October 1, 2015
Design Ideas from Toronto to Texas
On a quick, yet inspiring trip to Toronto in June for the Garden Blogger’s Fling, I didn’t cart much home in my suitcase. But I crammed my head with ideas, which made it through Customs just fine.
This front porch is really quite Austin chic!
I swooned over plants that I can’t grow, like heart-stealer Solomon’s Seal. Thanks to Susan Harris for the ID! I figure that my winter-blooming Leucojum aestivum bulbs will make a fine substitute for this summertime shady Toronto beauty.
With pleasurable ease, I can match this stunning duo of silver and white: Artemisia ludoviciana and iris.
Not sure I can grow flamboyant white-blooming Baptisia and honestly, I can’t remember what that silvery groundcover is. For sure, we can go for white salvias, silver ponyfoot, creeping germander or woolly stemodia.
I drooled over the variegated iris I’d never seen before. Look at how it pops out in “psycho” light.
An expert with the Iris Society of Austin said that we can grow variegated iris except for Japanese and Siberian versions.
Silver and burgundy is an unbeatable combination. I’d probably plant this silvery echeveria and begonia in a rich charcoal container.
What a kick to see a favorite grouping: lamb’s ears, purple salvias, and goldenrod. Like this Toronto gardener, I like to texture up with daylilies, small grasses and artemisia.
In several gardens, I spotted my favorite ‘Helen von Stein’ lamb’s ears, here to soften a border and delightfully contrast deep green boxwood.
Catmint is a mutual favorite for its silver-toned leaves and lavender flowers that bees love. We can brew a soothing tea with its leaves, but we all know the REAL reason many of us grow this perennial!
On those 50 shades of purple, I’ve got to find a way to achieve this one of alliums and clematis. In the same hue spectrum, their diverse forms and heights magnify each plant.
In a fairly small space, the Toronto Botanical Garden dazzles with depth and verve.
But I stepped on the big-picture brakes when I spied their test garden of various alyssums, including Alyssum ‘Dark Knight.’
Just a few months before on CTG, Texas A&M’s Brent Pemberton showed off a heat-loving alyssum in that same new hybrid test. But the winner in Texas is Alyssum ‘White Stream’, declared a Texas Superstar in June. Toronto-to-Texas trials mean that we can pick up the right plant in our local nurseries.
At the historic Parkwood Estate in Oshawa, we were treated to Downton Abbey-like period glamor and “characters.” Even though we can’t alternate marigolds with cooler-weather dusty miller here in summer, certainly we can create similar contrasting drama in our annual beds, even with upcoming fall lettuces! And this winter: calendulas with dusty miller–oooh!
Everywhere, gardens reminded me that powerful views start with depth and diverse texture. Boxwood frames this side yard destination in Toronto, just as it can for us.
Grab attention with lighting. I do envy Toronto gardeners their success with Japanese maples!
The Toronto Botanical Garden maximizes our connection to each plant through depth, contrast in colors and texture, and structure to formalize flowing lines.
In a small garden, plantswoman extraordinaire Marion Jarvie achieves the power of depth while framing unique spaces that screen the view to the neighbors.
She encourages even more viewpoints with a walk-around central island bed.
Berms promote drainage, of course, but also add depth on her flat terrain.
Like Marion, we can build dimension and a “peeking point” with a pergola.
Her front yard border softens the street view without a soldierly barricade.
The Toronto Botanical Garden promenades lush diversity to attract pollinators.
Their galvanized raised beds ramp up our view, thanks to a striking contrast against the natural stone pathway.
Let’s not neglect the view at our feet.
Now, let’s add water to soothe us and hydrate our wildlife. Marion Jarvie tucked a pond into her island bed.
And oh, how I love this narrow stream at the Toronto Botanical Garden!
Along with all the insightful gardeners I met, here’s the ultimate Texas to Toronto connection! I was honored to meet Harry Jongerden, Toronto Botanical’s Executive Director. He told me that he was headed to a conference to meet up with Andrea DeLong-Amaya, senior program coordinator at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center! Small world, indeed.
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda