Sunday, August 23, 2009

Container Gardening in North Toronto

Spring and summer is a special time of year where I live in the Toronto neighbourhood of North Toronto. It seems, as soon as we are sure the chance of frost is past, we go into a frenzy of gardening activity beginning with planning our containers to add instant colour to our gardens. The rule of thumb is that the final date for possible frost is Victoria Day, May 24th.Those who are both thrifty and impatient begin the process two months earlier by starting seedlings indoors. Even those who don’t normally garden are sure to display potted plants or flowers on their patio or balcony.

Beginning on May 20th for about two weeks, we head for the garden centres to buy flowers, shrubs and trees to replace, and replenish our existing plantings. My favourite garden centre is Sheridan’s on Yonge Street near Glengrove. The queues at the cash register during this time are often as long as those on December 24th. This year, I saw a woman who had rented a U-Haul truck to transport all of the purchases for her city garden.

When I visit friends during the summer I enjoy seeing how they are expressing their individual style, creativity and taste in their container plantings. Each one is different, adding colour to a door, window, or patio. Some of them even add some large pots of flowers bringing beauty to the utility area of their yard.

The two photos above show a friend's lovely green ferns she plants every May without fail in her black concrete urns. She painted them black to mimic cast iron. Her front entrance is inviting with a formal elegance.

At the right is another friend's cast iron urn brimming over with petunias and million bells. She doesn't fill her urns with the same types of flowers every year, but she loves pink and purple flowers. Typically, her urns are the first ones ready in the neighbourhood in the spring, filling us with great delight.

The container below is done with fuchsia pink geraniums and lobelia. So lovely with the blue spruce shrub.

Below is a large vase planted with vines of different colours topped off with a dramatic pink semi-tropical flowering vine. This is suitable for the dramatic front entrance.

I love visiting another friend whose garden encompasses urban sophistication and cottage garden elements. It is artistic, eclectic, and forever changing. Her garden shed's window boxes are filled with yellow begonias.

On the fence in the perfect spot near the shed is her wall fountain.

The potted vine hanging over her stone wall looks like it was just casually placed giving this garden a relaxed inviting appeal.

Another example of this is the antique coal basket used as a container to fill with perfect pink geraniums. The rush filling, and the rustiness of the coal basket give a cottage feeling to this corner of her garden.

How pleasant it is to live near the people whose container gardening I've featured. All of them have their own special artistic flair with attention to detail, giving their gardens their own brand of beauty. They help make North Toronto a very special neighbourhood.

I have two examples of my own container gardening. The globe cedars on either side of the door have survived in their vintage concrete containers for four years helped by double liners to keep the roots protected from harsh winter frosts.

Thunbergia and orange impatients at the side door.


  1. Thank you. I enjoyed taking the photos.

  2. How beautiful!. All the porches look so inviting and welcoming with the potted flowers. Brick homes are one of my favorites, I have always wanted a brick home. Your pictures are just lovely and I have enjoyed reading your post.
    Take care and have a great day,

  3. How nice of you to notice the bricks on the houses. I also love brick houses, especially yellow brick. Apparently, the clay soil in some parts of Toronto is perfect for making bricks. The Don Valley Brick Works operated in a Toronto ravine from 1889 to 1984 and provided bricks for many of the older houses and buildings in Toronto.

  4. Beautiful pictures!
    and yes, I need to call the junk men- you have noooooo idea!! i'm sugarcoating it!

  5. Thanks for stopping by earlier!!! I look forward to following your beautiful blog as well!!!


  6. What a lovely blog. Your photos are so pretty - I love those yellow begonias in the window box and the fountain on the fence - very, very pretty.

  7. I just realized how I missed sharing how lovely these photos are! My area is so dry, right now, so all of these planters look pretty lush. Thankfully, nights are cooling down so we should get our next little burst of flowering, before the colder weather arrives. The textures of brick, stone and wood are such a perfect backdrop!

  8. Wanda, thank you for your comments and taking the time from your busy schedule. It's wonderful that there are so many people ready to do their part in adding beauty to their corner of the world.

  9. What a lovely post - thank you ! Have a great day...

  10. I always do the Queen ferns like you showed in the first photo on each side of my door and going out to the pool area. I just don't think you can get more bang for your buck with anything else. Wanted to come by and welcome you to my blog, I look forward to getting to know you, so don't be a stranger.

  11. i just love your post and your whole blog !

  12. Many thanks for all of your comments. I greatly appreciate them.

  13. Replies
    1. Thank you Hot Tubs for visiting my blog and your kind comments.


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