Fall 2020 â€¢ Vol 49
FABULOUS FALL COLOUR | JAPANESE MAPLES | PLANT SPRING BULBS NOW
 From the CEO
Navigating through uncertainty  The Expansion Good news going forward  Garden Tour Update Visit Wychwood in 2021  Houseplant Profile Monstera Deliciosa
 the Tattooed
Gardener Paul Gellatly loves plants  Facebook for Gardeners Social media groups share advice, support & seeds  Thank You Donors TBG members step up during the pandemic
 Colour in the
Fall Garden Reliable autumn perennials  Japanese Maples Beauty in every season  Plant a Sedum Carpet Exclusive book excerpt from Tara Nolan
 Seasonal Tips
How to avoid bulb envy  Community Gardens Connecting people & plants  Food Up Front Growing & sharing produce  People, Places & Plants Goings on at the TBG
Cover photo: Paul Gellatly, Oridono Nishiki Japanese Maple leaf. Photo This Page: Jenny Rhodenizer, Afro-soul combo Amai Kuda & Y Josephine at TBG’ Summer Music Series. Opposite page Photo of Paul Gellatly with Vincent van Gross by Alison Kenn
Fa l l 2 0 2 0 • V o l 4 9
Rare Smelly Plant Blooms at Toronto Zoo
he world’s largest unbranched inflorescence, the Amorphophallus titanum, bloomed earlier this month at the Toronto Zoo and new TBG Director of Horticulture Paul Gellatly was there to help zoo staff members pollinate and collect pollen from the plant nicknamed Vincent van Gross. The inflorescence (a floral structure made of many small flowers) which mimics the smell of rotting flesh to attract pollinator insects, blooms only once every 10 to 20 years for only eight to 38 hours at a time. Native to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java, it opens in late afternoon and the pungent smell peaks around midnight. While at the Toronto Zoo as Curatorial Gardener, Paul curated one of Canada’s largest Amorphophallus collections with more than 30 species. “I’m so honored to have been invited back to share in this experience once again, and to share my knowledge and passion with the public and other staff,” he said.
fro m t h e TB G
Exploring New Online Opportunities
For the second half of 2020, we will remain connected to you, our members, through our first-ever virtual Annual General Meeting on September 30th – stay tuned for more information on the format and agenda for this important meeting. We are also working on some exciting virtual and in-person education opportunities for the fall. Details will be announced when available. Our Garden Is Flourishing
Challenges and uncertainty lead to new ways of doing things and some positive outcomes, reports Chief Executive Officer David McIsaac Much has changed in TBG’s world since my message in our spring edition of Trellis, our first visual edition. At the time of its publication, we had newly entered Phase 1 of the province’s pandemic closures and were facing many unique challenges. As we have worked together through these challenges, we have endeavoured throughout to stay connected with our members and volunteers, bond as a leadership team, explore new opportunities, manage cash flow through a difficult financial period and remain debt-free. As we adjusted to our new reality of event cancellations, closure of our building and cancellation of the majority of our education programs, I am grateful for the unwavering support that members have shown us. Your generous donations to our April Showers and Gifts to the Garden campaigns, support for our Garden Shop and new online Retail Shop plus your embrace of our virtual Garden Talks and Summer Music Series have helped us navigate the challenges of operating under pandemic conditions. As restrictions and guidelines change, we are continually investigating how we can evolve the TBG experience. An early success was our partnership with Toronto Master Gardeners to host 11 free online Gardening Clinics and Talks with a total enrollment of more than 1,000 registrants!
Looking to the Future
While the challenges of 2020 have asked us to modify our operation over the short term, we have continued to look to the future as well, and to our exciting expansion plans that will create a world-class botanical garden. Despite significant revenue declines from most of our operations being closed under Ontario’s emergency order and many of our valued employees having to be temporarily laid off, we continue to steward TBG’s financial health and maintain our debt-free position. While these past few months have been a challenging and difficult time, I draw great encouragement from the positive outcomes I have observed: Our management team has shown great teamwork and supported each other through this adversity; TBG now has many more online and virtual offerings; And, as always, through your generous support, our members continue to show that you are the heart of our organization. I look forward to what we will achieve together in the second half of 2020 and beyond, and I hope we can all meet again soon – and in person – in our beautiful gardens. David McIsaac, CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch your inbox or call the Membership office for a link to our AGM on September 30 on Zoom.
Photo: Jenny Rhodenizer
Our Journey to date through the Pandemic
Throughout, we have been fortunate to have our garden deemed an essential service and to have our horticulture team on-site during the closure. Our new Director of Horticulture, Paul Gellatly, has approached his new mandate with great enthusiasm and results. As an example, using new funding provided by Gifts to the Garden, the team has been working hard to revamp the Piet Oudolf garden and the perennial border. In July, our garden volunteers were able to rejoin us, once safe working conditions were established.
