If I am being honest, last weekend's Pond Tour was a bit gruelling. Two days with twenty-three gardens widely spread out over the large area at the western end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe. It was hot as he!!. And we got lost. Repeatedly!
Day 1. We decided to begin with the garden which was furthest distance away from home and work our way back. Bad Plan! The long drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake is approximately one and a half hours from our place. By noon of the first day, we had managed to cover exactly one garden. Then we got lost on our way to the next garden. By the end of the day, we went home disappointed to have only managed to visit 6 of the 23 gardens.
At least we learned from our mistakes. On Day 2 we planned our route with maps and driving directions between one property and the next. Touring ran much more smoothly, but even so, we still ended up getting lost more than a few times. We never did manage to make it to all the gardens on the tour.
All the aggravation of loosing our way was worth it though. We did see some beautiful gardens with impressive ponds and waterfalls. There was lots of inspiration for our own garden and the pond I hope to build one day.
Here are just a few highlights from the tour.
Here is a closer look. That is Lavender in the background with Stonecrop blooming at its feet.
The grass in the foreground is Japanese Blood Grass.
Hidden behind this mounded planting, were two waterfalls which emptied into a large pond.
It is hard to give you a sense of scale, but this front yard pond was so large, it was practically a small lake.
These homeowners had a ravine lot and were very proud to have done all the work on the garden and ponds themselves. A set of stone steps led down into the garden on one side of the property.
On the other side, there was two ponds with a long waterfall tumbling from one to the other. The plantings were a lovely mix of ferns and hosta.
There was more to see on the tour than just ponds. Isn't this planting nice? That is pink Bee Balm in front of the arbor, Ligularia is the leafy plant in the middle foreground and Gooseneck Loosestrife is the white flower on the right.
Gooseneck Loosestrife is very invasive, so we will all be best admire it from this safe distance. (The homeowner has managed to just keep it in check by aggressively curtailing its spreading habit.)
What a pretty entrance to the back garden!
I found that having great plantings along the edge of the water made all the difference in how well a pond blended in with its surroundings.
Without exception, all the gardens we saw had a seating area just off the pond.
And it is no wonder. The sound of water is so soothing ...
and watching the fish is darting around in the water is simply mesmerizing.