A Serene and Verdant Garden on the Toronto Islands

So much is going on I almost forgot to do the last post about our visit to the Toronto Islands, which Judy and I visited as part of the 2015 Garden Bloggers Fling back in June. You can find the earlier posts here and here.

Downtown Toronto seen from Algonquin Island.
Downtown Toronto seen from Algonquin Island.

The Toronto Islands are just a few minutes by ferry from the thriving heart of downtown Toronto. In fact, as we wandered the quiet lanes (no cars allowed) we kept running into views of the Toronto skyline.


One particular garden left a big impression on both Judy and I. Isn’t this a great front garden? The craggy old trunk of a huge shade tree is underplanted so beautifully with flowers, sedges, and evergreens. And the Japanese Maple softens its domineering neighbor.


On the way to the back garden we passed this white clematis. The flowers made me think of angels playing golden harps. Of course I don’t know the name of the variety.


Entrance to the back garden.

2015-06-05 14.49.07

OK, I’ve got to admit that this spot is just about perfect. A private little niche, the stone, the quiet water punctuated by a couple clumps of aquatic plants, the tranquil evergreens with the dwarf Japanese Maple. So much serenity with just a couple of contrasting touches to keep you in the here and now. The place to sit in solitude and figure out the answer to life, the universe, and everything.


You know who really loves living on the Toronto Islands? Solomon Seal (Polygonatum biflorum), that’s who.


I really like this little  tableau as well, though very different from my own garden, of course.


And you know who else is really happy? Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis).


Another really nice spot for quiet contemplation, this time for a couple.


Wish I knew what kind of Trillium these were. Nice mottled foliage.


Here’s a combination you don’t see often where I come from: Allium, Baptisia, and Lady’s Mantle.


Nice globe made from wooden stems in the background. I like how the juniper it rests on suggests a hand or a pillow. And the round Alliums are like little purple globes.


Sure, the Buddha looks happy. Wouldn’t you be if you spent all your time in this garden?


After that garden we had to rouse ourselves to head back to downtown Toronto. Over the little bridge from Algonquin to Ward Island, then down to the ferry dock. The rain, which was nice enough to hold off while the flingers looked at gardens, decided it was time to let loose just as we got to the dock. We then had the pleasure of getting soaked by a brief but very intense thunderstorm.

Fortunately, the next and last stop of the day was our hotel, where we could dry off.

I’m going to keep the rest of my material on Toronto gardens in reserve until the return of cold weather in these parts. In the meantime, what would you say was the most tranquil garden you have ever visited?

31 Comments on “A Serene and Verdant Garden on the Toronto Islands

  1. What a lovely garden on an island seemingly filled to the brim with lovely gardens. I do like that spot by the pond. Looks like a great spot for a good book and a glass of your favourite drop on a warm evening!

  2. I think the Japanese Garden in Portland was one of the most serene but this is a close second for a small personal garden. I missed this one, somehow, but have seen many photos of it. I wish I’d seen it in person.

    • I missed quite a few of the gardens on the Toronto Islands. There was just too much to see, and I don’t move fast, especially through gardens.

  3. The Toronto gardens looked beautiful and peaceful. Completely reinforced my image of Canada.

  4. Most tranquil? That would have to be the Japanese Garden here in Portland. You make a good case for this garden. I especially like the twining trunks alongside the entrance to the back garden.

  5. Jason, you’ve visited very peaceful garden, I was surprised to know that near big noisy city of Toronto there is such serene and quiet place. I liked you picture of Budda:))

    • It was surprising to me as well, Nadezda. It makes for a wonderful escape from the city while still in the middle of it.

  6. The most tranquil gardens for me are always meadows overflowing with natural wild flowers.
    This is a gem of a garden, I enjoyed it all, especially around that gorgeous little pnd.xxxx

    • I agree, though more green and pastel colors makes for a more tranquil garden, as does shade, and the pond should have some flowing water.

  7. I don’t remember that garden, but know I had to have photographed it since we hit every one of them on the tour. I will have to look at my images. The gate view is particularly nice. So is the couple seating.

  8. I’m sorry I didn’t wander more on Toronto Island — I missed a lot of good gardens, it seems. But I know the answer to life, the universe and everything. 42, of course.

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