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Zen Flower Arrangement

How Zen is this?

I’m waaaay to lazy (and too impatient) to be a gardener. Or at least to be a good one. But that doesn’t mean I don’t long to have a gorgeous garden with lush plantings, whimsical decor, and luxurious spaces where I can find my zen space, or alternately entertain friends. Which is why I love visiting the annual Canada Blooms show in Toronto, where talented, creative “garden artists” put on a show that makes me green with envy.

Here is a photo roundup of some of the things that inspired me at Canada Blooms 2016:

The Art of Flower Arranging

I’m not very good at flower arranging either, so when I see things like this, I am truly awed.

3-tiered floral arrangement

Simple, elegant

Floating "island" arrangement

This looks like a floating island – Avatar, anyone?

Birds of paradise driftwood

Whimsical Garden Creatures

I love an element of whimsy in gardens, especially in the sculptures and hidden creatures that people often hide in them. While some of these are out of my budget (or scale), who wouldn’t love discovering these while wandering between garden ‘rooms’?

Garden Fairy

Never mind garden gnomes: how about a life-sized fairy ‘dressed’ in lace.

Piano Player Garden

What to do with your old piano? Make it a garden feature with a fantasy player at the keys.

Garden Elf

This garden elf is full-sized and the perfect companion to the life-sized fairy in the same garden. And my favourite.

Canada Blooms 2016: mad about the Mad Hatter

It seems that this year, there was an element of Alice in Wonderland (which is how I feel at Canada Blooms shows!). With everything from Mad Hatter Tea Parties to outdoor table settings laden with goodies, Lewis Carroll would have been impressed.

Alice in a garden wonderland

Alice in a garden wonderland

Mad Hatter Tea Table

Tea, anyone?

Silver Tea garden service

Silver service takes the tea party up a notch

Table Setting Tea Party

Colourful table settings worthy of the Mad Hatter himself

Overgrown is never overdone

If my garden looked like this once the weeds took over, I’d be thrilled. It also solves the problem of what to do with old furniture once it’s outlived its indoor use!

overgrown chair

An old chair comes to ‘life’ in this garden.

More Victoriana

The fanciful Victorian theme showed up in other ways besides the Mad Hatter theme, too, like with these terrarium/lanterns that felt like they were inspired by Jules Verne.

Victorian garden candle

Victoriana in a garden lantern/terrarium

Victorian terrarium closeup

Canada Blooms is mad about modern, too

Even though there was a 19th century theme that showed up in many of the garden installations, Canada Blooms is as much about modern garden design, materials and structure, as it is about whimsy or fantasy. That shows up in everything from the products used to create these gardens, to the use of water features and eco-friendly plantings. For example, this fountain structure was crowned with a ring of tubing that formed a water cascade all around the central fountain, and used reclaimed wood beams to create the gazebo itself.

fountain within fountain

A fountain-within-a-fountain

Or this ‘room’ that incorporates a green wall with evocative photography, proving that outdoor rooms can be as modern and inspired as indoor spaces.

Photo artwork in garden

Outdoor decor can include artwork, too.

Flowers are always in fashion

Trends come and go in gardens as much as everywhere else in life, but flowers are always in fashion, and this year’s Canada Blooms held a competition that was literally designed to showcase that fact.

Flowers in fashion

Every year that I make it to Canada Blooms, I’m always inspired. I don’t know whether it’s the timing just before spring, when everyone is ready for a little colour and life to come back to the landscape, or if it’s just the joy of walking around spaces that feel lush, magical, and yet somehow attainable at the same time.

Even though I may only aspire to the kind of gardens on display here, Canada Blooms is an escape from the dull and ordinary that I look forward to every year, just like spring itself.

TIP: Canada Blooms runs in conjunction with the annual National Home Show at the Direct Energy/Enercare Centre in Toronto. So if you’re with someone who prefers to look at the latest in kitchen designs or roof tiles instead of gardens, you can both go your separate ways and meet up after an hour or two to compare notes. It’s the perfect Indoor-Outdoor date!

Jane with Hat Tanzania

Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.

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