Monday, June 23, 2014

Cynthia's Garden

Today I have a local garden to share with you. This is Cynthia's garden in Georgetown, Ontario (approximately 10 minutes northwest of my garden here in Huttonville).

A walkway leads us around the side of the house to the back garden.

One of the walkways prettiest features is this Honeysuckle vine. Butterflies and hummingbirds just love this flower's sweet nectar.

Honeysuckles prefer sun, but will tolerate some light shade. They will grow in a variety of soil types and are quite drought tolerant once established. Allow honeysuckle vine to mature before pruning (2 yrs). Prune very lightly during the growing season to encourage more flowers. Thin the top half of a Honeysuckle in late February to March to prevent the lower portion of the vine from becoming woody and unattractive. Also remove any damaged or diseased vines each spring.

As you round the corner of the house, there is a small seating area, as well as an area for outdoor dining.

A mature tree casts most of the right side of the garden in shade and part-shade.

At the base of a small birdbath, Cynthia has planted a groundcover conifer, several hosta, 
and a couple of varieties of euonymus. 

Covering the fence is a Climbing Hydrangea. At its feet are a couple of shade tolerant Yew.

The corner shed.

Here is a very rough layout of Cynthia's garden. 

This next area I want to show you was my favourite part of Cynthia's garden. So often in a suburban garden you find yourself standing on a central lawn, looking with the detachment of a spectator, at plantings that run along the property's outer perimeter.  Like masterpieces hung on a museum wall, the plants often feel like they are there only to be admired from a polite distance. 

In Cynthia's garden however, a series of flagstone paths invite you to enter inside a large corner section of the garden. As you wander through the plantings, stepping on the fragrant thyme and brushing past the white satin petals of the peonies you are no longer a simple onlooker. You are a participant.

One of the flagstone pathways in Cynthia's garden.

Among the flowers and shrubs in this section of the garden are these magenta geraniums 
and vivid blue Delphiniums.

 Lady's Mantle and blue Salvia in the foreground.

When the plantings in a garden are too dense, they can become a bit of a jungle. Not here.

Groundcovers knit together to form a neat carpet that keep the pathways feeling open and breezy. 

The groundcovers include lime-colored Irish moss (upper left), thyme and veronica.

Veronica whitley (seen above): This drought tolerant groundcover has sapphire-blue flowers in spring. Full sun. Normal or sandy soil. Hardy USDA zones 3-9.

Out of sight and toward the back of the corner garden there is a small, but important black bin 
that is used to make compost.

There is also a lovely pond-less waterfall in this part of the garden.

Peonies are finally in flower here. Aren't these white peonies beautiful?

Along the far side of the garden there is a long border in full sun.

Disguising the yard's fencing there are a number of conifers and shrubs. (Above right) A Weigela, with its vivid cherry flowers. (Below) A soft, mauve-colored Lilac.

Stepping down one level to mid-height, the plantings include the False Indigo, Baptisia australis, Yew, pink peonies, and euonymus.

At the front of the long border there are among other things: 
pink roses, blue Veronica and Sweet William.

In my humble opinion, Sweet William is a cottage garden flower that you don't see in gardens often enough. 

Dianthus barbatus dwarf double mix: Height: 15-30 cm Spread 20-30 cm. Sweet William require full sun and bloom mid-summer. They are usually grown as a self-seeding biennial flower. This strain produces a low mound of green leaves and bright, double flowers in shades from white through to pink, magenta and red.  Remove fading flowers to encourage more buds.  Pruning plants back hard in fall will enourage them to live for a second year. They make excellent cut flowers. Hardy USDA zones 2-9.

I hope you enjoyed seeing Cynthia's garden as much as I did.


  1. Beautiful garden, lovely photographs!

  2. Wow ......I love looking at gardners pictures so much!!!!! Hers is beautiful and thanks for sharing.
    I was surprised how the peonies were vibrant white!

  3. So beautiful! Makes me want to give up all the remodeling projects I've been doing and go back to gardening and landscaping... maybe next year!

  4. YEP! I enjoyed this garden so much! Being a participant is such a great way to put it! Leading people into your space and having the garden wrap itself around you! She really did a fantastic job with this and her garden moved and inspired me! I will be bookmarking this...for one day we won't need a center lawn when the beans are older! Happy week to you friend! Nicole xoxo

  5. What a lovely garden with a good mix of shrubs and flowers - and those white peonies - gosh - they are beautiful. I grow sweet Williams in my garden every year, they self seed beautifully and are such good 'doers' that last for ages.

