Art Drysdale in one of Canada’s best-known horticulturists. For the past four decades he has been writing, and presenting radio and television broadcasts, with practical garden hints.
Art hosts his own gardening programme on AM740 Primetime Radio covering most of southern Ontario (Saturdays from 8 to 10 AM March to November and 9 to 10 AM November to March). In addition, from March to November he is seen regularly, with daily gardening tips on Canada’s Weather Network. He was also a contributor/horticultural editor to/of Plant & Garden for 11 of the 13 years of that national magazine’s existence.
As a speaker he has addressed amateur and professional groups all across Canada, as well as in the U.S., England, Holland, Switzerland, Australia, South Africa, and aboard cruise ships. Although he has dozens of topics on which he presents illustrated talks and lectures, his current ones deal with the “new” 2001 Chelsea Flower Show and interesting public and private gardens in England, Wales and France, and “Roses and rosarians I have known (see partial script and a few of the photographs for this talk in the “Commentaries” section here.
Here is a summary of his ‘horticultural history’. Art graduated from East York Collegiate in 1957, with the Ontario Secondary School Honour Graduation Diploma. He was active and held several executive positions in the East York Garden Club, 1955-69. He attended The Niagara Parks Commission School of Gardening (now NPC Botanical Garden and School of Horticulture), 1958-61, where he won all five awards presented at the graduation. He initiated/edited the school's first yearbook.
From graduation in March 1961 until August 1962 he worked with the Shur-Gain Division of Canada Packers where he developed new consumer fertilizer products (Feed ‘n Weedaway, for example), wrote various consumer literature, and consulted with consumers and the turf industry. He was then employed with Sheridan Nurseries Limited, 1962-69, Art was Chief Horticulturist and Advertising Manager, with full responsibility for their catalogues and botanical nomenclature.
In December 1963, Art began writing a feature column for a new magazine, Canadian Nurseryman, and continued to do so until March 1969. He was also a member of founding committee.
In 1964, he was appointed part-time Executive Director and Editor with the Canadian Parks/Recreation Association (CP/RA), with the office in his home. In 1969-70, he was employed full-time as CP/RA Executive Director, and Editor of Recreation Canada. He set up CP/RA's first permanent office in Ottawa in early 1971. From 1971-1978, he free-lanced as a horticultural writer and published/edited Recreation Canada.
From January 1973 for 16 months he was also Associate Director of the Civic Garden Centre of Metro Toronto. During his time there he founded/edited Trellis magazine and arranged the planning and development for the building's major expansion.
In 1973, he was appointed Regional Director (Canada) of the Garden Writers Association of America (GWAA). In July 1979, he was elected President of GWAA for two terms--the first and only Canadian ever to hold the top office of the 1,000+ member U.S.-based organization. He considered his prime accomplishment with GWAA as the re-organization of the association’s office and operating procedures.
In March 1975, Dent Canada published his book Gardening Off The Ground that he wrote on the invitation of the publisher. It was the first Canadian book for balcony gardeners. In July 1996, he published a completely revised and enlarged version including his own colour photos.
His by-line is regularly in: Forever Young (Today's Seniors) and, his garden tips are featured on The Toronto Star StarPhone.
In 1979, on announcement of the first International Flower and Garden Show to be held in North America, he was appointed a member of the Horticultural Committee. During the show (May-September, 1980) he worked in Montréal as Assistant to the Chief Horticulturist (Pierre Bourque) and Public Relations Director for Les Floralies internationales de Montréal.
In 1965-75, he was a regular weekly guest on "Your Home and Garden" show on Toronto radio CFRB 1010; and from 1979-82, he filled-in for John Bradshaw, the host of the programme, when he vacationed. From mid-1982 to 1989, he hosted both the Home and Garden Show and Canadian radio’s most-listened-to Farming show; both of which became known as the Art Drysdale Show--with Gardening on Saturdays, and Farming on Sundays. Both were doubled in length and the combined audience was over a quarter million listeners per week.
In 1965 the Ontario Nursery Trades Association presented him its Junior Nurseryman's Award for service to the association by a member under age 35. In 1969, he received a Certificate of Merit from Canadian Nursery Trades Association for exceptional contribution to development of the industry. In 1967, he was honoured with a Canadian Centennial Medal for service to Canada through his work with CP/RA, and in 1977 he received the Government of Canada Canadian Silver Jubilee Medal. In 1997 he was presented the Bulldog Award (one of less than three dozen ever presented) by the Borough of East York, for service to the community.
This site is, as they say, currently under construction, and will grow (pardon the pun). Right now though you can check over my biographies of noted Canadian horticulturists, my own Toronto garden, a selection of my (controversial according to some?) commentaries over recent past months, and some photos of my constant companion, Winston. Finally, I’ve been contributing a weekly article to the IcanGarden.com website almost since its inception. You can check out over 250 of my articles (going back five years) on a whole range of gardening subjects on the ICanGarden.com site by clicking on “Articles” and then the link there to ICanGarden.