Friday, April 4, 2014

Two very Grand Gardens

" To sit in the shade on a fine day and look across to the verdure is the most perfect refreshment."
Jane Austen


For a change of pace, I thought that I would show you two gardens a world away from the garden I last profiled.

Though it seems to hail from a bygone era, this ivy covered house in the heart of Toronto actually dates from the late 1930's. 

A grand set of stone steps lead down to a long, narrow terrace, and at either end of the terrace a further set of stairs drop down to a sunken garden.

The steps at one end of the long, narrow terrace.

An eagle watches over the sunken garden.

Located near the centre of the city, the garden's high walls just barely keep out the bustle of traffic on Avenue Road and the somewhat disconcerting noises of the car park next door. 


In sharp contrast to its urban surroundings, the sunken garden feels magically leafy and green. 

Though it isn't exactly my cup of tea, I think that the introduction of a piece of contemporary art (the twiggy bronze in the foreground) into such a traditional setting makes the space feel more edgy and current.

I thought that this Bottlebrush Buckeye had the most marvellous foliage.

Most of us will never be able to afford house or a garden like this, but the good news is, creating a quiet refuge of one's own is something that calls more for imagination than it does for money. 

This is the view from the cobblestone driveway.

The next garden seems to have stepped from the pages of a novel by Jane Austen. 

A short stroll across an impeccable lawn brings us to the wrought iron gate at the entrance to a large, walled garden.

Opposite the main house, is the elegant entrance to a guest house. 
The flowering vine is a climbing hydrangea.

Just inside the gate of the walled garden.



For some reason this garden puts me in mind of a summer party.  

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.


The falls of these irises look like rich, purple velvet. Behind the irises are the tall, blue spikes of a 
Salvia and the soft, pink petals of a peony.

 
Aren't these deep purple lupins stunning?

As in the first garden we visited, a step of stairs lead from the terrace
down to a sunken garden.

A wide view of the sunken garden.


There is something so restrained about this carefully clipped and manicured garden that it seems to provoke an opposite, slightly-out-of-control emotional response. 

Perhaps I have read to many Jane Austen novels or watched too many episodes of Downton Abbey, because I can easily envision the slightly inebriated guests at my imagined summer party might begin to feel a bit giddy or perhaps even a bit reckless as the party extends into the twilight hours of early evening.


Here in the garden is the perfect backdrop for a stolen kiss or the less-than-proper 
rendezvous of two star-crossed lovers. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

28 comments:

  1. Beautiful gardens! I'm not normally a big fan of the formal style, but those gardens have just enough looseness and informality among all the structure to keep my interest. All that green looks so inviting (especially now...)

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  2. Oh, such beautiful, lush gardens - LOVE the pics! :-)

    http://tinajoathome.com/

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  3. Wonderful, thanks for sharing !

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  4. Even though I garden for colour myself - I actually found the first garden rather restful on the eye - I find both of these gardens rather attractive in different ways - refined sophistication is the term that comes to mind.

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  5. Oh my! Yes I can envision that as well! Both gardens are beautiful in their many layers of green! And the second one with its splashes of color is just fantastic! I am completely inspired for the sheer fact that we live in a busy city and that first garden blocks it all out! Simply amazing!!!

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  6. I LOVE the combination of iris, salvia, peonies, lupines, and geranium.

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  7. Wow, Jennifer, it is so hard to imagine this being in the middle of a city.
    It is just gorgeous, and I love all of that ivy..

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  8. So inspiring! Thank you for the tours!

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  9. These are beauties, Jennifer! They have an old English air to them - no wonder you picture Jane Austen enjoying them.

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  10. They're are gorgeous! I couldn't keep up with gardens like that myself but I do love to visit formal gardens. Thanks for sharing. :D

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  11. Two wonderful gardens, but after a lot of thought I think I prefer the second, The first is so pristine, I would be scared of leaving a footprint which would spoil the perfection! They both show what wonderful gardens can be created in shade, a lesson for us all.

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  12. Oh, I loved them both, but the first green garden was absolutely enchanting.xxx

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  13. Jennifer, you have some of the most beautiful gardens in your area! These two certainly seem from an earlier time. While I could never have a garden like this, I do love the pink and purple contrasts of the irises and peonies, something I could try in my own garden.

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  14. Both homes and gardens are majestic. It is hard to imagine street noises of the inner city when looking at these quiet, calming photos. How do you find the time to visit all these amazing properties?

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  15. WOW! Very Grand! Thanks for sharing.
    Earlene

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  16. Absolutely stunning. Thanks for showing this!

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  17. I detect old money with a hired gardener. I always dream about the other half when I visit or see gardens like this in Toronto. Thanks for sharing such beauty, I love the purple lupines and peony combo.

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  18. Holy moly, those are quite the pieces of property! Beautiful.

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  19. There's nothing better than a private walled garden to create that mysterious, magical sensation. The ultimate secret garden. I love shady gardens as they seem so inviting on a hot day, and it's amazing how much plant variety you can bring into the shade garden. My yard used to be shady, but we keep losing our mature trees, and suddenly I'm dealing with a lot (too much) full sun. Thanks for sharing these beautiful gardens with us, always so inspirational! Wendy x

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  20. Toronto? These gardens look so familiar; they could easily be fine old estates of the Deep South! Nothing is more satisfying than a walled garden with lush green foliage and some voluptuous blooms. Thanks for posting these great gardens!

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  21. Both lovely, but both a little too perfect for my taste!

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  22. Beautiful gardens, I so enjoy looking at pictures of other peoples gardens.

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  23. What an opportunity to photograph this garden. Viewing the photos, I felt as if I was standing beside you, they were so beautiful. A nice pick me up on a rainy afternoon.

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  24. I love both places, I like everything here, the buildings, the planting, the style of it all – everything except that piece of ‘contemporary art’ at the first place. It looks so misplaced and totally wrong in such a setting. Nope, didn’t do it for me. But I would happily have taken everything else, I would not mind living in a Jane Austen setting :-) Thanks for the tour, like other people here I do wonder how you find these gardens, are they people you know?

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  25. Quelle plaisir de découvrir ces beaux jardins. J'adore. Merci!

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  26. Thanks for the two tours. As always, your photography is stunning. It's funny, what comes to my mind first when I look at gardens like these is wow, think of the upkeep involved. Of course, such places employ people who constantly tend to them, but still, someone is doing all that work! I can't wait to see some green and some emerging color in my own gardens. It's been a long winter!

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  27. Oh, I would love this tour in person. Just amazing!! Thanks for sharing such beauty!

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  28. I just found this post by following a pin on Pinterest! I'm glad I didn't miss it ~ LOVE both the gardens. I dream of a walled garden. To have one would be so heavenly. I too am hopelessly addicted to Downton Abbey, the Jane Austen era, etc. These are beautiful. Thanks for touring and sharing the photos. I think I've written you before and said you go on the best garden tours!

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