ThE Expansion Good news moving forward Process for choosing the design team is well underway, says Garden Director Harry Jongerden
Wilket Creek Ravine
Photo: Lorraine Hunter
TBG expansion plans have thankfully not been affected by the COVID crisis. If anything, as our organization has weathered the pandemic’s impact on the garden, on our staff, our programs and our finances, we see clearly how expansion will give us the depth and breadth we need for growth and for sustainable scale. A time of enforced quietude and reflection is an excellent time for planning and design! We are continuing with the happy task of choosing the consultant team to carry out the detailed design work for the 35-acre site of the expanded botanical garden. We had narrowed the field of submissions in 2019 to five finalists, and there is a process now underway to choose the successful design team. We met as a group of Board, Expansion Committee and senior staff in January to clarify and confirm what we want the design consultants to help us achieve. We were joined by Dr. Don Rakow of Cornell University, author of the seminal text, Public Garden Management. His
presentation on achieving botanical garden excellence confirmed our strategy and efforts to date. It had been more than a year and a half since the endorsement of the Master Plan by the City of Toronto and TBG, so our January session was useful in confirming the elements of the design, and formulating new questions for the consultant team finalists. For example: How might the expanded botanical garden celebrate the cultural diversity of Toronto? Or: What would you recommend for the creation of a “four-season garden”? And: Do you have recommendations for additional design elements not found in the Master Plan? Answers to these questions and more will give
us our winning design team consultants. The City of Toronto has provided an important complementary shot in the arm to our expansion plans this year. This comes by way of the City’s Ravine Strategy Implementation Report, adopted by Council on January 28. The Expansion Master Plan encompasses the restoration of the Wilket Creek Ravine landscape within Edwards Gardens, which complements the City’s ravine plans. The City had revealed a ‘Ravine Strategy’ in October of 2017, but it did not come with new funding support at that time. This has now changed. The 10-year plan calls for an additional $2.7 million of new money annually (phased in over four years) to support clean-up efforts and combat invasive species throughout the City’s ravines. Although the specific financial impact to TBG of these City investments is not yet known, we’re thrilled to see the emphasis on partnership and volunteer participation in the effort. TBG was one of 29 non-profit conservation and academic groups and individuals who spoke at the City’s Executive Committee consideration of the plan. Almost all of us had the same message for Council. This is wonderful news. We’re here to help, just let us at it.
tour Update Mark’s Choice
Through the Garden Gate Visit Wychwood gardens in June 2021 Windfields 2018
The Beach 2019
Alas, the wonderful Mark’s Choice Through the Garden Gate tour of Toronto’s Wychwood area didn’t take place this year, thanks to the persistent threat of Covid-19. A lot of people were disappointed, not least the homeowners of these very special gardens. However, all is not lost; we’ll be touring the gardens of Wychwood next year on the weekend of June 12th and 13th, 2021. We’ll be giving you plenty of details closer to the date but, in the meantime, enjoy these pictures of former and current tours... And, watch the TBG website Torontobotanicalgarden.ca/ mcttgg for videos of some of the Wychwood gardens you can visit on next year’s tour. –Carol Gardener, MCTTGG Chair Through the Garden Gate is generously sponsored by Mark’s Choice. Rosedale 2015 torontobotanicalgarden.ca
Photo: Paul Zammit (Rosedale)
Soil: Soilless or standard
Exotic Swiss Cheese Plant makes a dramatic statement in any decor By Veronica Sliva
Photo: Paul Gellatly
ouseplants are enjoying a resurgence in popularity not seen since the 1960s. One of the trendiest must-have houseplants these days is Monstera Deliciosa. Its thick stems can reach a height of 90 centimetres or more. You may know monstera as the Swiss cheese plant thanks to its large green heart-shaped leaves that are deeply cut to resemble Swiss cheese. This plant makes a dramatic statement in any decor. A variety that sports green and cream coloured leaves called M. ‘Borsigiana albo variegata’ is sought-after by collectors. The ‘Deliciosa’ part of the name refers to the white calla lily-like
flower that appears on a mature plant (usually only in a greenhouse or conservatory) that is followed by a sweet edible fruit said to taste like a combination of different tropical fruits. In the wild, monstera produces long aerial roots that scramble up trees clinging to the trunk for support and absorbing moisture and nutrients through the aerial roots. In our homes, we can mimic this behaviour by training the plant up a ‘moss pole’ which is essentially a tube of rolled plastic netting or chicken wire filled with damp moss. You can also purchase a piece of bark covered in moss that must be kept damp for the roots to cling onto.
Light: Bright indirect light. Does well in artificial light. If when you purchase your plant, it has deeply cut leaves and then later starts producing smaller leaves without holes, it is a sign the plant needs more light.
Water: Water moderately. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Feeding: Feed every two weeks from March to October with an all-purpose fertilizer. Temperature: Normal room
temperature during the day. At night 16° – 20° C.
Humidity: Moderate. Pests and Diseases: Watch for
aphids, mealy-bugs, red spiders, scale and thrips. Propagation: Stem cuttings. Remove the tip at a point just below an aerial root and place in water or damp soilless mix.
Y The Tattooed Gardener
New TBG Director of Horticulture “lives and breathes plants” By Lorraine Hunter
iterally thrown into the TBG gardens the very week that Covid-19 closed down the building and the parking lot, Paul Gellatly says that while it was a ‘unique’ beginning to start a new job right when the lockdown occurred, it did give him a chance to get to know the gardens without distractions. “In some ways it was difficult as it was just me and seasonal gardener Dean Ruhnke but it allowed me time to be in the garden. I didn’t have the knowledge and history but Dean did.”
