Tuesday, April 3, 2012

An Artist's Garden

Morning Glory Vine.

The unique arbor entrance, in the garden I am about to show you, caught my eye as I was driving past one day. I determined to go back on the following weekend to ask if I might make arrangements to photograph the garden. 

Asking permission to photograph someone's garden is a bit of an unusual request. I always worry that people will greet me with suspicion, but just the opposite is true. Gardeners, on the whole, seem exhibit a certain generosity of spirit and happily invite me into their private outdoor spaces. Such is the case with Eleonora.

After a few minutes of casual conversation, Eleonora and I discovered that we actually had a lot in common. Not only did we share a love of gardening, she was also an artist (see some of her artwork here) and had a background in interior design. In Eleanor's case, she was working as an interior decorator for many happy local clients.

I asked her about the garden's history.

"My parents were gardeners-my father concentrated on the vegetable garden and my mother on the flowers-they would argue over the footage. This is my childhood home and after the death of my parents, my husband and I purchased it from my sisters. My husband and I continue in the same way in the same location.", she told me.

View A: The construction phase looking into the garden.  See the completed front of the garden in view A above. View B: Construction looking from inside the garden back to the road.

"In 2010, we made major changes to the garden, added rocks and fencing, an arbor entry and raised beds. In fact, it was my nephew who set the plan in motion, and together we mapped out where everything would go.", she continued. 

Eleonora and her husband determined were four important criteria that they wanted to incorporate into the new design: 

1. Raised beds to house herbs,vegetables, and flowers along the borders.
2. Gravel paths to remind them of a trip to Tuscany.
3. A "living" fence that was inspired by a photo of an English garden.
4. An arbor entry. (Eleonora designed the arbor to echo the peaked shape of the roof of the house.)

This is not quite the same angle as the construction photo B (above right), but this picture shows the right hand corner of the garden as it is now. The transformation from the 2010 picture of B is impressive, isn't it?

"With the stonescaping and fencing completed quite beautifully by my nephew, the task of filling in the gardens seemed daunting at first to my husband and I. We painstakingly saved as many perennials from my mother's garden as possible- peonies, hosta, sedum, Virginia creeper, rhubarb, phlox, iris, daylilies, red and yellow tulips and daffodils."

"Some plants are old and some plants are newly purchased: Butterfly bush, purple sand cherry, more varieties of hosta and hens & chicks."

Sweet Peas on the living fence and Morning Glories on the arbor entrance.

Plantings at the front fence include hosta, canna lilies, snap dragons, and the coleus below.

Such an odd color combination, but it works!

A sunflower peaks up above the front fence.

Herbs and flowers mix together with a pretty burgundy birdbath.

Vegetables and herbs intermingle with the flowers.

A pretty soft yellow dahila.

Another dahlia and yellow tansy on the right.

White Phlox

Purple alyssum and yellow Moss-Rose, Portulaca grandiflora 
spill over the edges of the raised beds.

A bright orange-red Moss-Rose, Portulaca grandiflora

I asked Eleonora about future plans for the garden.

"The garden has passed through phase 1 and we are gearing up for phase 2 and 3 in the coming summer months and subsequent year. The garden is always changing and we look forward to the season ahead."

More Information and Links:

Eleonora Gattesco Roberts is an interior decorator and artist. She is a high honours graduate from the Interior Decorating Program at Sheridan College and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto's Art and Art History Program.
Please visit Gattesco House.com for more information about Eleonora, to see a sampling of her artwork and work as an interior decorator. Eleonora also has many lovely images of the garden she has taken herself on the website.

Streetsville Horticultural Society: Eleonora is a member of the Streetsville Horticultural Society which meets every 2nd Tuesday of the month (Sept-Dec, Feb-June). Please click the link for further details on the Society.


  1. Oh how beautiful! Love all these photos and those adirondack chairs are to die for!!!!

    Love the new header, too, btw.

    Happy Easter

  2. I really like the arbor/gateway. The whole garden is so interesting, nice variation of levels, color and textures. What a pretty birdbath with the herbs.
    did you find out what your tree in bloom was?

    1. You know, Janet, when I walked in from the road for a closer look, I saw that the tree that I admired as I had driven by the previous day was actually a common pussy willow, whose buds had fully opened. As I sttod there and took stood pictures the tiny blooms seemed to glow in the late day sun.

  3. It's a beautiful garden. It's amazing to see some plants are growing in the garden while they are sold overhere as plants for the livingroom. Fantastic photographs.

