Camissia and native columbine at Kathy’s Gove, Spring 2019



LEAF subsidized backyard tree planting program

It’s spring! Consider planting native trees around your home through LEAF’s subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program. Native shrubs and garden kits are also available to help you build biodiversity and attract songbirds, butterflies and other pollinators to your yard. Help protect and improve the urban forest.


David Leeman - On Island Time

April 29, 2013 Meeting.

As the summer turns to fall, our intrepid traveler, David Leeman leaves Toronto Islands and heads south to the equally beautiful islands of the Caribbean, where he has become something of an expert. He will show us his favourite gardens in St. Lucia, Barbados and other island paradises.

Well, it’s that time of year again. No! I don’t mean that! If you haven’t already divided your perennials and potted up your donations to the best Plant Fair in the city, this isn’t a reminder. No, it’s time for snowbirds to re-acclimate to Toronto weather after their winter migration. Though he misses three or four of our meetings through the winter, our Hort’s ‘resident’ snowbird, David Leeman, always makes it back just in time to present on his winter ‘vacation’ before we go on summer hiatus. No doubt he’s having a hard time adjusting to the winter that seems to have lingered a little too long this year. Then there’s the lifestyle change: no more Sunday morning “Hike Barbados fun walks”, the three hour hikes through “some of the most beautiful and otherwise inaccessible parts of the island”. ( Gone are the fresh exotic fruits growing in the backyard, like golden apples. Nope, David’s now done with his winter of honing his mixology skills, natural weight loss plan, and laying down the best base tan a Torontonian could expect by April. So he’s back here and ready to share his lovely ‘winter project’ photos, as well as tales of pests, disease, and natural woes—all manner of adventures he manages to pack into a few short months as a reverse seasonal migrant worker.
David claims this winter’s work was particularly arduous—working long hours in the hot winter sun of the Caribbean, putting in a brand new garden from scratch. That was the most exciting part of the experience, he says, working with a blank slate—almost literally. Only, it wasn’t slate, but limestone, the bedrock beneath the shallow, “ugly, heavy clay soil” that made this a real challenge. Come out to hear and see all about the inventive ways David made it all work out, from his unconventional source of plant material to sleeping in flannel pajamas, and more!
- Maria Nunes

Hort Coach Tour 2013 - Niagara Region

Our annual coach tour will be on Saturday, June 22, 2013. The Fletcher Tours coach will pick us up at the Keele subway (Indian Rd. side) at 8am and return us at 6:45pm. The cost is $70 per person and includes the following:

  • Palatine Fruit & Roses - After a short lecture on roses we will then have the opportunity to purchase some of the gorgeous specimens grown at this nursery.
  • Buffet lunch - At the Best Western Beacon Inn,with its view overlooking lake Ontario, we will dine on a variety of salads and vegetables, pasta, roast chicken and desserts.
  • The garden of Wayne Rubel - We will be treated to an exclusive tour of this beautiful private garden, which has been the feature of many magazine articles with its arbours, ponds and skilful plantings.
  • Magnotta Winery - Wine tasting is on the menu at this award winning winery, along with the opportunity to purchase from their extensive selection.
  • Northland Nurseries - Located in Clapison Corners, this nursery has an extensive variety of plants for the connoisseur. As an added bonus all 1 gal pots are $5.99.

Do remember to dress for the weather, rain or shine. In particular you may wish to wear comfortable shoes and bring your water bottle and sun hat. To reserve your spot, please mail your cheque, made payable to the Horticultural Societies of Parkdale & Toronto, along with the names of the participating individuals, to Patrick Mulroney, 153 Westminster Ave., Toronto, M6R 1N8. Reserve as soon as possible, as the places go quickly. Questions? Please email For a more detailed description of the tour click here.


Humber Arboretum Tour 2013

The Humber Arboretum, in support of community education in horticulture and landscape stewardship are pleased to present the 2013 series of Free Outdoor Tours, a partnership between the Etobicoke Master Gardeners and Humber Arboretum.
Please join us for the first 2013 Tour “Spring into the Arb”. Please check out our flyer for details on future 2013 tours and events.
  • Tour: “Spring into the Arb”
  • Date: Saturday, April 20th, 2013
  • Time: 10:00 – 11:00AM
  • Location: Humber Arboretum  (at Centre for Urban Ecology) 205 Humber College Blvd, Toronto, Ontario
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate (not wheelchair accessible)
  • FREE Admission
Book your spot today:
Registrations via phone 416-675-5009 or email

