One day to go until the opening ceremonies of the Pan Am Games begin in Toronto! With 40 countries and territories of the Americas participating in the Pan Am Games, Canada is a proud host once again (Winnipeg hosted games back in 1967 and 1999). The 2015 Games are predicted to be the largest multi-sport event to be held in Canada (double the size of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver). Fifteen host cities from Welland to Hamilton, Oshawa and Minden across Southern Ontario will welcome teams and athletes in addition to the major events being held in Toronto.
In the Niagara Region, the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course in St. Catharines, Ontario will host the rowing competition and the Flatwater Centre in Welland will house the Sprint Canoeing competitions. Nearby at the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse, a floral tribute to the Pan Am and Parapan Am games has been created to recognize the importance of the event and show support for all the athletes, coaches, families and fans.
The Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse is located just south of the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada.
To acknowledge the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games rowing events that will be taking place in nearby St. Catharines, Ontario, the Floral Showhouse included real oars in their summer floral display.
The men’s and women’s Football/Soccer competition for the Pan Am Games is recognized at the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse with balls ready for goal scoring among the tropical plants.
A surprise greets visitors at the Floral Showhouse when they see a real pommel horse on display among the tropical plants. The Pan Am Games gymnastic events start on July 11th.
The Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse tribute to the Pan Am Cycling competitions which include BMX, Mountain Biking, Road and Track categories.
Admission to the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse is $5.00 for adults and $3.75 for children (6-12 years) + tax. The Floral Showhouse is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm daily. The Pan Am and Parapan Am tribute and Summer Show runs through mid-August.
Clive is blooming! Again!
The flower started to open about 7:00 pm on Saturday, June 20th with the spathe unfurling to reveal a beautiful maroon colour inside. After watching the bud grow taller and swell expectantly for over a month, the opening was a bit of a surprise because it happened so fast. Looking at the live webcam at first didn’t seem like it could be happening. But it was true. Clive, one of the largest Titan Arums at the Floral Showhouse was blooming again. Arriving at the Floral Showhouse would first reveal an olfactory assault – more confirmation that Clive was indeed blooming. And second, there was visual proof!
Titan Arum Clive as the spathe is unfurling on opening night.
Clive in full bloom on Sunday, June 21, 2015
It was 2012 when Clive bloomed last. The final height at blooming today was recorded at 84 inches (2.13 m). And yes, the Corpse Flower name really does apply to this flower. As Clive opened, the putrid smell of decaying flesh got more intense – especially when climbing a ladder to get a top down photo!
Wayne Hoeschle, Titan Arum curator cross pollinating Clive on opening night.
The female flowers can be seen through a cut out window of the Titan Arum bloom at Niagara Parks. Male pollen from McMaster’s Titan Arum that bloomed June 3, 2015 was used to cross pollinate the flower this morning in the hopes the Clive will produce seed.
The plant, Amorphophallus titanum, called the Titan Arum or Corpse Plant, is one of six dormant corms donated to Niagara Parks by Louis Ricciardiello of Gilford, New Hampshire, in December 2011. Titan Arum specimen #1, nicknamed “Morph,” bloomed for the first time at Niagara Parks on May 4th, 2012. At blooming the flower was an incredible height of 244 cm (96 inches). After the Titan Arums bloom, they go dormant for months, and then send up a huge leaf that measures 6 m (20 feet) tall. That leaf soaks up the sun for a year or more and, with the copious amounts of water and fertilizer, puts nutrients back into the underground corm to hopefully return it to blooming size. A blooming size corm weighs an impressive 80 kg (175 lbs) and is about 70 cm (27 inches) in diameter.
For the latest news on the Titan Arum bloom visit the Niagara Parks Facebook Page or the Niagara Parks Blog.
Take a look at the Titan Arum live webcam on the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse website for the latest flower view.
Update on May 28th.
Morph is blooming!
The flower started to open about 9:00 pm on May 27th with the spathe unfurling to reveal a beautiful maroon colour inside. By the next morning, the full glory of the spathe could be seen.
The Titan Arum in full bloom at 8:00 am on May 28th, 2014 at the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse.
The final height at blooming was recorded at 96 inches (2.4 m). And yes, the Corpse Flower name really does apply to this flower. As Morph opened, the putrid smell of decaying flesh got more intense – especially when climbing a ladder to get a top down photo!
The female flowers can be seen through a cut out window of the Titan Arum bloom at Niagara Parks. Male pollen from Ohio State’s Titan Arum was used to cross pollinate the flower this morning in the hopes the Morph will produce seed.
Morph, one of the Niagara Parks’ Titan Arums beginning to bloom on May 27th, 2014 at 11:30 pm.
Update on May 27th.
