Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Preview of the Canadian Cancer Society's Annual Spring Garden Tour

A sure sign that spring has arrived is the start of the garden tour season. One of the first events in the GTA is the Canadian Cancer Society's Annual Spring Garden Tour.

This year the tour moves from affluent neighbourhood of Lorne Park in Mississauga to gardens in area of the Rattray Marsh. Located on the Lake Ontario shoreline, the Rattray Marsh is one of the last remaining lakefront marshes on the western end of Lake Ontario. 

Helen Donato, one of the event's organizers, tells me that the gardens on this year's tour offer a number of interesting water features including a "fabulous waterfall" and an infinity pool that blends seamlessly into a view of Lake Ontario. There is also a garden with many interesting and unusual plants that backs onto the Rattray Marsh.

Liz Primeau, former editor of Canadian Gardening Magazine and author of In Pursuit of Garlic, will be speaking on growing garlic in one of the tour gardens mid-afternoon.

Master gardener Edel Schmidt will be on hand to discuss pruning and to answer any questions you may have.  

Location: Private Garden, Mississauga, ON
When Photographed: End of May
Zone: 6a

Today, I am delighted to give you a preview of one of the private gardens that will be open to the public on this year's tour.

As you will see, the Kent's garden has a gentle informality about it. It is not overly fussy or pretentious, allowing the visitor to feel immediately at ease.

Right off the front walkway there is a small frog pond.

Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabillis, 'Alba' (bottom image): Height: 70-90 cm, Spread: 70-90 cm. Part to full shade. Average to moist soil. You can refresh the foliage after it flowers in early spring, but even so, it will go dormant by late summer. Hardy: Zones 2-9.

A path leads from the front door to a little courtyard which must be the perfect place 
to enjoy coffee in the morning . 

When I visited last year at the end of May, Columbines were in bloom throughout the garden.

Columbine are easy to grow from seed. Full sun/part shade. Depending on the cultivar, they are anywhere from 25-70 cm tall. Spread: approx. 25-30 cm. Average to moist soil. Normal, sandy or clay soils all work. USDA Zones 2-9. 

Columbines are relatively short lived, but self-seed well. I think they are indispensable in a May/June garden.

Isn't this a pretty tree?

Golden Chain Tree, Laburnum x watereri 'Vossii': Height: 18 m (15-20 ft) Spread: 15-18 m (15-20 ft). A Golden Chain Tree requires a sheltered, part-shade location and well-drained soil. Young trees have smooth, green-colored bark, which deepens in color with age. The tree's foliage is like a pointed clover leaf and chains of bright yellow, fragrant flowers appear in May or June. Prune after flowering. USDA Zones: 5-7

A grouping of Alliums (most likely 'Purple Sensation')

The branches of a Redbud tree, with its sweet pink flowers, hangs over an arbor in the front garden.

A Lilac (Sorry, not sure of the cultivar.)

Northern Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum pedatum (top left): Part to Full shade. Height: 30-60 cm, Spread:30-60 cm. Moist growing conditions in a variety of soil types. USDA Zones: 2-9 

Sweet Woodruff, Galium odoratum (on the bottom): Is a great groundcover for shady areas if you have ample space for it to spread (often considered invasive). It also makes a wonderful understory for late spring bulbs. Height: 10-20 cm Part shade to full shade. Average to moist growing conditions. Smells like fresh cut hay. USDA Zones: 2-9

Amsonia (Sorry, not sure of the cultivar. Quite possibly Amsonia tabernaemontana?)

Another arbor, this time in the backyard.

Bugelweed: This is a case of "Be careful what you wish for!" Yes, it has pretty blue flowers, but it is a plant can be invasive, especially given the right growing conditions. As you can see, it forms a pretty dense mat of foliage. But if you have a moist, shady spot where it can spread at will, then this might make a great groundcover.

Bugleweed, Ajuga: Full sun, part shade or full shade. Prefers moist growing conditions and will spread a little less vigorously when conditions are on the dry side. Height: 10-15 cm. If you are considering Ajuga, try looking for one of the newer cultivars that is supposedly less invasive like Ajuga genevensis.

You can see a Tricolor Cooper Beech in the distance on the left and up close on the right.

