It was a mild and sunny day that greeted us as we toured four gorgeous, and totally different gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia. Some of the members of the Dunbar Garden Club had opened up their gardens for other members of their club to attend. It was an afternoon well spent. With my camera in hand I am always looking for pleasing plant and colour combinations - and unfamiliar plants. Of course I am not alone as other plant nerds are pretty stoked too! Yes, we do exist. We tend to congregate at garden tours - and plant sales.
Hope you enjoy this pictorial essay of this summertime garden tour.
Garden #1 - A Secret Garden
Behind a tall English laurel hedge hides a little green gem of a garden. Like a miniature forest, plants are layered with a multitude of shrubs and perennials. Tucked away, behind the hedge and among the flora, is a perfect little pond donning a flawless pink waterlily. A large magnolia acts as a bold and broad anchor that oversees the plants underneath.
There’s no sign of a lawn as none is needed, but there is a path. It weaves its way to the side garden; it’s a short trip, but with every step there’s something to see. All sorts of perennials and shrubs intertwine in a sea of greenery punctuated by gentle colours of maroon and pink.
This shady garden is permeated by shafts of light that finds its way through the leafy canopy. The conditions are ideal for the many hostas that make a bold statement among the more delicate flora. Strategically placed plants with chartreuse foliage brings a lightness and energy to this intimate and natural landscape.
Garden #2 - Flowers Galore
Where once a chafer ravaged lawn once stood, bodacious lilies, bright ligularia and bold hostas now grow. Rising above the flowers, and amid the strategically placed ornamental grasses, roses and a host of perennials are placed for close inspection. A winding path allows intimate views of the many dazzling lilies that hug the curves.
Each plant has its own space in its own place despite the fact it all looks very loose and natural. The vertical stems of Karl Foerster Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster') adds a striking contrast and drama among the many flowers. This vertical element stops the eye so each plant is seen and admired. A few edible plants have been included. Blueberry shrubs are a pleasant surprise as they are used effectively as an ornamental and are a quite pretty with their deep blue ripened berries. This informal mix of perennials, punctuated with roses, shrubs, edibles and grasses is an effective way of making each plant special.
Garden#3 - Beautiful Bones
Upon approaching this property, it's reminiscent of an estate from yesteryear – and it is! Over 50 years ago it was a cherry orchard and a chicken farm. It’s vast and expansive front and side lawns are festooned with beautiful lush borders filled with roses, perennials, shrubs and trees. The house sits far back on the property and the owners have taken full advantage of their huge lawn by creating meandering beds full of bee friendly flowers.
This garden has good ‘bones’ so matter what time of the year, this garden has something to offer. Majestic mature trees surround the property and gracing the garden. A couple of craggy old apple trees that look like they’ve been there from the dawn of time adds to the garden’s charm. This is not just a pretty garden, it is a functional one. The fruit trees are loaded and the veggie garden is full of goodies. Mature shrubs and trees dot the landscape and flowers are buzzing with bees. An inviting covered seating area is nestled among a purple smoke bush and goldenrod, is perfectly placed to view this expansive and generous garden.
Garden #4 - A Boulevard Bed
Although this garden wasn’t open for the tour, their boulevard was recommended for a visit. It certainly is worthy of a mention. The owners had made good use of their property along the fence on the boulevard. Yellow and orange flowers filled the beds in this tranquil scene. An inviting bench is nestled in among the orange-red crocosmia and yellow daisies. This simple mass planting is an effective and colourful ground cover. A mountain ash, dripping with clusters of hanging orange berries, ties everything together and provides needed structure to this perennial bed that echoes the colours below. Just goes to show that you don’t need lots of different plants to make lovely little haven.
Here are some of my previous blog postings. They cover a wide range of topics from bugs to my botanical excursions and conventions. Click on whichever interests you on the titles below for easy navigation.