Sunday, May 19, 2019

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

It's one thing to see a perennial in a pot at the nursery and try and imagine what that plant would look like in the landscape, it's quite another to see that same perennial planted in a proper garden.

It's so much easier to appreciate a plant's color, size and shape when you see it in a garden. And because you've seen it in context with other companion plants, you get a clearer idea of where you might place it in your own garden.

The delicate flowers of Mukdenia rossii are attractive, but the foliage, which takes on reddish tones, is one the main reasons you may want to add this perennial to your collection.

There is a perennial that I've had my eye on for a couple of years but never purchased. Every spring there is a long list of perennials on my wishlist and I never had the opportunity to see this particular plant in a garden, so I lacked that final bit of motivation to move it to the top of my list.

Mukdenia rossii has delicate, starry white flowers in April or May. As the foliage ages, reddish tones creep inward from the edges of the leaves. This plant prefers rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil. Full sun to part-shade. Height: 30-40 cm (12-16 inches), Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). USDA zones: 4-9.

Early in the week, I had the pleasure of visiting the garden of Larraine Alderson and there it finally was! How nice it looked amongst the other shade lovers Larraine had planted in her backyard. It took me no more than a couple of minutes to decide to finally make the decision to purchase a plant the next time I was at my favourite local nursery.

 Among the many foliage plants are a number of Heuchera.

 A few of the many great textural moments.

Larraine's garden is over thirty years in the making. Before it evolved into a quiet city subdivision the area was once an orchard. One of the original apple trees, now almost one hundred years old, still graces a corner of Larraine's backyard.

When the Alderson's bought the property there was a narrow garden that ran along the front of the house and not much else. Over the years, as a career and raising children allowed, Larraine began to expand the garden beds. She bought a Japanese Maple, long before they were fashionable, and planted it at the front of the house. Texture and color were important to her, so perennials and shrubs were added with attractive foliage and flowers. Today the front garden stretches down the length of the driveway and curves away from the house into the lawn.

The layout is one of the many pieces of inspiration you might take away 
from Larraine's garden.

 Trilliums and some striking variegated Bearded Iris (the flowers will be a soft, lavender-blue).

 Birds and some Mallard ducks paying a visit.

The ancient apple tree that was once part of a farm's orchard.

The front yard is full sun, but the back garden is quite shaded. Grass paths lead in and around the plantings taking you on a big loop back to the covered deck.

This coming weekend, Larraine's home is one of eight gardens in the Canadian Cancer Society's Annual Garden Tour. If your local and can attend, it's a great way to support a worthy cause while touring some beautiful properties.

If sadly you are at a distance, I'd encourage you to search out similar garden tours in your area. Visiting other gardens is one of the best ways to get inspired and gather ideas this spring!

The 14th Annual Spring Garden Tour in support of the Canadian Cancer Society will take place on Sunday, May 26th, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m (rain or shine).  This self-guided tour will highlight 8 gardens in the areas of Applewood Heights and Orchard Heights in Mississauga. 

Included in this year's event is the garden of Liz Primeau, former editor of Canadian Gardening magazine and author of 2 books: Front Yard Gardens: Growing More than Grass and In the Pursuit of Garlic: An Intimate Look at the Divinely Odorous Bulb. Among the featured properties is also the garden of Douglas Markoff, ExecutiveDirector of the Riverwood Conservancy, a 60-hectare nature preserve and public garden on the East Bank of the Credit River. 

Online tickets are available up until the day before the tour or until tickets sell out. Tickets will be sold for $25 on the day of the event at Battaglia's Marketplace and Applewood Home Hardware, subject to availability. 

All proceeds will go to the Canadian Cancer Society.

For more information visit

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer, I so enjoyed the garden tour, what a privilege to visit such a lovely garden. I have never seen Mukdenia before and am now inspired to search for it. :-)


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