Trellis magazine - Late Spring Edition 2020

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Late Spring 2020 • Vol 49

Precious Peonies | Native Pollinator Plants | Seeding the Future


L at e S p r i n g 2 0 2 0 • V o l 4 9



From the CEO TBG Update


FUTURE New beds will provide native plants for ravine revitalization


POLLINATOR PLANTS 8 native perennials to take you through the seasons


FAREWELL TO PAUL ZAMMIT A great friend, strong team member & garden champion



HOUSEPLANT PROFILE The ZZ plant— both good looking and carefree


PEONIES Bring structure & joy to the late spring garden

[16] PEOPLE, PLACES & PLANTS New faces at the TBG

[17] ALL THE DIRT Staff interview: Christine Lawrance

Cover photo Paul Zammt. This Page: Rick Matsumoto

WHAT’S HOT Mother Nature Basket the Perfect Gift

Toronto JUNE 3 - 7

Fresh Floral Pop-ups by some of Toronto’s top floral talent Fleurs de Villes takes over Bloor-Yorkville from June 3 - 7. Follow the floral trail around the neighbourhood, visiting the collection of stunning fresh floral mannequins and unique floral installations. BEAUTIFULLY SUPPORTED BY

Visit for more information. fleursdevilles

Mannequin beautifully created by Teatro Verde.

fro m the CEO

David and his father Richard McIsaac at the TBG

Our members are the heart of our organization Welcome to the first digital version of Trellis. We decided to put this issue online so that you can enjoy some of the enclosed articles a little earlier, and so I can bring you up-to-date information on the situation at the Toronto Botanical Garden in relation to the current pandemic. With gratitude to our hard-working staff, volunteers and generous donors, we ended 2019 debt-free and started 2020 on a positive footing. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 virus has set us back, as it has so many other institutions and individuals. We have had to cancel or postpone many events and activities, close our building, and most sadly, temporarily lay off valued staff until we can resume operations. Many people have asked how they can help during this time. Your unwavering support means everything to us and we ask for that support now. If you would like to make a donation to the TBG, you can donate online via our website. On a positive note, all of our gardens are coming into bloom and we are developing ways to bring our garden to you remotely through our social media channels. Enjoy the peonies in May and June, think about planting native pollinator perennials in your own garden and enjoy all the benefits of being outdoors, albeit while keeping a proper distance between yourself and others to comply with the current health restrictions. We will let you know when and how our Annual General Meeting will take place as soon as we are able. Please keep checking the TBG website to see what events have been cancelled or postponed. When this pandemic situation

improves, we will look to restore our operations fully with a focus on continued growth and development as we envision our exciting expansion. Over the past year, I have worked very closely with our incredibly dedicated Board of Directors. We have added government relations and operations expertise with the appointment of Gordon Ashworth, who has been part of our expansion committee for many years, and Christina Iacovino, our Ex Officio member from the City of Toronto. Janice Winton and Manraj Chauhan both bring a wealth of not-for-profit and financial experience to our Finance & Audit Committee. In addition, we are creating a new committee of the Board that will focus on mission-based activities. Its purpose will be to apply the lens of the TBG mission to our long term strategy, our day-to-day activities and programs, and the expansion planning process, to ensure continuous alignment with our fundamental principles and core values. I’m happy to tell you that we have a new Director of Horticulture, Paul Gellatly, who joined our team in March. We’re also reviewing our infrastructure, in particular technology, and looking for opportunities to strengthen and build up our operations. Our members are the heart of our organization. I’m always interested in your thoughts and how we can better engage with you. We will endeavour to keep you informed with regular updates. Feel free to contact me directly by email.

