Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Garden with a Grand River View

I think it was all the pops of vivid orange and red that caught my eye as we drove by: the trumpet vine on the side of the house, the bright geraniums in terra cotta pots and the Mountain Ash berries in the distance. 

Even though we had a full day already planned, I resolved to come back to the garden in the early evening and ask if I could take some pictures.

The house which overlooks the Grand River in the small town of Fergus, Ontario was built by a carriage maker in the 1890's. The present homeowners lovingly renovated and updated their historic home over the course of a several years.

As you will see in the next few shots, the property rolls gently down to the river gorge. Locally quarried stone was used to terrace the slope and to make a stairway that leads down from the house at street level.

On the first terrace, a lovely walled garden was created. 

At the far end of the garden a trellised wall helps disguise the neighbour's garage. Incorporated into the plantings are peonies, Rudbeckia, sedum, daylilies and Butterfly Bush. 

A closer look at the Rudbeckia and Butterfly Bushes.

Here there are several Spirea bushes (pink flowers) interplanted with Sedum
 and Lamium (the purple flowers at ground level). 

That is a Trumpet Vine on the side of the house.

Another staircase leads down from the walled garden to the yard at the back of the house. 

A dashed line of stones leads to the back door and to the formal garden 
which you will see in upcoming photographs.

Lady's Mantle, alchemilla mollis: is a great foliage plant whose velvety leaves always manage to catch water droplets in the most beautiful way. Lady's Mantle has sprays of chartreuse flowers in early summer. Cut back the plant after it flowers to rejuvenate the foliage and keep the plant looking tidy.
Height: 30-45 cm (12-18 inches), Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). USDA Zones: 2-9

This was my favourite part of the garden. 

To the left of a stone walkway that runs through the centre of a large, rectangular formal garden, there a central diamond-shaped flowerbed framed at each corner with a triangular shaped bed. 

On the right there were a series of rectangular beds for vegetables and herbs. The more I see examples of this mixed planting style, the more I admire it when fruit, flowers, vegetables and herbs are all mixed in together. 

Pretty and productive seem to compliment one another so perfectly.

Campanula punctata (on the left). Be warned: Clumps can spread vigorously! If you like the look of this plant, Campanula persicifolia is a similar, but much less aggressive option.

The homeowner was in the midst of revamping her flowerbeds, but even so, they looked 
wonderful in the warm light of late evening.

A tall Oriental lily is surrounded with blue perennial Cornflowers or 
Mountain Bluet, Centaurea montana.

Mountain Bluet, Centaurea montana: has soft greyish-green foliage and blue flowers in early summer. Full sun or light shade. It will grow in most soil types and will tolerate both dry and moist conditions. Cut back hard after it first flowers to rejuvenate the foliage and encourage new flowers. This plant can self-seed prolifically. Height: 45-60 cm (18-24 in), Spread: 38-45 cm (15-18 inches). USDA Zones: 2-9

A view to the back of the house.

Tomatoes in the foreground with Oregano, Lamb's Ears and magenta colored Phlox in behind.

A tall ornamental grass on the left and Oregano in flower on the right.

Just behind the formal garden is a large outbuilding that has been renovated and made 
into a guesthouse.

Obedient Plant, Physostegia virginiana

Obedient Plant, Physostegia virginiana: produces showy flower spikes in colors of white, pink or purple. It grows in most soil types and can become invasive. Plant it with caution and only in an area where it can't run wild. Sun to part shade. Height; 60-90 cm ( 24-36 in), Spread 18+ cm ( 45+ inches). USDA Zones: 3-10.

This is a large patch of Oregano in the foreground.

Purple Loosestrife 

Astilbe on the right.

A set of stone sets leads down to the banks of the Grand River. 
Geraniums in pots add a dash of bright color.

Under the broad limbs of mature trees, the riverbank area is quite shady. The plantings here incorporate an interesting mix of hosta, Periwinkle, Astilbe and some sedum for late summer color.

One really hot summer nights, the homeowners sometimes sleep in the guesthouse where the  
bedroom has a nice view of the Grand River.

Just outside the guesthouse is a generous patio area with chairs and a picnic bench.

