Monday, August 26, 2013

Garden Tour - Part II

Let's continue with the tour shall we?

A really great aspect of garden tours is looking at different types of property and how people make it work.  The third garden I visited sits on the edge of a steep enbankment.  It's a narrow area and this gardener has really made the most of what ground is there.

Right behind that stone wall is a ravine.
Large trees in the ravine create a 'borrowed view' and act as a backdrop for the garden.

Another feature that has been put to great use is a natural spring.  The spring has been partly diverted through the garden creating a small waterfall and stream.  The effect is simply stunning.

Way to use what you've got.

Yet another feature I loved was the use of stone.  Stone is such a great feature in a garden, it has a quality I find difficult to describe.  There's something very aged and comforting about it.

This stone wall really caught my attention
Wouldn't you like to have this garden?

The fourth garden on the tour is another country property.  We do live in the country after all!

I'd like to take this moment to mention, once again, the trouble and effort our gardeners went to for this event.  As a member of the organizing committee I'd like to say a heartfelt thank you to the wonderful people who made this possible by going that extra mile and opening up their properties for people to traipse through.

I mean, just look at this awesome bench.  It's beautiful in its own right.  A nice little shady spot to hide away.  But what's that tagged to it?

A photograph, that's what it is.

Of that very bench in spring.  Surrounded by forget-me-nots.  This fabulous gardener tagged many areas throughout her garden so that those coming to look could 'see' what plants looked like throughout the season.  A rose just out of bloom?  no problem, there was a photo showing exactly what it looked like at the height of its glory.

Amazing.  See what I mean about going that extra mile?  These people were awesome.

Gardens are not just pretty flowers and this particular garden captivated me with many amazing shrubs and trees, including this outrageous black walnut.

Country gardens have room for big trees!  and the biggest grape arbour I've ever seen.  

It was loaded with grapes too.

Not to mention plenty of room for charming weed free vegetable gardens.

complete with scarecrow...

Seriously, how do these people do it??!  I have more weeds than plants at this time of year.

Big properties also call for big planters

You can't get much bigger than this display.

Obviously a gardener lives here
And that ends this portion of garden tour 2013.  Come back soon though, there's two more gardens to go before we call it a day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Canoe Cove Garden Tour

So I may have told you folks that I was NOT attending the garden tour this year.  And really, I wasn't supposed to.  I was supposed to be camping in Nova Scotia.  But that was not meant to be as somebody's back protested such a trip.

So garden tour it was and I'm really glad I didn't miss it.  Holy crap there's some nice gardens around here.  I was simultaneously really really excited and then totally ashamed of my own garden.  I know our gardeners have been working their butts off to prepare for this but not a weed was to be seen!!  Perfect edging, waterfalls, beautiful containers - they had it all.  I came home excited to do some work and utterly embarassed by my state of affairs.  I got weeds and then some.

Overwhelmingly what strikes me about people's gardens is the personality.  I love love LOVED the details that made these places unique.  The first garden I took in was a country property complete with barn and horses.

Flowers were literally everywhere with window boxes decorating this barn
Flower beds were nestled under a canopy of trees and quirky fun details like this miniature wicker set caught my attention.

An artistic soul lives here I think.  Old carriage wheels, water pumps, and bird houses all caught my eye as I toured around.

My one wish is that I could have spent more time here.  With six gardens to tour I felt like I rushed a bit trying to see everything.

There was even a tree swing!
Every corner of the property was adorned with details and I could have used a whole afternoon to take it all in.

Even the shed was beautiful for pete's sake.

The next garden is also a rural property that features a barn but this property is waterside.

Now THAT'S a barn!
Silly me, seems I was too busy photographing the barn and didn't get a shot of the water.  oops.

Again, the details caught my eye.  Two little children rowing silently through a bed of thyme.

Bird houses aplenty with more birds than I could name visiting them.  These little houses are made by the owners and decorated in exquisite detail.

Some details made me stop and take note.  Orange rudbeckia paired with the blue grey tones of echinops.  This was a WOW colour combination that I intend to find a place for in my own garden.

Also interesting was seeing plants I already own.  In the photo below there is a large plant situated between the hosta and the hydrangea.  It's cushion spurge.  I purchased a couple of these plants a year ago and right now they are quite small in my garden.  I had assumed, incorrectly, that they would stay small.  Seeing this plant grow a couple feet high in someone else's garden made me realize I need to rethink arrangements in my own garden.

And that concludes this portion of the garden tour for today.  There are many more photos to sort through and four more gardens to go so hang in there while I get myself organized and I'll be back with more.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Some of you may be lucky enough to have a spouse who enjoys gardening as much as you do.  I haven't had that luxury.

The vegetable garden this year
Jody has never planted anything in his life.  Prior to meeting me flowers were irrelevent and fresh vegetables unheard of.  His favourite meal is Fries with the Works* and his second favourite is Poutine.  Swiss chard isn't exactly part of his vocabulary. 

When we first started working on this property Jody would generally consult me on any landscaping ideas.  If the apple trees looked too crowded he would ask if they needed trimming.  If it looked like I needed bigger beds he would ask if I needed some digging done.  But somehow things have changed.

Raspberries ripened this week
Last month we were walking through the garden and he looks at me and says - "You should thin those carrots".  WHAT? 

well maybe they need to be thinned a bit.....
How do you even know those are carrots, let alone that they would need to be thinned?

A few nights later he says he thinned out the lettuce for me as "it gets really wet and full of bugs when you let it grow too much".

zucchini is on the menu once again
Who are you and what have you done with my husband?!

I guess after 10 years together my gardening affliction has finally begun to wear off on him.  Seems if I talk about gardening enough it will eventually start to stick.

The latest evidence of this has started showing up on my plate.  Almost every night dinner includes salad.  Fresh lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, carrots .....  and Swiss Chard?

Bright Lights Swiss Chard
That's an interesting choice.  The young leaves aren't that bitter and were a nice addition.  I wouldn't have thought of that.

So I mentioned - Great idea adding that chard to the salad....

and he retorts - THAT WAS SWISS CHARD?!  You told me I could put beet tops in the salad.  I had no idea that was chard.

oh good, he hasn't changed that much yet

* Fries with the Works is, to my knowledge, an island thing.  A plate of fries covered in onions, peas, hamburger and gravy.  My arteries are clogging up just thinking about it.