David McIsaac, CEO,


Late Spring 2020

Ludwigia alternifolia (seedbox)

Verbena stricta (hoary verbena)


Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm)

oronto’s urban forests are in trouble. Restoring them will not be easy. In an effort to ensure a more positive future for Wilket Creek Ravine, the TBG has undertaken an important and challenging project to help restore and revitalize native plant habitats, a step considered vital to preserving its biodiversity. With the help of funding from the Gosling Foundation (goslingfoundation. org), the installation of new seed beds behind the carpet beds at the Toronto Botanical Gardens took place in October 2019. The purpose is to provide a source of native plants ready for the future expansion and revitalization of the ravine. “At this point it is very early days but our goal for the beds for 2020 is all about learning,” says Colleen Cirillo, the TBG’s Director of Education. “In preparation for the future expansion, we want to establish protocols on how to collect, process and grow native seeds. These seed beds will be a great tool for education, as well as a future source of plants for our ravine restoration project. They provide the opportunity for hands-on learning for staff, volunteers and students.” Seed Bed Construction

Some of the logs that were used in exhibiting the ZimSculpt sculptures for the past two summers were recycled to create the borders of the three raised seed beds (each 15 x 12 metres). The beds are unlined and open to the ground with the bottom of each bed made up of overturned sod that decomposes naturally. Each raised bed is about one foot deep. Currently, half the space is planted with seedlings obtained from the Ontario Plant Restoration Alliance (

Asclepias verticillata (whorled milkweed)

Seeding the Future

New beds to provide native plants for future ravine revitalization reports Veronica Sliva Plant Selection

Stefan Weber, restoration biologist and cofounder of Ontario Plant Restoration Alliance and St. Williams Nursery & Ecology Centre, provided expertise in choosing and supplying a selection of appropriate native species to start off the project. The beds were planted with seedlings of Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm), Solidago ptarmicoides (upland white aster), Asclepias verticillata (whorled milkweed), Verbena stricta (hoary verbena), Liatris cylindracea (Ontario blazing star), Solidago bicolor (white goldenrod) and Ludwigia alternifolia (seedbox or rattlebox). In time these seedlings will mature and produce seeds that can be collected to produce new plants.


Garden Club to grow native oaks

In his keynote address at the Urban Ravine Symposium in October 2019, Henry Hughes provided an overview of Centennial Trees. The retired education director for the Birmingham Botanical Garden emphasized the importance of planting native species that are at risk and under-represented in the horticultural trade and in the landscape. During his talk he referred to Eric Davies, an ecologist who collects native oak acorns in Toronto’s ravines and germinates them in his front yard. Members of the Garden Club of Toronto were so inspired by Henry’s talk and Eric’s activities that they decided to embark on a project to honour the club’s 75th anniversary in 2021. The project includes growing locally sourced native oak seedlings for transplanting into the ravine. Half the space in the newly built seed beds is dedicated for this purpose and will be under the watchful stewardship of the Garden Club of Toronto.

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1 Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) zone 3 Flat-topped clusters of tiny yellow flowers, 30 to 90 centimetres tall, followed by purple seed heads, provide food for native bees, black swallowtail butterflies and other insects. Growing in full or part sun and moist to drysoil, Zizia is also deer resistant.

Pollinators are essential in our gardens throughout the gardening season, says landscape designer Sara Katz, owner of Wild at Heart Design. “The combination of these native perennials will attract and feed pollinators from early spring to frost. Early and late flowers are especially important to help pollinators gain strength before and after migration and hibernation.�


2 Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) zone 3

3 Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) zone 3

Clusters of pink buds, 30 to 60 centimetres tall, open to nodding trumpet-shaped sky blue blooms for several weeks. They prefer moist loamy soil in part to full shade. Butterflies, moths and large bees are frequent visitors. As bluebells gradually die back and go dormant in summer, you can fill in the space with foamflower.

Short (15 to 30 centimetres) spikes of frothy white flowers that bloom just after bluebells, last for three weeks and thrive in the same conditions. The maple-shaped leaves last all season providing an attractive groundcover.


Late Spring 2020

Photo: Joshua Meyer flickr (1, 5),Colleen Cirillio (2) Phillip Bouchard flickr (3,4) Stefan Weber (6), Ed Krolow (7), Christa Bee (8)

Native Pollinator Plants

Sara Katz recommends 8 native perennials to take your garden through the seasons

4 Bowman’s Root (Gillenia trifoliata aka Porteranthus trifoliatus) zone 4 Masses of starry white flowers on reddish stems and burgundy fall foliage attract small bees in the mid-summer garden. Deer resistant Gillenia resembles a small shrub and grows to 100 centimetres in part shade and once established is drought tolerant.