Unfortunately the homeowner was unsure of the name for this beautiful Clematis.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


  1. What a delight it must be to have a property that close to the river! I did enjoy this garden, I liked the stone of the house and that wonderful trumpet vine! I like to see veg and flowers growing together, it all seems so much more natural somehow!xxx

  2. I love the stone house and all the garden stonework especially the back garden...really quite stunning.

  3. I love everything here...the stone work really sets a gorgeous backdrop for the garden. That walled garden is fantastic! And the setting along the river...goodness does it get any better!!! Wishing you a lovely week friend and as always thank you for inspiring!! Nicole xo

  4. Wow! What a beautiful garden. There is a surprise around every corner. I love how there is something growing high and low. All the climbing vines looks amazing. And that river...I think I would plop myself down in one of those chairs and never leave.

  5. What an amazing piece of property. So much to see and admire. I could get lost in the gardens. Thanks for the great pictures, I have to share.

  6. Beautiful garden. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Honestly Jennifer, reading your blog is like reading a gardening book, with beautiful pictures, tons of info and such an interesting perspective on the most interesting points of a gardens structure. Amazing!! What a beautiful property!!

  8. That house is absolutely wonderful. I adore stone houses and this one is stunning. The garden is lovely of course but I couldn't take my eyes off the house. It provides such a powerful backdrop to all the greenery going on. and how lucky to be right by the river. Lucky lucky people. I would sleep in the guest house too so I could hear the water rush by at night.

  9. Love the stone house and lovely garden photos. Wonder how many gardeners it takes to maintain gardens that extensive. Your blog is absolutely the equal of any of the garden magazines, fabulous photos.

  10. Absolutely stunning!! So many great ideas in this garden. And thanks for the tip for the lady's mantle.
    As I sit here watching the snow fall, this is exactly what we needed to see - a bit of hope that this winter will eventually end!!

  11. What a gorgeous place! I love all that stonework. Lovely gardens and beautiful photography - thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Wow! What an amazing garden. So much beauty there. Loved the orange lilies.

  13. Beautiful from every angle, what a masterpiece!

  14. I loved this garden, Jennifer! Nice flowers, especially Rudbeckia and Physostegia, I had white one. It's a hard work to maintain this beauty.

  15. Such a magical garden! I just love Rudbeckia, it's so cheerful. :)
    Have a lovely Easter week.

  16. Wow! Stunningly beautiful! Gorgeous gardens, gorgeous house, gorgeous views! Thanks for taking the time and effort to visit and photograph.

  17. I will come back time and time again to re-visit these wonderful pictures.

    Absolutely stunning.

    All the best Jan

  18. A lovely garden full of familiarity, especially the berry laden Rowan tree. The Trumpet vine, a climber that didn't thrive in Scotland.

  19. What a stunning home & garden. You see so much love & care in the details. I always think when I see homes & gardens like this, that if they were mine, I'd never want to leave!!! The clematis in the last photo looks like 'Purpurea Plena Elegans.' I grow it in my garden and this one looks very similar. Your photos are awesome & like I said before, you find the best gardens to tour & photograph!! Happy Easter to you & your family!!!!

  20. What a lovely garden, and house as well. It is amazing what the presence of stone does to a place.

  21. Please inform the owners I am willing to move in and look after the gardens any time they wish to escape. I can't tell you the number of times I've returned to this post Jennifer and sit in awe with their creations. The house is beautiful, especially liking the trim painted to match the stone. One doesn't often see that. I don't know where to begin with the gardens. WOW. I haven't seen hosta plantings that large and healthy, stones walls and walks are a favourite of mine and the light is beautiful. Can you imagine sitting on the steps leading into the water on a hot summers night watching fire flies flit along the banks? Magical! Thank you for sharing this gem.

    1. It would be magical Cheryl. Fergus and Elora are beautiful little towns. I'd move there in a heartbeat if I could!

  22. I'd prefer this river view to the one of our "creek". How beautiful. I love huge patches of herbs and all of the stone walls are beautiful. I'm trying to talk my husband into building some terraces out of stone. I'll have to show him these photos.

  23. I think the clematis pictured is Clematis viticella 'Purpurea Plena Elegans'

    1. Thank you Anne! I think you're right. It does appear to be Clematis viticella 'Purpurea Plena Elegans'.


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