April 29, 2012

The March of the Emerald Cedars

A sign of spring in Toronto: the annual migration begins

(Cue the background soundtrack of the moans of howling winds)

An unusual and curious migration occurs every April in Toronto. This is the first documented report, that I know of, in recorded history of this strange phenomenon. With temperatures rising slowly above freezing and winter's snow slowly melting, these event are worthy of being on the Discovery Channel and, in the past, HGTV before the "G" was removed. After months of sub-zero conditions, biting winds, and mounds of snow (except this year), the Emerald Cedar (Thuja occidentalis "Smaragd") has returned from months of feeding and gorging itself on 20-20-20 in greenhouses all over southern Ontario to return to its breeding  selling grounds outside of big box stores and nurseries.

  Thuja occidentalis smaragd Emerald cedars in containers by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Huddled together to preserve warmth against April's cruel winds

More Thuja occidentalis smaragd Emerald cedars in a  big box store parking lot by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Some already claiming preferred nesting sites on strange wooden objects

More Thuja occidentalis smaragd Emerald cedars in containers by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Patiently waiting for their right mates to appear

Containers of Thuja occidentalis smaragd Emerald cedars by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Highly territorial at this time of the year, these cedars have staked out their sites and will vigorously defend them

Emerald cedars all over Toronto are waiting on large asphalt landing areas for their respective mate, Newhomeowner torontus "Cheap and Oblivious", to bring them to their rightful spots to form stalwart hedges between acrimonious neighbours, among the massive boulders one sees near newly-built McMansions, and jammed adjacent to tiny front stoops all over suburban Toronto.

Unfortunately, the migration from the retail grounds is one way and more often than not, these majestic and brave Emerald cedars die slow and painful deaths in deep shade or wind-swept vistas. Still, for millenia (or at least the past 20 years), their migration faithfully occurs with the change in seasons, without fail or fanfare.

(Can somebody get Morgan Freeman on the phone?)

By Paul Jung, author of "garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog" Google Google Find us on Google+ Find us on Google+


  1. Anonymous29.4.12

    LOL! I love it.

  2. Thanks Lynne, there are some plants you can't help but poke fun at. Well, more the marketing aspect than anything else. Do these cedars flood the market in the GVA too?

  3. And, I understand that the greenhouses are the injection sites for the mosquitoes that come with each plant. B.

  4. lol, Barbara, very true. You can practically hear the buzzing in the cedars before sunset! Well, they have to hide somewhere in new suburban gardens!