Diverse Gardens with Great Ideas
It was a sparkling and bright sunny day in June when the South Delta Garden Club offered 11 gardens for the public to visit in Ladner and Tsawwassen.
Located on the most southern part of British Columbia, South Delta is bordered by the Fraser River to the north, the Georgia Strait to the west and Boundary Bay to the south. Both communities in South Delta provide homes for over 40 thousand people, many of whom are retired. Ladner used to be a fishing village in the 19th century. Now it is a charming suburb and farming community.
Tsawwassen is a few miles south and it’s known for being the sunniest town in Metro Vancouver.
Gardeners make the most of this southern coastal and temperate climate of USDA Zone 8b. Although it isn’t the tropics, the weather is mild enough for Chinese fan palms and bananas, which are a common sight throughout South Delta.
Here’s a look at the 11 gardens: four in Ladner and 7 in Tsawwassen. Each one is unique and has something to offer from stunning plants to innovative and creative garden ideas. A map with directions was provided on this one day self-guided tour. Each garden welcomed visitors and stamped their map upon arrival. An initial fee was charged before the tour of $30.00, which was available at numerous local establishments. Proceeds are graciously received by the Delta Hospital Healing Garden, the Mountain View Manor Therapeutic Garden, and the Delta Secondary School Memorial Garden, as well as educational programs and scholarship funds that the SD Garden Club supports. Click on South Delta Garden Club to learn more about this community active club.
Garden #1 - Garden with a view
This grand estate welcomes visitors with an impressive ribbon of pink Meidiland roses in front of a black European style metal fence. This partially wooded garden was originally designed by Robin Gardner, a landscape designer of Expo 86. As the garden evolves he continues to invest in its design.
Enormous cedars, Douglas firs and hemlocks encircle the property and tower above house. It's set among mature conifers and gracefully aged rhododendrons, which gives the impression it's ensconced by a secluded forest. Nothing could be further from the truth as it's in the middle of Tswawassen.
The front garden is impressive, however, the view from the back garden is no shrinking violet. A generous swimming pool and deck overlooks the cities beyond all the way to Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains.
GARDEN #2 - An Asian Mountain Garden
This garden is reminiscent of an Asian mountain garden with its gravel paths rimmed with large grey rocks. The walkways lead visitors on a journey through Peter and Carla’s garden where there's a selection of mature trees. An impressive pyramidal gold-tipped false cypress looks like it should be on a mountainside and a superb, shaggy paperbark maple .
Tightly clipped azaleas and boxwoods are accented by heavenly bamboo, purple and green smoke bushes. The azaleas thrive in the shade of the huge neighbouring cedars, but most of the garden lies in the sun.
The back garden opens up to a concrete birdbath. It’s a quaint touch to the gravel walkway and rock lined beds. An incredibly healthy and happy flowering jasmine was a show-stopper.
Through the gate is a serene courtyard that accents the style of the house and the Asian feel of the garden.
GARDEN #3 - A Water Feature Garden
This professionally designed garden has been well-thought out. There's a mixture of plant shapes, textures and colours that keeps the eye moving from plant to plant.
The front garden is designed around a dry stream bed that's composed of smooth round rocks in shades of grey. It's lined by a garden full of floral lovelies including pink rugose roses, Japanese spireas, lilies, and garden phlox. A small Japanese maple and a young maidenhair tree; a Gingko biloba provide complimentary vertical elements.
Beyond the front garden, is the courtyard. It's surrounded by roses at the peak of their bloom. Its arch entrance is reminiscent of a Spanish hacienda.
Every space of Angela’s garden is utilized including the path leading to the back garden where veggies and jasmine grow.
The gem of this garden is the water feature that takes up a good part of the back garden. It’s been deftly designed to resemble a natural pond with a waterfall. Large granite rock paths are placed to complete the look.
Low growing perennials are grown together to form a tapestry of different colours and textures.
GARDEN #4 - Earthwise Society's Organic gardens
Boundary Bay’s Earthwise Garden has come a long way over the years. As a non-profit society, it has suffered the indignities of not having enough money to do what was needed to make this garden flourish.
Due to the advancement of the adjacent Southlands development, the Delta Food Coalition, and many community groups and residents, the Earthwise one acre demonstration garden is now thriving. The derelict buildings have been replaced and a community garden is a popular place to grow food and flowers.
The focus of the Earthwise Society is organic, sustainable gardening. There are no pesticides. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators dance among the pollen and nectar packed flowers that flow in drifts along the ample gardens.
Paths meander throughout, surprising visitors at every turn with swaths of native plants and picturesque views. This bee friendly garden is laden with blossoms from an assortment of perennials, shrubs and trees.
The many flowers throughout the extensive gardens are not just pretty to look at, they are essential to feed the bees and for other pollinators including birds.
Patricia Fleming, the society’s executive director, emphasizes that education is an important part of the Earthwise Society. The Eco-tour Program offers hands-on activities and workshops as well as supplying produce to at-risk populations. There’s also Feed the Bees, Therapeutic Horticulture and a Master Organic Gardener Program. Schools bring their students for fun and educational field trips, whilst high school students are able earn credits towards Sustainable Resources Agriculture.
During the summer, produce from the farm is available – all organically grown of course, and freshly picked. Kudos to the many volunteers that make this garden a success.
GARDEN #5 - A Floral Oasis
This corner lot is well-turned out with pleasing plant combinations that accent Mary and Andrew’s two-story house. The spacious front garden wraps around both sides of the house. Garden islands are surrounded by an expansive lawn. The front entrance is a welcoming sight with its generous plant-lined path that leads to an artfully decorated front porch.
