A Wildlife-Friendly Garden in Toronto

So here’s another garden we got to see during the Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto. This was a small private garden in the Don Mills area. The owner had removed all the lawn in front and replaced it with a mix of small trees, shrubs, and perennials.


It was not exclusively a native plant garden, but the plants had been chosen for their appeal to birds, pollinators, butterflies, and other critters.


In a drier area of the front, Achillea and Salvia make a fine combination (looks like ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Caradonna’, but I don’t know for sure).


A dry stone stream bed was both practical for directing rainwater and very attractive.


A nice clump of Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium) is positioned to take advantage of the extra moisture.


A happy-looking Baptisia.


What is this plant with the pink flowers bunched around the stem? Is it Phlomis?


There was just enough lawn in the back garden for humans, but also lots of wildlife-friendly features.  This part of the garden is full of woody plants that yield small fruits attractive to birds.


I’m not very fond of painted trees, but I do like how the blue here combines with the red-purple foliage behind it.


I definitely liked this shady partnership of unknown golden grass or sedge with purple-leaved Ligularia.


I never did find out who the subjects of this portrait were, but it’s fetching.


An attractive and creative stand for a bird bath.


The back steps to the house.


And we shouldn’t forget the vegetable garden that took up a sunny spot in the back. It was full of leafy greens and herbs. There were also some tomato plants that looked like they had been set out just recently.


57 Comments on “A Wildlife-Friendly Garden in Toronto

  1. Lovely garden…I like the dry stone stream bed so much I’m wondering if Paul feels like creating one in our garden……that is about all he needs right now!

  2. Lovely, especially the planting in the front garden and the dry stone stream. Don’t like the blue tree at all though. I think that is a phlomis.

  3. Fabulous garden. I’m sorry to say I didn’t like the blue tree and didn’t take a photo, but now I wish I had. Lesson learned. The grass is ‘Everillo’ carex from the awesome Pat Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Nursery, Ireland. I received two 3-inch pots at a GWA meeting from Southern Living Plants in spring; one was grown in a pot (2 to 3 hours sun) and the other in the landscape (slight dappled light) and both thrived. It’s my new favorite plant for 2015.

  4. Wonderful garden really, and have to love those who design their
    landscape to attract and nurture the wildlife, I’m sure the pollinators love
    this space! It looked as though it was in a fairly urban area? Amazing what we can do to transform lawns into beautiful naturalized landscapes……thank you for sharing all the photos!

  5. What a delightful garden! (Like the glass awning over back steps too). The blue tree doesn’t fit somehow, but the birdbath is most attractive. Did I read correctly in an earlier comment that there is a roof garden too?

  6. I liked this garden a lot. The dry creek bed is in the forefront of my mind as I have some water issues in the backyard. I kind of remember someone saying the purple flower was a Phlomis.

  7. Love that front garden! I do sometimes wish that I had completely eliminated grass when we redid our front. We still have a small circle, which now is mostly clover actually. The gold grass with the purple Ligularia is a great pairing.

  8. Beautiful garden! (Except for the blue tree. A definite no.) Could that pink/purple flower be bergamot? It grows in a nearby native wetland/prairie area, and looks very similar.

  9. Yes, it is Phlomis. I tried the yellow version a few years back, alas, it failed. MidWest might still carry it. The yellow grass is likely Carex Bowles Golden. Very nice to see greenery this time of year!

  10. Blue is my favorite color but the tree doesn’t do it for me. I’m sure there must be a good story behind both it and its color though.
    I’ve thought about doing that to my front lawn but it’s big and I’d need a lot of plants. And a stronger back.

    • I think there are easier ways to do that kind of front garden planting – relying primarily on smaller shrubs and ornamental grasses and sedges.

  11. Oh yes, that sedge is something special. I see you had some help IDing it, along with the Phlomis. I remember thinking this garden was more my style than some of the other ones (except for the painted tree). I appreciated and enjoyed all of them, but this one seemed more like a garden I’d be more likely cultivate and maintain myself.

  12. I see a dry stone stream bed in my future. I’m with the others on the blue tree–not a fan. But I loved the bird bath.

  13. Lovely! Like you I’m not at all sure about painted trees, are they actually alive or just ornamental? I do like that rocky stream.xxx

  14. Looks like I am in the minority loving the blue tree. It reads as sculpture to me. The house seems a perfect background color for the garden.

    • I figured somebody has to love that tree. It’s not democracy if we’re unanimous. Actually, there are a number of painted trees around Chicago, including in the park by Lake Michigan.

  15. Beautiful match of house and garden, I love them both!
    My favorite things are the vegetable garden paths, what a great idea I just have to find out where I can get a few of those strips (without stealing them out of a parking lot!)

  16. I love looking at gardens because they reflect the personalities of the gardeners hard at work. I love the dry creek beds and the handsome bird bath. I would never think of adding a blue tree, but it looks quite handsome where they have it. 🙂

  17. I didn’t mind the blue tree at all, though I might have sited it differently. Like Ricki, I though of it more as art, and context for art is so important. Glad you enjoyed this garden. You did miss a cool green roof, though.

  18. I love the idea of a dry stone river bed, it looks fabulous and what great planting. A lovely garden, but I’ m not sure about the blue tree.

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