The people at Fiesta Gardens would never think of taking plants off a delivery truck and then forgetting about them, or letting them bake in the sun to fend for themselves. Plants in many retail spaces are lucky to get a splash of water now and then, but that’s not the case here. Here we have a plant enthusiast, Margaret, who really cares about the plants she provides. Between Margaret and Dino, the two plant specialists here, plants are well sourced, well researched and well looked after till you get them in your hot little hands. (especially hot these days!)
I caught Dino and Margaret at Fiesta Gardens on a blistering hot day and they took time out from ushering out orders or cleaning perennials to tell me a bit about themselves.
Margaret came to the garden world like many other gardeners, from the world of art. I find it is often a natural progression for many artists and writers, to take relish in nature, growing things and creating spaces of beauty. She has lectured at the Royal Ontario Museum and worked in pottery, and said it’s only natural that she became interested in plants, as the clay of pots comes “from the earth”. She’s also something of a scientist and researcher, and constantly has botanical projects on the go at the store and at home, ever curious to enlarge her knowledge of the plants she provides. Growing up in a tropical country no doubt primed her interest in growing things, and she is currently passionate about the plants of Africa.
Horticultural education is crucial to Margaret, she wants to know that the plants she sells are going to thrive when you get them home, and she’ll fill you in on any plant requirements and how to look after the ones you buy.
Dino’s main passion are the large nursery items, the shrubs and trees, but he is particular about the annuals and vegetable starts he sells too. He was sprucing up an order of massive hanging annual planters when I spoke to him. To me they looked magnificent, he said, “They weren’t bad.” High standards here.
Apart from the fact that the plants are well cared for and ready to thrive when you get them home, the selection is fantastic too, with unusual specimens of vegetables, like black-eyed peas, callaloo, and scotch bonnet hot peppers, among others. The Hort Couture section is full of hard-to-find plant specimens like agapanthus, castor bean, and many other varieties new to me.
All this is available right downtown, no need to drive out to the burbs to buy a tree. And when you buy that tree, or pot of annuals, you know it’s had the best head start it could possibly have.