Scarborough blooms with annual flower show

Gardeners and hobbyists alike showcased the fruits of their labour to a community blooming with passion at the Scarborough Garden and Horticultural Society’s annual flower show on Sept. 11.

Participants showed their foliage at the Scarborough Village Community Centre, where official judges from the Ontario Horticultural Association awarded prizes for the best in each category.

Founded in 1925, the Scarborough Garden and Horticultural Society is a division of the Ontario Horticultural Association.

“I joined just to learn more about gardening,” said Anette Hurlihey, who took home a first-place ribbon for her Chinese lantern plant. “A lot of people think if you’re part of the garden club you know everything. I don’t. I joined because I wanted to learn more.”

Hurlihey said the club is made up of about 200 members and sees Scarborough as a community rife with passionate gardeners of all ages.

Hurlihey is not the only one taking note of the benefits of a blooming city with community as well as personal gardens.

The 2010 Toronto Food Strategy report, “Cultivating Food Connections: Toward a Healthy and Sustainable Food System for Toronto,” was submitted in June to the Toronto Board of Health. The report revealed the potential of horticulture in improving environmental, economic, social and community well-being.

The report’s authors found many youth display an interest in learning to garden and would welcome training and mentorship from seniors in the community.

“I think that if you teach children at a really young age about gardening, it’s something that will stay with them for their whole life,” said Jean Cope, Scarborough garden society member and leader of the junior group. “If not for themselves, it’s going to be for someone else. They can help their neighbour.”

Cope has been volunteering with junior group for nearly 10 years and currently mentors 15 kids. The group meets every few weeks to learn more about gardening.

“It’s a garden club and we have fun,” Cope said. “We learn. We do crafts. We learn about planting and we have a good time.”

The Ontario Horticultural Association offers about 70 youth programs across Ontario, each based on the belief that young people are crucial to furthering horticulture in the province.

“If you put something into the mind at youth then it will come back,” Cope said. “And it’s a good thing to come back to because it’s relaxing. There are so many different facets of gardening.

“The nicest thing is that you meet the greatest people.”