The TBG’s new Director of Horticulture, also known as The Tattooed Gardener, with posts reaching more than 9.8 million people a month on Facebook, is excited about the TBG’s future expansion into Edwards Gardens and stresses the importance of quality in its plant collections. There will be some changes to the garden but “we will still be using volunteers and they are excited to get back. Life is slowly getting back to normal,” he says. torontobotanicalgarden.ca
Acknowledging that he “lives and breathes plants,” Paul learned about gardening from his father when he was a kid “until I overtook him in the garden” and he (Paul) became director of the Waterloo Horticultural Society at the age of 16. He didn’t pursue gardening as his life’s work, after that, however. “I was afraid of losing my passion for it if I made it a career,” he explains. Instead, he became a career counselor for about 10 years helping other people find their way through their employment goals—and gardening was his escape. “Then one day I woke up and decided to take my own advice and got a job at Plant World (since closed) and worked there in many different departments for six years. Then I also got hired by the City of Toronto as a gardener. I was working two jobs for awhile and loving it. Working at Plant World kept me current. I was always aware of what’s new. Plus, I always did side work helping friends and neighbours in their gardens.” Paul started his Facebook page The Tattooed Gardener to help friends who kept asking him gardening questions. “I called the site The Tattooed Gardener as a way of branding myself since I am covered with tattoos. I have both of my sleeves almost completed… My left sleeve is Asian-influenced and has a Buddha, a geisha, a lantern, Japanese maple leaves, a lotus, a koi and a bumble bee (for my mother who likes bees) amongst other things. My right sleeve is more traditional. I have a microphone (I used to sing), a pin-up girl (to go with the traditional theme), a sugar skull, and for floral... some traditional roses and Amorphophallus titanum (aka the corpse flower) which was styled after ‘Pablo Pe’ew Casso,’ the one that flowered at the zoo after my start there.” The plant is also known for its massive
Photo: Jenny Rhodenizer Illustration: June Anderson
foul-smelling inflorescence (cluster of flowers)—hence the name. Paul’s tattoos are all original works of art. “My artists have all designed the work themselves. I’m sure now that I am at the TBG, there will be some more floral influenced tattoos added from this garden.” Not long after his Facebook page was launched, Paul began getting hundreds of messages and questions. People began to recognize him and through sharing he soon became an influencer. “I never dreamt I would eventually have almost 10 million followers.” Prior to coming to the TBG, Paul was curatorial gardener at the Toronto Zoo for two years where he managed the plant collection. “Toronto Zoo has a very valuable collection of plants from around the world with both plants and animals from every continent, as well as one of the best collections of tropical plants in Canada,” he said. Paul has some pretty impressive plant collections himself including about 400 tropicals, some 28 Japanese maples in his Port Credit, Mississauga, front garden and more than 400 daylilies. And “pretty much anything that’s variegated.” His interest in daylilies began when, as a member of the Waterloo Horticultural Society, he was given a daylily called ‘Cartwheels’ by an 80-year-old minister and former missionary, Rev. Harold Steed. “And, I still have it.” He has since registered 18 of his own hybridized plants including one called ‘Striped Chameleon’ with parentage out of ‘Cartwheels’, one named for Canadian Musician Jann Arden and another for garden writer Marjorie Harris. He hopes to bring some of his daylilies to the TBG. Paul belongs to both the Ontario Daylily and American Daylily societies and is in contact with botanical gardens all over Canada (most of which he has visited) and the world and he is excited about the opportunity that the TBG has to become a world class garden.
Facebook Groups Cater to Gardeners of All Kinds By Leanne Burkholder
It’s not surprising that gardeners use social media groups to discuss their love of plants and gardening. These groups, often independently run by volunteers, share advice, knowledge and pictures and support plant and seed exchanges. Facebook in particular is made for creating groups, and it isn’t an exaggeration to say there are thousands dedicated to gardening or plants. Here are some examples in the GTA:
Toronto Gardeners – 5,000+members This is a group of urban garden enthusiasts from amateur to professional. Fun and informative with lots of photos, topics include plant identification, plant problems, what to plant where and how to combat weeds and insects.
Toronto Gardens – Battersby sisters 1,500+followers The Battersby sisters are very familiar in the Toronto gardening community. While their Facebook page isn’t a group, it is related to their blog TorontoGardens.com, where they share information on plants and issues facing gardeners.
GTA—Gardening Exchange – 1,800+members This group includes general interest, novice to expert gardeners, focusing on garden related questions, advice as well as free plant exchanges within the Durham Region.
Toronto Container Gardening – 3,500+ members This is an informal group of amateur and professional gardeners in the GTA with tips and tricks for plants in pots not plots. Perfect for people in condos or apartments who want to container garden.
Toronto Houseplant Enthusiasts – 1100+members This group shares pictures, information and stories about members’ favourite house plants. It also runs a marketplace to buy, sell and trade plants.
Ontario Native Plant Gardening – 10,200+members This native plant group was created to discuss native plant gardening in Ontario, Canada, and all the associated wildlife that comes with it. A great information resource.
Ontario Native Plant and Seed Exchange 2,900+members A plant share and seed exchange. It partners with the Canadian Native Plants and Seed Exchange. All seeds and plants must come from the group members’ property or with the owner’s permission and be responsibly collected.
Members show their support during pandemic lockdown
oronto Botanical Garden members are the best, says Alison Kenn, TBG Director of Development. “Our members have really been there for us during the pandemic,” says Alison, who offers a big thank you to members who supported the TBG during the Covid-19
lockdown and responded to the April Showers and Gifts for the Garden campaigns.“You ordered seeds online from the Garden Shop, attended our online virtual gardening question and information sessions, visited the shop on special Members’ and other days, enjoyed the garden both online and in person. And, you donated money to help us keep going as well as we could throughout the pandemic,” she says. Always eager for feedback from members, Trellis asked a few member donors why they donated specifically during the pandemic and what the TBG means to them. Linda Boyko gave a donation to revamp the Piet Oudolf-designed entrance garden. “With so many of its regular fund raisers cancelled, TBG really needs help right now so why not?” said Linda. “I am not going to be travelling anywhere so I decided to direct some of what I would have spent on a trip to the garden.” Linda has been around the TBG ever since it was the Civic Garden Centre. “My membership card is number 200.” Her mother and grandmother loved flowers. “I used to bring my mother to the garden – she loved
seeing kids so happy here.” Linda chose to donate towards updating the entry garden “because that is where I walk through when I first arrive. It provides a welcome to the TBG”. Charles Moses made his donation in memory of his wife Lani. “The Garden Club and the gardens were an important part of my late wife Lani’s universe. I respect that,” he said. Myint and Jay Gillespie have been members since 2000. “TBG gives us lots of pleasure with beautiful gardens, informative lectures, library and social gatherings. “TBG is the pride of Toronto, providing mental and physical health for Torontonians. It is instrumental in horticultural and environment events and for educating the children,” says Myint, explaining what the TBG means to the couple. “TBG has a fine team of dedicated staff. Hope that the team will be reunited very soon.” Marjorie Lenz has been a TBG member since she joined the Garden Club of Toronto in 1995 “I love gardening in my own yard as a great relaxer and challenge, let alone a learning situation. Where better to learn new things than at the TBG where access to knowing folks is easy? In 2011 I began my learning as a Master Gardener. Seems I was at the TBG often. “A city like Toronto should have a botanical garden and I want to support that in my little way. This year we gave more money than usual because we were not suffering and so many organizations needed extra help. Gardens still needed care and care costs money. We even had a daughter married there as it was the perfect setting for folks from Manhattan.” –Lorraine Hunter
Alison Kenn, TBG Director of Development, welcomes one of three tortoises visiting the TBG from the Toronto Zoo this summer.
