April 15, 2013
Tony DiGiovanni CHT
LO Executive Director

Most people think gardens are built by combining earth, trees, turf, shrubs, flowers, stone, wood and water. However, if you have ever had the opportunity to witness the garden build at Canada Blooms, you know that passion, inspiration, enthusiasm and pride are also involved in the process.  

Canada Blooms is awesome! It’s like a magnifying glass that focuses the creativity, skill and talent of our industry. Everyone who walks into Canada Blooms is welcomed by the visible evidence of thousands of ideas that can be recreated in their own homes. Millions of visitors have been emotionally touched by the beauty and the wonderful fragrance. All of us in the industry have benefited from the work of the garden builders and floral enthusiasts. Canada Blooms has put our industry on the map. We thank all the participants in Canada Blooms for doing such an exemplary job at promoting the industry.  

During the building process, I was struck at how illogical it all was. There were hundreds of individuals working 15-hour days in the midst of dust and diesel fumes while creating amazing displays, only to take them down ten days later.

Landscape Ontario is filled and blessed to have so many members who have what Tom Intven refers to as the LO gene. The contribution ethic is contagious, and happily has spread from one generation of members to the next.

We all owe great thanks to the following individuals who made us all look great. Please forgive me if I missed some. Paul Brydges and a team of designers from LO’s designers group (Connie Cadotte CLD, Ron Swentiski CLD, Anne Gilson, Ron Koudys CLD, Fred Post CLD, Marina Signer) who imagined the various concepts and elements. The main focal point was a Beacon of Knowledge, a wonderful dry stone creation built with passion by Dean McLellan, Kevin Hackson, Menno Braan and friends. They are quietly reviving the ancient art of dry stone walling. Thanks to Upper Canada Stone for the donation of a huge quantity of stone. The beacon symbolizes one of the core values of Landscape Ontario — to share knowledge. Please see http://bit.ly/10dQS81.  

Steve Carrothers from Aeon Gazebo lent his carpentry skills and built a gazebo complete with green roof. Barry Hordyk was also involved in the gazebo. Project manager Brian Marsh led a team which included Pat Elo CLT, Brandon and Tyler Gelderman, Regine Marsh, Jeffrey Lee, Darryl Bond and many others who skilfully constructed many elements of the garden.

James Thompson was responsible for the curved water wall. John Higo and Raymond Josephian from Turf Care brought the garden to life with their landscape lighting skills. Sally Harvey CLP, CLT spent many hours before, during and after the build coordinating thousands of details required for a smooth execution. Her mammoth contributions must be acknowledged and recognized. (You should have seen the length of her Gantt chart). Rachel Cerelli also helped coordinate many of the details. Robert Ellidge was responsible for preparing the signage and power point displays. Here is another video of the garden http://bit.ly/YdnDWa.

Another highlight of Canada Blooms was the Sheridan Nurseries garden which celebrated 100 Years of Horticulture. The display not only chronicled Sheridan’s story, it reflects the history of Ontario horticulture. Congratulations to Sheridan for reaching 100.  

And speaking of passion, Alan White, Kyle Tobin, Steve Tschanz, George Friedel, Ken Pavely, Lee Ratcliffe, Paul Gaspar and Paul Grotier once again revealed their passion for turf by building vignettes throughout the festival, tying them all together with a contest that had young people searching the building for clues on how turf improves the quality of life.  

Have a great spring season!   
Tony DiGiovanni may be reached at tony@landscapeontario.com.