5 Wild Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis) zone 3

6 Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) zone 4

This 50 centimetre tall, airy and delicate looking plant with nodding tubular pinky-red and yellow flowers is tough. It thrives in average to dry soils in sun to part shade. It will self-seed and mingles well with other plants. It is a magnet for moths, bees and hummingbirds.

Flat-topped umbels of bright orange flowers on 60 centimetre tall plants grow in full sun in well drained soil. The seed pods are slender and attractive. This milkweed is not invasive. Plants are slow to establish and emerge late in the spring. New plants should not dry out, but once established, are drought tolerant.


7 Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) zone 3

8 New York Aster ( Symphyotrichum novi-belgii ) zone 3

This tall (175 centimetres), fast growing plant has dense spikes of tubular white flowers above whorls of dark green leaves from late summer through fall. Grow it in full sun in moist to average garden soil. Cutting the stems back by half in mid-June will increase branching and flowering and help prevent flopping. Butterflies and bees love this plant.

Slightly shorter at 90 to 100 centimetres than New England Asters, these small but profuse daisy-shaped flowers are long lasting in shades of purple and pink. They need full sun and average to dry soil for optimum bloom and good air circulation to prevent mildew. Pinching stems will increase flowering from August to late fall.


Late Spring 2020

Paul Zammit and Anwar Knight from CTV News in the garden.

Farewell Paul Zammit “We will deeply miss Paul who has been a great friend, strong team member and champion for the gardens,� says TBG Marketing & Communications Director Jenny Rhodenizer


Late Spring 2020


garden columnist. Over the past four summers, he’s been answering callers’ gardening questions and sharing his deep horticultural knowledge in addition to slipping in a few plugs for the TBG’s summer music series and other programs. One of Paul’s great joys was his early morning walks at 5:30 a.m. when he had the garden all to himself and could visit his favourite plants including a little sassafras. But he equally enjoyed the gardens when they were filled with visitors, especially photographers–taking pictures is another of his many talents. “This is a sign that the garden is alive,” says Zammit as photos are being taken of the many flowers, as well as the many insects and birds they attract. After noticing a group of early morning photographers who were blocking the pathway as they patiently waited for the hummingbirds to flock to the salvia, he set about creating a new and larger salvia installation to attract hummingbirds as well as their followers into a more suitable and spacious location. Year after year, he has delighted and amazed our guests with his unique plant combinations and stunning container displays which demonstrated the power of plants beyond esthetics. One of his favourite plants to use is parsley. “It’s great for floral design, good for cooking and it’s also a magnet for swallowtail butterflies!” he says. We will deeply miss Paul, who has been a great friend, strong team member and champion for the gardens. You will now find Paul educating the next generation as he has joined the horticultural faculty at Niagara College. He still remains a resident of Etobicoke where he hopes to spend more time with his family and tending to his own amazing garden. In addition to his local and international speaking engagements, he will also be leading more international garden tours with Marjorie Mason, with a portion of the proceeds supporting the Toronto Botanical Garden. His presence will continue to be felt as the garden comes alive this spring and we hope to have Paul back to share in all of our special occasions as our garden continues to grow.

Photo: Jenny Rhodenizer

t was big news in the horticulture world when Paul Zammit left Plant World to accept the position of Director of Horticulture at the TBG in February 2009. This was a sign that the TBG was on its way to becoming something great! In his signature style, he immediately sprang into action, creating a TBG booth at Canada Blooms the following month. He then used his extensive retail experience along with his unmatched creativity (with some favours from local suppliers and furnishings from his home) to reestablish the Garden Shop, which had been closed for many months. He’s not your average director of horticulture! Since that time he has been infusing his own brand of passion, care, excitement and knowledge into everything and everyone with whom he has come in contact. Over the past 10 plus years, Paul has become known as the face, the heart, and many say the soul of the gardens. He is perhaps best known for his ‘theatrical’ presentations where he may leap off the stage or run down the aisle. He has crisscrossed the country exciting audiences with his boundless enthusiasm and passion for all things green (and brown… which is one of his favourite plant design colours). During his tenure at the TBG, he has also given presentations internationally in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and South Africa. “I’m most proud of the awareness we’ve been able to generate for the gardens,” says Zammit. “I average about 40 public speaking engagements each year.” His warmth as a person can be immediately felt, and it’s genuine. He cares deeply about making a difference and making connections with people who share his love of gardens. “That’s what brought me to the TBG,” says Zammit. After he had filled in many times for Ed Lawrence on his weekly radio program, the producers at CBC Radio took notice of how well their listeners responded to his modest and approachable manner. He was invited to join Gill Deacon on CBC Radio’s Here and Now program as its weekly


