Art and Plants

We went out on Saturday night to explore the art and art events taking place across Toronto as a part of Nuit Blanche. While we left the house by choice, I will add that should we have preferred to stay in and nap, watch a movie, or simply try to have a conversation these options would have been out since a full band stage was erected directly across the street. If the sound check was any indication, life at home would not have been pleasant. We live in a high-traffic zone for loud, seasonal events including the zoom zoom of the Indy and the sonic boom of the Air Show. It’s things like this that make city living at once both surprisingly awesome and horrific depending on which way you’re looking at it. On the one hand we can watch beautiful fireworks from our bedroom window! But have you ever lived with dancing jets flying overhead every few minutes?

But I’m not writing about this on a garden site to complain about loud noises or tell you about good art, bad art, crowds of people, taking night time Polaroids, the gluttony of eating Vietnamese food at midnight and then bad Chinese at 1:30, the headache I had the next day, or how I have concluded through the pain of experience that I am too old to stay out until 4am… Instead I want to tell you about some of my favourite parts of Nuit Blanche and how they had nothing to do with art at all but were, of course, about plants. One of the highlights of our jaunt around town was a visit to 401 Richmond where I finally got the opportunity to go onto the roof and experience the magnificent rooftop garden. Countless people have been telling me for years that I have got to go and check out the rooftop garden. I don’t know what’s been stopping me but now that I’ve seen it at night I am thoroughly convinced that I have got to go see it during the day. I probably only saw half of the roof. The side I saw was lined with lots of really large planter boxes, each one containing trees and bushes. Pergolas were constructed for shade in some areas with lush, over-filled baskets of greenery dripping down from above. What an inspiration! Now that I’ve got proof that Dogwood will survive in a large planter box there is nothing stopping me from growing one in my own large box.

Here I am sitting beside a large, variegated Dogwood with a Fuchsia hanging above my head. I am sorry that the flash makes me look wide-eyed and crazy. Do not be afraid.

410 Richmond Green Roof
It was really dark (the flash on my camera could pick up more detail than I could with my eyes) but this undecked portion of the roof seems to have been covered with some kind of grass.

Later in the evening, while walking north to China Town we happened upon the Living Wall built just inside the foyer of the Centre for Social Innovation at 215 Spadina Ave. Apparently the building also houses a rooftop container garden and a green roof.


This city has got so much going on as far as green roofs and gardens, I have got to get out more!

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

Subscribe to get weekly updates from Gayla

3 thoughts on “Art and Plants

  1. Well I actually don’t have space in the planter boxes so I guess that would qualify as a reason not to…. Thanks for the offer!

  2. Hey! I’m about to move into a co-op apartment with a garden in the back, and I decided to look up some gardening resources – and I’ve seen your book around, so I decided to look you up… And what a resource you are! And now I see that you must live right down the street from me, amazing (my goodness, the air show was a pain in the neck, eh?).
    I am definitely gonna bookmark you, and perhaps hunt down your book – I am so happy to find someone so knowledgeable is right nearby, so that I have climate appropriate advice!

Comments are closed.