Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Marta Brueckner Rhododendron Garden Tour

Marta Brueckner visited the family namesake garden in Port Credit today to enjoy the rhododendrons in full bloom, including the Brueckner hybrid Hot Dawn. David Culham, who worked closely with the late Dr Brueckner to establish this Rhododendron Garden, accompanied Mrs. Brueckner through the Heritage Garden beds.

David Culham and Marta Brueckner at BRG Port Credit
 Perfect weather for a special tour with Marta Brueckner, shown above with David Culham, chair of the Garden Stewardship Committee.  Mrs. Brueckner, a longtime Mississauga resident, tours the Garden several times each year to see how the rhodos are faring.

Marta Brueckner with David Culham, Heritage Rhododendron Garden
 This year's cool spring weather has extended the rhododendron and azalea blooming season beyond the usual first week in June. A number of rhododendron varieties are still in fat buds likely to open by this weekend. If the weather remains fairly cool for the next week, rhododendrons may still be blooming by Canada Day, July 1, the latest date in recent memory.

David Culham, Marta Brueckner with Para Kanp, Head Gardener
 BRG Head Gardener, Para Kanp, joined Culham and Marta Brueckner to talk rhododendrons, a favourite subject for all three. About eight years ago, Kanp was instrumental in identifying a fungus attacking the rhodos. Prompt treatment saved dozens of rhododendrons.

BRG Visitors Chat with Marta Brueckner
 Culham introduced Marta Brueckner to this group who happened to be visiting the Garden at the same time. To their delight, she chatted with them and posed for photographs, and confirmed when asked that yes, she was formerly a piano teacher.

Marta Brueckner and David Culham in Rhododendron Garden
 Another picture of the nonagenarian 'Lady of the Hour' Marta Brueckner in the Heritage Rhododendron Garden chatting with visitors. While she toured this rhododendron bed on foot, Culham continued the tour through the rest of this extensive garden by golf cart.

Rhododendrons, Azaleas in Brueckner Memorial Garden
Rhododendrons in full bloom are what all concerned had come to see, and they put on a glorious show. Early bloomers such as the Brueckner hybrid rhododendron Bluenose (photos) and PJMs (photos) had flowered a month ago, and were finished for this year.

Rhododendron and Azaleas in Full Bloom BRG Port Credit Ontario
 Extensive plantings in 2010 resulted in a spectacular blooming show this year, thanks to the addition of hundreds of rhododendrons and azaleas, plus other trees and shrubs. Most of the new plantings were transplants from the former Hancock Nurseries on Camilla Road.

Brueckner Rhododendron Hybrid 'Hot Dawn'
Of special note is the fully blooming though still diminutive Brueckner rhododendron hybrid Hot Dawn, shown here in its bright red glory. The blooms almost overshadow any foliage, with many blossoms on each plant. A number of Hot Dawn are planted on the hillside that slopes down towards Lake Ontario near the three-bench lookout. 

If you haven't yet seen the rhododendrons in bloom, then do come visit in the next week or 10 days. While we can't promise a chance to meet Marta Brueckner, you may run into Mayor McCallion. But even without celebrity appearances, we can safely say you'll enjoy this rare, late-season blooming treat.

Update October 22, 2013

It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Marta Brueckner, on Sunday, October 20, 2013, at the age of 96.  

Born in 1917, Marta’s long and productive life was undoubtedly enriched by the many historical events she experienced across several continents, much of which she shared with family and friends and which touched us all.

Her talents were varied and far-reaching. Amongst her many accomplishments she will be remembered for her abiding love of music that inspired her success as a much loved and respected piano teacher in Mississauga and earlier, in Saint John, N.B. 

As a lover of all things beautiful, the flower gardens she created and nurtured are a lasting testament to her artistry and gentle nature and manifested in the devoted support she gave her husband in his life’s work with rhododendrons and the development of Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens, Mississauga.

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