Morph is now 91 inches tall (2.3 m) and is going to bloom any day now! The outer sheath has fallen away and the frilly spathe can now be clearly seen as well as the “squished French bread” spadix.
The Titan Arum just before it blooms at the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse on May 27th, 2014
Update on May 18th, 2014
One of the Titan Arums at Niagara Parks is about to bloom again. The plant, Amorphophallus titanum, called the Titan Arum or Corpse Plant, is one of six dormant corms donated to Niagara Parks by Louis Ricciardiello of Gilford, New Hampshire, in December 2011. Titan Arum specimen #1, nicknamed “Morph”, bloomed for the first time at Niagara Parks on May 4th, 2012. At blooming the flower was an incredible height of 244 cm (96 inches). After it bloomed, Morph went dormant for five months, and then in October 2012 it grew a huge leaf that measured 6 m (20 feet) tall. That leaf soaked up the sun for a year and, with the copious amounts of water and fertilizer, put nutrients back into the underground corm to hopefully return it to blooming size. The plant went dormant, and during the winter of 2013-2014 it was repotted. At that time, the corm weighed an impressive 80 kg (175 lbs) and was 68 cm (27 inches) in diameter. Now, in May 2014, after a two year wait the Titan Arum is sending up a beautiful flower bud.
The anticipation is building as Morph’s new shoot gets measured every day by Wayne Hoeschle, its caretaker. The shoot is growing between 3 and 6 inches every day and is expected to bloom in about a week. As of this morning, May 22nd, 2014 Wayne reports that Morph is 200 cm (79 inches) tall.
The two pictures below were taken May 18th at 65 inches in height.
For the latest news on the Titan Arum bloom visit the Niagara Parks Facebook Page
Take a look at the Titan Arum live webcam on the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse website for the latest flower bud view.
The Hydrangea Show at the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse
In May the floral show is all pinks, blues, purple and white in the Floral Showhouse during the Hydrangea Show.
The Hydrangea Show at the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse features hydrangeas (naturally), delphiniums, foxgloves and fuchsia. A beautiful combination of calming pinks, blues and white blooms.
The Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse is just south of the Falls on the Niagara Parkway, in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada. More details are at the Niagara Parks website.
Easter and Spring are centre stage in the Floral Showhouse at Niagara Parks!
More than just plants, birds and turtles … chicks (and bunnies) too!
The Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse is just south of the Falls on the Niagara Parkway, in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada. More details are at the Niagara Parks website.
The Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture Celebrates 75 Years
Celebrating 75 years in 2011, the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture Lecture Hall and Administration Building
There have been a lot of weeds pulled, roses deadheaded, vegetables harvested and grass mown during seventy-five years of training horticulture students. But every so often, it’s time to take off the secateurs, put on walking shoes, and take a stroll to really delight in the beauty of a very special garden. The garden – the home of the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture.
Hundreds of plants skillfully arranged in containers greet visitors at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture during the summer to celebrate their 75th anniversary in 2011.
This school, unique in Canada sits on 100-acres (40 hectares) along the Niagara Parkway in Niagara Falls, Ontario and has been the living, teaching campus for more than 600 graduates who now are spread out in parks departments, golf courses, greenhouses and nurseries across Canada and around the globe. In August, the largest ever gathering of graduates returned to Niagara to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the School of Horticulture. A round of golf, school grounds tours, bbq and lots of alumni stories led to many renewed and new acquaintances during the three-day event.
A beautiful waypoint at the Botanical Gardens, the rose garden fountain.
How did the school get started?
July 10, 1935 was a significant day in the birth of what was to become the Niagara Parks Commission Training School for Apprentice Gardeners. This was the day that the Niagara Parks Commission approved engaging Knut Mattias (K.M.) Broman, a Swedish born, trained landscape architect as a landscape gardener for a period of two years.
The Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture student residence as seen in present day, formerly called The Bothy.
It was at that same meeting that it was suggested to make a botanical garden at Queen Victoria Park adjacent to the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls. And in order to have qualified gardeners for this new botanical garden, a school was launched to train young men to become expert gardeners. It was on May 8th, 1936 that the Niagara Parks Commission set up the following guidelines …
It is the opinion of The Niagara Parks Commission that expert gardeners should be trained under the direction of the Commission as there is no proper Training School in the province… It is agreed by the Commission that a number of apprentices (not to exceed eight for the present) be engaged to work in the park under the supervision of Mr. Broman, who is to lay out a course.
The old stone house at the Niagara Glen owned by the Commission (known as the old Murray House) is to be prepared as a bothy for the boys during the summer season. In the winter season it is suggested that the boys be housed in the Help’s Quarters of the Park Restaurant. Until other plans are arranged the boys are to be fed at the Park Restaurant.
