March 16, 2019
Canada Blooms 2019 has gone the way of the sweatshirt and ski jacket: Black. The blooms, evergreens and flowering shrubs were not black but pottery, brick pavers, railings, mulch, outdoor lighting and arbours were noticeably black.
Canada Blooms, running Friday, March 8 to Sunday, March 17, is Canada’s premier flower and garden festival. The event is now held in Toronto at the Enercare Centre (formerly Direct Energy Centre) at Exhibition Place where the extensive displays can easily accommodate the more than 200,000 visitors expected through the garden gates.
Ticket holders walking into the front doors of Canada Blooms will immediately notice the lack of blooms and greenery. Instead, the first section of the show floor is home to the Home Show, where interested buyers are exposed to everything from the typical motionfull reclining chairs to motionless kitchen cabinets.
A second, smaller portion of the exhibition hall is a marketplace of sorts, where shoppers can buy garden gadgets, seeds, bulbs, and other interesting garden wares.
Keep walking and the entrance of the actual Canada Blooms is adorned with a huge heart shaped display covered in a multitude of orchid blooms. Next, the exhibition opens up to reveal a host of impressive gardens, designed and installed by several prominent Toronto landscape contractors.
What impressed me the most at Canada Blooms was the size and extent of each of the gardens. Brother Paul DeGroot, who hails from Connon Nurseries near Hamilton, and who annually volunteers for the event, tells me that it takes a full week to create the gardens. The attention to detail was evident in all the displays and the size of the plants and trees made it appear as if the gardens were put in place decades ago.
Another feature that did not go unnoticed by me was the ability of the gardeners to accurately time the forcing of the plant material, so difficult to do in the dead of winter. I attended Blooms on the first day, and I was told many of the flowers and plants were to be replaced midway through the week.
Landscape architects who designed the 2019 gardens are right on trend, bringing the colour black into the hardscapes and accessories at Canada Blooms. Gone are the green and orange shag carpeting of the 80’s, the mauve and grey hotel carpeting of the 90’s, and the beiges and khaki pants of the 2000’s.
Black is an interesting colour, in that some folks don’t consider black to be a colour. Years ago, we thought black was dismal and we reserved our black wardrobe for funerals. Today, the colour black suggests stability and trustworthiness which is why most people choose black when buying cell phones and why lawyers, accountants and financial advisors’ closets are dominated by black.
Black is perhaps the easiest colour to match up. All shades of grey, charcoal and black work well together. In the flower garden, the colour black behaves almost like the colour green in that there is no bloom colour that clashes with black.