Greenhouse Canada

The first 150 years of gardening in Canada

March 7, 2017  By Dave Harrison

March 7, 2017, Toronto – TM Glass’ Botanical Art Exhibition The Beauty of Nature and the Nature of Beauty in March by invitation of Canada Blooms is an incomparable technology-driven photographic journey into the horticulture of the last 150 years of Canadian flowers – with a special tie to the nation’s birthday celebrations.

The Canadian artist, known for her exceptional mix of photography, digital painting and still life imagery reveals, in this series of limited edition archival prints, the rising Canadian passion for gardening and love of floral beauty that began in early pioneer days. (Click on images for more information)

Glass is also a highly respected Canadian horticulture and landscape historian, and the creator of Canada’s finest example of an arts and crafts movement garden.

Portraits of flowers from this garden appear to sit in vases that were photographed, with permission, at the Royal Ontario Museum, Gardiner Ceramic Museum and Vancouver Art Gallery. In actuality, the flowers and vases were photographed separately and merged by computer into a photo-collage.


As interesting is the history of Canada’s robust floral industry. From the native anemone to the parrot tulip, white clematis, rose and more, TM Glass can chronicle for you how flowers came to Canada – it’s a great story involving merchant cargo ships, sea captains, underground flower markets, rare bulbs and even a Canadian hybridized winter-hardy rose named Emily Carr by its nursery grower.

Adjacent to the Glass exhibition will be an exhibit – researched and curated by Glass – of seed catalogues from 1867 to 1950 showing the kinds of flowers grown in early Canadian gardens.

The Toronto-based Glass, who works out of her Sudbury Street studio, also explains the swath of history in which flowers came to Canada: “Canadians became passionate about growing beautiful flower gardens early in the 19th century, circa the time Queen Victoria signed the British North America Act on July 1, 1867, uniting the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into one Dominion of Canada.

“In years that followed, British settlers brought their passion for gardening and seeds. Enterprising sea captains imported vases for flower arrangements from all over the world to contain the hundreds of flowers cultivated in early Canadian gardens from 1837 onwards.

“Contemporary gardeners might be surprised to know that many flowers we grow today, such as Anemones, Hydrangeas, Clematis, Peonies and Roses, were grown in Canada 150 years ago. These are the flowers I choose to feature.”

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