Toronto Island gardens

From Algonquin Island. Doesn't it look like something from a Wes Anderson film?
(Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, etc.)
I have lots of posts left to cover the Toronto Garden Bloggers Fling from this past June. But I figure I've got all winter to post them, as there isn't much else to post once winter hits.

Each year there's an official Fling photo.
This was taken on Ward Island. Nice view, eh?
The Fling is a get-together of abound 75 garden bloggers (freelance writers, book authors, columnists, garden enthusiasts, and more). The one thing we do all have in common is blogging. Only folks with established garden blogs (and are currently posting) are encouraged to attend. It's not a garden tour for just anyone that likes touring gardens.

In the past they've met in Austin, Chicago, Buffalo, Seattle, Asheville, San Francisco, Portland, and, this past year, Toronto. in 2016, we'll visit Minneapolis. I've attended Chicago, Asheville, Toronto – and helped organize the Buffalo fling.

When everything has to be transported
to your garden by ferry, you can
forgive folks for trying to be creative
with what they have on hand!
On the first day of our garden tour excursions in Toronto we visited Ward and Algonquin Islands. I'd always heard of the Toronto Islands and knew there was an airport there someplace, but that's about it.

Since 1887, the islands have been officially parkland – and the largest urban car-free community in North America. No cars. Only a few service vehicles – and bikes. It's a short ferry ride from cosmopolitan Toronto, but feels like it's oceans away. Being mostly parkland, many visit for bicycling, picnicking, boating from the marina, canoeing, kayaking, beaches, there's an amusement park or visiting Toronto's one clothing-optional beach. There is a community of about 300 homes.

We were there to see gardens though. Around ten gardens were open for our viewing that were part of that coming weekend's Toronto Island Garden Tour.

The gardens of the homes we visited were everything from shabby cottage-y shacks tended by creative hippies, to grand homes with extensive gardens by serious gardeners. On whole, the place is completely charming and I'd love to go back with my wife sometime (as opposed to 70 women, three other men, and myself).
Most of Ward island was cottages on intimate-sized lots – not dissimilar from
some of Buffalo's neighborhoods (and garden challenges).
Million-dollar views.

There were just too many details! Here's a planted shed roof.

Love the naughty, but nautical, use of a boat as window box.

Very few grass-filled yards to be seen. Narrow lanes made for biking and walking separated lots. The homeowners actually don't own the lots - the city of Toronto does.

Some great homes, all unique.
Little homes too.

Lilac 'Sensation' I believe.

A tree house, as unique as any house on the Islands.

As opposed to the rest of the weekend, it was possible to get photos without garden bloggers in them.
But here I did catch one.

Found some found art.

This was my favorite garden of all the gardens on the Islands. I like my structure, and structures.


  1. Good to see your take on Toronto, Jim, starting with one of my own favourites spots. Your new shed would be right at home.


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