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what’s hot! • Mother Nature Basket the Perfect Gift • Looking for a unique Mother’s Day gift? The ultimate garden lovers’ gift box is full of locally sourced gourmet goodies plus a gift membership to the Toronto Botanical Garden. The Mother Nature Gift Box is available for $125 on and will be delivered just in time for Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10. Each box includes • Honey Orange Rosemary Chocolate Bar/CXBO • Flower Sugar

Cookies/Lindsey Bakes • Blueberry & Lavender Jam/ Provisions Food Company • Just Peachy Tea (a black tea with peaches and apricots/Pluck • Raw Organic Prince Edward County Honey/Long Point Honey • Fig Tree & Fern Candle/ Les Citadines • Toronto Botanical Garden Membership. Created in partnership with foodiepages. Visit

classifieds GARDEN TOURS with Margaret Dailey-Plouffe. Tours that exceed your expectations. Garden Tours For 2020: Newport, RI – sold out – will be offered in 2021; Quebec Garden tour (July); Buffalo Garden Festival (July); New York City – 6 days at the end of August!; FLW Fallingwater (October); PLUS Newfoundland; Lake Erie Musical Tour; Quebec Whale Watching; International Tours to: Ireland; Croatia;

Contact Margaret at 416-746-7199 OR 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, powder-coated steel ensures


that these towers remain rust-resistant and durable for many years to come. Available throughout the year at the Garden shop. $99 GARDEN HELP NEEDED Mainly weeding in flower beds and trimming of iris leaves and small shrubs. Location: Lawrence and Pharmacy. Tel 416-7578214. For salary and details, please call Ms. L. Liivamagi from 3 to 10 p.m.

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Houseplant Profile


The ZZ plant is good looking & carefree says Veronica Sliva

Direct 416.564.9450



he ZZ is a member of the arum family (Araceae) and is native to east African countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Malawi and Zanzibar, where it grows in dry, rocky soil. When first discovered in the late 1800s it was given the hard-to-pronounce botanical name Zamioculcas zamiifolia. The name was quickly shortened to ZZ (or Zee Zee). In the late 1990s Dutch nurseries located the ZZ in South Africa and recognizing its commercial potential started marketing the plant around the world. This relatively new houseplant is getting a lot of attention these days. And no wonder. It may well be the most carefree houseplant ever. Referred to by many as indestructible, this is one tough plant that takes lots of neglect. It tolerates low levels of light and prolonged dry periods and can grow just about anywhere. It is the perfect plant for beginners. The ZZ has leathery, shiny leaves along the length of its fat stems. It grows into a vase-shaped plant with an architectural look that complements any décor. The ZZ is a slow grower, eventually reaching a height and spread of 75 x 60 centimetres. Occasionally, if it is very happy, the plant may bloom, producing an erect spike of tiny white flowers encased by a sheath-like green spathe.

Care Tips Light: Low light levels are tolerated but medium indirect light in an east or west exposure is ideal. Direct sun can damage the foliage. Soil: Not fussy. Any free draining mix will do. Water: Drought tolerant. Because its rhizomes store water, this plant can go for weeks without moisture. Once every month or six weeks is often enough. When you do water be sure the water drains completely. Let soil dry out before watering again. Feeding: Fertilize once every six months when actively growing with a diluted all-purpose fertilizer. Temperature: 15–24°C (60–75°F) - If your home is comfortable for you, it will be comfortable for this plant.

Humidity: The ZZ is very tolerant of dry air.

