On March 8, in conjunction with the Canada Blooms Garden Show in Toronto, Canada Post will issue four domestic rate (51¢) commemorative stamps featuring gardens. This year also marks the centenary of the Ontario Horticultural Association.
According to Danielle Trottier, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post, "we wanted to depict gardens that bring pleasure to those who grow them or simply view them, and also to demonstrate how these types of gardens encourage the return of native creatures."
Stamp designer Debbie Adams, herself a gardener, notes that while there are many types of gardens, these stamps address the four main styles, which include flower gardens, shade gardens, rock gardens and water gardens.
Adams took this idea of creating a garden as natural habitat as a central theme and sought out gardens that showcased native plants, as much as possible, then accented each stamp with a meticulously detailed illustration of a wild creature that would be enticed by the particular type of garden. The flower garden stamp features an American painted lady butterfly; the shade garden a black-throated blue warbler; the rock garden, a blue-spotted salamander; and the water garden, a green darner dragonfly.
Jeff Domm, a wildlife illustrator whose work has appeared in more than 30 books, explains how this level of detail was achieved. "With gouache, the first step is to lay down base colours and then build up several layers to accurately depict the shapes and tones and textures."
Each of the gardens chosen offers a variety of species, but the main anchor plants of each garden encourage these particular creatures to make their home among the plants. All gardens were shot in Ontario, and the emphasis on plants and animals native to the province reinforces the issue's connection with the Ontario Horticultural Association's centenary.
Gardening is now the number one hobby in Canada, second only to golf in the amount of money spent on a per capita basis. According to Adams, as Canadian gardeners grow more sophisticated in their approach, native plants are being used not only to attract specific animals, but also for their drought-resistance and relatively lower maintenance. She's pleased with the stamps' ability to demonstrate this trend and bring respect to native plants too often viewed as weeds.
Photographer Andrew Leyerle, who captured each garden at its peak, was enthused by the incredible amount of creative freedom offered by the photographic requirements of the stamp format. Expanding past the stamp boundary to create a lush background for the stamp booklets, the images are a verdant reminder that it won't be long before the garden season will return.
For more information about the Canada Blooms Garden Show, visit www.canadablooms.com.
For more information about the Ontario Horticultural Association, visit www.gardenontario.org.