The curved bed gently evolves into a stone raised bed that sits in front of a wooden pergola. Four triangular shaped lemon scented Monteray cypresses (Cupressus macrocarpa 'Goldcrest') sit atop the privacy wall that hides a hot tub.
There are two seating areas designed for entertaining. A bright red umbrella is a perfect accompaniment to the casual chairs donned with pillows. Finishing touches add to the charm with a red tin box filled with succulents and small statues surrounded by potted plants.
Against the house is a more formal seating area surrounded by potted flowers. Although the raised deck up above the garden, it feels very much part of it. Flowers billow out from planters that are generously located around the deck.
GARDEN #6 - A Touch of Bling
Irene and Randy’s garden has evolved gradually over the years. Once there was a lawn, but not anymore. Charming gardens have taken its place. Effective use of pieces of art and garden ornaments add to it's charm.
There’s lots to look at, and not just plants. Even the shed is picturesque.
This garden is designed not just for plants, but for people too. Comfy chairs sit next to an elegant firepit surrounded by a gravel pathway that weaves its way from one end of the garden to the other.
The trees are not immune to a little bling either as dangling bird ornaments and coloured stones catch peoples interest as they walk by. A trickling stone fountain offers coolness and serenity.
Mirrors, art and hanging planters are strategically placed on the surrounding fence that provides a perfect backdrop.
GARDEN #7 - An Innovative Approach
This twist on a cottage garden includes some creative uses of plant material. A deftly pruned firethorn's naked intertwining branches doubles as a screen. It's one of the many bird-loving, berry producing plants in Maggie and Peter's nature friendly garden.
Entering the back garden, I was pleasantly surprised to see a stately tree growing through the wooden deck. Its dappled shade danced through the garden and highlighted the table and chairs below its leafy canopy. The garden has a pleasant cottage feel with features with a curved stone-stacked raise bed curved lines of a stone raised bed follows the fence where perennials, trees and shrubs Salal, staghorn and sword ferns combine with Oregon grape and other native plants.
A stone fountain at the corner of the deck creates an attractive focal point that leads to the raised garden beds along the fence.
The recycled tall tree stump used to hold up a corner of an open shed in the back garden was impressive and quite a conversation starter. When I remarked on such ingenuity, the owners showed me that there was also one in their living room!
is a delightful vignette of a wooden potting bench of vintage pots and little posies of lavender hung to dry. Very cute.
The front garden is a mass of greenery, flowers and food! An asparagus patch resembles a cloud of tall fluffy ferns. Rhubarb, artichokes, blueberries grow among the Japanese spirea, cranesbill geranium and daylilies. It's so full, there's no space for weeds.
GARDEN #8 - A Cutting Garden
At first glance, when approaching this garden, I was wondering what all the fuss was about. What is so special about this garden? There was no sexy hardscaping, no elaborate garden beds, no funky plants, then I got closer.
Hidden from view by a hedge, was a bed - a four-canopy bed frame! It was overflowing with flowers beneath a chandelier. Sweet peas coiled their way up to the top to create a bed made for a fairy tale.
As in the front garden, the back garden does not have garden beds stuffed with awesome plants with paths that meander throughout. Instead there are plant filled eaves troughs that line the fence and a charming rustic country shed.
The back garden is full of surprises because instead garden beds, there are a functional raised beds. Each one is home to specific cut flowers, as the owner Tracy, has her own cut flower business, Backyard Blossoms. It's a flowery production.
Worthy of note, at the back corner of the house, the tenant Joan has put her talent as a houseplant grower to good use. She’s expanded her living space outdoors and filled it with inspirational and fun touches. Light sheer drapes create a secluded space, lush with plants with interesting bits and bobs.
GARDEN #9 - It's all About Trees & Food
This expansive garden is surrounded by beautiful large beech trees, Douglas firs and deodor cedars. It's not surprising as Bart is a retired professor of Forest Pathology, would be full of trees. But there’s more to this garden than trees.
A grape vine uses the garden swing as a support. The vine provides a nice amount of shade for those that decide to sit down and enjoy the view.
GARDEN #10 - An Artist's Garden
An artist’s garden is never dull or boring as this garden proves. Jennifer, and her musician partner Patrick, has turned her garden into an whimsical art gallery.
Plant groupings create a tapestry of colour and texture with bold foliage mixed with the delicate.
Everywhere you look there’s a statue, a decorative element, a flight of fancy.
Instead of a garden full of flowers, this garden consists of art surrounded by plants.
GARDEN #11 - A Well Groomed Garden
When approaching Neil and Jackie’s tidy garden with its immaculate green lawn, it's impossible not to notice the gigantic weeping giant sequoia, Sequoia giganteum 'Pendulum' s that looms overhead. Its a dramatic specimen with multiple tops and shaggy branches that hang down.
Neil has managed golf courses over the years, which explains why the lawn looks more like AstroTurf, than real grass. This well-maintained and healthy lawn is annual bluegrass. It's perfect with not a weed in sight.
A generous foundation planting around the house provides great curb appeal.
Windows that line the path to the back garden are framed by dark shutters and flower-filled window boxes.
A well-loved and used gazebo is nestled among the plants and ornaments.
The combination of geraniums and petunias in the planters and window boxes are a simple mix of colour and texture. There’s nothing garish in this well-planned and nicely appointed garden.
An impressive bird house sits high above the garden and ornaments from Thailand are nestled among the plants.