FIRST GARDEN TOUR IN ONTARIO WAS CLOVERLEAF IN 1966
by Chairs of the annual Cloverleaf Garden Tour
In an article by Mr. Art Drysdale, written in June 2004 and published in iCanGarden.com, he says:
"...The season of garden touring is upon us and anyone with any interest in plants and gardens really ought to take advantage of as many of them as possible. There is simply no better way to get ideas for your own garden than by visiting others. Often, even the least interesting of gardens on any one tour can yield a special plant, a plant arrangement concept, or problem solving idea that makes the entire tour more than worthwhile.
The first garden tour I ever attended was in 1966, and as far as I have been able to ascertain, it was in fact the first such tour at least in Ontario, perhaps in Canada. It was the brainchild of the Cloverleaf Garden Club in what were then the communities of Port Credit, Clarkson and Lorne Park. They and others are all now part of the City of Mississauga. It was Cloverleaf member (and strong promoter) Tom Crookston, who lived on Mineola Road West, who came to me with the idea asking my thoughts. I told him I thought it a great idea and over the next several years, I helped with various publicity ideas in order to build the attendance. Naturally, Tomís garden was on that first tour, and I can still remember seeing his wonderful English delphiniums and the many other fine perennials for the first time. In those days, annual flowers were King, and perennial growing was a lost art. Tom Crookston would be impressed with the huge surge in perennial gardening that has developed in the last two decades.
Cloverleaf now has a list of over 400 names of people who sign up at their tours in order that they be notified each year in advance.
Perhaps the most sophisticated tour is that run by the Toronto Botanical Garden, formerly the Civic Garden Centre. It is only 17 years old, having been started by another old friend, landscape architect (and former call screener for my gardening radio shows) Peter D. C. Thomas. He had the concept of a two-day weekend tour with 15 to 20 gardens in different specific areas of the city each year. He also organized the first tour, including the use of shuttle buses between the gardens. Iíve been involved in promoting and advertising almost all of these tours as well, except for this year, when it was sold out in advance, for the first time I believe.
While the first Cloverleaf tour was not thought of by Tom Crookston (or anyone else likely) as a major fund-raiser, many garden tours have now become such, including that of the Toronto Botanical Garden. And, that was Peter Thomasí idea for the then Civic Garden Centre tour..." Click here for full article.
This article, entitled "Garden Tours, Arborvitae Hedge & Moles", was published on June 27, 2004 in www.icangarden.com, and re-printed here with permission from Mr. Drysdale.(2011-05-01)