Rain Barrels For Sale

Green 13, a dedicated environmental group, is pleased to partner with for a ‘truckload of rain barrels’ fundraiser. Buy a rain barrel made from food grade, recycled plastics at a very competitive price of $60.00 - all taxes included.
Orders are now being taken for a Saturday April 27 pickup date.
Distribution: April 27, 12:00 PM to 3 PM at FreshCo, east end of parking lot, 3400 Dundas Street West (just west of Runnymede).
Size: 220 litres/55 US gallons.
Details: Each rain barrel comes equipped with a leaf and mosquito filter basket, an overflow adaptor that permits multiple barrels to be connected in series, 1.2m of overflow hose and a spigot that attaches directly to a garden hose. (Additional overflow hose can also be purchased if required.) No household limits and no residency requirements are imposed; however, only barrels ordered in advance are guaranteed to be available.
Colours: Gray, white, or blue.
To order your rain barrel please click here.
Proceeds will help inform our community about the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) which is killing our ash trees and in the process decreasing our tree canopy.  We are also working on transitioning to a low carbon neighbourhood. We organize monthly movie screenings and public meetings on various environmental issues. See the Green 13 website here.

What's Blooming in your garden?

Want to share images of spring blooms you’ve seen or have growing in your garden? Send images to and if they make the cut your image could get added to our Spring 2013 picture gallery. Click here to see what we have so far.


Hardy Plant Sale

Sunday, May 5th, 2013 the Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society will be holding its fifth Annual Hardy Plant Sale from 12 noon - 4 p.m. at the Toronto Botanical Gardens, 777 Lawrence Ave. E., Toronto.
There will be choice shrubs, select perennials, alpine treasures, colour for shade and sun, and fabulous foliage. For an updated list of vendors, plants and photos of such please visit click here.

Terry Fahey - Restoring Habitat At Hillside Gardens In High Park

March 25, 2013 Meeting. Our meetings are held at Bonar-Parkdale Presbyterian Church, 250 Dunn Ave., South of Queen St. West. Doors open at 6:30pm. Social time starts at 7:00pm. The meeting starts at 7:30pm.

Discover High Park through archival photographs with naturalist Terry Fahey and see the plans to restore the wetlands and black oak savannah at Hillside Gardens to attract wildlife back to the park.

There’s an old saying, “you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy”, that reflects this month’s speaker, Terry Fahey. Although Torontonians are more apt to think of Kitchener as ‘country’, growing up in one of its new subdivisions must have seemed like being in the city. But Terry was always drawn to the wildness of the nearby woods, spending time with his boyhood best friend who grew up on a farm at the edge of the city. He was inspired by and drawn to the outdoors. It is no wonder then that he has spent all of his adult life working in gardens.

Terry trained in landscape technology at both Humber College and Ryerson University and spent 25 years as a residential garden designer/ builder. He is now in his 23rd season as a gardener with the Parks Department, the last eight seasons at Hillside Gardens in High Park. His assignment: the Hillside Gardens at High Park, located on the hill sloping down from the west side of Colborne Lodge Road to the east shore of Grenadier Pond. The area encompasses 14 acres, 2 of them cultivated as gardens. There are formal gardens around the building by the road which houses City of Toronto Parks offices; the little and big rockeries with their steps of cascading waterfalls; a rambling shade garden; the begonia maple leaf by the pond; various smaller beds; and now there is a pollinator’s garden which our own Clement Kent helped to initiate.

Terry hopes the success of Clement’s project will support his vision of a greater focus on native plants in these gardens; he sees that as the paradigm shift leading the latest of the progressive changes the gardens have gone through over the decades. Earlier incarnations that made use mostly of annuals (and still evident in the aforementioned maple leaf) have given way to the use of perennials and some natives. Terry thinks the gardens can take inspiration from the U.K.’s Beth Chatto’s ‘gravel’ garden theory.

He knows that management’s association of ‘natural’ gardens with shoddy messiness means this update to 21st century gardening has to be managed very carefully “in all aspects of design from frequency, juxtaposition, size of beds, and contrasting form”. The payoff, he believes, will be beautiful more resilient gardens that require less labour to maintain and therefore, fewer dollars. That should please the bean counters!

Terry’s interest in using plant material that is native and/or was on the site originally means research, both for what those plants were, as well as experimenting with them in the nursery. As we know from our volunteers at the Colborne Lodge gardens, there is some documentation available on these old time gardens. This month, Terry will share with us and also engage our members in learning about and envisioning our neighbourhood and the city’s premier inner city park, High Park’s Hillside Garden revitalization.

—Maria Nunes


West End Seedy Saturday

March 23: West End Seedy Saturday from 10am - 3pm at the  Bonar-Parkdale Church at 250 Dunn Avenue. Do you want interesting seeds? Do you want to save seeds? Do you want to talk to people who want seeds or who save seeds? Check out the activities at Seeds of Diversity Canada.


Native Plants for Green Roofs

Click here to find out more.