News

Friday
May042018

Kathy's Memorial Grove and Pollinator Garden Planting

 

Wednesday
Apr112018

Paul LaPorte - Building Biodiversity With Native Plants

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

Living in the GTA’s Greenbelt, our April speaker Paul LaPorte has had the opportunity to steward and study numerous native plant communities. Being past president of The North American Native Plant Society he will bring tempting natives from his nursery, Ephemeral Ark, and tell us why and how to establish a native-plant garden.

PALEOECOLOGY FOR THE HOME GARDENER or Why It’s Good to Grow Native Plants

African violets are probably the species furthest from one’s mind when anticipating this month’s presentation. But it was in fact Paul LaPorte’s mother’s exotic house plants like Saintpaulia that first drew him into the vortex of the plant world. And, oh, how he’s been drawn in!

Initially plants were a welcome respite from his computer monitor. Paul is a graduate of the Sheridan computer animation program and has worked in that field and graphic arts for fifteen years. Although Paul had always been intrigued by plants in general, his first intense focus was on invasives, particularly dog-strangling-vine. Describing its winter form where it had completely colonized an area as a cobweb over the earth (a rightfully terrifying description), this plant “ignited a significant fire” in him.

Invasive species raised the dichotomy of desirable vs. undesirable plants, so Paul’s focus evolved in the direction of natives. In particular, his focus is on woodland native species of Southern Ontario. Through his nursery, Ephemeral Ark, he propagates the many plants that can be found in our untamed forests, from Hepatica to Bloodroot, Trillium to Wild Leek, providing plants that are not easily found in garden centres and can be very tricky to propagate through seeds.

Being an entrepreneur, and rather than abandon his animation career entirely for the nursery, he is slowly developing animations to bring his presentations to life. His study of plants continues to evolve, pulling him back out of the vortex of the plant world to explore paleoecology, the study of the interaction between organisms. Paul considers photos of plants without the insects that/which are such a crucial a part of their survival as somehow incomplete. He hopes this awareness of biodiversity will inspire us to garden with native plants.

Paul is more interested in disseminating what he’s learned than anything else. So come out to hear, see, and be infected with his passion for natives. And with your own passion sufficiently ignited, take home some of the plants Paul will have available for purchase.

Maria Nunes

Tuesday
Mar272018

North American Native Plant Sale - May 5 and May 27, 2018

Saturday
Mar102018

David Leeman - Private Gardens of Normandy

March 26, 2018 Meeting

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

Take a behind-the-scene tour of private homes and gardens in the coastal region of Normandy France: including Monet’s atellier inVarengeville-sur-Mer, an early Edward Lutyens designed home with a Gertrude Jekyll garden and Princess Sturdza’s exquisite forested gardens at Le Jardin duVasterival.

Tuesday
Mar062018

Canada Blooms March 9 - 18, 2018

Tuesday
Feb132018

Jeff Mason - Learning From the Great Gardens of England

February 26, 2018 Meeting

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

At our February meeting, Jeff Mason promises to share what he’s discovered (and re-discovered) on a garden tour to the fabled gardens of England. From a long wish list Jeff and his much-travelled mother, Marjorie, created an itinerary of gardens he’d only ever seen in books or online. He will share photos of what his eyes delighted in: the grandeur of the Sissinghurst Castle Garden; the exuberance of Great Dixter and the thoughtfulness of Beth Chatto’s Garden. What plants did he see? What did he learn about garden design? How is he incorporating these in the ever-changing Mason House Gardens — and how might we? Don’t miss this opportunity as you order seeds and plants for the coming gardening season and finalize your own garden plans!

—Maria Nunes

Sunday
Jan072018

Donna Fenice - The Gardens et al of Sicily

January 29, 2018 Meeting

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

Sicily is the island of Persephone, the gardener’s beloved Goddess of Spring, who weaves her magic in gardens across the island.

Donna Fenice has been to Italy many, many times. It’s a country, we have learned, she is in love with. With this month’s presentation, there is no doubt the affair continues. This time, she takes us to that fabled island, Sicily. Now that the mafia seems to have “gone all white crime”, she says, people are feeling a lot more comfortable about visiting.

Italy comes up in conversations quite readily, says Donna, as do requests for designing itineraries. Who better to ask than someone who’s been there multiple times. She knows the best way to see a place, even if you don’t see everything you thought you could pack into two weeks! Thus we get from Donna’s presentations the spirit of the place, the feel, and a sense of the people who created the gardens.

Sicily provides a diversity of architecture from Greek to Roman to Arab-Norman which is second only to the diversity of the landscape. Donna has travelled the island widely and kept a watchful eye out for the grand gardens of architectural gems, hilltop villages, and humble backyards.

Of course, Sicily’s current popularity with the jet-set might also be fuelled by a guy named Inspector Montalbano, from the TV series. for those with nostalgia for that era of its more recent, if infamous, past.

Maria Nunes

Sunday
Dec032017

Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show

Friday
Dec012017

Pop-Up Sale! Garden structures, Textiles and Jewellry

Sunday
Nov192017

November 27, 2017 AGM and Meeting at 7PM

Meetings are held at the Bonar-Parkdale Presbyterian Church, 250 Dunn Avenue, just south of Queen Street West. Our brief AGM will start off the meeting, followed by cupcakes to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the PARKDALE Horticultural Society. The speaker will follow refreshments.

HELEN BATTERSBY : THE GARDEN OF REGRETS

Meet the plants you’ll wish you’d never planted—and learn how to avoid them (before you do) or live with them (if, sadly, you have). Helen is one of the Battersby sisters behind the delightful award winning blog Torontogardens.com and will share her humour and insight on our Toronto gardens. To download a list of the plants Helen discussed in the Garden of Regrets please click here.

GARDENING FIXATION

Helen Battersby is one half of the gardening duo behind the enterprise called Gardenfix and the Toronto blog, Toronto Gardens. The other half is her little sister Sarah (with whom she won two Silver Medals in 2017 from the GWA). So why one and not the other or why not both….? “I usually do the talking”, says Helen, quite plainly. A hint about how that came to be might be found in the caption on their blog photo which reads, “Toronto Gardens gals Sarah (left) & Helen (always right) Battersby.” Although, that could be a reference to how they pose for photos…

But the truth is, this dynamic duo complements each other in their joint gardening ventures; the maturing of a lifelong love and participation in gardening is rooted in family tradition, nurtured early during their time in Wales, living with their grandparents who kept extensive gardens. It was after many years, moving around the country in their youth, that both settled in Toronto, two doors away from each other, in what Helen refers to as the upper, upper, upper Beaches.

At Gardenfix, the sisters provide garden consulting, coaching, and workshops. On their blog, they share their advice on all manner of garden-related topics, accompanied by the most informative and beautifully (and helpfully) illustrated images and photos, alongside discussions rooted in their own. Blogs are categorized in Gardens + Design, Plants + Care, How to + Reviews, Critters + Bugs, Events + Tours, and rounded out with Stuff + Nonsense. In posts in the last category (the one that immediately drew my curiosity) Helen admits to a lifetime of “killing house plants” and suggests 5 minutes can be deducted from her 15 minutes of fame for appearing on Metro Morning recently to talk about one of her “favourite (spring bulbs) and non-favourite (squirrels who eat them) topics.

This writer thinks between Sarah and Helen there are multiple 15 minutes of fame to be had. Among them, speaking to our Hort about how to deal with plants that raise “problems” in our gardens, from being the wrong plant in the wrong place to being too much plant or otherwise. One half of this seeming “Sisterhood of All Things Plant”, Helen, will nonetheless knock down a few more minutes from their time in the limelight.

Maria Nunes