Garden Visits: Toronto Botanical Gardens

Three weeks ago, , I took a garden course at the Toronto Botanical Gardens or TBG. I had to take a bus as I do not have a car, and I wasn’t sure how long it would take.  I got there a few minutes early and I walked around and took a few pictures before my course started. The sun was just starting to set, so some of the pictures may be a bit dark.  The plants were all marked with their name, but I didn’t have time to stop and write them down, if there is something you really want to know the name of, I might be able to get back.

The TBG was redesigned a few years ago. It is now 12 award-winning, themed gardens, encompassing almost 4 acres.  The main building is a glass pavilion and features a “green” roof.

TBG 001

Walking from the bus stop, you walk through the Entry Garden Walk, which is a “sophisticated Meadow” and inspired by Piet Oudolf. A mix of perennials and grasses, I think that it is at its best this time of year. See if you agree.

TBG 002


I wish I knew what the name of everything was.TBG 003

 Not that I have the space for it in my own garden.

TBG 004

 But they are very beautiful.

TBG 007

At keast, I know these, hakonechloa (my fav) grass and japanese anemones.

TBG 008

You then arrive in the Arrival Courtyard, (if you drive, you arrive directly here). Sculptural hedges made up of cornus mas and beech are being trained inside of a metal cage.


TBG 014

There you can find a map of the garden.

TBG 016

From here you can go into the different gardens a number of ways. Lets go into the Garden Hall Courtyard.

TBG 028

This area features a sunken courtyard with a diverse mix of trees, shrubs and perennials, and features a large selection of Japanese Maples.

TBG 029

I believe these were the full moon japanese maple. They are underplanted with hakonechloa  grass again and with euphorbia myrsinites.  Love that chartreuse and blue together.

TBG 030

From here I went into the President’s Choice show garden. This is made up of two sections, one featuring evergreens and small trees and shrubs suitable for a small urban garden and a trial garden area.

TBG 035

Tigers Eye sumac is a great contrast against the blue.

TBG 036

 Echinacea with  a paniculata hydrangea, heuchera, grass and a dwarf cleome.TBG 038 From the other end, this was a great combination, all that pink reminds me of Grace. Here at the end is a petunia and variegated pokeweed.

TBG 054

A closer look, not sure what the pale butter, yellow flower is, but I like the contrast to the pink.

There are many more garden areas at the TBG, including the Herb garden, Kitchen garden, Knot garden, Teaching garden, Spiral Mound, the Terrace garden and the Woodland walk.




44 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    catmint said,

    Hi Deborah, thanks for this post. I love visiting other gardens, and this may be the closest I will ever get to Toronto. I have come across Piet Oudolf, I think he designed The High Line in New York City. I love the natural look, and the soft colours. I think some of the grasses are foxtails. I have grown them, but got rid of them because when they stopped looking divine, they were just too yukky. Hakonechloa grass is new to me – looks great. Cheers, catmint

  2. 3

    linda said,

    What a pretty Botanical garden! Thanks for sharing your visit.

    I just added Hakonechloa to the garden this spring. I bought one and divided it into three. It’s such a graceful, pretty grass. I love that it does well in shade and part sun, since that’s about all we’ve got.

    • 4

      Linda , there are a few different colours of Hakonechloa. My newest favourite is All Gold, it actually looks the nicest in the garedn right noe. It is a bit more upright than the others though.
      Thank you for visiting my blog, hope to see you again soon.

  3. 5

    Joy said,

    Oh Deborah !!
    I wish I could have been there too ! The only formal gardens .. botanical garden, I have been to, was one in Spain (which was beautiful .. other than some sicko carved graffiti into a cactus .. yuck !) .. anyways not getting off topic .. I would have loved to see plants of our own zone .. rather wild and free in some of the sections .. all of those grasses .. I am such a fan of grasses .. it looked wonderful !
    Great pictures .. almost as good as being there girl !!
    Joy : )

    • 6

      Joy, Toronto is a short 2 1/2 hour train ride from Kingston. It is a very beautiful Botanical Garden, although not as large as most. I have to go back in the spring and see what they have planted in that Grass walk, how they keep it interesting all year.

  4. 7

    teza said,

    And this is yet another destination for me next year…. perhaps with an equally passionate garden friend?! Awesome photos.

  5. 9

    Joanne said,

    I really enjoyed my walk through the Toronto Botanical garden it looks lovely and colourful.

  6. 11

    Tatyana said,

    They have some spectacular plant combinations there!