  4. I´m so glad you dared to ask - this is beautiful! :-)

  5. hermoso jardín, preciosas imágenes! (Me encantaron también los sillones de jardín). Un abrazo.

  6. A garden with lots of variety and good hard landscaping - so pleased she allowed you to wander round. (Love your new header by the way).

  7. Sooo beautiful ... I can feel the life in those plants ...

  8. Jennifer .. I am in love with this garden ! .. if I could ever have one such as this I would be in garden heaven : ) I can see why you had to come back and ask to photograph it .. the renovations are beautiful (my little ones seem like child's play ? LOL) .. the privacy is wonderful, that is a huge issue for me .. I would love total privacy so I could garden in my jammies ? LOL
    I looked at some of her art work and also thought it was gorgeous .. "Steadfast" and "Flux" are my favourite and remind me of Monet, one of my all time loves (Van Gogh is the second, wink wink)
    In any case .. kudos on the pictures .. my favourite is the dill with the sweet rocket ? I'm not sure of the flower but the combination with the burgundy birdbath is stunning ... it all is and to know that they are not stagnant .. that they are continuing with more plans .. well that is wonderful .. and true to a gardener's nature I think .. we never stop rearranging our gardens right ?
    I love your new header picture ! fresh and so pretty with those sweet violas .. just beautiful !
    PS .. I am exhausted from playing in the garden myself .. thankfully husband and number one son are great at helping too ! : )

  9. Hi jennifer - lovely photos and what a nice story - to think that this woman has been able to save plants from her parents to plant in their own ground, but in such a different way.

  10. What a beautiful garden they have Jennifer. It just makes you want to enter and relax a spell. Lovely.

  11. Jennifer, that's a great look in pictures and words at an enchanting labor of love.

  12. I like the balance and proportion of this garden. The arbor and gravel path and raised beds are beautiful complements to the plants. I loved that you walked up to the door and asked to photograph the owner's garden!

  13. How beautiful. That arbor is fabulous! And I love the history of the garden. Such memories must be precious. So glad she got to save some of the plants from her mother's garden, too.

  14. Jennifer, what a fabulous garden...I understand why you would want to photograph it! Bonus that you made a new friend too! I love all the brick and woodwork...the plants chosen compliment it all very nicely!

  15. What an incredible space! I love how the flowers, herbs, and veggies are all mixed in together. I love all the stonework. I would have wanted to meet the gardeners if I drove past it, too!

  16. This is my aunt and uncles garden, I watched them slave over this all summer last year. The pictures look amazing! xox

  17. The shot of the White Phlox is just so lovely and I am feeling so happy after looking at all these wonderful photos

  18. So good to hear the story of how a garden began and how it is continually changing. Not surprised you stopped to photograph it, they have some stunning planting combinations!

  19. Amazing photography ! I am spellbound !
    I am also into photography, do visit my blog sometime .
    I want to tell you that I also paint ( although I have not learned professionally ) at home , painting is my hobby. Your blog header attracted my attention so much - I think you have painted it yourself - it is so beautiful ! I love your creativity , you are such a talented person , your photographs have given me so much joy, one look at them and I feel happy inside.
    Take care,

    1. I wanted to add : I would be really happy if you visit my blog and give me your valuable feedback once !
      I really admire your work. Although this is my first time visit to your blog, I .would love to hear from you ! your feedback would mean so much to me !
      Take care,

    2. La Doce Vita,
      Thank you for the kind words. The header is actually photograph that I texturized. Can you tell that I love pansies? I will be sure to stop by your blog for a visit.

  20. A beautiful garden. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  21. A lovely garden, beautifully photographed! I love the entry. The fencing and the walls add so much character.

  22. I too noticed the header. It is very eye catching. This is a very pretty garden and story. Thanks for the tour and it is wonderful finding those that share your varied passions. I did check out her work. So many artists to find by visiting blogs

  23. Fantastic gardens and photos!!!

  24. What an amazing garden and kudos for asking to photograph it. I've been meaning to ask a neighbor for a while now but always fear they'll shut the door and hide. Just found your blog and will def be back!

  25. What a gorgeous garden! I'm amazed by how they transformed this area in such a short amount of time. Your photos are spectacular, Jennifer--looks like the center spread in one of my favorite garden magazines!

  26. Nigel everything has filled in beautifully. Garden looks awesome! Great to have a vision and have it come to life with all these incredible flowers and plants. Oh ya, great photos too!


  27. The side profile view photo of the Morning Glory at the top of the post is breathtaking.


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