MORE GARDENS

Some of my favourites:


Located in Grey-Bruce County, Larkwhistle is probably one of Ontario's best private gardens. 

Winters on the Bruce Peninsula and long and harsh. The marginal topsoil is thin and sandy. 

Despite these challenges, noted garden writer Patrick Lima and his partner, the photographer John Scanlan, have managed to create magical garden full of color. The garden was once open to the public, but it's owners have recently retired. You can still visit Larkwhistle Garden in this series of posts: Part 1 and Part 2.



This garden combines conifers, deciduous trees, shrubs and perennials in a truly masterful way. In Part 1 there is a general overview of the garden. In Part 2 we look at some of the artful plant combinations and in Part 3 we look at conifers and the way they are combined with other plants.




A Secret Garden

In a word, Carole's garden is stunning! There are 3 posts: Part 1 presents an overview of the garden, Part 2 tours at the pond and shade garden and the Part 3 looks at the amazing backyard.
Jacquie's Garden in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

One of the great advantages of laying out a garden on a slope has been the ability to look down on the garden from on high. Jacquie found herself looking out her window at the as yet untouched expanse of grass in the backyard:"I'd sit upstairs by my living room window and plan where to dig the next garden patch. When that project was finished, I'd do the same thing until the whole garden was mostly the way I wanted it."
See the how Jacquie's garden came together in a two part series of posts: Part 1 and Part 2.



There is an enviable view of a lake which sparkles through evergreen trees at the back of the home of Duff and Donna Evers. There is a short plateau of land with a deck and then the property rolls down in a gentle incline to a lake. In a series of three posts, you can visit their spectacular garden filled with blooming rhododendrons, azaleas, a collection of magnolias trees and spring flowering perennials. Part1: The Lakefront Terrace Garden, Part 2: The Upper Terrace and Lakefront, Part 3: The Woodland and the Gate of Lost Marbles

Landscape architect David Tomlinson, designed and began work on his beautiful garden in 1981. On the 3/4 of an acre that surrounds his home in Aurora, Ontario, David set out to create a series of gardens within a garden. There is a Perennial Flower Garden, a Fragrant Garden, a Rock Garden and a Winter Garden.

Visit David Tomlinson's garden in early spring in this blog post and in June in this blog post.

Each year, David Tomlinson opens Merlin's Hollow to the public free of charge on the 2nd Saturday in May, the 2nd Saturday and Sunday in June and the 1st Saturday in July and the Sunday of the following weekend.


Beautiful Tapestry

In her lovely garden, Heather Bradley has woven a rich tapestry using shape, color and texture. Flowers are not the focus. They are just one of the many elements.

Take a stroll down the moss covered paths in this blog post.




When Dr. Bernard Jackson retired to Truro, Nova Scotia after spending 22 years as the Director of the Memorial University Botanical Garden in St. John's Newfoundland, he was approached by the Agricultural College in Truro to create a new rock garden for their campus. 
A series of three posts looks at the garden Dr. Jackson created with a team of staff and volunteers. The series also offers planting notes on rock garden and alpine plants as well as advice from Darwin Carr, the Operational Manager for the grounds at the Dalhousie University campus. The final post in the series takes a look at the garden's collection of conifers and notes creative ways to incorporate texture into any garden. The Rock Garden Part 1, Part 2: Planting Notes, Part 3: Creative Ways to use Texture.

Shade Gardens:




A Natural Forest Garden

Visit this peaceful garden in a forest-like setting that is a quick commute from downtown Toronto. "I have many native plants and have tried my best to integrate what I have created into the natural surroundings of a very special woodland that is at the heart of this area- many of the trees in our backyard having never been cut," says the homeowner. The garden in spring and in summer.



A Bird Friendly Shade Garden


One of the biggest transformations that marks the shift from winter into spring is the emergence of the green leaves. Never does green foliage look as fresh and vibrant as it does in the spring! In this bird-friendly shade garden foliage is the star.