Pests and Diseases: Not bothered by either. Propagation: When the plant becomes too large for its pot (it is happy being pot bound), you can separate the rhizomes and repot. You can also propagate by leaf or stem cuttings. To propagate from leaf cuttings, gently pull off a leaf from the stem. Let the cut edge dry slightly for up to 24 hours, then place the cut edge of the leaf into free draining potting mix. Alternatively, stem cuttings can also be placed in water and may root. It can take up to a year for roots to develop. Note: All parts are toxic and poisonous to humans and pets if ingested.


Late Spring 2020



Derek W Welsh President

I.S.A. Certified Arborist #ON-0129A


P. Sorbet

Fragrant pink and white double blooms in early summer. Foliage turns red in fall.

P. Coral Charm

Large semi-double blooms open from deep coral buds into bowl-shaped coral peach flowers with curved petals.

A Plethora of Peonies

These fragrant garden heirlooms are tough, hardy and long-lived Photography by Rick Matsumoto retouching and Colour correction by Sharfaa Badurdeen

P. Buckeye Belle

Semi-double, dark red, velvety blooms are held on sturdy stems. Good cut flowers.

P. Going Bananas

Huge, fragrant yellow semi-double blossoms with red central flares have lush, deeply dissected foliage.

P. Flame

Medium to large single crimson red flowers have orange flame-like colouration in petals. Good cut flowers.

collect i ons

P. Scarlett O’Hara Velvety, bright red blooms with yellow centres on sturdy stems make fine cut flowers.

P. Jan Van Leeuwen

Fragrant, large, single blooms with white satin petals and large yellow centres dance atop lush green foliage in mid-spring.

P. Sequestered Sunshine

Large, canary yellow blossoms with showy stamens stand above deeply dissected foliage. Vigorous. Excellent cut flowers.

P. Krinkled White

Large, single flowers have white, delicately crinkled petal edges, accented by yellow centres.

P. Sarah Bernhardt

P. Henry Bockstoce

Giant, double flowers are formed from rounded deep cardinal red petals. Should be staked for best results.

This stunning favourite has huge, fully double, fresh pink blooms and glossy, deer resistant foliage.

Precious Peonies Big, blowsy and beautiful, these showy perennials bring structure and joy to the spring garden By Lorraine Hunter


assionate about peonies? You’re not alone. Peonies (Paeonia) hold a special place in the late spring/ early summer garden. Easy to grow, once established, these regal perennials can live for decades—even a century or more—and often become family heirlooms. My friend Pat has one in her North Toronto garden that’s older than she is and comes up faithfully with dozens of bright magenta blooms every year. There are 278 peony plants in the TBG gardens, many planted by Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf and Canadian landscape architect Martin Wade in the entrance courtyard when the new gardens were planted in 2005. “And, we added more as time and budget allowed,” recalls Paul Zammit, former TBG Director of Horticulture, “especially singles for pollinators.” Bees are highly attracted to single peonies and ants love this flower’s nectar. Ants will not harm the flowers. In fact, the ants’ presence draws a variety of insect-eating songbirds. Peonies have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years as ornamental and medicinal plants used to promote liver health and reduce pain, inflammation and stress. They are drought tolerant, low maintenance and deer resistant. Their flowers come in just about every colour but blue including shades of yellow, coral, peach, lavender, white, blush, pink, magenta and red. The pink ones are said to be the most fragrant. The flowers can grow as wide as 25 centimetres depending on the variety. Peonies, are a genus of approximately 30 species, divided into three groups. The first, herbaceous peonies, are soft

stemmed, clump-forming plants that die back to ground level in winter. The second group, Moutan or tree peonies, are deciduous shrubs with woody stems. And, the third, intersectional or Itoh hybrids, are a cross between herbaceous and tree peonies. Peony blooms may be single, semi-double, double, anemone, or Japanese form and, according to the Canadian Peony Society, their scent can be classified as rose, lemon, honey or musk. When we did the photo shoot for this article there were at least 23 different peony varieties in bloom in the TBG

