My first assignment as editor of Plant & Garden magazine was to cover the Civic Garden Centre’s Through The Garden Gate garden tour. More than 20 years later it remains one of my favourite events of the gardening season.
Only now the tour is Mark’s Choice Through The Garden Gate (so named because Mark Cullen is a sponsor), it has grown into the largest private garden tour in the city and the Civic Garden Centre has become the Toronto Botanical Garden and is about to expand from four to 35 acres!
Toronto City Council has approved a plan for the TBG to combine resources and expertise with Edwards Gardens to create a globally acclaimed botanical garden. The TBG will take the lead in detailed design and fundraising. The city will retain ownership of the site and both parties are committed to maintaining free access to the revitalized landscape.
It seems fitting, therefore, that this year’s tour, on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., is taking place just north of the TBG in the Gardens of Windfields Estate—west of Leslie St. and north of Lawrence Ave.—where some gardeners have incorporated borrowed views of Edwards Gardens.
A good garden tour can offer inspiration to home gardeners and this one is full of interesting plants and garden design lessons. You might take note of how to make a beautiful environment on a busy corner lot, how to create a certified wildlife habitat, what plants to use in a shade garden or which ones to choose for all-season bloom.
There are a variety of gardens on this tour ranging from a wildlife haven incorporating nesting boxes, bat houses, bee hotels and a toad and frog breeding pond to a formal yet elegant garden anchored by a heart-shaped island garden and an abstract statue of an embracing couple under a large maple tree. There are woodland shade gardens, peony gardens, rose gardens, native plant gardens, bulb gardens, vegetable gardens and more. Garden decor ideas run the gamut from a metal howling wolf to exquisite statues of angels and cherubs to an Indian jhula garden swing.
Toronto Master Gardeners (including me) will be stationed in each garden to answer questions about the plants and design features. You can stroll around the 19 gardens at your own pace, hop on and off complimentary shuttle buses along the route or pedal around accompanied by a master gardener on wheels. For more information on the bike tour contact Toronto Bicycle Tours.
Tour headquarters is the Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Ave. E., where you can stop for a bite at the TBG Cafe.
Click here for more information or to purchase tickets
One-Day Pass: Public $45 /TBG Members $40
Two-Day Pass: Public $65 /TBG Members $60
Students: $25 (With ID. One-Day Pass only.