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November 26, 2018, 7 p.m. 
AGM and Speaker

Tony Spencer

"The Power To Shock Me Out of Myself"

Tony Spencer has hosted the award-winning “New Perennialist” blog exploring naturalistic planting design for over five years. But it’s been in the last three that he’s taken on the massive project of revisioning the landscape of his new country property in Mono on the Niagara Escarpment. He is creating a series of gardens there that reflect the many design ideas, plant materials, and experiential results he’s learned and written about after years of visiting famous gardens all over the world and learning from their creators. Among them, Piet Oudolf, with whom he consulted when planning the first of two gardens on this property. His goal? To create a wild-ish garden “for the experience of not only getting closer to nature, but climbing right inside it”.

The property has two very defined terrains and the first, the pond garden, was starting to come into its own this past summer, so that Tony was planning how and when to reveal it to the world. All those plans evaporated during a late August morning walk. As his blog tells it, he was spellbound as he entered the garden “suspended in a halo of fog”, “transported into another dimension” that made him “shiver with delight at the prospect of life in a garden with the power to shock me out of myself”.

Tony will share photos of his creation in the context of gardens he’s visited, been inspired by, and learned from. Over the last decade or more, attending lectures and symposia, visiting great gardens, and meeting renowned garden designers, he has built international relationships with kindred spirits in the New Perennial movement. He began the Facebook group “Dutch Dreams” in 2013 and through it has created a web of plant and gardening enthusiasts from all parts of the world. His transition from student to teacher is evidenced by the people who recognize and approach him at gatherings now.

And this month, after our Annual General Meeting, Tony Spencer will reveal the fruits of his learning and labour with our Hort. A night not to be missed to elaborate on the gobsmacking photos of “Fogbound: Inside the Veiled Garden”.

-Maria Nunes


Meetings are held at the Bonar-Parkdale Presbyterian Church, 250 Dunn Avenue, Toronto, just south of Queen Street West.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts at 7 p.m. sharp (30 minutes earlier than usual because this is our AGM). Please come early to enjoy coffee/tea and cookies while you look over AGM materials!

For Sale: Garden Journals
We hope to have the 2019 Toronto Gardener's Journals at our next meeting. A wonderful garden log, garden guide and resource book in one. $25.

Garden Projects


St. Martin’s garden is an oasis in the community where people can come to play, meditate or pray. Situated below street level, it is a protected and quiet spot with many trees for shade, as well as sunny lawns and colourful beds of perennials. 

It is always lovely to see community members enjoying the St. Martin's garden, indeed the team of parishioners that maintains the garden works very hard to ensure that the space is clean and always has something in bloom. Many people young and old come to enjoy the quiet and peace of our garden.  This can be a two-edged sword, however.  This year we have had many things taken from the garden from the simple picking of the blooms, “but these daffodils have their heads hanging" said one woman as she blithely picked the spring tulips and daffodils, to the newly planted pansies and geraniums that go missing.  It seems people feel free to dig up plants they fancy in an open space. 

 We have had expensive and inexpensive plants go missing.  We have had large dogs and small children trample new plantings and also established shrubs.  This year we even had a concrete birdbath, weighing at least 150 lbs, go missing. 

Nevertheless, despite the petty thievery, damage, and mess left by people and dogs alike, we are proud of our little space with its thousands of spring bulbs (even if some get picked) and year-round colour.  A small group of dedicated volunteers provide the work on the garden that so many enjoy.

We thank the Parkdale and Toronto Horticultural Society for its support in providing a peaceful spot for the community to enjoy.


The Garden Party, at Redeemer Lutheran Church on Bloor Street West, is a giving garden dedicated to sharing healthy food with local people in need. It is sustained by a diverse group of volunteers committed to cultivating and nurturing community, stewardship and learning through gardening.

Over the past twelve years, The Garden Party has been growing and donating herbs and vegetables to the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC) and St. Francis Table, both located on Queen Street West in the Parkdale neighbourhood and we also made several donations to the Westminster Chapel Food Bank which is open on Saturday morning and serves local community members in need. Between 2010 and 2018, they have made 293 deliveries and donated 2,726.7 Kg (6,011.7 lb.) of fresh produce and hundreds of herb bouquets.

