative retreat.


There are many things you can do to improve air quality in your indoor space. Consider adding double-duty plants that not only look great, but clean the air as well. Plants convert CO2 into the oxygen we breathe while also absorbing toxins like benzene, formaldehyde and/or trichloroethylene. Micro-organisms in the potting mix can also remove toxins from the indoor air.  To achieve optimal air purification, use a ratio of one potted plant (growing in a 8-10 inch container) for every 100 square feet of living or office space. Be sure to keep the foliage of your plants dust-free so they can effectively purify the air.

Balcony Garden Design Collaboration: Toronto Botanical Garden and Urban Garden

Décor, Planting and Interpretation: Toronto Botanical Garden

Many thanks to our supportive partners:

Design/Build Partner

Urban Garden Logo

Earth Month Partner

First Canadian and Bookfield

Product Samples

burts beeslogo-big

Office Interior Planters


Media Partner
GardenMaking magazine




“Wild for Bees” Bee Hotel: Sustainable.TO | Pollinator Partnership Canada | Burt’s Bees | Fairmont Hotels and Resorts




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Add Pollinator Magnets to Your Garden Tue, 03 Feb 2015 14:31:42 +0000 February is the perfect month to be planning for the coming gardening season.  As you pour through seed and plant catalogues, think about adding few extra plants to attract and feed pollinators in your garden or on your balcony.  This year’s selection of Renee’s seeds offers many pollinator favorites, or pollinator magnets, as I like to refer to them.  Pictured above are just a few selections, including one of my all-time favourite annuals, Mexican Sunflower aka Touch Tithonia (Tithonia rotundifolia) .

2014 september 24th open garden 060

Those who attended last September’s Garden Open will remember this stunning annual as a show piece in the mixed border. And who could forget the Monarch Butterflies that were enjoying a drink of nectar from this brilliant orange blooms.

Please shop early for the best selection. Our shipment of Organic Urban Harvest Seeds will also be arriving in the next few weeks.

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Woman to Woman: Lunch in the Garden Fri, 30 Jan 2015 05:01:34 +0000 This year we will host the 5th Anniversary of Woman to Woman: Lunch in the Garden. Come celebrate with us while enjoying a “girls” afternoon in the garden; dine at al fresco gourmet food and wine stations positioned within TBG’s alluring landscape and bid on an amazing array of silent auction items.

This year’s auction includes a select number of out of town overnight get-aways, local night out on the town packages, home decor items and fabulous fashion accessories. Silent Auction valets will roam the gardens with items for you to bid on.

Give into temptation at the Heathbridge Dessert Lounge; strike a pose for the Hat and Fascinator Competition; and rekindle your love of nature.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 | noon to 2:30 p.m. 


For more information please email

Lilliput Hats is the official full service millinery boutique for Woman to Woman.


Heathbridge_framed logo copy



Zentil 60th
HK logo blk and green


Wondering what to wear or what to expect? Check out last year’s event.

Woman to Woman 2013 – Video courtesy of Mark Disero,



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What’s In Bloom: Work Days in the Desert, Part 1 Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:06:02 +0000 My December trip to the Arizona desert gave me the opportunity to volunteer my hand in the garden at two places.   The first, Arizona Cactus Sales, a garden centre & nursery recognized for its excellent selection of quality desert plants.

D&S Arizona Cactus Sales

And who else should recruit me on vacation to finally see what working in the low desert is really all about – one guess?!

Vatricania guentheri up close

In the above photo we are standing in front of a large clump (easily surpassing 2.5m x 2.5m) of Espostoa guentheri (syn. Vatricania guentheri) (red beard) from Eastern Bolivia.   The golden-spined stems have varying densities of fox-red, woolly hairs, called cephalia, from which the flowers & fruit come.

Cactus bench real gems Arizona Cactus Sales

One of our first tasks was to move starter-plants of Stenocereus pruinosus (Mexican organ pipe) to a sheltered hoop house …

frost protection cactus bench Arizona Cactus Sales

… then cover them for protection; Mexican organ pipe is frost sensitive and more-or-less, grows like a weed.

Cochemiea poselgeri with red berries AZ Cactus Sales

Some gems I had never seen before also found on those benches include Cochemiea poselgeri (syn. Mammillariposelgeri) (red-flowered pincushion) with these brilliant-red berries; endemic to Baja, California.

Micranthocereus flaviflorus flower

A tray of Micranthocereus flaviflorus, has many plants in, or about, to flower.  This cactus is endemic to Brazil, and is listed as Near Threatened due to sand quarrying, agriculture, & fire.  

