The Heritage Vancouver Society offered up a fundraiser I couldn’t resist; a self-guided tour of 15 exclusive gardens in the prestigious Vancouver's West Side. A special thank you goes to all the homeowners and designers that allowed me to feature their gardens in this blog. For more information on Heritage Vancouver Society click here.
The tour started with an unassuming shady front garden, which did not hint of what lay beyond. The back garden is long and languid. This huge lot, 66 ft x 342 ft, has a huge main grassy area in the back garden bordered by undulating beds filled with trees, shrubs and perennials. In the centre, a golden Julia Child rose invites visitors to come closer and enjoy its fragrance and beauty. In contrast, a shady narrow path runs along the fence providing another perspective. Harmonious colour schemes, complimentary plant shapes and varying leaf textures give this garden an easy and relaxing feel.
A self-confessed plant addict, the owner has adorned her garden with some lovely specimens, especially roses. It was a spectacular rose, the Pink Martini, which grabbed everyone's attention. It was smothered with fragrant, brilliant, deep pink blossoms. Right beside it was the Carefree Delight rose donning scented, large single soft pink flowers. The long narrow back garden was accented by a rustic arbor accented by a deep red rose called Take It Easy. Hostas, astilbes and other shade loving plants filled the beds – and more roses wherever the light allowed, took center stage.
There are two basic gardens surrounding this 1940 CBK Van Norman tudor styled home. A large ceramic urn in the front garden provides a focal point to the lush woodland shade plants. Stairs flanked by a smooth barked eucalyptus invites people down the stone steps to the garden below where the woodland theme continues. The sumptuous garden is punctuated by unusual plants such as the Spotty Dotty Podophyllym with its huge flat crinkled leaves and the funky Jack-in-the-Pulpit plant. The woodland settings gradually evolves to a more formal scene. Trimmed boxwoods define a large seating area under the white hanging lanterns. A dining area with an Asian feel hides under the balcony. It’s intimate and restful with a rustic stone head as its focal point. Trimmed boxwoods edge the deep garden beds to provide a loose formality. Feathery astilbes peak out among the greenery, a bold gunnera pairs well with white trimmed hosta and tall ferns compete with rhododendrons. It’s an appealing loose formality.
This sculptural Japanese themed garden is dramatic in its use of rocks, water and plants. It was designed as a miniature Japanese landscape with rocks mimicking mountain ranges. The water features simulate waterfalls, streams and lakes. Stark pines replicate wind ravaged evergreens atop craggy mountaintops. It’s so well done that this garden has been featured in movies, television and magazines.
There’s no lawn in front of this delightful Craftsman house, but it does have a meadow. It consists of numerous low growing sun loving perennials, but it was the Mexican Feather Grass that stole the show. Its flaxen, silky, hay-coloured stalks partnered well with lavender, blue cranesbill geranium and yellow stonecrop sedums. A turquois ceramic urn topped with red geraniums provided a dramatic focal point. A productive vegetable garden plus raspberries and blueberries takes up the back yard. This lovely garden was designed by Linda Shulman.
Blue accents bring harmony to this creative and colourful garden. It starts with a deep blue bench atop thyme rimmed flagstone taking the place of a lawn in the front garden. It is repeated out back with cobalt blue planters, blue and yellow striped cushions, the flowing azure starry flowers of the Waterfall Serbian bellflower and the deep navy spires of the Royal Candles speedwell. There’s a charming pond in the back yard, replete with a water sprouting frog. Artistic and colourful combinations of plants and ornaments are used throughout.
There’s no need for a lawn when food and flowers take priority. Raspberries, blueberries and veggies take up one side of the front garden while a birdbath surrounded with bluestone pavers provides a focal point on the opposite side. Ornamental grasses, flowers and shrubs comprise the rest of the gardens including more veggies in the backyard. Designed by Linda Shulman.
As visitors enter the ivy covered arched pergola, they are transported into a magical world of gnomes, dragons, moss covered statues and other old world ornaments. The path made from recycled old red bricks winds its way throughout this gothic English style cottage garden. Lush green plants intertwine, cascade and intermingle with the art pieces and drip into the numerous water features. The piece de resistance is a black Victorian gazebo. A wisteria and rose drape across the top providing a green lacy ceiling. Inside there’s a small table draped in a white tablecloth and two chairs inviting visitors to sit and enjoy the enchanted surroundings.
The owner and the designer, Anne-Talbot Kelly, worked together to create this eclectic garden. It has touches of industrial, Asian and West Coast beach, and practically everything is recycled. The most impressive feature is the waterfall made from an old air duct pipe with bins atop to collect rainwater. Water cascades down the chains into a large elongated metal bin below. It was made by Robert Delahanty, a bike mechanic and welder. Cooking oil cylinders and semi-truck wheel drums make unusual but effective planters. This garden has numerous areas to entertain, but the crushed shell beach area is a cool place to hang out. There’s even a fireplace for chilly nights made out of an old barrel with a gas insert. It’s an ingenious and very functional garden made for entertaining.
The Arthur Erickson Foundation is the sole owner and caretaker of this iconic home and garden. The foundation offers tour from July to October. Click here for more info. "A clearing in the forest." is how Arthur Erickson, famed architect, described the garden he enjoyed for over fifty years. It's more of a contemplative retreat rather than a traditional garden as there are no floriferous, colourful garden beds, nor a veggie bed waiting to be harvested. Instead there is a stand of Douglas fir and dogwoods framing the pond. Glossy green water lily leaves coat the serene water. Rhododendrons become bold statements especially when combined with the tall graceful bamboo. Large ferns sprout from the bare undergrowth in the dappled shade. It's a serene setting, with simple rustic benches placed to view the artistic vistas made by the light playing upon the scene, changing slowly with the moods of the sun.
An arbor shadowing the style of the house provides an entrance to the front garden. Jasmine’s sweet fragrance fills the air. Their pure white star-like flowers drape over the wooden fence enhancing the attached bench accented with lime green cushions. Designed by Anne Talbot-Kelly, the numerous seating areas are cleverly placed to enjoy this multilevel garden.
This 1908 house still has the original wrought iron fence that wraps around an old fashioned garden, but it doesn’t stop there. The garden spills out with all sorts of shrubs and some small trees past the fence, much to the delight of people passing by. A memorial bench located at the corner of the lot is dedicated to the previous owner and avid gardener, Diana Snow. It is tucked in and wrapped by a lush green hedge for passing pedestrians to rest and view the ocean beyond. Within the fenced area the garden lends itself to comfort and conversation with two curved, green wooden benches arranged in a circle. A huge and original magnolia provides a rich green canopy overhead. Its dappled shade extends far and wide creating lacy speckles of light below.
Outdoor living is the focus on this design and installation by De Haas Landscape Design Ltd. A clipped formal yew hedge is accented by black granite pavers that leads to the back garden. An elegant white covered patio looks over this inviting garden designed for entertaining. There are numerous areas to sit and enjoy the flora including a separate seating tucked up against the wooden fence.
A number of large trees shade this 1925 Craftsman home and the accompanying small paved courtyard. It features a rock fountain that gently cascades into a quaint pond. Tall bamboo becomes a striking form against the pale walls and wooden fence. The Italian inspired patio is is dotted with pottery and art from the owner’s travels. In addition to the delightful art and keepsakes, Keith Rice-Jones sculptures were discretely displayed among the ferns, the hostas and coral bells for this special event.
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.