March 25, 2012

Concrete bursts at Canada Blooms

'Concrete Burst' designed by Victoria Taylor at Canada Blooms 2012

City landscape architects and gardeners often cheer that blade of grass poking through the sidewalk, or that Charlie Brown tree clinging to the side of a building. Despite near-impossible conditions, nature’s tenacity fills us with a mixture of hope and awe.

At this year’s Canada Blooms festival, at Toronto’s Direct Energy Centre, an “urban hedgerow” stirred the emotions of visiting garden enthusiasts.

For the past three years, Evergreen, with a jury of expert eco-gardeners and landscape architects, has toured Canada Blooms in search of the “greenest exhibit.” Year after year, we have seen fewer gardens of the pesticide-intensive, water-hog variety and far more featuring native species that attract pollinators, are kid friendly and ingenious in their use of materials. This year’s trend, in line with the city theme of the event, was an innovative use of palettes as planters and garden walls.

The following judges were on hand to assess the “competition”
Lorraine Johnson – Author of City Farmer, teacher (and chicken aficionado)  
Heidi Campbell – Senior designer and landscape architect at Evergreen
Aaron Harpell – Manager Evergreen Garden Market and a certified landscape technician
Laura Reinsborough – Founder and director of Not Far From the Tree
Isabel Dopta – Director of communications, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
Debbie Martin, Evergreen’s manager of landscape associate network and Native Plant Database

And the Winner is… Concrete Burst!
“The design evokes the natural beauty of the ever-emerging ecology of the popular urban oasis,” says Heidi Campbell. “At the same time, images of the traditional farm hedgerow come to mind. The design brings the urban and rural aesthetic together in a provocative way that speaks to the design of green cities.”

The winning design was made by landscape architect Victoria Taylor and landscape contractor Jonas Spring, the proprietor of Ecoman.

Honourable mentions:

Students at Seneca College continue to amaze and inspire. When can you come down to Evergreen and build us a palette garden?
The heartbeat of a community is in the garden at Roncesvalles
Balanced earthly garden ornaments in the city refuge behind the dramatic construction
hording at Parklane.

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