By the Numbers

The TBG has a total of 278 peonies in the garden: 1 Chinese Tree Peony (Ostii) 1 Lutea Hybrid Tree Peony 3 Fernleaf Peonies 9 Japanese Tree Peonies (Suffruticosa) 30 Common Garden or Herbaceous Hybrids 40 Intersectional (Itoh) Peonies 69 Herbaceous Hybrid Peonies 125 Common Garden Peonies (Lactiflora)


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garden that day, ranging in colour from the velvety reds of P. Henry Bockstoce, P. Buckeye Belle and P. Scarlett O’Hara to the pale to hot pinks of P. Sorbet and P. Sarah Bernhardt (the most popular peony in the world), the yellows of P. Going Bananas and P. Sequestered Sunshine, the pristine whites of P. Jan van Leeuwen, P. Primavera and P. Krinkled White. Coral choices included P. Flame. And that was just a sampling of what was blooming in the gardens. The best time for viewing peonies in the TBG gardens is from early May to mid June, depending on the weather, of course. How to Plant and Maintain Peonies

• Peonies prefer a well-drained soil and full—at least six hours—sunlight in order to bloom well. • Peonies like cold winters. • Fall is the opportune time to plant peonies. If you purchase a potted root (aka tuber or bulb) it can be planted anytime during the gardening season. • To help rehydrate it, place the tuber in a bucket of water for two to three hours before planting. • To plant a potted peony in the ground: dig a hole at least 20 to 25 centimetres deep, loosening the soil well. Spread roots apart if they appear to be growing

in a tight circle. Place a handful of bone meal into the hole. Make sure the eyes are buried no deeper than five centimetres below the soil surface, or your plant may fail to bloom. • Plant with eyes facing up and roots down. • Keep newly-planted peonies consistently moist until established. After that they should be quite drought tolerant. • Fertilizing may not be necessary if planted in heavy clay, but in sandy soil periodic top dressing with well-aged compost in the fall will help maintain soil fertility. Apply compost around the peony but not directly on the crown. • Their large blooms make most peonies top heavy and they should thus be staked with a support to avoid flopping over. Set out peony rings in early spring when the plants are emerging from the soil. • Although individual blossoms may only bloom for a week or two at best, it is possible to extend the peony season over several weeks by growing a variety of woodland, tree, herbaceous and Itoh peonies, which will flower in that order, paying attention to labels noting early, mid and late season blooming times. • Leave enough space—90 to 122 centimetres—between peonies so that air can circulate properly to reduce the incidence of mildew.

Why aren’t your peonies blooming? There are many possibilities including any of the following, many of which are mentioned on the Canadian Peony Society website • They may be planted too deep. If the eyes are more than five centimetres underground, lift and replant. • Small divisions. The flowers in very small divisions take longer to bloom. Divisions with three to five eyes will reach blooming size more quickly than smaller two to three eye divisions. • Allow the plant time to develop. It may have been moved and divided too often. It could take

five years in the same spot before a peony blooms. • Buds that form but don’t develop may be undernourished. Try top dressing with compost, avoiding the crown. • Or, they may be damaged by late frost, drought or being waterlogged. • Peonies won’t flourish if soil is poor or there is competition from nearby shrubs and trees. • They may be over fertilized. Water thoroughly to wash away excess nitrogen and cut down on fertilizer. • Too much shade. Replant in full sun (six hours a day). • Too dry. Water to bottom of roots.

Great Places to See Peonies • Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Ave. E. Toronto • Whistling Gardens, 698 Concession 3 Townsend Rd, Wilsonville, ON, south of Brampton • Oshawa Peony Festival, June 13 and 14, Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens, 155 Arena St., Oshawa