Photo: Alison Kenn
A Big Thank You to TBG Donors
Colour in the Fall Garden Veronica Sliva draws up a list of Fall-Blooming Perennials you can count on
Photo: Lorraine Hunter
ou can have colour in your landscape well into autumn and beyond by planting a few fall-blooming perennials and ornamental grasses into your garden. Often overlooked in garden centres in springtime in favour of their already inflower cousins, these fall bloomers are often best purchased in the autumn when you can see what the flowers look like.
Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) torontobotanicalgarden.ca
Helenium autumnale (aka Sneezeweed)
While there are endless new cultivars to choose from, these tried and true favourites are both reliable and guaranteed to put on a show when the weather turns cooler. Here is a list of fall-blooming perennials that won’t let you down:
• Single daisy-like flowers, in brown, orange, red, yellow. • The petals have distinct tooth-like indentations. • All Sneezeweeds have three-lobed petals which distinguish them from Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan). • Grows 60 to 90 cm. • Great as cut flowers and attract butterflies. • Prefers full sun. • Likes moist soil.
Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower)
• Large pink to purplish daisy-like blooms before and after — many varieties available — ‘White Swan’ is a reliable white hybrid. • Great cut flower and attracts butterflies. • Blooms midsummer into late fall. • Grows 75 to 110 cm. • Prefers full sun but will grow in partial shade. • Grows in almost any soil. • Native to parts of eastern North America. • Seed heads have winter interest and attracts birds. • Self-seeds.
Actaea matsumurae (bugbane) (formerly called Cimicifuga) ‘White Pearl’
• • • • •
• Available in a variety of colours and flower forms. • Grows 45 to 60 cm. • Blooms from early September until frost. • Most mums need 5 hours of sun a day. • Prefer a sheltered spot, away from strong winds. • Do not crowd them. Good air circulation helps prevent diseases. • Hardy mums typically have shallow roots that can be winter-killed. It is best to plant them as early as possible in the season to give them time to establish a good root system before winter.
Miscanthus sinensis (Maiden grass)
• Flowers are pink to coppery at first maturing to white or silver — resembles corn tassels in appearance. • Best in full sun, but tolerates light shade. • Tolerant of all kinds of soils. • Grows up to 1.5 metres tall.
Boltonia asteroides ‘Snowbank’ (thousand flower aster, false aster, starwort)
• Large, dramatic, eye-catching plant with clouds of small white daisies. • Blooms from August to October. • Grows 120 to 185 cm. • Excellent combined with tall ornamental grasses like Miscanthus ‘Karl Foerster’. • Prefers full sun in moist, well- drained soil. • A favourite of hummingbirds.
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
Flower heads form in late July and resemble broccoli. In August the flowers start to turn pink and later turn a rusty red. ‘Autumn Joy’ has green leaves ‘Autumn Charm’ is variegated form. Grows 30 to 60 cm. Full sun is best.
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
Photos: Lorraine Hunter
• • • •
‘White Pearl’ is an erect, clump- forming cultivar with green leaves and dark stems. Noted for its large, arching, bottlebrush-like flower spikes of pure white flowers. Fern-like foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season. Grows 45 to 60 cm. Likes part to full shade and medium moist soil.
Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’
• Commonly called windflower. • Flowers are very pale pink. • One of the more vigorous anemones, likes full sun to part shade. • Grows to 90 cm high and forms clumps.
Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’
• Common name is mountain fleece. • Clump-forming plants with bright crimson flower spikes. • Grows 90 to 120 cm. • Blooms from early summer to late fall. • Grows in sun to partial shade but thrives in cool, moist areas. • Attractive to birds and butterflies.
Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’ (chocolate snakeroot, Joe-Pye weed)
• • • • • •
‘Chocolate’ has rich dark-toned foliage and purple stems that contrast with fluffy clusters of white flowers. Flowers start to appear in late summer to early fall. Grows 90 to 120 cm. Tolerates full sun, but prefers partial shade. The chocolate-purple foliage color is reduced in intense sun/heat. Prefers a moist, well-drained soil, full sun to part shade.
Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)
• Orange or yellow daisy-like bloomswith dark brown centres – produces mounds of yellow flowers. • There are many varieties including very popular Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ which was Perennial Plant Association’s Plant of the Year 1999. • Long blooming mid-summer into fall. • Prefers full sun but will grow in partial shade. • Upright habit, grows 60 to 90 cm. • Can be used in containers. • Good winter interest, attracts birds such as American goldfinch. • Self-seeds. torontobotanicalgarden.ca
Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’
classifieds Make use of vertical space in your garden with a 6-foot obelisk. Made in Toronto exclusively for the Toronto Botanical Garden, these obelisks are superb structures for showcasing and supporting vines and vegetables. Black, powdercoated steel ensures that these towers remain rust-resistant and durable for many years to come. Available throughout the year at the Garden Shop. $99
Acer palmatum ‘Olsen’s Frosted Strawberry’
has emergent foliage in strawberry and cream/silver colours with fall colours in yellow, orange/red.
Acer japonicum ‘O isami’ Green
form of full moon maple, with spectacular fall foliage in blends of red, yellow and orange.
