Recently a commenter asked why I liked to show gardens other than my own on this blog. There are lots of reasons; chief among them is keeping things interesting for both myself and for blog visitors. And I learn so much from other gardeners!
Take this garden for instance.
The gate to the backyard was closed, and as we peered over the top of it, my husband and I found ourselves wondering if only the front garden was included in the Toronto Islands Garden Tour. We were about to turn away when a middle aged woman poked her head out the front door, and apologizing profusely that the wind off the lake had accidentally closed the back gate, invited us in to see her garden.
It was getting towards the end of the afternoon and the visitors to the gardens on the tour had thinned out considerably making it easy to strike up a conversation. The gardener and I got to talking about plants and the challenges on gardening on an island-sized sandbar.
An attractive umbrella-shaped leaf in a flowerbed by the back door caught my attention and I asked her about it. I was totally surprised when she told me it was a Hellebore. The leaf in front of me was nothing like the leathery leaves of the two young Hellebores in my own garden.
The island gardener ushered me to the other side of the garden where she showed yet another Hellebore whose leaf bore no resemblance to either the one I had just admired or the ones I had at home. Obviously I still have something to learn about Hellebores.
I like using alliums as a bridge between tulips and summer perennials, but they are rather like mums in the fall: you see them absolutely everywhere and possibly to the point of overkill. I thought these Camassia bulbs, which I saw in a number of gardens on the island, were a nice alternative.
They also come in a darker, purply-blue color and white.
These are definitely going on my fall wish list.
This is another garden in the afternoon part of our island tour.
I have this very primrose in my garden, but I have never thought to mass it in exactly the same way. I tend to think of primroses as English cottage garden flowers and yet here they are used in combination with a Japanese garden ornament. Oddly it works.
The use of texture in this garden was not a lesson; just a gentle reminder of how beautiful a mix of foliage and flowers can be.
My own garden feels wild and a bit chaotic in comparison. This feels calm and serene.
A flagstone path leads to the entrance of the back garden.
A closer view of the plantings around the garden's back shed.
Like the front garden, the backyard has Japanese influences, but isn't a Japanese garden.
This was our final stop on the tour. You can see from this picture that the shadows are long and the afternoon sunlight is fading.
By this point in our wanderings on Ward Island, we were pretty beat. We plunked ourselves down on the steps that you can see on the upper left with the convenient excuse that they provided the perfect vantage point from which to admire the large Asian inspired pond.
Seeing and photographing other gardens keeps things fresh for me. I almost always come away feeling inspired and that it what I hope to pass on to you.
Have a wonderful weekend!