Paul Gellatly

moments New TBG Director of Development appreciates member support By Georgie Kennedy Alison Kenn thrives on challenge. “My goal this year is to make the TBG stand out: to showcase all our great work and help tell our story,” Says Alison Kenn. She describes the botanical garden as an excellent place to work and the donors as “passionately involved”. The TBG’s new Director of Development hopes to increase and improve communication with members and donors giving them more opportunities to be involved with and recognized by the organization. She plans to meet with donors to learn about any initiatives they may have in mind. She wants the TBG to be “donors’ and members’ first choice as a venue for adult education, seminars, conferences and, of course, garden visits.” Alison has a history of her own with Edward Gardens. Her mother brought her here on weekends. One vivid childhood memory is of a group of older women setting up coolers and lawn chairs in a semi-circle facing the garden to have a good view of bridal couples having their special photos taken. Now that she works in the botanical garden, she carves out time twice a week for an Alison Kenn exploratory walk around the property, making sure to upload her photos of new discoveries to Facebook. So, be watching. Alison brings some 25 years of experience fundraising with Easter Seals, CNIB, University of Toronto, Jazz FM and the Ontario PC Party to the job. Her main part time job as a student was in a large nursery in Scarborough. Alison took up her new position at the end of a very trying fiscal year for the TBG. Her work thus far has been almost completely focused on the annual Hearts and Flowers Fund. In just two short months, she found extraordinary support among the members. In fact, 2019 donations came in at $15,000 over the original goal. “Since there is minimal ongoing support from either the city or the province, this bodes well for the future,” says Alison. “It means the garden can move on from the past and focus on its mission of ‘connecting people to plants and inspiring us to live in harmony with nature’.” Does our chief fundraiser have any interesting hobbies? What a loaded question! Alison paints water landscapes and has quilted for 20 years. Her most recent project was for a friend: it’s made out of racing t-shirts from marathons they have run together, mainly in Disney World in Florida. Yes, Alison is a marathon runner with four races completed. In the summer, she races sailboats with the Etobicoke Yacht Club. She is also a licensed pilot, although not active at present. In addition, she is a certified SCUBA diver! “I give my mother a heart attack! But I still haven’t tried skydiving.”

people, places & plants Goings On at the TBG Glenn Davidson


Late Spring 2020

All the Dirt

Paul Gellatly new TBG Director of Horticulture A passionate life-long horticulturist, Paul Gellatly joined the TBG leadership team as the new Director of Horticulture this March. Most recently Paul was the Curatorial Gardener for one of Canada’s largest tropical plant collections at the Toronto Zoo. He has a strong online following as the Tattooed Gardener, with social media posts reaching 4.7 M people per month. Paul was previously a gardener at the City of Toronto, spent six years at Plant World in the perennial department, and was an estate gardener for a Trillium Award winning property in Carlisle, Ontario. He is an avid plant collector of rare and unusual plants in addition to being an experienced hybridizer of daylilies, with 18 registrations with the American Hemerocallis Society. You can see Paul’s home garden featured in Tara Nolan’s new book Gardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big and Small Spaces.

New Retail Shop Manager joins TBG Welcome to Glenn Davidson, new Retail Shop Manager for the Garden Shop. Glenn has worked in the retail sector for more than 20 years including the last 15 with the LCBO holding various positions including retail training consultant, manager and most recently as a product consultant. Glenn brings with him a passion for horticulture. He was already a TBG member and has attended many TBG events including Canada Blooms and the Holiday Market. Glenn previously owned his own landscape design company which furthered his love for plants and nature. His other passions include hockey and volunteering. He has been a hockey coach for over 30 years and has held executive positions with various hockey associations.

