Friday, March 14, 2014

Garden Canadensis: this is one garden you'll want to see!



Welcome to Garden Canadensis. 

Located on two acres just outside of the town of Milton, Garden Canadensis is the creation of Chen and his lovely wife Linda. I asked Chen to tell me the garden's name and a bit about its history:

"Although we started building this garden when we first moved here about 26 years ago, we started a hobby bonsai nursery business (which we called Garden Cnaadensis) shortly after, and struggled for a few years. We soon realized that our professional career commitments and raising two kids etc. made it impossible to keep up with the gardening and the nursery hobbies."

"I did not go back to serious gardening until about 2007/2008: renovating/extending the beds, removing overcrowded trees/shrubs and starting to collect new plant material again. That is why you will find a mix of very mature trees and relatively young trees in the garden. We kept Garden Canadensis as the name of our garden to signify our connection with this land even from a botanical perspective."



From the driveway the garden appears somewhat unassuming, but the moment you come closer, and start moving among the plantings, you realize that you are in the midst of something special.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Dixieland'

Geranium 'Rozanne' 

Chen on geraniums: 

"Geraniums may not be the kind of plant that takes your breath away on first sight, or second. After you have a couple of them around for a few years, you may find that their quiet charm in mingling with other plants in shade or sun seems to make your garden more compete. Then you want more...I wish I could say they are easy to grow, but the fact is some of those that I like simply will not live here for more than a few years."

See more pictures and read Chen's notes on Geraniums. Click the 'i' to the top left of the image to have each cultivar identified.


Penstemon 'Dark Towers'

Penstemon 'Dark Towers'


An excerpt from Chen's notes on Heuchera: 

"In terms of ornamental attributes, usefulness, versatility and maintenance I would consider Heucheras as one of the most valuable perennials in our garden; yes I am biased. Heuchera has an interesting and wide color range, a compact neat habit, beautiful textures, and is semi-evergreen...Depending on the varieties, it can be grown in sun and shade." 

Read more notes on the subject of Heuchera on Chen's website. Click the 'i' to the top left of the image to have each cultivar identified.

Penstemon barbatus 'Coccineus'

Penstemon barbatus 'Coccineus'


I asked Chen if there was an overall vision for the garden when they began to create it or if it came together over time:

"Like all 'city folks', our initial dream when we moved here was to create an enchanting 2 acre garden. However, the initial shock of country gardening (extremely poor clay soil, poor drainage, limited water resource, extra vicious weeds and the scale of the garden) quickly limited our initial landscaping efforts to a few beds and patios around the house.
However, I did divide the one acre around the house into a number of imaginary zones (beds) and paths from the beginning, and planted some structure conifers in them...Over the years theses imaginary beds evolved iteratively and took shape (about 70% of them now)."


We are going to head into the back garden now. 

On the left there is a large family swimming pool and to the right is the house. Ahead of us is the winding path that leads into the main part of the back garden.


A rose covered arbor leads into the pool area. Let's stop to admire the roses before we look back 
toward the plantings surrounding the pool.

Rosa 'Climbing Iceberg' 


These overall shots are not as glamourous as closeups of beautiful flowers, but I wanted to include a few of them to show you how well the planting beds have been conceived and executed.

This is the view looking back towards the pool.


Let's step back onto the path and see more of the garden.


Penstemon 'Husker's Red'


What a love best about this garden are the many special moments.

Penstemon hirsutus


This is a garden that is beautiful even when it is quiet and green.


And it is stunning where there are stands of flowers like these tall, graceful Delphinium. 


Delphiniums 'Pacific Giants'

Some of Chen's views on delphiniums: 

"Our Delphiniums all came from inexpensive seed packages. I generally don't like flowers that need to be staked, but I would make an exception for the blue delphiniums; tall or short. Maybe it is because they are sooo...true blue. Their elegant presence in the garden is always noticed first."

Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising'

Chen tells me:

'Mercury Rising' was aquired last April and bloomed from June till frost. It was introduced to the marketplace as part of the Big Bang Series, and like 'Red Shift' is supposed to be hardy, but I am not holding my breath. I hope the claim by the breeder/nursery is true."

Chen has a wonderful array of Coreopsis. See additional pictures and read his notes regarding other cultivars here. Click the 'i' to the top left of the image to have each cultivar identified.


A shady area near the house.

 The plant with soft grey foliage is Veronica incana. The tall variegated green plant is Phlox 'Norah Leigh'. In the foreground with orange-red foliage is Heuchera 'Marmalade'.  The pink flower is Veronica spicata 'Giles Van Hees'

This is a very long post I know, but honestly, I haven't shown you the half of it! 

In upcoming posts, I will take a closer look some of the many wonderful planting combinations and offer more excerpts from Chen's notes on specific cultivars.

Have a wonderful weekend!

More Information and Links: You can also read more about the garden and see additional pictures by visiting Chen's website: Garden Canadensis . 

31 comments:

  1. Jennifer, it's gorgeous. And a perfect tonic to our current outside weather, although the sunshine is certainly welcome. I like their form contrasts - and how they use the Heuchera as main plantings and punctuation - lots to learn from these folks. Their mixed borders really show what you can do when you let your imagination go.
    B.
    p.s. Saw Blooms today. Sometimes I think it's better to see these events full rather than empty. Would hate for it to die, but sad to think they aren't able to mount a more glamorous show at the moment. Certainly doesn't have the pizazz of the old Loblaw days.