An Asian Inspired Garden

After chatting with Carina about her garden, one of the things I came away admiring the most was her resourcefulness. When she needed a bridge to span of the natural stream in the backyard, she borrowed a neighbour's power tools and made it herself. See the pond-less waterfall in the front garden in Part 1 and the shaded backyard in Part 2.


A Storybook Shade Garden

This garden speaks to the personality and imagination of the woman that created it. You know a little something about her by the time you wonder the pathways and stop at all the little vignettes. And I think that's great. Take a tour of this garden here.




The Beaches neighbourhood, just 20 minutes east of downtown Toronto, has the casual atmosphere of a lakeside resort town. If your very lucky there is a view of Lake Ontario, and even if your not, the lakefront is often within walking distance. Though there is lots of new development, many of the charming homes sit on shady, tree lined streets. 
This garden is as charming as the Beaches neighbourhood in which it resides.



A Garden in the Shade

Shade is a huge challenge for most gardeners. This garden in Hamilton, Ontario manages to be both shady and colorful: Part 1 and Part 2.

Cottage Gardens:




The Little Blue House on the Corner

If the vibrant blue color of the house on corner of Victoria Street doesn't grab your attention, the charming cottage garden certainly does. Bright annuals overflow the window boxes and flowers spill onto the sidewalk in front of the white picket fence. Visit this garden in Part 1 and Part 2.


Joe's Garden

A regular feature on garden tours and open on a number of occasions each summer, Joe's garden is probably one of Brampton's best known private gardens. See Joe's garden here in Part 1 and Part 2.



This garden in Mississauga is one of my most "pinned" gardens which is no surprise because the planting and the front and back of the house are just beautiful. Part 1 and Part 2 



"When we bought the house in 1992 the gardens consisted of scruffy lawns, untended areas of ground cover (mostly Lily of the Valley) and an overgrown cedar hedge that had seen better days. The house called out for the grace and charm of a traditional, informal cottage garden," says the homeowner. See what the garden looks like now




A School Teacher's Garden

The birdbath planter in Karen's front garden is one of my most popular pins on Pinterest. Visit Karen's front and back garden in these two posts:
Part 1 and Part 2.


Cynthia's Garden

So often in a suburban garden you find yourself standing on an area of lawn while you regard the garden from a polite distance. In Cynthia's garden a flagstone path invites you inside a large corner section of the garden.


An Artist's Garden

Eleonora, an artist and interior designer, has made many changes changes to the home and garden that she inherited from her parents. Together with her husband she has added rocks and fencing, an arbor entry and a series of raised beds.  See this work in progress in this blog post.


Gardens in the Greater Toronto Area



Every year, Through the Garden Gate offers local garden enthusiasts a chance to peak into some of the Toronto's finest private gardens.  In this blog post see two gardens in the exclusive Rosedale neighbourhood in downtown Toronto.

Though it seems to hail from a bygone era, the first garden and ivy covered house in this post actually dates from the late 1930's. 

The second home and garden puts me in mind of a summer party in a Jane Austin novel.  I can imagine ripe strawberries and champagne as part of an elegant, but casual afternoon tea or perhaps a more grand affair with a big tent erected on the lawn, tables laid with crisp, white linen and fresh flowers, women in flirty summer dresses and men in light summer suits.




This garden was my personal favourite on the 2012 Through the Garden Gate tour. Visit this tradition garden in downtown Toronto. 



This garden in the Forest Hills area of Toronto incorporates a swimming pool into the garden in a tasteful way.




An Old World Garden

Though it is set in the centre of a big Canadian city, this garden feels private and remote. The atmosphere is decidedly Old World. 

The Toronto Islands is a crescent-shaped cluster of small islands in Lake Ontario just off-shore of downtown Toronto. There is no bridge to the islands. If you want to go there, you must travel by ferry. In this two part series, you can hop the ferry and tour a of few of Ward Island's many incredible gardens: Part 1 and Part 2.


A Sunken Garden

One of my personal favourites: the front garden is a ivy covered courtyard and lotus-filled pond. The backyard is a shade garden in a ravine setting.