  7. 13

    rosey pollen said,

    Botanical garden bliss! You lucky duck! I loved it your tour. I need to get out and visit the Denver BD again. It has been too many years. Thanks for sharing.

  8. 15

    miss m said,

    Lovely tour ! Thanks so much for the visit.

  9. 17

    Racquel said,

    What a gorgeous garden, they’ve done a fantastic job of combining perennials, grasses, groundcovers, and shrubs. The Hydrangeas really caught my eye! 😉

    • 18

      Thanks Racquel, I thought they did a great job. It was all reorganized a few years ago, so much more interesting now. I wish it wasn’t a subway then a bus ride away, when you don’t have a car, it can be difficult.

  10. 19

    Mary Delle said,

    Such a fun tour of a garden. Great photos and great gardens. Thank you!!

  11. 20

    Mary Delle, Thanks for taking the tour with me. Don’t go away now, there is more to come….

  12. 21

    Grace said,

    All I can say is wow! Deborah this is amazing color for this time of year–or three weeks ago. Oooh, all that pink!! LOL It looks like the pale yellow is an Agastache of some kind. And, although it’s not pink, I’m intrigued by the dwarf Cleome. And I LOVE the “Sophisticated Meadow.” I need more space!

  13. 23

    Alice Joyce said,

    Oh, I was very excited to see the heading for this post before clicking through.
    I’ve never been to Toronto 😦
    Somehow it does not seem right that I was in Chicago for so long, but only made it to Montreal. Yet Canada resonates for me, and now, at least I’m able to vicariously visit! Loved this tour, Deborah, Thanks!!

    • 24

      I do hope that you can come to Toronto one day Alice. But I am glad that you were able to visit TBG through me. You are going to be sorry that you said anything, I have a few more pictures….

  14. 25

    fairegarden said,

    Hi Deborah, thanks for showing this. I was intrigued by the pale yellow flower too, upon clicking the form seemed like an agastche of some kind. Lots of ideas for combinations here, the Piet style is something I keep striving for here, on a very small scale. The metal cage around the hedge was also seen at the Lurie in Chicago, so structural and industrial with all the flowing grasses. Love the look. Let’s do that in our gardens! All we need is a welder and heaps of cash. 🙂

  15. 26

    Frances, thank you for letting me now about the Agastche, I loved the pale yellow with the pink. A frequent colour combo I do in bouquets.
    The heaps of cash would come in handy, I think I should be buying lottery tickets!

  16. 27

    Thanks for this lovely tour of a very beautiful botanical garden! I must say the meadow which was inspired by Piet Oudolf is gorgeous! I wish I could create something similar here!

    • 28

      Katarina (what a beautiful name) thank you for visiting my blog and your kind comment.
      I wish I could plant something this beautiful, but limited sun and space.
      I’ll just have to keep visiting the TBG and get my fix that way.

  17. 29

    Wonderful post, thanks so much for taking us along on the tour. The garden still looks wonderful, for so late in the year.

  18. 31

    Liz said,

    I love the tufty grass with the white buddhelia behind it – glorious!
    What a great tour and some great photos too.
    Thanks for the tour – I thoroughly enjoyed it 🙂

  19. 33

    johnson said,

    Lovely photos. It is many years since I visited Toronto and too young to bother looking at a garden. I think it was more looking for the discos in those days! The combinations of texture and colour are fantastic. If ever I get back, I shall make a point of visiting the TBG, for sure.

    • 34

      Johnson, I know what you mean about the discos, I used to work in one. Great place to meet people(men). Sigh… Those days are behind me now.
      Please make a point of visiting Toronto one day soon.

  20. 35

    It looks fantastic, doesn’t it. What a change from the old stomping grounds of my youth – I grew up not far from “Edwards Gardens”. Was just there in May on my wedding day!

    • 36

      Heather, I didn’t realize that you got married in May. The TBG must have been looking beautiful then. I saw a wedding party there that day, the poor bride must have been freezing in her strapless dress, or does love keep you warm?

  21. 37

    Thanks for the tour. I’ve never been there and I have no good reason why I have not had the chance. Maybe next time I’m in TO.

  22. 39

    Wendy said,

    wow. Every combination is just gorgeous. I particularly like the first few. Thanks for sharing these photos!

  23. 41

    Tootsie said,

    what an absolutely gorgeous place to visit!!! I am so glad you left me a comment so that I could come over here and see it!

  24. 43

    What a beautiful garden, even in the fall. I especially like the ornamental grasses.

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