June 15, 2016
From panda-mania to peat moss
Landscape Ontario staff helped to inspire youth and promote members during Earth Day at the Toronto Zoo.
By Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations

Denis FlanaganAt times, life can be very interesting at Landscape Ontario when we get involved with as many projects and partnerships as we do. We always keep our mission statement in mind, “to promote and foster the advancement of the horticultural industry.” Here are just a few examples:

Earth Day at the Toronto Zoo

To celebrate Earth Day we joined several other green industries and set up a display at the Toronto Zoo. The baby panda exhibit was the main attraction, and during the “panda-mania,” hundreds of families still found time to visit the LO display. At our display, your staff members Myscha Burton and Cassandra Weisner were kept busy helping kids plant vegetable seeds in pots to take home. At the same time, they were also promoting the professional work of our members. Who knows, maybe one of those budding gardeners was inspired to follow a career in horticulture and will one day become an employee of yours. If, in their job interview they mention anything about a childhood memory of pandas and peas, then maybe we did have an impact.

International Compost week

Speaking of peas, they were just one variety of vegetables being planted at the Oriole Community Garden during International Compost Awareness Week. This amazing event, set in the heart of a Don Mills community garden, is a partnership between Working Women Community Centre and Advent Lutheran Church. The organizing groups help over 100 families tend their own garden plots — growing many herbs, vegetables and flowers from many cultures. The families come from all over the world. Spoken languages overheard during the event included Farsi, Urdu, Arabic, Romanian, Mandarin and Cantonese. The garden plots that help to support the families also help to support the local food bank. The gardens were given an extra boost of nourishment during the week thanks to the Compost Council of Canada and Premier Tech Home and Garden’s CQA certified biomax composted manures.

Through the Garden Gate tour

Landscape Ontario was also involved in the Toronto Botanical Garden’s “Through the Garden Gate” tour of exclusive gardens in the Kingsway area on June 11 and 12. At least two gardens featured on the popular tour were created by LO members (Landscape Plus and Aldershot Landscape Contractors). The Toronto Master Gardeners and the North American Native Plant Society were also on hand to answer questions.

Garden Days

Several of our members will be involved with Garden Days — the three-day, country-wide celebration that starts with National Gardening Day on June 17. Members in Ottawa, Woodstock, Milton, Toronto and Picton are organizing or participating in events that demonstrate the vital roles gardens and gardening play in our communities and our lives. For more details, visit gardendays.ca.

National Public Works week

A brand new event this year was the first annual York Region Public Works Parks and Forestry Challenge. The week-long event ran May 15-21 and I was involved in judging some of the competitions. One of the events had two grade five classes paint large snow plow blades. The winning school was awarded the ‘Pylon Pete’ trophy. If, in the future, a company introduces a new custom-painted snow plow blade, then once again, we may have had an impact on someone in their early years.  
Denis Flanagan can be reached at dflanagan@landscapeontario.com or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.