Tricolor Cooper Beech, Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea Tricolor': Sun/part shade. Height: 12 m (over 40 ft) Spacing: also 12 m (40 ft). Low maintanence. Can live as long as 120 years. Flower: Insignificant

And so ends this little preview. 

For any of you that live in the GTA, the Canadian Cancer Society's Annual Spring Garden Tour represents a great opportunity to support a very worthy cause, while visiting some of Mississauga's finest private gardens. 

P.S. I will have the winner of the book draw up next.

Here are all the details that you need to know to attend:

More information about the Canadian Cancer Society Tour:

Date: Sunday, May 25th
Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Advance Tickets: $15
Advance Tickets Available at: Battaglia's Lorne Park Marketplace at 1150 Lorne Park Rd.,  Crafted Decor at 232 Queen St. S. in Streetsville, Heritage Fruit Market at 780 Southdown Rd., Impressionable Gifts at 74 Lakeshore E. in Port Credit, and the Canadian Cancer Society at 2227 South Millway in Mississauga.
Day of the Tour Tickets: $20
More Information: or call (905) 608-8411


  1. A very beautiful garden. The tour sounds wonderful.

  2. I like this garden very much - if this is a taste of things to come I am sure the tour will be a great success

  3. Oh my what a beautiful garden. I find it so interesting to see the different gardens from all over, not just here in So CA.
    Thanks so much for sharing - sure wish that I could see that stunning garden.

  4. I love seeing the "possible" gardens from garden tours .. not the manicured impossible ones that you know are tended to by hired help, haha ! .. this one is gorgeous yet user friendly .. I think that is a term I will use more often with gardens I feel are possible "user friendly" !! something I might be able to achieve?
    Love the tri-coloured Beech .. the HUGE trees over the wooden arbor .. you can lose yourself in gardens like that : ) and that is what I think most of us want .. to lose ourselves in our gardens.
    Gorgeous pictures as always Jennifer !
    Joy : )

  5. How beautiful these are, Jennifer!
    I especially love the lily pads.
    The garden tours must be so wonderful.

  6. A great cause indeed! And Such a beautiful preview! I need to get some Columbines...though they are short lived their blooms are just fabulous! And I ended up pulling out my bugleweed because it started making me very nervous about where it was going! HA! You all have such outstanding gardens up there! I need to visit!!! Have a great weekend!!! Nicole xo

  7. Thank you Jennifer, what a absolutely lovely garden, and I do so appreciate being able to have a behind the scenes tour of it.

    This is certainly for a great cause, I hope that they sell out fast.


  8. Lovely photos. I especially love the one of the white bleeding hearts.

  9. That was a lovely garden. I really like the white columbine. I wonder why. Thanks Jennifer.

  10. What a lovely garden, I could happily live there! Thanks for the tour, the great photos and the descriptions – it’s almost like being there :-)

  11. Jennifer - you always invite us to view the loveliest of gardens but part of the reason they seem so spectacular are your incredible photographs. Thank you!

  12. Hello Jennifer! Thank you for the lovely comment on my card. I really appreciate it. You have the privilege of visiting some of the most stunning gardens. The little lily pads in the pond is such a special touch, especially with the little frog sunbathing on a lily pad. I loved all of your columbine photos as well. I don't want to jinx it, but if all goes well, I might be able to plan a garden from scratch and I'll be visiting your blog looking for inspiration and ideas that I can use. I hope you have a wonderful day.

  13. Une très belle promenade dans ce jardin. Merci!

  14. Would you believe I've never been on a garden tour? It's a shame, really. We have tons of private gardens that open up here and I've not once stepped foot into one. I really need to obtain myself some real life gardening friends. I need buddies to go do all the fun plant stuff with!

  15. How much to inspire there! I loved the frog on the lily pad. Congratulations to

  16. Thank you for all the lovely photos Jennifer. You made my garden look even better. I hope some of your blog visitors will be coming on the tour, I would love to meet them in my garden

  17. Here I am in Sydney Australia having a tour of my friend Dorothy's magnificent garden. What a delightful wander. It is so tranquil and beautiful. I love the frog. Have a wonderful open day.


Apologies, comments are disabled at this time.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.