  6. Cynthia's garden is inspiring. I wish I could recreate that sunny border!

  7. Hello there Jennifer girl !
    This garden surprises the on looker ... you think that it isn't all that big and then WOW ! it goes on and on .. I love the shed .. it is like a little cottage ... the plants are wonderful and perfect for the spaces they cover. I can never tire of looking at gardens .. they always hold a surprise or two !
    Joy : )

  8. Another gorgeous garden!! And you are so right about the lack of sweet Williams in today's gardens. Its a beauty that should be seen more often.

  9. I've pinned to my heart's content, as always. So, so pretty and inspiring.

  10. Such a lovely garden with beautiful plants, especially the peonies and honeysuckle. Paths through big wide borders are so good for exploring or for weeding!

  11. Cynthia sure has a beautiful garden, Jennifer.
    So much wonderful color.
    I especially love those blue delphiniums. They are one of my favorite summer flowers.
    Thank you so much for sharing her garden here.

    Happy day to you!

  12. The garden and your photos are good enough to eat - how absolutely and completely gorgeous. Just shows what you can do with a suburban lot - wish so many more folks would take advantage of their property like this.

  13. Totally amazing and so beautiful. Loved the Peonies and the Honeysuckle. Everything just looked so lush and gorgeous.

  14. Great point about how many yards have their gardens shoved up against the outer edges. I hadn't thought too much of it but you're right, it doesn't invite you over to look. This yard on the contrary, I love the use of trees and shrubs and I just want to walk right through my computer screen to check them out.

  15. I'm convinced Canada is garden-central! I agree with your observation about suburban gardens being shoved to the fence line because that's how mine is designed. But I had to design it around dogs and a garden-resistant husband. This garden is just beautiful. I love all that Sweet William. :o)

  16. Un autre beau jardin très fleuri. J'aimerais bien trouvé un endroit pour introduire le chèvrefeuille, car c'est magnifique. Belle découverte.

  17. An extraordinary post! So lovely to see Cynthia's garden and she's very lucky to be able to look at this lovey post and see her garden through some one else's eyes! Gorgeous photography too!

  18. I loved it as much as you, as you say it's lovely to wander through paths and get close up and personal with the planting. Beautiful garden, I bet you'll re-visit!xxx

  19. Lovely Cynthia's garden! I love the photo of Honeysuckle vine and delphinium Jennifer. The flowers of Sweet william is pretty mine is yet in buds.
    Thank you for sharing!

  20. Your photos are wonderful! So many I pinned to pinterest. I love taking pictures of gardens and flowers here in Maine. I am really enjoying your posts from Canada.

  21. I sure did enjoy Cynthia's garden!! At first glance (of the patio), I thought it wasn't the usual type of garden you show us. But then as you made your way further into the yard, and along the flagstone paths and past waterfalls, well, just amazing! Beautiful photography, and as always such knowledgeable snippets on the individual plants. Every year I'm more and more in love with peonies, and these photos show their beauty so well :) Enjoy your weekend! Wendy x

  22. What a beautiful garden! I love the paths and groundcovers, peonies and all the perennials. Your pictures are great, Jennifer!

  23. Jennifer this is a beauty and I love Lady's Mantle mixed with the deep purple salvia.

    I have a similar honeysuckle and it does require sun. I have found though that the native coral honeysuckle will tolerate quite a bit of shade if someone wants to plant a honeysuckle in a shady spot as long as it is planted under deciduous trees. Mine gets plenty of sun all spring, fall and winter when the leaves are less.

  24. Beautiful garden! Speaking about dogs and gardens, I was wondering whether Lady's Mantle is toxic to dogs. Please could you tell me anything about it? Thanks!

    1. Lady's Mantle is toxic to children and pets, but quite frankly many of the plants in a garden are toxic. Here are some general tips that might help if you have a dog that likes to nibble on plants:
      • Build raised flower and vegetable beds.

      • If you have a large yard, consider creating a fenced pet friendly area and restrict them to it.

      • Alternately, enclose your garden with a fence that will keep pets at a safe distance. A friend of mine has a lovely formal garden that is fenced and gated in her large open backyard.

      • Consider netting or chicken wire to keep your pet away from problem plants.

      • Train your dog. Praise him or her when he or she responds to firm correction.


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