16 Japanese Maple leaves: Just a few of the
Acer x conspicuum ‘Phoenix’ aka snakebark, is an
interspecific hybrid cross between Chinese Acer A. davidii and North American A. pensylvanicum.
Acer campestre ‘Carnival’ a rare variegated form of hedge maple. Although not a Japanese maple, its habits and markings are similar.
Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ most common red/purple leaved Japanese Maples. Winner of the Award of Garden Merit by the RHS.
Acer palmatum ‘Sagara nishiki’ – each leaf is a little bit different from the other. Spring growth shows hints of pink, and fall a splash of orange.
hundreds of varieties available
Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ has yellow/chartreuse foliage in spring, darkening to yellow green for the summer, and orange/red/purple in the winter.
by • Photography Paul Gellatly •
Acer palmatum ‘Purple Ghost’ is
known for its emergent foliage in deep red, with even deeper purple/black veining.
Acer palmatum ‘Hana matoi’ has highly dissected leaves, in shades of pink, cream and white. Stems are also known to have streaks of colour.
Acer japonicum ‘Fairy Lights’ is slow growing
Acer palmatum ‘Mama fu,’ a new cultivar, registered in 2012, this extremely rare maple, is a favourite in my garden.
a rare variegated dissected cultivar has an extreme variation in its variegation. Best grown in a mostly shaded location.
with highly dissected leaves and compact form. A low growing shrub.
Acer palmatum ‘Toyama nishiki’
Acer palmatum ‘Manyo no sato’ another
Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Inaba shidare’
rarity, has the most unique of all variegations in maples in my garden.
has a graceful cascading form, perfect for an understory, dappled sun garden.
Acer palmatum ‘Red Pygmy’ has been a staple in gardens for years; just starting to make it way into gardens in North America.
Acer shirasawanum ‘Green Snowflake’ has
very small green leaves, reminiscent of snowflakes, and bright red flowers!
Acer palmatum ‘Ukigumo’ sometimes referred to as ‘Floating Cloud’
Beauty in Every pizzazz, before the leaves fall to the ground, exposing the beautiful form of the branching throughout the cold days of winter, truly a four season gem for every garden. Choosing Japanese Maples
The number of cultivars to choose from is almost overwhelming. The book Japanese Maples: The Complete Guide to Selection and Cultivation Fourth Edition by Peter Gregory and J. D. Vertrees, (available on various sites including Amazon and Indigo for around $60.00) is the most up-todate informational resource on maples. I have spent many hours with this book, dreaming and planning. There are several factors to consider when deciding on a Japanese maple including form, colour, size, space and garden theme. The most common Japanese maple is the cultivar ‘Bloodgood’. As one of the first commercially available red leaf forms, it has become an anchor in many gardens. One can be found at the corner of the TBG Garden Shop as you enter the Westview Terrace. This large red cultivar opened our eyes to the world of Japanese maples and is still a standard sold in many garden centres. My all-time favourite medium sized Japanese maple, which I’ve used in several designs, is Acer palmatum ‘Koto no ito’. In Japanese this means ‘Harp String’, referring to its fine string-like foliage, which seems to dance in the wind almost like fringe. Emerging foliage is lime green, which remains as a muted green for the remainder of the season and in the fall changes to beautiful shades of orange and red. Slow growing, beautiful form and fantastic foliage make it a true winner.
Photos: Paul Gellatly
orm, colour, texture, sophistication, elegance and grace—all words to describe the beloved Japanese maple. Perfect for a large garden, a small one, and everything in between. There are more options than space in most gardens. The collection at the Toronto Botanical Garden has 50 Japanese maples and I have 30 in my small garden at home, a few of which are found in both locations. Whether they are dwarf, large, compact, airy, upright, cascading, thread-leaf or palmate—for a full sun, part sun or shaded location—Japanese maples are a beautiful addition to any garden. They don’t often need pruning, are slow growing and become more beautiful with age. Some are more tender than others, so it is always good to do some research before picking a maple for your garden. Recent advancements in hybridizing have led to a few cultivars hardy to Canadian Hardiness Zone 4, with discussions of even Zone 3, anywhere up to Zones 8 or 9. Their history can be traced back to Japan, with the first recorded plant dating to the 7th Century. For hundreds of years, the Japanese have refined various cultivars to form some of the more than 600 unique cultivars seen today. In early spring, the emerging leaves in various colours, with flowers that hang just below the new foliage, usher in the new season with flair. As the leaves mature they take on their full glory and individuality shines through. With the shortening of the days, perhaps their seasonal swansong, their hues intensify, give one final show of colour and
Acer campestre ‘Carnival
Acer palmatum ‘Mama fu’
No garden is complete without at least one (or in his case 30), says Paul Gellatly, TBG Director of Horticulture
Another winner, with large green leaves, spectacular form and colour is Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum.’ It’s also known as Golden Full Moon, due to its emergent spring foliage being green/yellow, reminiscent of a full moon. Although not a great specimen for a full sun location, this slow growing maple’s bright colour is sure to lighten up any partshade garden. One can be found overlooking the Westview Terrace at the Toronto Botanical Garden. Aureum is a great specimen for a small garden and can also be grown in a planter (with proper winter protection). One of my all-time favourite dwarf Japanese maples is called Acer japonicum ‘Fairy Lights’. This low, horizontally branched, slow growing dwarf tree is known for its extremely dissected leaves, incredible fall colour and compact nature. Its emergent foliage is green but in the fall it puts on an incredible display of bright scarlet, orange and yellow; truly a fall wonder in the garden. Although it’s not found at the TBG (yet) it has been a beloved maple in my garden for years. Care & Maintenance
Japanese maples rarely need pruning and are considered low maintenance. In the spring, before they leaf out, I do a bit of selective pruning to remove crossing branches and look at overall shape. This is the best time to see the branch structure and form, without the leaves present. In late June I do some selective tip pruning to keep the maple to scale for the space. This isn’t a requirement for most gardens, but in my small garden scale is crucially
important. At this time, I also prune out any dead branches, or tips that didn’t leaf out properly. This is cosmetic and helps to keep the tree looking its best. There are very few issues that affect Japanese maples. If you find leaves wilting and turning yellow or brown, you could have Verticillium wilt, caused by a fungus in the soil, which spreads from the roots through the sap to the upper branches where it can cause large limbs to die. Once you see the results of Verticillium wilt there is usually little that can be done and most trees will die within a year or two. Unfortunately, I have had this affect a few trees in my collection. Because it is soil borne, it is best not to plant another maple in that exact location at least for a few years. For the first time this year, one of my trees developed aphids, which like fast growing plants. With this in mind, feeding is best done with a slow release fertilizer. Aphids are fairly easy to treat, using a weekly spray of dishwashing soap and horticultural oil, spraying them off with water, or introducing a natural predator (ladybugs) to your tree. I make every attempt not to use any chemicals in my garden and opt for natural solutions whenever possible. There are literally hundreds of Japanese maples, each with their own unique characteristics, colour, shape, form and use in the garden. Visiting the TBG throughout the seasons will allow you the opportunity to see a few different Japanese maples in our collection, as they transition through the seasons. As far as I’m concerned, no garden is complete without at least one—or in my case 30—Japanese maples!