Something new which was initiated this year was working in partnership with Romero House, which is in our neighbourhood and supports refugee families. We had several refugee families come to our garden and harvest vegetables and herbs for their personal use. They greatly appreciated the opportunity, and this is something we look forward to continuing next year.

To read the full 2018 report from the Garden Party, please click here.

Participation Needs for Upcoming Events


We're using an online tool called Signup to facilitate volunteering. It makes it easy for everyone to see who's doing what at a glance. 

Please click here to check out the jobs and see if there is one you might like doing OR email and let us know you'd like to help in some way.

Note: since this is a free online tool it will display advertisements on the side of page as you are viewing the Hort sign up jobs.

Thank you in advance.

Community Events & Announcements

Upcoming Parkdale & Toronto Hort Meetings and Speakers
January 28, 2019

Garden Walk Buffalo - Helen Battersby

February 25, 2019

Maria Nunes - Around Town - Front Yards of Toronto
March 25, 2019
Sarah Nixon - My Luscious Backyard
April 29, 2019
David Leeman - Kew - Saving The World's Plants

Please check our website meeting page for more details.

Why Trees Fail
Saturday, November 24 / 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 
A talk on keeping neighbourhood trees healthy - by The Annex Residents Association.
North York Central Library 5120 Yonge St., Room 2/3 North York View Map

Allan Gardens Conservatory Winter Flower Show
December 2, 2018 to January 6, 2019
Featuring wreaths decorated by members of the Horticultural Societies of Parkdale and Toronto.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with extended hours until 7 p.m. on December 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23
Grand Opening Event: December 2 / 12 to 4 p.m.
19 Horticultural Ave, Toronto

Zero Waste Community Action Planning for Parkdale
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 / 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Zero Waste Community Action Planning; come build a shared vision of zero waste for Parkdale! Here are some of the topics:  Community sharing & creative reuse, e-waste, repair & cycling, ecoparents, ecofashion & household goods, community clean-ups, communications: outreach, education & advocacy, food: gleaning, growing, planning, prep, compost. Connect and get involved with organizations & neighbours reducing waste in Parkdale! Free.
Church of the Epiphany & St. Mark, 201 Cowan Ave., Toronto
Please RSVP with Eventbite at the link below.
Zero Waste Community Action Planning for Parkdale!

Centennial Park Conservatory Winter Flower Show
December 9, 2018 to January 9, 2019
Hours - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with extended hours until 7 p.m. on December 9, 15, 16, 22, 23
151 Elmcrest Rd., Toronto

My Precious Backyard Business for Sale!

Hi fellow growers, I have some news to share and a potential opportunity. My family is planning to move from Toronto so I am selling my urban flower farming business, My Luscious Backyard.

Over the past 16 years I've created a strong micro-farming business using residential yards as farm plots right in Toronto. It is an amazing way to live in Toronto and be a flower farmer without having to buy land. MLB has a fantastic reputation, the history of being the first urban flower farm of it's kind in North America, constant attention from media (free advertising) and a devoted client base - I can't keep up with demand. Since we have been on the verge of moving for several years I haven't expanded the business greatly but I see great opportunity for growth. This is a business that is set up for success as the world changes with millions of potential clients being literally down the road from the crops.

I currently sell through subscriptions of arrangements; subscriptions of buckets of flowers; wholesale to florists; weddings- both fully designed as well as buckets of blooms for DIY couples; dahlia tuber sales; the occasional workshop and last year I did seedling sales.

I'm planning on staying on throughout the winter, spring and into the summer as advisor to help the new owner settle into the role and learn from my 16 years of experience. I want the next owner to have continued great success and I'm happy to work with them in a model that's supportive. I'm open to creating a workable transition structure for the right person.

This would be a great fit for someone with some flower farming experience and possibly floral design experience. Please pass this on to anyone you think may be interested!

Instagram :

I am so excited to see this unique little flower farm soar with the care of a new owner. Please be in touch by email if you'd like to continue the conversation!

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The Horticultural Societies of Parkdale & Toronto is a member of the Ontario Horticultural Association (OHA) and its sub-group OHA District 15.

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Horticultural Societies of Parkdale & Toronto · 1938 Bloor St West, PO Box 30023 · Toronto, On M6P 4J2 · Canada

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