Monday, March 5, 2012

Canada Blooms Theme

This year Canada Blooms theme is City Culture, we are installing a feature garden with the title Concrete Blooms Burst. I was so happy about the choice of theme this year. I think a great place to observe this theme in action is the interaction between plants and urban spaces. Consider the pictures above. Street tree growing out of concrete sidewalk, plant growing in the humus buildup of an abandoned boat, tree roots lifting a concrete step, full size tree growing behind a concrete retaining wall, and of course the grass eking out an existence in the crack of a wall. More progress posts to follow.
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Field Trip

Here are some shots from a recent field trip to Connon NVK in preparation for our feature garden at Canada Blooms. Its amazing that even in the dead of winter you can see so much great colour. More updates to follow. 
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Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

St. James Park 3

Posted by PicasaTruck in and spread 350 yards soil. And that was day one! Day two: lay 10,000 rolls of sod (over 100 skids on 6 tractor trailers)

St. James Park 2

Posted by Picasa30 Yards mulch blown in on top of collected organic matter around trees

St. James Park

Posted by Picasa1st. Day: Aerate soil, collect organic matter and dispose of garbage.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall Colour at Mountain Equipment Coop Greenroof

One of my favourite parts of the job is the surprise of seeing something new. The large and colourful mushrooms, new Hawkweed, Alliums flowering in October, amazing fall colour on the sedums and the spread of Asters to the west side made my day.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Now magazine list of cuts being considered: all horticultural activities

Item 10 for the 2012/13 budget: All horticultural activities 
Now Magazine reports list of cuts being considered

Fall is a great time for landscaping and gardening

Not everyone appreciates fall as a great time to complete landscape projects. One great thing about doing a landscape project in the fall is being able to enjoy it for a full season next spring. No waiting for a busy contractor to get it done before the in-laws come for the may long weekend! Also fall is great time for planting too, plants that will be going dormant soon still have time to establish root systems and will come up in spring to fill out in their new home. Below is a patio/walkway we just installed with a clay brick paver in a herringbone pattern.
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alcorn Job

Here is a great example of really tricky difficult work. Two yards of soil removed with buckets, all that stone hand bombed down into the back and a narrow alleyway with irate neighbours not wanting our truck blocking the lane. Came out pretty nice though.
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Oriole Parkway Job

We found some old shut off valves on site and decided to fill them with coloured recycled glass and outdoor epoxy to complement the metal work.
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Sorauren Job

This job was replacing an old beat up driveway. We used sand for the base and joints since it has a lower pH than limestone, percolates water and therefore will be beneficial to the large Acer sacharinum (Silver Maple).
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This is a wet lay walkway using china silver grey square cut flagstone and a coursing stone garden edge. In order to make the curve for the client we installed the square cut flagstone first set the line and then cut the curve in one shot.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cherry Snow

Backyard and driveway chez Ecoman. It literally snowed petals from my two neighbours cherry trees the last couple days.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sourcing plants

The Aquilegia chrysantha (Colorodo columbine) pictured above was planted at David Archer Coop last year. After trying all my regular suppliers (and failing), I purchased every single last one that Humber Nurseries had grown. I believe it was 51! Unlike 2x4's sourcing plants can be time consuming as you need to know the quality, size, quantity availability and price.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


People often ask if we do design, over the years we have done a lot of installations for other designers balanced with design for our own clients. I always answer, yes we do design, from plants lists, complete landscape plans and job specifications. Here are some pictures showing the process.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Cloisters

I reluctantly agreed to accompany my wife to new york last weekend. I was nervous to leave Toronto so close to opening day, so you can imagine my delight when 8" of snow fell the day before we left. In any case we had a great time and I came back with a new blog post. Pictured above is the scene on March 23rd 2011.
 The park leading to the cloisters in new york begins with a wonderful sea of purple heather interspersed with lime juniper.

 Then large granite rocks have been planted with sedum and juniper. The contrast between the white bloom of the juniper berries and the red orange of the sedum was particularly striking.

 The stonework leading to the cloisters was equally impressive. pictured here is the natural stone arch built at least 40 feet above street level.

Large drifts of hellabores were planted all over the park leading up to the cloisters, we might have missed this entirely had we come any later in April. In addition the crocus interspersed with Stachys was a great contrast. All in all a great trip and there was still snow on the ground when we got back.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lynwood Residence

Here is a great example of how plants can evoke a feeling in a garden. This space is owned by one of our gardening clients. These shots are of the back garden complete with koy pond and waterfall. We have been gardening here for several years and are slowly adding/editing the plant composition to enhance the space. There are existing beeches, Japanese maples and sumac. We planted a carpet of lime creeping jenny interspersed with Heuchera in the grass area. We have also been training the massive wisteria (not pictured here). Sometimes the bones of a garden are in great shape and our job is to help with plant selection and care.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Who is Ecoman: Introducing Rachel Weston

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Pictured here is Rachel filling containers for the Parts and Labour rooftop garden project, installing a xeroflor greenroof in the beach and planting the woodland garden at Canada Blooms. Rachel started working with Ecoman in fall 2009. She has recently completed the class portion of the Horticulture Technology diploma at Humber College and is working towards completing the apprenticeship component. Rachel has been working diligently since February to improve our systems, prepare the employee manual and initiate safety policies. In her spare time Rachel acts as the Garden Club Coordinator at Dufferin Grove Park and more recently volunteered on both the pollinator garden and the City Parks and Recreation woodland garden on display at Canada Blooms (see earlier posts for more info). Currently Rachel is taking landscape design courses at Ryerson University. I am very happy to have Rachel on board for another season.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Canada Blooms

While strolling the City of Toronto display I came across this great woodland garden installed by Landscape Design students from the Chang School at Ryerson University. According to Rachel Weston, student and Ecoman employee, this garden was installed by the "Art and Management of Planting Design" students taught by Michelle Reid. Although the pictures do it no justice, this was a great woodland garden. PS While I was admiring this garden I spotted Councillor Mary Fragedakis and her mother strolling through and chatting with City and Park staff.

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Canada Blooms

One of the more interesting displays was the pollinator garden conceived by Clement Kent. Although these pictures do it no justice they illustrate a point. Today is March 20th and only the earliest spring ephemerals are flowering in the garden. Most designers at Canada Blooms make use of plants supplied by nurseries that have been forced (tricked into flowering early). According to Clement, the list of available plants only included one native. Therefore Clement took it upon himself to force his own plants for the pollinator garden display. I was particularly impressed at the variety of plants on display as some have very short flowering times (Mertensia for example is a case in point).
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Canada Blooms

Alex Zalewski is grandson of the founder of Parklane, a landscaping company that has been around since 1958. According to Alex, Parklane helped to organize Canada Blooms and has been an exhibitor ever since. This years exhibit was really special, they won an award for best use of water, I thought this sculpture/water feature really stood out. I believe this work to be by local artist Floyd Elzinga.
In addition they built this wonderful sand dune complete with vertical timbers and percussionist. The theme for this year at Canada Blooms was rhythm and they really captured the vibe, this scene could easily be from wreck beach in Vancouver.

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Canada Blooms

This is Reid Snow owner of VRS Masonry, they built this magnificent dry stack stone structure in 3 days with only hammer and chisel! This was one of the highlights for me at Canada Blooms. People with the skill and craftsmanship required to build something like this are few and far between. Master tip from Reid Snow "I use a 2" carbide tip tracer for almost everything"
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