December 15, 2014

The education of a Toronto gardener

I'm a dummy, are you?



Portrait Paul Jung  garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Our little secret, ok?



I was celebrating a birthday party at my brother-in-law's place and I happened to come upon "Landscaping for Dummies" lying nearby.  Browsing through this very useful and accessible book with its readily identifiable black and yellow cover, I thought about my own education of gardening, horticulture, botany, landscape design and other plant-related topics. Maybe it's due to writing this post in late December but around this time, I usually think about the year that's ending to remember what I've learned about gardening, my business and, most importantly, about myself. And year after year, I've always remarked "boy, what a dummy you are!"


I think being inquisitive and a voracious reader helps with this once ego-bruising self-reflective exercise. As a by-product of creating my gardening business from nothing but a concept and running it alone for almost ten years, I've been forced to learn about the exciting areas of marketing, sales and client services (and don't get me started with accounting!) This isn't a post on entrepreneurship (although that would be interesting for the very few readers who have their own businesses or are thinking of creating them); rather, I'm writing about how the lessons of lifelong learning, making mistakes, and admitting ignorance often written as advantages in many business books can also be translated to gardening.

So, let me ask:

  • do you strive to ask questions and seek answers about what happens in your garden?
  • do you accept making mistakes easily and without a lot of soul-searching when you garden?
  • do you admit that there's a vast amount of knowledge (botanical, horticultural, whatever) out there waiting to be discovered, evaluated and often discarded?

I think if you've answered "yes" to one or some of these questions, then congratulations, you're a dummy or on your way to becoming one! And to me, that's a good thing because perfection in the garden can never be achieved. (The story of Adam and Eve made sure about this!)

What books have been influential in making me a dummy gardener? Here are my first three earliest books that helped me on my way:


Perennials for Every Purpose Amazon book cover by Larry Hodgson
Perennials for Every Purpose by Larry Hodgson


Seriously, I've read this book from cover to cover dozens of time. It's no wonder I love perennials due to this great resource as the author isn't shy about describing a particular genus' strengths and failings.




Residential Landscape Architecture by Norman Booth and James Hiss Amazon book cover
Residential Landscape Architecture by Norman K. Booth and James E. Hiss

Residential Landscape Architecture: Design Process for the Private Residence was the required text for my college Landscape Design course and introduced me to the process of creating functional landscapes. One bonus is that the text is very readable to a dummy like me!


And lastly,


Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael Dirr

Known as simply "the Manual", Dirr's classic got me through two years of Plant Identification classes and beyond. The author's breadth of knowledge and horticulturally-snippy comments are worth the effort of carrying this door-stop of a reference book. You'll feel like a big time dummy after working from A-Z of Dirr's magnum opus.


This is my last post for 2014 so for next year,  I wish that you:


  • don't stop learning
  • continue questioning conventional wisdom
  • view gurus and icons suspiciously
  • plant whatever you want

in and outside of the garden.

So for the few dozen readers out there, thank you for reading my blog in 2014 and I hope you'll stick around with me in 2015. 

Peace!

December 10, 2014

Allan Gardens Christmas Flower Show

Ho, ho, holy poinsettias and more at the Allan Gardens Conservatory's 2014 Christmas Flower Show!


Christmas is only two weeks away and to get you really in the mood, here are some highlight's from this year's Christmas Flower Show held at Allan Gardens Conservatory. (And if Christmas isn't a big deal with you, then I can offer you some pictures of pretty flowers!)



Birch logs poinsettias Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Birch logs and poinsettias
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014


The Conservatory holds four Flower Shows annually but the Christmas edition is easily the most popular and, therefore, the hardest for me to take pictures without getting photobombed.  I entered the Conservatory right at 10:00 a.m. (opening time) with the goal of getting some "quality" pictures (i.e., with no other pesky visitors bothering me). And sure enough, after half an hour, the hordes of school children, tourists and locals descended but by then I managed to capture what follows.  

If you're in town over the next few weeks, try to visit the Conservatory. You'll be in poinsettia heaven and furthermore, none of the poinsettias have that gawd-awful glitter applied to them!

 Floral statue lady  Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
 Floral statue lady at the
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014 



Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 cast iron bench by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory
 Christmas Flower Show 2014
cast iron bench 



Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 floral statue lady by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014
floral statue lady 


Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 Helleborus niger Jacob Christmas Rose by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014
Helleborus niger "Jacob"
("Jacob" Christmas Rose) 


Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 layers red white poinsettias by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014
 layers of red and white poinsettias 




Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 layers white red poinsettias by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory
 Christmas Flower Show 2014
layers of white and red poinsettias 




Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 ornamental cabbage pink cyclamen by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014
ornamental cabbage and pink cyclamen 



Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 pink tipped frilly white cyclamen by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory
 Christmas Flower Show 2014
 pink tipped frilly white cyclamen




Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 succulent Christmas wreath detail by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014
succulent Christmas wreath closeup




Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 toy train by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014
toy train track around Norfolk pine


Christmas cactus Schlumbergera Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) bloom
 Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014




Fleur En Vogue  pink cyclamen persicum Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Fleur En Vogue"  pink cyclamen persicum
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014 



Fleur En Vogue pink cyclamen persicum Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Fleur En Vogue" pink cyclamen persicum
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014




Fleur En Vogue purple cyclamen Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Fleur En Vogue" purple cyclamen
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014

Fleur En Vogue purple cyclamen persicum Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Fleur En Vogue" purple cyclamen persicum
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014




Helleborus niger Jacob Christmas Rose Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Helleborus niger "Jacob"
("Jacob" Christmas Rose) at the
 Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014 




Layers red white poinsettias Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Layers of red and white poinsettias
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014




Light pink cyclamen persicum Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Light pink Cyclamen persicum
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014




Orchid Christmas tree Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Orchid "Christmas tree"
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014

Ornamental cabbage pink cyclamen Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Ornamental cabbage and pink cyclamen
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014




Ornamental cabbage spider plants Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Ornamental cabbage and spider plants
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014 




Piano bass players Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Piano and bass "players"
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014 




Pink cream poinsettias Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Pink and cream poinsettias
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014 




Pink tipped frilly white cyclamen Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Pink tipped frilly white cyclamen
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014
Pink variegated poinsettias Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Pink variegated poinsettias
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014

Purple ornamental cabbage Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Purple ornamental cabbage
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014

Purple white variegated ornamental cabbage Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Purple and white variegated ornamental cabbage
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
 Christmas Flower Show 2014 




Red white begonias Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Red and white begonias
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014

Red white poinsettias Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Red and white poinsettias
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
 Christmas Flower Show 2014

Statues Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Floral statues at the
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014 




Succulent Christmas wreath detail Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Succulent Christmas wreath detail
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
 Christmas Flower Show 2014




Toy train Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Toy train track around
Norfolk pine and cypress
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014




White azalea bloom Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
White azalea bloom
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014

White ornamental cabbage Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
White ornamental cabbage
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014




White red poinsettias Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show 2014 by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
White and red poinsettias at the
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Christmas Flower Show 2014