A virtual garden tour of Toronto

Morning in the Annex

Early June is my favourite time of year to visit Toronto. What good luck that a conference brought me here the week. First thing each morning I traversed this front sidewalk of my friends Paul and Bob. Their house is in the Annex, an affluent downtown neighbourhood.

What do I like about this time of year in Toronto? The air in residental neighbourhoods is heavily scented by roses, black locust trees (below), dame’s rocket, late lilacs and lindens. The fragrance seems especially intense on calm, humid evenings, and the air is not yet too warm.

Black locust

In the city centre, nature still manages to eke out a foothold, sometimes with human assistance.

Trees at the Holiday Inn

City wildcrafters should watch for Plantago (plantain), a useful medicinal plant. A poultice made from the leaves has the property of drawing things out, according to herbalist Scott Reid: slivers or bites and stings, for example. Taken internally, it is anti-inflammatory. Do not use plants from polluted areas.

Plantago plantain

Even the humblest garden can bring a unique sense of place to a dwelling.


Some plant collectors would consider these specimens vulgar, yet one imaginative gardener has created an appealing study of colour and texture, breaking the bare, sun-drenched landscape along Bathurst Street.

Peonies and variegated foliage

This series of photos was taken with my Samsung Galaxy III Android phone. The photo quality is not as good as I am used to, but sometimes it creates unexpected and subtle effects. I like how it gives a watercolour quality to this shot of Dalmatian bellfowers.

Dalmatian bellflowers

This sprig of Elaeagnus angustifola (Russian olive) squashed on the sidewalk reminded me of a page from an herbarium. I hope you have enjoyed this little virtual garden tour of Toronto.

Russian olive

3 thoughts on “A virtual garden tour of Toronto

  1. The herbarium-like picture is a good one! As it happens, I just sampled black locust flowers for sale yesterday at the farmers’ market. It has such a subtle pea-pod like flavor and I was surprised to learn it’s in the pea family.

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