I’m in Toronto, Ontario for the annual get-together of garden lovers who write online about gardens and gardening. This is the eighth Garden Bloggers Fling — and it’s an exhausting and exhilarating few days of garden visits and garden talk.
Our program started earlier this week with a visit to a downtown Toronto garden where Sarah Nixon operates a small business growing flowers in her own backyard and in ten other yards in her west Toronto neighbourhood. She calls herself an urban farmer, or a floral forager. I’d call her a savvy soul who knows what she wants to do and has figured out a way to do it.
As you can read on her website, since 2001 Sarah has been using Toronto residential yards as micro farm plots, intensively growing over 100 varieties of flowers. In searching out unused land to grow on in downtown Toronto, she accidentally became a pioneer in the urban farming movement. Starting out with a few jars of flowers to sell at farmers’ markets she now has a wide variety of customers to whom she sells her sustainably grown blooms.
In her own tiny backyard, she raises a variety of vase-worthy plants.
On another ten sites nearby, she plants out and tends annuals she has started from seed, From this network of cutting gardens, she gathers sustainably grown flowers and sells arrangements to businesses, individuals and florists.
It’s an interesting and innovative concept. I’m not sure how she makes it work in an area where the growing season is as short as it is in Toronto, but the entrepreneurial aspect of her business earns my respect.