Canada Blooms

Tuesday, March 6, 2007 to Saturday, March 10, 2007
Toronto Convention Center

Once again Canada Blooms has been an interesting opportunity for us to demonstrate how much a garden can be enhanced by introducing some of the time-tested elements of traditional dry stone walling. While we get many many comments of approval and encouragement from genuine gardeners who attend the show, we rarely get the sense that the industry's leading-edge of garden designers and landscape architects really approve of our old fashioned methods. But then again we at the DSWAC have never thought of what we do as an 'industry' (nor do we subscribe to the idea of always having to reinvent the wall ). It is a sad state of affairs, and shows how far we have come from the original concept of gardening, when exhibitors need to make a big deal about introducing natural, organic, ecological or native elements back into their designs. Very few things are as real or natural as a stone. And so it has always made sense to us to keep using stones and rocks structurally as well as artistically throughout a garden, to augment the other things that are real and natural in a garden, no matter how untrendy that concept may be. There are always refreshing ways to get people excited about this winning combination of dry stacked natural stone combined with appropriate plant materials. This year we did it by constructing an enclosed garden to look as if it was recessed into the ground and completely surrounded by lush trees and flowering plants. Inspired by the gardens at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where walls of dry laid granite protect a beautiful sunken rose garden, we took the opportunity this year to reintroduce the possibilities of this unique garden feature into our Canadian gardening consciousness.





It took more than 44 tons of random stone material to create the effect of the enclosed Dry Stone Sunken Garden. Over a dozen volunteer wallers from the DSWAC came together (in the cold and dusty and very noisy pre-show environment of the Metro Convention Center) to build the four-sides of this beautiful terraced structure, while Perennial Gardens Landscaping added the plantings and other elements. Inside the four foot high borders of the garden random stones were carefully hand-stacked and fitted to give the enclosed area a human element and a feeling of intimacy. There was sense of timelessness and inevitability to the walled garden and everyone who was involved in the project recognized it. The Hamilton Spectator commented in their article about Canada Blooms that The Sunken Garden's dry- stone walls surrounding a charming, intimate patio garden made it one of the Six things not to miss.



This year's theme at Canada Blooms was The Elements. It seemed elementary to us to build a garden that kept that basic theme, using basic natural materials rather than man- made ones. Sheree-Lee Olson of The Globe and Mail wrote on Sat March 10th in her article about Canada Blooms 2007, that this... "elegant space .... required the painstaking fitting together of stones without any cement " It was worth all the effort to see the look of delight on everyone's face as they entered this lovely interior space. Walls like these, if built carefuly (with proper batter and sufficient width) will stand for many decades. As is our custom, during the show we built a couple of Roman dry stone arches, so that people would see that mortar and man-made adhesives are not needed to make beautiful stone features or any other structural elements of a real dry stone garden for that matter.

Thanks to everyone who worked on the project including Dean Mclellan, Menno Braam, Eric Landman, Bob Chrystian, Jonathan Howcroft, Dan Fockler, Gregory Rooke, Evan Oxland, Dan Rombough, Rayne Wildwood, Chris Whyte, Don Sellar, Peter and the people at Perennial Gardens especially Joel.