Spring has sprung in our Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens!

Although we were left wondering whether spring would ever actually arrive, the signs of new life in each of our six urban forest demonstration gardens are sure indicators that our pollinator friends will be visiting soon!


In other words, time to launch the 2018 Garden Stewards season! The season kickoff involved a bustling orientation session, tool cleaning and sharpening party, as well as a plant label making party.

Hard at work in the LEAF office making the new plant labels. Not only do the LEAF Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens contribute to a healthy environment, they’re educational too!


The garden tool cleaning & sharpening assembly line – good as new!


After the tools were sharpened and labels created, in April, the Garden Stewards got outside and had the exciting opportunity to participate in a pruning workshop hosted by Mark Sherman, Community Arborist. In this workshop, stewards learned the specifics of what, why, how, and when to prune. One of many handy tips that Mark offered was to be on the lookout for the “3 D’s”; when approaching a shrub to prune, start with branches that are dead, diseased or dying. Then, take a look for branches that are rubbing against each other. Even though the rubbing may look harmless at the time, as the branches grow this could cause unwanted bark damage.

Pruning 101 with Mark Sherman. Thanks Mark!!


Putting the new pruning skills to work at the St. Clair garden.


With their new pruning skills, Garden Stewards reassembled into their teams at their chosen garden site and got to work. The “Spring Work Parties” at each garden were a great opportunity pick up garbage (because we likely won’t be able to walk through the gardens once they turn green and lush), do some renewal pruning to encourage new growth, and create natural mulch from last year’s perennial plant matter.

Spring Work Party at the Leaf Learning Garden!


Pre-pruning: assessing the red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea).


The High Park Stewardship Team in action – they received numerous “thank you’s” for their hard work from the public walking by J


Thank you to Ontario Power Generation, for supporting the development, maintenance, and animation of our gardens since 2010!

And thank you to all of our Garden Stewards, returning and new, who have committed to nurturing native habitat in the city this year! Because of our wonderful Stewardship Teams, 5 Toronto TTC stations, and Wychwood Barns Park are greener, healthier, and beautiful. Make sure to stop by an Urban Forest Demonstration Garden near you! Better yet, join a Stewardship Team!

Wondering where our Urban Forest Demonstration gardens are located? Look no further!


Natalie is a new Volunteer & Stewardship Intern at LEAF, and is excited to be helping out with the Garden Stewards Program!

LEAF’s Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens are supported Ontario Power Generation’s Biodiversity Program and the Toronto Transit Commission.