I’ve never been on a garden tour before – the thought of traipsing around for hours, invading other gardener’s sometimes very private space never appealed. I do like to gaze upon and admire front yards and gardens as I walk, run or cycle by them and although I’ve sometimes been curious about what’s happening Out Back I’m by nature a private person. Unless specifically invited, I like to respect other’s hidden spaces.
I gave in to curiosity this year; however, and bought a map to the self guided garden tour organized by the Prince Edward County Horticultural Society. I’m glad I did. I discovered that the old adage, never judge a book by its cover, holds true for gardens and gardeners as much as it does for…books!
Unremarkable front yards gave way to intriguing back yards; cuteness out front foreshadowed great beauty in the back.
I only made it to six of the 13 gardens this year – next year I’ll plan the whole day around it. If you ever see a poster or pamphlet for a garden tour in your area, seize the opportunity! You’ll come away with both new ideas and renewed inspiration for your own garden! Here are a few of the highlights.
Rose Cottage Studio in Picton was the smallest garden I visited on the tour yet had more roses in full bloom than any other. The heady aroma in the tiny courtyard was matched by the beautiful colours in every corner.
Behind the Nap & Nosh B & B in Bloomfield, a long, sloping yard was filled with majestic trees, a large pond, flowering shrubs and perennials and, oh yes, a veggie plot! Standouts for me were the absolutely huge Hosta (at least five feet in diameter with nary a slug hole on its leaves!) and the tree lilies – a cross between Asiatic and oriental lilies that are as tall as me. They’ll be blooming in the next week as a heat wave descends on the County.
At another home in Picton the front yard is as interesting as the back. The owners said “no” to grass and instead have had planted woolly thyme – it’s a beautiful soft green with Hosta and other perennials popping out of it. The feature shrub is a weeping Redbud – Cercis canadensis.
A stained glass artist in Picton uses Clematis covered iron arches and trellises to lead visitors to ‘the chapel’ – a serene sanctuary gazebo with stained glass interpretations of biblical scenes.
At Domaine Darius Winery outside Wellington, a doorway invites wine lovers into their grotto, which features a small pond, many different perennials, shrubs and wine inspired statuary:
The largest garden I visited was just outside Consecon. I’ve whizzed by this home a thousand times, always a bit intrigued by the front, and was very happy to explore the beautiful side and back gardens created by Carmen and her husband. She has wonderfully juxtaposed plants to highlight differences in colour, texture and size. Stone walls provide a perfect hard skeleton for the soft plant edges – you can tell building them has been a true labour of love!
Wow, those gardens are something else! I’d better get busy…
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Garden tours are something of an obligation for those who want to be seen in attendance. I have been on a few that I really did not want to go to, but felt obligated as the garden columnist for the local newspapers. They were sort of fun. Most of the gardens were unimpressive or unimaginative. There were so many common fads that were repeated regularly. Those that were the most original were ironically the least popular with the snooty sort.
I noticed that as well….the memorable gardens were those that surprised me…..the huge hosta, giant lily, stained glass hanging outside, a thyme front yard on a otherwise typical subdivision home. A lot of love goes into those gardens!
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