Gayla Trail - Backyard Ethnobotany

October 24, 2016 Meeting

NOTE: Our meetings are normally on the last Monday of the month, however since Halloween falls on that Monday we are holding the meeting one week earlier.

Meetings are held at the Bonar-Parkdale Presbyterian Church, 250 Dunn Avenue, just south of Queen Street West. Doors open at 6:30pm. Meetings start informally around 7:00pm and the meeting starts at 7:30pm. Arrive after 6:30pm and enjoy coffee and cookies while you check out the Hort library, chat, and ask questions!

Gayla, of, will take us through the unusual plants she grows and the muriad ways she makes use of them - growing and foraging plants in urban spaces to be used as edible and medicinal foods, natural dyes, tools for art making, distilled floral waters (aka hydrosols) and so much more.


This month’s speaker first addressed our Hort nearly a decade ago and already then, she was showing signs of interest in unusual plants. She told me about growing a pineapple in a corner of her bedroom—and it produced fruit! Since then,’s auteur, Gayla Trail, has kept as busy as the pollinators in her garden.

Gayla has now written four books and recently launched a kickstarter campaign for her fifth book; she’s traveled far and wide giving talks on gardening and the topics that flow from that. Her most recent book is Drinking the Summer Garden about the various and creative ways we can eat and imbibe the fruits of our gardening labour. Her writing and photography have taken her to gardens and natural landscapes that have piqued her interest in the many intersections that plants have with our lives—from their beauty to their deliciousness, to medicinal uses, to the way they help us dress ourselves with scents (hydrosols), as well as clothes (made with natural dyes) and other creative adornments.

Gayla’s journey through the world of plants and gardens has always been fueled by an interest in the unusual and she will also speak of the unusual in our urban surroundings—or rather, how to make what we think of as unusual a part of our lives.

Maria Nunes

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