School of Horticulture Students are required to tend a vegetable garden plot during their second year. The result is innovation, great horticulture, and lots of creativity!
These are some of the guidelines for the first class of gardeners as they arrived at what is now the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture. And after 600 graduates, 2011 saw an unprecedented gathering of alumni and celebration as the little apprenticeship-style school, along the Niagara Parkway and across from the Niagara Glen, that trained students during a 36 month curriculum turned 75 years old.
The School is run by The Niagara Parks Commission, an Operational Enterprise of the Government of Ontario, that has been charged with managing the land, buildings, and facilities along the Niagara River from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie since 1887 in a completely self-funding manner – without taking any taxpayer dollars.
A living sculpture of a dragon, designed, created and maintained by students at the School of Horticulture greets visitors at the entrance to the rose garden during the summer of 2011.
In the book, Garden School Days, Memoirs from the Early Years (1936-1950) Roland Barnsley and William Snowden, former Superintendents of the School of Horticulture, describe the early thirties in Canada as a time of low morale with a deep economic depression and the somber realization that the great surge of optimism following World War I had shriveled to a very dim and bleak outlook for the country (and world). The need for job creation was a priority. The fortuitous arrival of a chairman (T.B. McQuesten) with enormous vision was a contributing factor to the launching of the School in 1936.
A giant grape vine globe makes a dramatic statement in the entrance garden at the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden and School of Horticulture.
The Early Years
Changing a 100-acre derelict farm into a school of gardening almost overnight was a mighty task that started with K.M. Broman’s trip to Holland in 1936 to order virtually every plant that he could find that might survive in Niagara. His source was the great Dutch nursery, F.J. Grootendorst & Sons in Boskoop. The shipment would turn out to be the largest single shipment of nursery stock ever shipped from Holland up to that date. Most of the plants were dug from the nursery beds in the spring during January to March and then shipped to the east coast of Canada in April of 1937. From there they travelled by train to Niagara Falls in May. Despite a two month journey, most were in good condition and after being inspected were planted in long nursery rows in their new home. Many would stay in this temporary nursery that stretched north and south from the entrance road for the School for another 18 months before permanent locations were provided.
It is the plants in this Grootendorst shipment that still forms the backbone and many of the most cherished plants on the School grounds even after 75 years. It is the spruce vista and hornbeam allée, oriental cedar hedge that surrounds the herb garden, beech hedges opposite the student residence and collection of sycamore maples that feature most prominently from this original 1937 planting.
Surrounded by clipped oriental cedar hedges that were part of the 1937 plant shipment from Holland, the herb garden at the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden and School of Horticulture is full of fascinating plants to discover.
Hugh McCracken, a graduate in the first class in 1939 recalls, “Our first home was a farmhouse, which still stands as the original part of the School. It was called The Bothy, an English term for an apprentice residence. Workmen we were that first summer – carrying out many manual tasks with the aid of pick and shovel, cultivators, Dutch hoes and manure forks. We were even required to break the proverbial rock with sledgehammer in tow. Exercise and fresh air was not in short supply that first year. I am sure any of the students that were at the School in the early days would agree that most of our training was of a practical nature. The spring of 1937 brought with it a tremendous shipment of nursery stock imported from Holland. When this shipment was added to the existing plant material, the Gardening School began to take on the appearance of a place of learning.”
Celebrating the "blue and gold," the colours of the NPC School of Horticulture, the annual flowers in the rose garden really add a festive spirit to the 75th anniversary celebrations themselves.
Over the years, there have been many changes; the former Murray farmhouse is greatly expanded and not the school residence as well as the addition of a new lecture hall, library and administration building built in 1961, women were first admitted into the program in 1973, and in 1996, North America’s largest butterfly conservatory opened on the grounds. The name became the School of Horticulture (dropping the apprentice gardener’s moniker) in 1959 and the school campus officially became the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens in 1990. Many garden changes have occurred on the 100 acres over 75 years with many more planned as well. Exciting new landscapes have been developed, stone walls and paths built, irrigation systems installed, new ponds and plant collections added – all giving valuable, year-round, “real world” experiences to the first, second and third year students as part of their practical horticulture training.
Located at the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden, the Butterfly Conservatory features over 2,000 tropical butterflies flying freely in an enclosed rainforest garden.
The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, Butterfly Conservatory and School of Horticulture are located along the Niagara Parkway, just a 10 minute drive north of the Falls. www.niagaraparks.com/garden-trail/botanical-gardens.html
The Botanical Gardens is free of charge, and open seven days a week from dawn to dusk. There is a charge for parking and the Butterfly Conservatory.
The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture
P.O. Box 150, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2E 6T2