numerous groups begins evaluating and preparing for the following year. Teams take responsibility for logistics, floor plans, marketing, speakers, exhibitors, catering, rentals and volunteers, with contingency plans for foreseeable blips. “As a not-for-profit organization we would not be able to do what we do with our roster of events without the support of our dedicated TBG volunteers,” says Christine. Before each event, everyone M eet C h r i st i ne Lawr a nc e involved attends an orientation session to become familiar with the TBG Events Manager entire operation, empowering them loves a challenge & thrives to be efficient team players. Chrison the unexpected tine directs what she calls “a coordinated dance”, and often pitches vents held in a living garden in to assist with the unexpected. naturally become large, multiChristine names Mother Nature faceted productions, says TBG as her greatest challenge. “Every outEvents Manager Christine door event requires a full indoor Plan Lawrance. Her university education B, right down to the arrangement of in art curating and exhibition coordination plus a passion for vegetable chairs.” By keeping a close watch on local weather using Doppler radar, gardening make Christine a perfect Christine can make the decision to fit for stage managing players, crew signal the start of set up at the exact and sets for such annual Toronto right time. One year, she called for an Botanical Garden events as: outdoor party to go ahead as sched• Get the Jump on Spring uled—and just minutes after it was (February) over, the rain started pelting down. • Canada Blooms (March) Keeping up with rapidly chang• Mark Cullen’s Through the ing technology is her second chal Garden Gate (June) lenge. In order to stay up to date • Music in the Gardens (July with industry trends, Christine reads and August) blogs, attends webinars and watches • Holiday Market (November) One recent highlight of Christine’s YouTube tutorials. As she says, “learning is a lifelong enterprise.” Her statjob was acting as lead for ZimSculpt ed objectives are to increase audience 2018 and 2019. “Some of Zimbaengagement and set up environmenbwe’s best stone artists exhibited tally sustainable systems that include their art and did live sculpting in the garden. I was moved by the awe paperless check-in. The TBG’s steering committees always begin of the visitors interacting with the with an examination of the statistics artists,” she recalls. and new ideas she has gleaned, and Christine’s enthusiasm is catchtogether they find ways to improve. ing. “What I love about this job is For instance, given the overwhelmthat I work alongside an amazing group of people who are as passion- ing response to the Holiday Market 2019, the committee will consider an ate as I am about what we do here expanded two-day event this year. at the Toronto Botanical Garden. This work requires a person like There are always new projects, new Christine, someone who thrives on people and new partnerships.” unpredictability and the unexpected. Immediately after each show, a –Georgie Kennedy steering committee representing



Late Spring 2020




Brian Bixley, Mark Cullen, Camilla Dalglish, Sondra Gotlieb, Marjorie Harris, Lorraine Johnson, Michele Landsberg, Susan Macauley, Helen Skinner

CHIEF Executive OFFICER David McIsaac 416-397-1484



Garden Director Harry Jongerden 416-397-1346

June Anderson

President: Gino Scapillati; Vice President: Cynthia Webb; Treasurer: Barb Yager; Members: Penny Richards, Denis Flanagan, Alexandra Risen, Sara D’Elia, Liz Esson, Catherine Meade, Wendy Thompson, Gordon Ashworth, Melanie Sifton, Nicole Leaper; Ex Officio: Christina Iacovino (City of Toronto), Joy Gray-Donald (Garden Club), Ingrid Smith (Milne House)

About The Toronto Botanical Garden The Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) is a volunteer-based, charitable organization that raises more than 95 per cent of its operating funds through membership, facility rentals, retail operations, program fees and donations. The organization relies on its partnership with the City of Toronto and on the generosity and financial commitment of individuals, foundations and corporations to support the many beneficial services we provide to the community. Our mission: Toronto Botanical Garden connects people to plants, inspiring us to live in harmony with nature. Our vision: Toronto Botanical Garden will be renowned for its display of nature’s beauty and as a dynamic hub for plant-centred learning, conservation and research.


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Important Notice

Toronto Botanical Garden continues to support the City’s ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and have temporarily closed our building and parking lot. We will continue to post updates on our website, but if you have a specific question please email us at or leave a message at 416-397-1341. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Advertising 416-397-4145 Trellis is published as a members’ newsletter by the Toronto Botanical Garden at Edwards Gardens 777 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario, M3C 1P2, 416-397-1341 Trellis welcomes queries for story ideas, which should be submitted to the editor for consideration by the Trellis Committee at least four months in advance of publication dates. Opinions expressed in Trellis do not necessarily reflect those of the TBG. Submissions may be edited for style and clarity. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission. Charitable registration number 119227486RR0001 Canada Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #40013928 ISSN 0380-1470 Printed by Mi5 Print + Digital

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777 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1P2, Canada 416-397-1341; fax: 416-397-1354 • • @TBG_Canada By TTC: From Eglinton subway station take the 51, 54 or 54A bus to Lawrence Avenue East and Leslie Street. The TBG is on the southwest corner.

Zimbabwean Stone Sculpture

Living in Harmony by Simon Chidharara

Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 1 to Thanksgiving 705.939.6144

What’s Growing On in Our Garden?

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