Touring Toronto’s most inspirational gardens

The Toronto Botanical Garden‘s “Through the Garden Gate” tour is always one of the year’s most highly-anticipated gardening events. Well, it is for me, anyway. But I’m also a dreamer who’s addicted to browsing properties on MLS and going to open houses even though I’m not seriously on the real estate market.

Yeah, I’m that guy.

It’s just SO much fun to stroll through the backyards of these incredible homes and let my imagination wander. The chance to take the tour with fellow gardening journos is an added bonus, too, as I inevitably learn the names of a dozen new species that I vow to plant in my garden. (When I eventually find a property on MLS that has a backyard big enough for a garden, that is.)

The other inevitability of the garden tour is that I find one that’s a true standout. One that strikes that perfect balance between aspirational and achievable.

This is that garden.

Located in Toronto’s tony South Hill neighbourhood, this home’s front garden boasts some knockout natural stone landscaping. The really fluid arrangement of the rocks and boulders prevents them from overpowering the delicate blossoms and diverse greenery. Luminous azaleas ramp up the wow-factor.
Photography by Brett Walther.

 

I almost feel bad for these sombre white irises. The azaleas seem intent on stealing the spotlight.
Photography by Brett Walther.

 

Speaking of stealing the spotlight, just check out this jaw-dropping Japanese peony tree blossom… Stunning!
Photography by Brett Walther.

 

Yes, the outdoor table linens do indeed complement the basket arrangement. Adorbs! The hanging wrought-iron panels are a nice way of creating a bit of privacy from the next-door neighbours without sacrificing sunlight.
Photography by Brett Walther.

I’m a total sucker for symmetry, and the layout of this backyard is beautifully balanced.
Photography by Brett Walther.

 

There’s no green like first-week-of-June green, is there? Sheltered under a half-pergola, these ferns glow a vibrant chartreuse.
Photography by Brett Walther.

 

 

I just LOVE how layered this garden is. Pergolas, flagstone paths, pretty containers, and — something that’s so often overlooked in interior and landscape design — a real sense of humour. Like, is that a lizard on the left?!?
Photography by Brett Walther.

 

From the moss-covered roof to the climbing vines, the greenery camouflages the garden shed, helping it blend seamlessly into the landscaping.
Photography by Brett Walther.

 

Did you know that the sound of running water helps attract birds to your garden? Yet another reason to invest in a water feature (even if it’s not as grand as this one!).
Photography by Brett Walther.

 

Buddha strikes a pose. Again, you get a real sense that the homeowners had fun choosing their outdoor ornaments.
Photography by Brett Walther.

 

The inspired colour combo in this container mixes soft purple and white with the barest hint of coral.
Photography by Brett Walther.

 

You can check out more events hosted by Toronto Botanical Garden here!

 

Is there an annual garden tour in your neck of the woods that you never miss out on? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments section!

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