A Walled Garden of Peonies and Roses
Many of the gardens on the 25th anniversary Through the Garden Gate tour in 2012 were designed and planted by professionals. They were fabulous, but often somewhat impersonal. This garden was different. The design and the choice of plants all had a definite personality behind them.


Country Gardens:






Marnie's Garden

"Never worry about what someone else's garden looks like compared to yours. Be inspired by them! Enjoy the journey, learn from your mistakes, share plants with others and you will find others will be generous with you. Work hard. Get dirty. Never mind what your fingernails look like! Fall into bed exhausted and dream about tomorrow. Before you know it, thirty-five years will have passed. You'll still love your garden and you won't be able to wait to get out there," is Marnie Wright's advice for novice gardeners. Visit her garden in part 1part 2 and the shade garden.


This Walled Garden is built inside the foundations of an old barn. Clematis and other vines cover the old concrete walls, while poppies and lavender thrive in the bright sun and gravely soil.



A Visit to a Flower Farm

Technically it is not a garden, but if you love dahlias, you'll want to check out these posts on Butt's Berry and Flower Farm: Part 1 and Part 2.




A Romantic Country Garden: This country property has many striking features, but the rose filled courtyard is the garden at its most romantic and beautiful.



Beth Powell's large country garden reveals itself through a series of whimsical vignettes. Quirky and original container plantings, a canoe filled with flowerpots and floating in the pond, a seating area that seems plucked from the Tuscany countryside and a rain garden are among this gardens many unique and novel features. Visit Beth's garden in a two part series of posts: Part 1 and Part 2.



A Garden Filled with Lavender and Heather

Above the sky is a clear cerulean blue. In the near distance the sea; dark and mysterious, shimmers in the August sun like a mirage. In between the two, set on the crest of the rolling Nova Scotian hillside, sits a navy blue house...


Small Gardens:



Making the Most of a Small Outdoor Space

Not every gardener has a big property to work with. Sometimes a townhouse courtyard or an apartment balcony is the only outdoor space available. In this post you will find ideas to making the best use of any outdoor space.



A Rose Garden This is a fairly new garden, but it already has great promise. Roses and a classic focal point make for a pretty country garden.




The Garden that wasn't on the Tour For those of you looking for inspiration on a small scale, this garden certainly fits the bill. 




In this post you can find photos of several small local gardens and find reference to two recent books on the subject of gardening in a small space.



Sandria brought a love of flowers to Canada with her from her native Barbados. Though she works as a nurse by day, gardening is one of her true passions. 

Private Water Gardens:



A Pretty Water GardenOversized ponds are one of the big trends in garden water features. This is one of the nicest examples I've seen.


An old swimming pool located off the back deck is artfully transformed into a large figure-eight-shaped pond. A Japanese style wooden bridge crosses the pond at its narrowest point and links the two sections.

Visit this lovely garden and pond in this blog post.


A Small Garden with a Pretty Pond: There are lots of little ideas that you can take away from this suburban garden: a nice way to edge your flowerbeds, plant combinations, a way to add privacy to a deck and a nice way to go about filling a garden urn.


Sneak Preview: Big and Small Ponds to Inspire You

Preview the 2012 Pond Tour in support of the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice to find inspiration to create your own garden pond.




Nursery and Display Gardens





Grange Hollow is a nursery in Grey County just south of Owen Sound that sells a range of annuals, vegetable seedlings and perennials. 
"This would not have been a prosperous farm," says owner Katherine Taylor. By the time the Taylor's bought the farm in 1972, there was little of the two acre property under cultivation. There were no gardens and not even a lawn. The only sign that this was once a farm was an aging orchard, a little bit of rhubarb, some currants and a single lilac bush. But in this most unlikely of places, the Taylor's saw potential. Take a tour of Grange Hollow's display gardens in Part 1 and Part 2.




This nursery and garden is a 48 acre hobby farm in the Big Head River Valley that specializes in ornamental grasses (95 varieties no less!). Visitors are welcome to wander around the garden, which features perennials and display beds. There are also winding trails that lead to the river. Nursery plants are for sale to the public. Group and bus tours are welcome. See a preview of the nursery and display garden here.



