A little holiday cheer

Our Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens (UFDGs) offer an amazing opportunity to enhance our urban forest and beautify available green spaces across Toronto. They have created partnerships amongst organizations and fostered a sense of communal ownership around our natural areas. Our garden at Spadina Station – Walmer Exit has been a perfect example of seeing these opportunities in action.



The story of the Spadina garden’s first season has been a happy one.  But like our High Park and St. Clair locations, the garden's roots have had just the one season to take hold.  Meanwhile, the Bathurst Station – Markham Exit garden is proof of what time, patience, and care will bring.  It is one of our oldest UFDGs and has been around for several growing seasons.  It’s a jungle - the perfect mix of structured and wild, all thanks to the wonderful LEAF stewards who have dedicated their time to the site.


Since closing the Spadina garden down for the winter, we’ve had the unfortunate loss of a few perennials to a small soil failure on the garden’s south end.  It turned into quite the hole, but thankfully our friends at the TTC were able to fix it up and restore the space in good time.  Just in time, actually, to showcase some community heart and festive cheer: a little conifer was planted in the newly filled patch of soil.  Walking by, its cute little red bow will easily bring a smile to your face.  There’s a smile on mine just knowing that a thoughtful someone contributed to the space.


Conifer in the UFDG


The bummer is, conifers are known to grow fairly wide and in such a narrow space the new addition will likely take over and create conflicts for itself and the species surrounding it – including the nearby hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).  At LEAF we require at least 20 feet of space between trees to avoid conflict and allow them to reach their full potential at maturity.  Come springtime, we’ll have to find a new home for the little guy to make sure he’s able to grow without any restrictions.  And we'll have to find a suitable native shrub or some perennials to take his place.


Thanks for all those that have contributed to our urban forest over the holiday season.  We haven’t really had winter yet – but I almost can’t wait for spring – just to see watch our demonstration gardens grow even grander next year!


Planted and maintained by graduates of LEAF’s Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Program, our Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens are located at select TTC stations across Toronto. They are made possible through partnerships with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Live Green Toronto, and the Canadian Tree Fund.