January 11, 2014

Landscape Ontario Congress 2014

My visit to "Canada's Premier Green Industry Trade Show and Conference" 



I emerged from two days of hibernation due to the atrociously low temperatures gripping most of North America earlier this week and made the trek to this year's version of "Congress" or, as the title states, "Canada's Premier....." (This description is taken from their website locongress.com)

This trade show's audience is comprised mainly of landscape construction and maintenance contractors, or to be more accurate, the owners of such businesses. Now, you might be asking what exactly this post has to do with gardening in Toronto? Fair question. Well, for many who don't want to actually get their hands dirty and have the means of paying others to do such noble work like mowing grass or cutting interlocking pavers, this is what gardening is: reliance on heavy, expensive, gas-guzzling and exhaust-spewing equipment to manufacture and cultivate their gardens and landscapes. So what if it's gardening by cheque-book? 


Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress interlocking paver bbq by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Looks like a pizza oven using pre-cast concrete retaining wall blocks.
Nothing old world about this!



Large and well-known concrete paving manufacturers and heavy landscaping machinery companies took up much of the prime real estate on the trade show floor.

Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress interlocking paver company by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Coming to your neighbour's front and/or backyard very soon!



Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress interlocking paver company garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
More stonework leading to a raised seating area.



Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress interlocking paver fountain by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
I won't comment on the aesthetics of this fountain.
But there's no excuse for the red-painted trees!


Warning! Lots of shiny metal landscaping toys coming up (I'll cue the "Bob the Builder" music right now):



Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress Kubota tractor by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress Kubota tractor 

Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress mini dumper 500 by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress mini dumper 500 

Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress Toro lawn mower by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress Toro lawn mower 

Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress trailer by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress trailer 

Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress Kioti tractor by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress Kioti tractor 

Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress aerator by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress aerator 

Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress Bobcat skid steer by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress Bobcat skid steer 



Several big local nurseries had booths as well. Maybe you'll see similar mass plantings of yuccas and junipers this year in your neighbourhood (hopefully, not.)


Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress yuccas junipers by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress yuccas junipers 


I thought I would be lucky enough not to see any euonymus but no dice. Seems this genus is required on all planting plans in Toronto this year.

Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress perennials by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress perennials


I'll see the flowering witch hazel outside in Toronto likely next month. This one is Hamamelis x intermedia "Pallida" according to the tag. Alas, beautiful spidery flowers with no scent.


Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress Hamamelis intermedia Pallida witch hazel by garden muses- a Toronto gardening blog
Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress Hamamelis intermedia Pallida witch hazel 


Being a bit of a contrarian, I'm usually more interested in the booths at the outside edges of the trade show floor. You know, those tables in the "low rent" districts which typically sell brooms and veggie peelers. These are the businesses or organizations with smaller budgets, I assume. Tucked away in one backwater area, I saw booths for the local Ontario horticultural colleges.

I guess the idea with this poster is to have someone take your picture while you stand behind it, just like the clown or busty lady cutouts one sees at arcades and amusement parks. Would a soon-to-be graduate take a picture and attaches it to her resume?

Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress certification by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog



Ok, I took the bait.

Partly to see if I forgot everything from my plant identification courses at Humber College, I completed the challenge to see if I was "certifiable" (You know darn well that I'm certifiably....)

Here are my results:

Landscape Ontario 2014 Congress plant identification test by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
My clients will be relieved to see these results.

I'll blame the 3 mistakes (not identfiying correctly the Larix, Metasequoia and Prunus) on being rushed by those pesky hort. college students milling around me. (And to think, I was one of them!)

At this point (2 hours into the visit), I had enough of being surrounded by tons of pre-cast concrete products and Bob the Builder equipment and decided it was time for lunch. No way I was paying for over-priced trade show food so I humped it back to downtown to get a bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodles.)

It's always good to be reminded occasionally of what gardening as an occupation and personal interest really means.