Blossom Hill Nursery near Peterborough, Ontario specializes in growing peonies and delphiniums. See the nursery's display garden and photographs of some of the peony varieties the nursery has on offer in these two blog posts: Part 1 and Part 2.



This is a nursery and display garden that focuses on daylilies, but they do have a nice assortment of hosta. This post looks at plant pairings for hosta.


Lost Horizons Nursery


Lost Horizons Nursery has one of the most beautiful display gardens I have ever seen. The nursery itself, offers over 3000 plants from around the world, many extremely rare. Visit the garden in this blog post.

To visit the Lost Horizons website click the link.
Lost Horizons Nursery and Display Gardens are located just west of Toronto on Highway 7, two miles west of the town of Acton, Ontario.

For complete driving directions click here. 


Plant Paradise Nursery

Plant Paradise Nursery, Garden Centre & Display Gardens is located in Caledon, Ontario. I visit the display garden in early spring with this blog post.



Rideau Wood land Ramble

Rideau Woodland Ramble Nursery and Display Garden is situated on 7 acres of woodland in Merrickville, Ontario (located near Ottawa). The display garden showcases rare and unusual hostas, grasses, conifers, magnolias and a range of shrubs, trees and perennials.

Visit the display garden in this blog post.

To visit the nursery website click this link: Rideau Woodland Ramble Nursery.

Public Gardens:


Designed by Julie Messervy in collaboration with famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the landscape architects of Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation departments, the Music Garden is a musical interpretation of Bach's First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello. Visit the garden in late summer in this blog post.





Lucy Maud Montgomery Memorial Garden

Did you know that the beloved author of the Anne of Green Gables series of books spent half of her life living in Ontario and not on Prince Edward Island? Lucy Maud Montgomery lived in the small town of Norval, Ontario from 1926 to 1935. It may also surprise you to learn that Lucy Maud's husband suffered from a mental illness and that the author herself had a life long struggle with depression?

Visit the recently redesigned public garden built and lovingly maintained by the Norval Garden Club in memory of Lucy Maud Montgomery in this blog post.


Edwards Gardens in Toronto

Adjacent to the Toronto Botanical Garden is Edwards Gardens, a former estate garden featuring perennials, roses and an extensive rockery.

We visited Edwards Gardens one Sunday afternoon in early September. See the garden, in all its early fall splendor, in this blog post. We also made another fall visit in this earlier blog post.




At the Royal Botanical Gardens, visitors can stroll through 2,700 acres of flowers and plants, which include a bird sanctuary and woodland arboretum.

We have visited the garden many times. Visit the Rockery in May in this blog post. Visit the annual Rose Festival, in this blog post.
To visit the RBG website click this link.

The Brickworks in Toronto

Is it possible to beautify and repurpose an old industrial space?  Evergreen a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing nature back into Canadian towns and cities thinks that it is. 

In 1984, the Brickwork's factory closed its doors and then in 1986, the land was expropriated by the City of Toronto and the Regional Conservation authority. The site's quarry was restored as a park and natural area. The environmental group, Evergreen focused on the site's historic buildings, revitalizing them through a process they refer to as "adaptive re-use."

Late Summer & Fall Gardens:


Late Summer at its most Beautiful Photographs of a number of local gardens taken in late summer.



The expansive flowers beds brimming with fall color leave no doubt that this small farmhouse in Eramosa township is a gardener's home. Visit the garden in this blog post.






Old School Road in Caledon, Ontario was so named, because in the days gone by, when children walked to school, there was a school built every two miles along the road. Visit a restored schoolhouse and the surrounding gardens in this fall blog post.




A Garden by Acclaimed Landscape Designer Piet Oudolf

The search for something beautiful to photograph invariably takes me to the Toronto Botanical Garden each fall. The Entry Walk Garden by renowned Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf is always at its best at this time of year. No matter how many times I visit, it never fails to inspire me.