Woman to Woman at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Every spring, the Toronto Botanical Garden rolls out the carpet (literally) for a bevy of beautiful women and a growing gaggle of gorgeous gentlemen for their annual fundraiser Woman to Woman Lunch in the Garden.  It’s a chance for us all to dress up in our flowery finery…..

Three hats-TBG Woman to Woman

… while supporting the initiatives of the most beautiful little 4-acre garden in North America, surrounded by spectacular blossoms…..

Alliums-TBG Woman to Woman Luncheon

… as we sip white wine and pink champagne….

Pink Champagne-TBG Woman to Woman

….and sample the most amazing tiny plates of savoury delights from the TBG’s approved Toronto catering vendors. (You can designate any of these great caterers for a wedding, party or other event at the TBG!) And there are delish little desserts served in the most creative ways….

Hats & Dessert-TBG Woman to Woman

…. such as these gorgeous spoonfuls mounted on a funhouse mirror from Eatertainment Catering. And may I just say that their petite Bananas Foster is like a mini-trip to savour the original at the famous Brennan’s in New Orleans!  And I’ve been to Brennan’s!

Dessert Spoons

But let’s not stop there. What about these darling floral cupcakes and rainbow-hued French macarons from Daniel et Daniel Catering?

Desserts-Daniel et Daniel-TBG Woman to Woman

Or these beautiful little shot-glass mousses from A La Carte Kitchen Inc.?

Desserts-A La Carte-TBG Woman to Woman

I sampled these sweet treats from A La Carte. Yum. Hungry yet?

Dessert-A La Carte-TBG Woman to Woman

But for most of us, Woman to Woman is all about the hats, which are judged very seriously with awards to the winners. (I was a judge one year – such fun!) Hats like this bird-friendly design….

Birdhouse hat-TBG Woman to Woman

….and this elegant homage to monarch butterflies…..

Monarch butterfly-TBG Woman to Woman

…and this luscious English country garden!

Blue & Pink-TBG Woman to Woman

Toronto Star gardening columnist Sonia Day was there wearing a vegetable garden with allium seedheads (her specialty out in the country).

Sonia Day1-TBG Woman to Woman

It came complete with seed packages!

Sonia Day2-TBG Woman to Woman

And urban planner and former TBG Fundraising Chair Lindsay Dale-Harris was rightfully proud of her custom design! Love the pussy willow touch.

Lindsey Dale-Harris-TBG Woman to Woman

And as I wrote in my last blog, I came decked out in perfumed lily-of-the-valley.



It was a great opportunity for old friends to catch up in a gorgeous setting on a couldn’t-be-more-perfect last day of May.

Friends-TBG Woman to Woman

Later, the woman in the middle, above, demonstrated her hat’s built-in lighting. How cool is that?

Twinkle-lit-hat-TBG Woman to Woman

Meanwhile, in one of the two tents set up in the garden, friends at sponsored tables enjoyed chatting and dining together…..

Tables-TBG Woman to Woman

….while listening to TBG Executive Director Harry Jongerden talk about the plans for the garden’s big expansion. And the city is now moving forward with consultant plants on this exciting prospect! Go Harry!

Harry Jongerden-TBG Woman to Woman

Canada Blooms doyenne Kathy Dembroski was there looking cool as vanilla ice cream on a hot May day. She and her husband were the generous lead donors of the beautiful LEED-certified George and Kathy Dembroski Centre for Horticulture that is the flagship building of the ‘new’ (2005) Toronto Botanical Garden.

Kathy Dembroski-TBG Woman to Woman

Oh! Would you like to see that gorgeous building? Here’s a leafy view from the side…..

TBG-George & Kathy Dembroski Centre for Horticulture (1)

…and one from the back showing the green roof and the lovely Westview Terrace. (And look at those little kids climbing the Spiral Garden!)

TBG-George & Kathy Dembroski Centre for Horticulture (2)

And I love how it looks at night, too. Thank you, Kathy & George Dembroski!

TBG-George & Kathy Dembroski Centre for Horticulture (3)

Back to our Woman to Woman lunch. Society photographer Aline Sandler was there snapping her shutter and dressed to the nines with a whimsical fascinator and trademark fingernails bearing little flowers!

Aline Sandler-TBG Woman to Woman

And behind Aline was fabulous floral designer Nicholas Smith of Opening Night Flowers. His luscious designs could be seen at the courtyard of lead luncheon sponsor Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. Sponsor-© Janet Davis – All Rights Reserved

Incidentally, the highest silent auction bid of the day was for “breakfast at Tiffany’s” for a lucky bidder and her friends — even Holly Golightly would have opened her chequebook for that one! And here, have a “little blue box” – they’re delicious!

Tiffany cookies-TBG Woman to Woman

Another of Nicholas’s elegant creations for Tiffany.

Tiffany Bouquet-Opening Night Flowers-TBG Woman to Woman

It was fun to see women enjoying each other’s company all over the gardens, like these lovely bluebirds…

Blue & White-TBG Woman to Woman

…and this stylish pair…

Guests1-TBG Woman to Woman

There were comfy tables set up for dining on the Westview Terrace.

Pink hat-TBG Woman to Woman

And leather sofas to relax on under the marquee in the perennial garden.

Guests2-TBG Woman to Woman

It was fun to meet Carol Rhodenizer, below, the mother of the TBG’s hardworking communications director Jenny Rhodenizer!

Carol Rhodenizer-TBG Woman to Woman

I absolutely loved this little vintage cloche…

Vintage hat-TBG Woman to Woman

…and this was pure classical elegance with the perfect, upswept coiffure.

Peach classic-TBG-Woman-to-Woman

I was very impressed that this guest matched her lipstick to her fascinator orchids!

Purple Orchids-TBG Woman to Woman

And though the hat creations were mostly the stuff of fantasy, I couldn’t help thinking this one might have been inspired by love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena).

Blue Flower-TBG Woman to Woman

All in all, a wonderful afternoon with happy, fun people supporting a fabulous little garden .that should be just the intimate heart of a much bigger botanical garden for our fair city, the 4th largest in North America. As in 1) Mexico City (8.85 million), 2) New York (8.55 million), 3) Los Angeles (3.97 million), 4) Toronto (2.82 million), 5) Chicago (2.72 million). Something that might look a little like the sketch below. What an exciting time for us, as plans move forward.

Concept sketch-Toronto Botanical Garden

Here are a few of my June images of the garden from past years. Peonies, lilac, meadow sage, catmint & amsonias in the Piet Oudolf-designed entry border.


More peonies with alliums, Phlomis tuberosa ‘Amazone’ & the white form of Geranium phaeum along the driveway.


Billowy Bowman’s root (Porteranthus trifoliatus) in front of the Garden Hall courtyard.


Paul Zammit’s fabulous windowboxes and pots at the base of the Spiral Garden. (And if you like this, have a peek at the blog I wrote on Paul’s container wizardry!)


And one of Paul’s brilliant urns in the Perennial Garden.


The Westview Terrace looking stunning, with Indigofera kirilowii in full bloom.


And the Beryl Ivey Knot Garden with its formal parterres, as seen from the top of the Spiral Garden. Beyond is the hot, sunny Terraced Garden and the Perennial Garden, upper right.


And that’s just a very small taste. Onward and upward, our lovely TBG!

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