Fouquieria splendens AZ Cactus Sales

Making our way through the garden centre, Fouquieria splendens (Ocotillo) are lined up in a row, bare-root, ready for planting in your home garden.  Ocotillos are desert shrubs, leafless most of the year, blooming reliably March through June depending on rainfall.

Yucca rostrata AZ Cactus Sales

Yucca rostrata (beaked yucca) has been planted in rows for sale in the garden centre.  Bring your own pot or bag & we’ll dig it up for you!

Sand with Opuntia robusta AZ Cactus Sales

Did I have a hay-day or what in the nursery!?!  Customers aren’t allowed (lucky me); here with Opuntia robusta (wheel cactus).

Deb transplanting Agave parryi v. huachucensis

Back to work … transplanting Agave parryi v. huachucensis (Parry’s agave) to be root-pruned, and planted-out for sale.

Sand w Agave parryi v. huachucensis

My first agave transplant – they bite, you know!

root-pruning Agave parryi v. huachucensis

Not the best photo (sun in my eyes) but hopefully you get the idea: root-pruning Agave parryi v. huachucensis.

Agave zebra AZ Cactus Sales

Loving the row-upon-row of plants in the ground; these Agave zebra (zebra agave) demonstrate a greener version of a plant that is usually grey-blue with cross-banding.

Never-ending plant bench AZ Cactus Sales

How could I not be part-cactophile with benches filled to over-flowing like these?!

Ferocactus wislizeni

Ferocactus wislizeni (fish hook barrel cactus) in bloom; many have been collected as noted by the yellow tags, either from private property or the wild, under strict guidelines set out by the State of Arizona Department of Agriculture.

Ferocactus wislizeni flowers A close-up of Ferocactus wislizeni (fish hook barrel cactus) from flower to fruit; a native to both the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts.

Collecting Conservation AZ Cactus Sales

The tag.
Astrophytum hybrids

Astrophytum hybrids (living rocks) in the propagation house; a genus of cacti native to North America.

Echinocactus grusonii f. cristata AZ Cactus Sales

Pots of Echinocactus grusonii f. cristata (crested golden barrel cactus) for sale.

Espostoa melanostele

Another cactus I’ve not seen before, Espostoa melanostele (Peruvian old lady), native to the western subtropical mountain valleys of Peru, it is covered in long woolly spines that darken with age.  Flowers are rare, white, and nocturnal.

Arizona Cactus Sales

Truly, I could go on & on!  A big shout-out of thanks to Arizona Cactus Sales, in particular Ty Peterson, Manager, for letting me spend a day at work with your fabulous cactus collection.

Shovel shade house

And by the way, there is a shovel on every post!

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Through the Garden Gate: Lawrence Park Thu, 29 Jan 2015 05:01:49 +0000 Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14, 2015

Toronto Botanical Garden’s 28th annual tour of private gardens in Toronto takes place on Saturday, June 13 and Sunday June 14, 2015). This self-guided tour is done at the pace and interest of the participant. Complimentary shuttle buses allow garden-goers to hop on and off as they make their way around the garden route. If there are any questions, Toronto Master Gardeners are stationed in each garden to help identify unusual plants and points of interest. A printed guide and map are also provided with the purchase of your ticket and some gardens even have QRcodes to download the full plant list.

Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

One-Day Pass: Public $45 / TBG Members $40
Two-Day Pass: Public $60 / TBG Members $55
Students $25* (One-Day Pass Only)

Buy your 2015 tickets today

HST is included in the ticket price.

*students must show valid I.D., available for one-day pass only



home hardware
mark's choice



MarkCullen-HeadShot2010 MARK CULLEN, 2015 HONORARY CHAIR
Unquestionably the crème de la crème of garden tours—classy, elegant, well organized and full of useful information about plants worth growing.”


For more information: 416-397-1483 /

All proceeds from this event support Toronto Botanical Garden.

Previous neighbourhoods featured on Through the Garden Gate

2014 — Hogg’s Hollow
2013 — Forest Hill and the Gardens of South Hill
2012 — Rosedale
2011 — Swansea Village
2010 — The Beach
2009 — Beyond the Bridle Path
2008 —Riverdale
2007 — Wychwood Park and Davenport Ridge
2006 — Toronto Islands
2005 — Rosedale East
2004 — Rosedale
2002 – Lawrence Park

VIDEO: Through the Garden Gate 2011 with Paul Zammit

Proud partner of:
Garden Days Logo_EF URL-OA full colour



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Visit the BIObus on Garden Days Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:04:20 +0000 Canada’s celebration of gardens. Learn how to turn your garden into a pollinator paradise and visit the BIObus, the field research vehicle of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. Samples collected from the TBG will be turned over to the scientists at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario can help us better understand the world we live in.

June 19 through 21, 2015

Garden Days Logo_EF URL-OA full colour

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