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  2. Wow what a garden Jennifer. One I can only dream about. The delphinium's are breathtaking. They don't like to life in my garden. I hope you have a bit of springweather to enjoy.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  3. Pure magic in their garden! Oh my...did this just light a fire under me! Their borders are magnificent!!! I just wish I could walk this space! Thank you for sharing this one with us friend! I put in Mercury Rising last year and I LOVE it!! Have a wonderful weekend! Nicole xoxo

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  4. Lovely! and I adore that coreopsis!!! (among many other flowers, of course).

    Thanks for the tour!

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  5. Great interview with Chen and his Garden Canadensis. This garden is my dreamgarden, such beautiful borders and so many different Penstemons. Of course I adore their lovely Delphiniums, one of my all time favorites.

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  6. Although I'm not very keen on conifers I can see how they add structure to the garden - my garden is far too small to include them. I love all the varieties of Penstemon - lovely. I can't imagine having to look after two acres though - a full time job I should imagine.

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  7. My goodness, this is gorgeous, Jennifer.
    The delphinium is the most gorgeous blue/purple I have ever seen, and it's so lush.
    So amazing. Thank you for sharing

    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  8. This garden is scrumptious, Jennifer! Wow - the design is near perfect and the plants are beautifully placed and maintained. I can imagine what a shock it was for Chen to fight poor soil and aggressive weeds but he and his wife have done a magnificent job. Very lovely.

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  9. Just a beautiful garden. I agree with Chen about hardy Geraniums, for me they are essential. Heucheras I can live without. I would absolutely love to see this place, also I love the name!

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  10. What a charming place! I'm travelling now and am looking at the photos on my tiny screen. Can't wait to view them full size. The delphiniums alone would be worth a trip there in July.

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  11. You were right, a garden not to miss. Like Chen, I don't like staking plants, but do grow Delphinium. I find they are better left unstaked and supported by the surrounding perennials. The wind bends them where they are attached to the stake. I could never get them to not break any which way I staked them. And Heuchera is a wonderful plant, but I have limited luck with them in my own garden in the shade. At client's homes they flourish and multiply. It all depends on the soils I guess. I just love all his trees and shrubs. The garden is made "whole' by having them.

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  12. I long for this kind of cool luhsness.....sigh...I know less sun than florida..

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  13. Stunning! What impresses me is the sheer volume of plantings. I see no bare soil. I would need a lot of time to explore and to take photos of all the special combinations. I especially love the shady area near the house.

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  14. Beautiful. And I know just how hard gardening in the country can be - it really is different from city gardening. I am amazed at all they have achieved. Love all the pentstemons. And that grey-leaved veronica is fabulous. When I look back over the pictures, I'm amazed at the amount of plant material in this garden. Hats off to them for achieving such an accomplishment!

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  15. These gardens are beautifully designed. The combinations of evergreens, foliage and blooms are magnificent. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful place.

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  16. Wow Jennifer you were right...a must see. I too loved all the gorgeous surprises like those delphs. Those planting beds are a dream.

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  17. That's one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen...sigh.

    Jennifer, you really should watermark your photos, for so many reasons...they are gorgeous...and you should be getting credit for them if they are pinned, or copied. And then if someone sees them they can also find their way to your blog to see other posts.

    Jen

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    1. I am chronically lazy when it comes to watermarks. I really should invest more time in marking my images as my own. Thanks for the reminder Jen!

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  18. Yes, you're right, Jennifer, I'd love to see this garden! The plants are the same that I grow in my garden too but they are well combined in colors and structure. Lovely combinations of conifers and perennials, the soft and colorful leaves. Thank you for sharing!

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  19. Wow....something to aspire to here! What an amazing combination of plants, shrubs and trees...it does take the breath away. I absolutely loved those delphiniums......what beauties they are.
    Looking forward to more...xxx

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  20. This garden is magnificent!!! So many wonderful plants that are put together perfectly, complimenting each other, so when you experiece it, it truely grabs you! So pretty!

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  21. Jennifer, Garden Canadensis truly is inspirational. The long shots are essential, and they work much better than you may think. I also like your shots of the Penstemons.

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  22. I am really inspired by the creative, unusual, and successful plant combinations in this garden! I'm taking notes here...

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  23. Okay, now I really am embarrassed about my heuchera but I do not take it back! Ha ha... I just loved the delphiniums. This guy is a genius if he pulled this off since 2007.

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  24. How much does a garden like this COST?! That's my biggest question right now.

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    1. Even more critical is how much labor is involved in maintaining a garden like this. The answer is quite a bit! As to the cost of the plants, the collection of conifers would be fairly pricy to acquire, but many of the perennials can be grown relatively cheaply from seed (in fact I think Chen told me the delphiniums were grown from seed). Once you get gardening you can also propagate plants from cuttings, by layering or division.

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  25. I love your garden! I play in the dirt every day in some way. My gardens are very informal and have fairies, gnomes,angels frogs and other friends hanging around. I also love to make trash to treasure items. Whenever I find a new plant or decoration I'm always asked where is it going...ya never know with me but I always find the perfect spot! Happy gardening!

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    1. Thanks, but I can't take the credit. This is not my garden. Chen is a wonderful gardener and I am sure he would appreciate your admiration.

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  26. I saw this blog on Pinterest and fell in love with the photos. It's April 2016 and I can vouch for Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising.' It's been in my garden for three years and it's one of my favorite plants. It blooms nonstop all summer and fall. Fantastic plant.

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    1. Thanks for adding your own personal experience with these plants Grace!

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