City planting season starts: more than one million annuals set to go

Today, Councillor Paula Fletcher, Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee, joined Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff at the High Park Greenhouse to survey some of the 1.3 million flowers that will beautify and enhance Toronto’s parks, gardens and public spaces.

The city's largest greenhouse in High Park, which will help supply 1.3 million annuals for gardening crews to plant this spring.

“Our greenhouses help transform our parks and boulevards each spring through creative horticulture,” said Councillor Fletcher. “Operations are in full swing this week, and soon our beautiful horticultural displays will be planted in our communities and neighbourhoods. These plants and flowers play a vital role in contributing to a clean, beautiful, and liveable city.”

The City of Toronto’s top gardening experts were also on hand to provide gardening advice and tips, and to share information about the City’s upcoming horticultural projects, including:

• Eye-popping floral displays and beautifully-manicured landscapes, known as WOW Gardens, that make a significant impact on the City’s beautification efforts in support of City Council’s Clean and Beautiful City initiative. From 50 to 70 displays are expected across the city. The University Avenue and Front Street horticultural displays are two of the city’s favourites.

• The Taking the Gardens to the Neighbourhood Park program, which identifies one or two sites in each ward for improvements to the existing horticulture such as infilling with new “hardscape” that includes rocks and irrigation, and adding trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs.

• The Orphan Spaces project, which transforms vacant medians and traffic islands into enhanced landscape and horticultural displays, adding a splash of colour to the urban infrastructure. This program is a partnership between Parks, Forestry and Recreation and Transportation Services.

• The Sunflower Project, which teaches children in Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods to plant, grow and maintain sunflowers and learn about environmental benefits and responsibilities, while developing life skills.

The City of Toronto recently earned three awards at the 2009 Canada Blooms Garden and Flower Show: Outstanding Interpretation of the Show Theme, the Garden Club of Toronto Award for Best Overall Use of Colour, and the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects’ Certificate of Honourable Mention for Excellence in Design in Landscape Architecture.