Wheelbarrow (for moving the sedum mats) Rake, Shovel, Soil knife
Sedum mats to fit the intended garden space Soil (look for a blend formulated for growing sedum)
Designed and installed by Tara Nolan Photos by Donna Griffith Sedum mats provided by Sedum Master
s some gardeners work to turn their lawns into garden, others have transformed their driveways into a gardenâ€”but one in which cars can still park. This is a novel idea, but itâ€™s one that adds a whole new level of visual appeal in place of ordinary asphalt or a concrete driveway. Groundcover plants need to be chosen according to a low maximum height. Iâ€™ve seen moss, creeping thyme, different varieties of sedum and more used
Photo: xxxxx xxxxxxx
Sedum mats from Sedum Master can feature over a dozen species, including Acre, Acre ‘Oktoberfest’, Album, ellacombianum, floriferum, forster; lanum, ‘Silver Stone’, glaucophyllum, hispanicum, hybridum, ‘Czar’s Gold’, kamtschaticum, reflexum, selskianum, ‘Goldilocks’, sexangulare, coccinneum, spurium, ‘Summer Glory’ and ‘Voodoo’ and stenopetalum.
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to fill a driveway gardenâ€”which is why, when I approached friends about turning a small strip of their front yard into a driveway garden, the first thing I thought about using was sedum mats. With parking at a premium on a one-way street, this urban semidetached house has the space for two cars between the house and the sidewalk. As such, there is no front lawn. Most of the driveway is asphalt, but there was a small section of (removable) patio stones. The perfect place for a carpet of colorful sedum. And the placement was such that a second car could fit nicely overtop, with the driveway garden fitting well within the wheels of a car. I first encountered sedum mats as a suggested option for green roof plans. Sedums are drought and heat tolerant, provide winter interest, and can survive in poorer soil. Another bonus? Sedums attract butterflies, bumblebees, and hummingbirds. They are also lower maintenance than a lawn in the long run. Why not use them on a driveway? Some sedum mats are rolled up like sod, but mine came in tiles because of the smaller space I was covering. They were very easy to install and the finished result looked like one long continuous, interesting, multi-coloured carpet. Some of the sedums had even started to bloom, so this little island of vegetation was ready to attract pollinaTrimming tors. Furthermore, it looks so sedum mats gorgeous, the homeowners are I found using my now loathe to allow a visiting A.M. Leonard Soil car to use the spot. Knife to be the Minimum sun exposure is easiest way to three to four hours per day. slice through the Also noting that it is a bit mats that needed of a walkway, sedum mats to be trimmed to will suffer through the odd fit the space. step, but are not meant for constant treading. I was just filling a small space, but I recommend, if youâ€™re tearing up an entire driveway, that you consult a professional to help assess grade and runoff management.
Installing a Sedum Mat Carpet
edum mats need 3 to 4" (7.6 to 10.2 cm) of growing space beneath them. It was recommended that I create a base of 3 to 4" (7.6 to 10.2 cm) of greenroof growing medium, which is a special blend that allows for drainage. Because there was grit beneath the patio stones, I added regular garden soil overtop instead, as recommended by a local nursery that happens to sell the sedum mats. Use a rake to spread the soil evenly throughout the entire area. 1. Lay out each sedum mat “tile” so it fits snug against either the sides of whatever your border is or the mat beside it. 2. Use the soil knife to trim any pieces that don’t fit into the space. Turn the tile so the outer edge isn’t the trimmed one. The inner trimmed edge will fit seamlessly against the other tile, whereas the outer edge will retain that wild, natural look that spills over the edges a bit. 3. Give your sedum mats a good daily watering until the plants become established.
Half-laid sedum mats
Sedum mat “tiles” are laid out like pieces of carpet. Fifteen whole mats were used to fill a 3 × 11' (0.9 × 3.4 m) area.
