Before you go to Canada Blooms 2012…

…there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. From Saturday until today (Thursday) teams of people, including many volunteers, have been working long hours to create the garden magic that is Canada Blooms. I apologize for the cell phone camera photo quality, but here are some of the faces behind the hands that make the show happen:

I wish I could put names with all of these faces. But you can tell just by looking at them, can’t you, that they’re a great fun bunch to work with! The fact they’re still smiling after many of them have been working non-stop for days says a lot about them. It brings me back year after year.

We purposely posed the group in front of the rose garden so we’d have a pretty backdrop. Can you see the rose garden? Maybe not. Let’s try a smaller group shot…

Canada Blooms volunteers in front of the rose garden.

Yes, that’s me, on the far right. For the past several years I’ve had the privilege of volunteering a day or two of my time to assist with planting the large decorative planters that are placed throughout the aisles of Canada Blooms.

It’s a huge amount of fun to have this many plants to play with, especially in March!

When the planting is going on, it’s a full fledged construction site. Steel toed boots, hardhats, and stylish flourescent safety vests are required…

I’m beaming because that orange coleus is so fantastic. It’s name is ruffle something or other, and I’ll definitely be growing it in my garden this year!

A few of the decorative planters we created this year featured edibles. I have to say that these were the most challenging ones for me.

I grow tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers and peppers in pots in my own garden. But making a flower show worthy display in a planter (the idea is to make an arrangement that is eye-catching and inspiring, which is very different from providing a plant with its ideal growing conditions for a full season) of fully grown vegetables, overwhelmingly comprised of nothing much but green leaves, took all the imagination and gravity defying skills I could muster.

The cabbages are like giant roses, to my eye.


There was a little get together for volunteers tonight (thanks, Canada Blooms!) so I took the opportunity to spend a few minutes checking out some of the amazing gardens that have been created for the show. Here are just a few samples (and again, I apologize that these are only cell phone camera quality):

Have you ever seen a more charming set of garden stairs?
There’s so much to look at in this garden. I especially like the copper water features.
A clever tapestry of heuchera (my favourite!) and other fantastic foliage plants.

You can try leaving the show without buying one of these Medinilla plants but you’ll need very strong willpower. Canada Blooms Horticultural Director Charlie Dobbin tells me that not only are they very easy to care for, they like to be on the dry side, and the blooms will last close to 6 months. Think they look interesting in even in this lousy picture? Wait until you see them in person. They’re spectacular! I predict they’ll be selling by the truckload. I haven’t bought one yet only because they’re big, we’re in the midst of some renovations, and I have no idea where I could safely put it. That probably won’t deter me for long…

 So that’s my sneak peek of Canada Blooms 2012. I’ll be at the show a couple times (with my good camera!) over the next ten days so there will be more pictures later. One of my favourite things about the show is learning from some top notch speakers. I’m disappointed to be missing Marjorie Harris’ presentation tomorrow, but very much looking forward to hearing Paul Zammit and Liz Primeau (on growing garlic!) on the days I will be attending.

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