Heavenly hillside gardens on Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto

Last week marked my participation in the 8th Garden Bloggers Fling.  Held this year in the lovely city of Toronto, I flew to Canada with Fling travel mate, Pam Penick, of Digging.

The weather, at least 10 degrees or more cooler than back home in Austin, welcomed us as we prepared for 3 days of jam-packed garden tours.  On the bus at 8:30 a.m. each day, our itinerary was filled with eye-opening private gardens, public gardens and other interesting Toronto highlights.

On our first day, we toured a series of hillside gardens located around High Park's Grenadier Pond.
Nothing says "welcome to my garden" like an open gate -- inviting almost 80 garden bloggers to meander about, enjoying the cool morning and oohing and ahhing over luscious plants, vivid vignettes and beautiful views.

This cozy little corner window was framed by a lush green vine, delightful square flower pots and some a variety of pretty plants.
There were many amazing plant specimens to take in on our garden tours -- some of which I recognized, but many of which we cannot grow in my Zone 8b garden in Central Texas.  So I thought of the landscape beds as beautiful arrangements filled with eye candy.
While many of the plants shown here -- like these wide-leafed hostas -- won't be part of my plant palette at home, there is a place for good garden design in every landscape.
I particularly like seeing interesting garden decor adding a focal point to an otherwise ordinary space in the garden.

I feel like I didn't do this garden justice with my photography.   I was on the phone for 15-20 minutes, working with the AT&T rep, trying to authorize my husband to buy me a new phone.  I left mine somewhere in the Chicago O'Hare airport.  Thus ,my photography was limited to half-hearted, one-handed snaps.  But I managed without a phone.  In fact, it may have helped me focus more on being in the moment - once I quit trying to get one via Fed Ex!
As we walked down the street, even small spaces in the limited front yards were filled with pretty plants, all tucked into the rocks.
One of the things I observed was the frequent use of burgundy and lime-colored foliage in the landscape.  With the sunny days, they often made for beautiful design contrasts, but tricky photo-taking.
I loved happening upon these darling metal flowers towering over the real ones.

Large, lush plants dotted the hillside down to the pond - which you can see here off in the distance.  I guess that's what happens in gardens with good soil and abundant rainfall.
Little bits of rock retaining walls partnered with sweet little plants to adorn the way down, or the way up, depending on how you look at it!
Almost to the bottom, here's a shot of the broad expanse of the pond, a lovely reward for making the trek down the hill.
Gardeners are all about the details.  Framed by a gnarly piece of wood, this pod viewing spot is a something to see all on its own.

I took a total of 1,415 photos on this trip, so it may take me a while to post about the entire excursion.  There were so many wonderful sights to see, and our Toronto Garden Bloggers Fling hosts, Helen Battersby, Toronto Gardens, Lorraine Flanigan, CityGardening Online, Veronica Sliva, A Gardener's World, and Sarah Battersby,  Toronto Gardens and Fiesta Gardens, did an amazing job of delighting us each and every day.

Next up -- an artist's garden, full of inspirational creations designed to wow as much as the landscaping itself.  Check back for some design insight and beautiful art in my next post.

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