Excerpted from Gardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big & Small Spaces by Tara Nolan (Cool Springs Press, 2020)
Available in the TBG garden shop Shop.torontobotanicalgarden.ca
Act now to avoid spring bulb envy By Paul Gellatly
s you wrap up your gardening season for this year, it’s time to start thinking about spring…That’s right! Spring! When the snow finally subsides, the first plants to show their heads and usher in the long awaited season will be spring bulbs…and now is the time to plant them! Stores will start carrying bulbs from late August into October, and selection tends to diminish quickly, so it’s best to check with your local garden centre to find out when they are bringing in theirs. The TBG Garden Shop will also be carrying bulbs! Watch our website Shop.torontobotanicalgarden.ca for more information. There are a few bulbs that I think everyone should have in their garden. The very first, after a dreary winter, are winter aconites and snowdrops. Although both are found in my garden, I have a stronger affinity for the winter
aconite. Its cheerful yellow bloom is a pollinator magnet on a nice day for those early spring pollinators hungry after their winter slumber. Crocuses are magnets for spring pollinators. Bees can always be found collecting pollen and buzzing around the patches of crocus in the garden. Crocuses come in a multitude of colours and are excellent at naturalizing. New additions are added yearly to the TBG gardens. Another must have is the muscari, or grape hyacinth. These come in a wide array of blues, whites and recently have even become available in pink. I use them on their own, but also in every grouping of fall bulbs I plant. Tulips, of course, are what most people think about when it comes to spring bulbs. Unfortunately, the squirrels also think about tulips a lot, and can be counted upon to do some digging to find out where you’ve
Muscari send up fresh foliage in the fall, which will let you know where you have bulbs already planted if you include them with your other bulbs. When I plant a group of tulips or daffodils, I add muscari. Then, when I’m wondering where I have things planted in the fall, and try to add new bulbs for next year, I don’t dig up existing clumps of bulbs because I can see the fresh foliage of the muscari and know there are already bulbs in that spot.
Photos: Paul Gellatly
7 5 1. Tulipa praestans ‘Shogun’ with origins of a wild species from Tajikistan. 2. Fritillaria meleagris (checkered lily) prefers moist soil in full sun or light shade. 3. Anemone blanda ‘White Splendour’ naturalizes with beautiful white blooms. 4. Tulipa tarda is a species tulip native to meadows of Central Asia. 5. Crocus sieberi subsp. sublimis ‘Tricolor’ is one of the earliest botanical crocuses. 6. Fritillaria imperialis Rubra Maxima. Plant at least 15 cm deep and apart. 7. Puschkinia scilloides (striped squill) is a great naturalizer, originating in the Mediterranean.
6 Tip planted them. I find this to be a numbers game. Add more bulbs and they may still get a few, but some will ultimately make it past the squirrels’ digging efforts. I do find that species tulips are less coveted by squirrels, maybe because the bulbs are significantly smaller and more difficult to find. Species tulips also naturalize better than their hybridized relatives. You might consider interplanting with narcissus (daffodils). Squirrels don’t like daffodils. If they dig down and find them, they will move on to another spot, thus protecting the interplanted tulips. Daffodils are among the most recognizable spring bulbs. Their bright yellow flowers are unmistakeable in any garden. They come in miniature, double flowering, multi-petal, trumpet, white, orange, yellow and even shades of pink are starting to creep into some cultivars.
Placing chicken wire over top of freshly planted bulbs and leaving it for the winter can help protect your new bulbs. Just remove the wire in the early spring when the plants start to emerge.
Fritillaria is one of my favourite spring bulbs, from the small checkered variety with their small dainty bells, up to the F. imperialis, which stand above most other bulbs, ideally planted between 60 and 90 centimentres apart! Their slightly skunky fragrance might make you want to keep them away from an open window. But including them is well worth it! There are many other popular spring bulbs, including hyacinth, known for its intoxicating fragrance; Iris reticulata, the first of the iris family to make an appearance in the
spring garden; allium, an ornamental member of the onion family; puschkinia (striped squill) or squill, known for its ability to quickly naturalize with beautiful blue and white blooms, plus many, many more. Typically, bulbs should be planted 1.5 times the height of the bulb down. I like to go a little bit deeper up to twice the height of the bulb. Adding bone meal can help deter squirrels while also feeding the bulbs. And, once the flowers have finished blooming, be sure to deadhead them and wait for the foliage to die back naturally, so the energy can go back into the bulb and give it enough strength to put on a show for years to come. Act now to avoid bulb envy which can lead to bulb regret. Give yourself something to look forward to with your early spring garden when we say goodbye to the winter blues.
Community Gardening Fills a Need
2020 will surely be remembered as the year we recognized the importance of urban agriculture. As COVID-19 lockdowns reduced household incomes and put food supply chains in jeopardy, it became glaringly obvious that growing our own is the best way to guarantee fresh nutritious produce. Seeds were soon in short supply, and so too, were spaces on which to plant healthy, nutritious fruit and veggies. The pandemic highlighted the issue of land equity: some people do not have backyards. For apartment dwellers without spacious sunny balconies, Toronto’s community gardens became even more desirable than in past years. Groups devoted to food security lobbied local and provincial governments for permission to open these shared gardens, working at the same time to establish safe physical distancing procedures. Some of these include not sharing tools, providing wash stations and establishing alternate day schedules so gardeners don’t work in adjacent plots. The City of Toronto supports community gardening and has committed to the sustainable food policies established at the 2015 Milan Expo which include eradicating food loss and waste, educating the public
about healthy eating and guaranteeing healthy food for all, and was attended by delegates from more than 100 cities from around the world. Despite the city’s efforts, two perennial challenges arise: shortage of funding and waitlists. There just are not enough developed gardens to meet the demand. Marginalized and low-income families aiming to become self sufficient in agriculture are especially hard hit. Would you like to be involved in a community garden next spring? Now is a good time to start planning ahead. The City of Toronto website explains everything from how to start one or join one near you: toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/parksgardens-beaches/gardens-and -horticulture/urban-agriculture/ community-gardens/. The Community Garden supervisor can guide you and your team through the process of establishing your garden and raising funds for fences, soil, hoses, tools, seeds and raised beds. There is usually no cost for the land itself unless it is on private property. The acreage you need depends on the number of plots you plan to create. Individual plots are generally 1.2 x 2.4 metres deep
enough for reaching in and long enough to grow a variety of vegetables. According to Arlene Hazzan Green, founder of West Lodge Community Garden, “it’s important to establish a flow of communication to ensure the welcoming inclusion of people speaking many languages and to resolve misunderstandings before they become disputes.” Contact the Toronto Community Garden Network tcgn.ca/ to find assistance for organizers and to network with leaders in the growing group of urban farmers. Toronto Urban Growers has a great deal of information on community gardens and events, as well as direct ways to address inequity. Visit them at torontourbangrowers.org or on
Photos and illustrations June Anderson
TBG’s mission is to connect people, plants and the natural world through education, inspiration and leadership. “What could be more connecting than community gardening?” asks Georgie Kennedy
Mark Stewart spearheads Food Up Front Neighbours grow together and share the produce
Facebook. Another important social media presence is Grow Food Toronto. Find their page on Facebook. Community gardening is for beginners and experts alike. Toronto Botanical Garden’s mission is to connect people, plants and the natural world through education, inspiration and leadership. Under normal circumstances, lectures and classes are available on a wide variety of relevant topics, from bee keeping to growing garlic to seed saving. The TBG, in partnership with Toronto Master Gardeners, has hosted several well-attended virtual call-in workshops on vegetable growing and other topics during the lockdown. Keep watching for new classes both online and in person.
