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Saturday, February 25, 2012

A blooming good time at upcoming garden shows in Stratford, Toronto

   One-Tank Trip for Feb. 25/12

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Even after a not-so-difficult winter weather-wise, it’s always nice to look forward to spring.
   Get a head start on spring sensations by tiptoeing through the tulips, daffodils, roses, daisies, pansies and petunias.
   They will be in abundance along with other gems of the earth at two highly anticipated garden shows in Stratford and Toronto.
Flower displays burst with the colours of spring at the Stratford Garden Festival.
   Blooming good time
   “Celebrating Our Roots,” conveying an intertwining of nature and music, is this year’s theme for the Stratford Garden Festival next Thursday through Sunday (March 1 to 4).
   The landscapers will “draw their inspiration from the vast resource of our musical roots” in creating their gardens, said Deedee Herman of the hosting Lung Association, Huron-Perth.
   In its 12th year, the event at the Stratford Rotary Complex (353 McCarthy Rd.) features “lots of new exhibitors as well as returning favourites,” she said.

This was a "garden vignette" from an earlier Stratford Garden Festival created by Helena's Gardening of Stratford
   Designers have chosen a Canadian song or musician as inspiration for their gardens and will use their imagination to interpret the theme.
   “Some gardens will surprise visitors with a combination of avant-garde artistry and unique vision,” Herman said.
   Others will “clearly illustrate practical ideas for attendees to apply to their own gardens.”
John Drummond of Greenbelt Farm near Mitchell created this colourful display at a previous Stratford Garden Festival.
   This includes water features and the use of colour and form – from designing a quiet oasis to an eco-system to attract birds and insects – all with an underlying musical context.
   Landscapers have drawn their inspiration from such diverse sources as Rush, Shania Twain, Spirit of the West and the traditional folk song, Land of the Silver Birch.
   The Stratford Festival Theatre is creating a garden inspired by Noreen’s Nocturne, recorded there by Oscar Peterson in 1956.
   In the lobby will be a garden “teeming with colour and scent,” inspired by singer k.d. lang’s I Dream of Spring.
   The festival’s Marketplace will tempt the garden enthusiast with the latest in plants and seeds, hand-crafted pottery, accessories, solar lighting, tools and furniture.
Tiptoe through the tulips

   Green thumbs up
   Stratford’s Speaker Series features Ontario’s top garden gurus dishing the “real dirt.”
   HGTV’s Carson Arthur will talk about “The 30-Minute-a-Week Garden” while Virginia Burt of Visionscapes will speak on “Healing Gardens.”
   Writer Steve Biggs covers growing figs as well as raising veggies in small spaces and containers while garden designer/writer Lorraine Johnson discusses “The Weird and Wonderful.”
   David Hobson talks of “Botanical Gardens from Buffalo to Bangkok.”
   Other presentations include All Things Lavender, garden photography, caring for roses and garden ponds, and seasonal flower arranging demonstrations.
   Senior’s Day is March 1 with a free “gourmet cookie and cup of tea” with admission.
   The Opening Garden Party on March 1 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. includes food and drink along with live music with tickets costing $30. Mayor Dan Mathieson will lead an auction for items including trips, theatre tickets and dinners, garden party supplies and other “goodies.”
   Family Fun Night on March 2 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. has activities for children including creating garden crafts, story-telling, face-painting, a scavenger hunt and snacks.

   Canada Blooms blossoms
   The country’s largest flower and garden fest, Canada Blooms, will run side-by-side for the first time with the National Home Show.
This is a colourful floral and water display from an earlier Canada Blooms event.
   It’s an opportunity to “experience the first breath of spring,” March 16 to 25 at the Direct Energy Centre (100 Princes Blvd.) at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, said general manager Gerry Ginsberg.
   It features “six acres of stunning creative gardens in a dazzling display of colour, texture and fragrance,” along with free lectures and demonstrations.
   The expanded Blooms Marketplace will have hundreds of vendors and artisans showcasing the newest, most innovative and best in outdoor, garden and landscaping products.
   “Then, as an added treat, take in the National Home Show at no extra charge and discover the fully decorated, fully sustainable Dream Home and all your home needs in one spot,” Ginsberg said.

   If you go:
Tulips brighten the garden shows signalling spring
  - Stratford Garden Festival hours are March 1, noon to 5 p.m.; March 2, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; March 3, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and March 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
   Tickets are $9; no charge for children 12 and younger; $20 for a four-day pass. Money raised supports the lung association’s medical research and initiatives.
   - Canada Blooms runs from March 16 to 25 with hours on Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; March 18, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and March 25, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
   Tickets are $20; $17, seniors, 65 plus; $16, ages 13 to 18; free, 12 and younger; $29, two-day pass. www.canadablooms.com; E-mail: info@canadablooms.com; 1-800-730-1020


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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