Unable to work at his regular job as Knowledge Resources Manager in the TBG library during the pandemic lockdown, Mark Stewart spent much of this past spring and summer convincing Torontonians to grow vegetables in their front yards. In January, Mark proposed Food Up Front (FUF) to the steering committee of Transition Toronto, a non-profit organization working to “shift the city toward a healthy post-carbon way of life”. He hoped to help break down stigmas around growing vegetables in front yards, reduce food mile emissions and create more resilient, connected communities. “Because this year’s Seedy Saturdays had to close due to the pandemic, and the Toronto Seed Library branches were also closed, I was able to get a lot of free seeds from those sources. We also received seed donations from Canada Compost Council, Friends of Allan Gardens, Skuta Pumpkin Co. and Mark’s Choice. “We ended up delivering bunches of seed packets to 480 households to grow in their front yards or balconies. Of those, 324 signed up as Community Activators, meaning they are growing food in their own front yards, and also distributing seeds to get their neighbours growing as well,” said Mark. The goal is to create food streets where neighbours grow together and share the produce! “Our hope is that food becomes part of our urban landscape, so that urban kids grow up knowing what tomatoes and beans look like.” —Georgie Kennedy
How can you help? Whether or not you feel the need to join a community garden yourself, here are several ways you can help ensure food security for others: • Donate to Toronto Seed Library torontoseedlibrary.org/ • Visit a community garden and support their activities • Donate to organizations led by Black, Indigenous and people of colour, such as: (List courtesy of Toronto Master Gardeners) 1. Black Creek Community Farm facebook.com/Black Creek CommunityFarm/ 2. Food Share facebook.com/ FoodShareTO/ 3. Sundance Harvest sundanceharvestfarm.com/ 4. AfriCan Food Basket africanfoodbasket.ca/ 5. Green Circle Food Hub, donation link to Virtual Farmers’ Market, Black Food Toronto virtualfarmersmarket.ca/ 6. We Seed Change (via Rhonda Teitel-Payne/ BCCF Director Leticia Deawuo) weseed change.org 7. Black Farmers’ Collective Torontofacebook.com/black farmerscollectivetoronto/ 8. Good Food Boxes to Black and Indigenous peoples (posted by Lorraine Johnson) canadahelps.org/en/dn/m/ 34403/donation or via bit.ly/3eLSRhF
Fleurs de Villes showcases floral talent
people, places & plants Goings On at the TBG
TBG Horticulture Director Paul Gellatly and Communications Director Jenny Rhodenizer attended the opening of Fleurs de Villes Floral Trail through Bloor-Yorkville. Mannequins in flower ensembles and unique floral installations by some of Toronto’s top floral talent were on display in early August at the Pop-Up exhibition. Our Lady Joy, the Toronto Botanical Gardeninspired mannequin was created by Periwinkle Flowers.
A Tribute to Barbara Wagner
Mark Hirowatari joins TBG as Part Time CFO
Mark Hirowatari joined TBG in February as Part Time Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining TBG, Mark spent the past seven years in the not-for-profit sector including two and a half years as the Interim CFO for the Royal Ontario Museum. Prior to joining the ROM, he worked in Tokyo for approximately 10 years for large multinational companies including Avon Products and Oracle Corporation as country CFO. During his time in Tokyo, Mark managed teams in other parts of Asia, including China, India and Australia while reporting into headquarters located in the U.S. and Europe. Mark started his career at PwC. He graduated from the University of Toronto and is currently a member of CPA Ontario holding CPA and CA designations.
Barbara Wagner, a long serving volunteer in the TBG Garden Shop, passed away on July 9, following a long battle with cancer. “We will very much miss her enthusiasm and kindness and support for the TBG and I am so upset at the loss of a good friend and colleague” said Retail Shop Buyer Martha Mckee, who spoke to Barbara not long before she passed away. “She asked me to let everyone know how much she has loved being in the Shop at the TBG and being part of our special group of volunteers.” Paul Zammit, former TBG Director of Horticulture said, “Celebrating Barbara is remembering and cherishing her welcoming smile, her caring and compassionate nature and her tremendous hugs. For 11 years, I feel blessed by having had the opportunity to have known and worked with her, and to call her a friend. “Barbara was an inspiration for all volunteers,” said Sue Hills, TBG Volunteer Coordinator.
Edwards Summer Music Series 2020 goes Online
Toronto Botanical Garden has been taking music lovers on virtual music trips all summer showcasing contemporary Canadian talent, all filmed within the beauty of the Toronto Botanical Garden. The final of eight intimate concerts will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3. Each concert will remain available on the TBG site for two months. Torontobotanicalgarden.ca/summer-music-series The Edwards Summer Music Series is generously sponsored by The Edwards Charitable Foundation.
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