Of course when it comes to gardens the British often lead the show. I recently came across the work of Dan Pearson, British Landscape Architect & Garden Designer. Dan and his studio are doing some remarkable garden design work that I find most inspirational.
Over the holidays there was much binge watching and one of the series I most enjoyed was the ever knowledgeable Monty Don taking me touring through some of the most interesting and stunning gardens of Italy.
When working on a recent “very late” fall garden project for a client I was reminded how important selecting the right plants is to ensure greater odds of the new plantings surviving the winter months and taking root in the spring. My client was very keen on planting Columnar Dawyck Purple Beech trees. Our nursery supplier strongly discouraged this because it was so late in the season and we had already had snow. While Beech trees are best pruned in late winter when the plant is dormant and internal fluids are not actively moving through the tree, planting past frost is not advised. The same was true of my client’s second choice Columnar English Oaks. So, we opted for Chinese Dogwood, Japanese Red Maples and White Birch which are more forgiving for a late season planting.
If you live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) or you’re planning a visit, put this place on the calendar: the “epic” Restoration Hardware at Yorkdale Mall. Even if you’re not a big fan of their product, it’s worth a visit to see this remarkable retail edifice, not to mention grab a delicious lunch at their RH Courtyard Cafe.
You don’t always have to travel a great distance to enjoy completely different surroundings; the beauty of nature, a garden or amazing property.
Friends from Toronto invited us to their magnificent farm they’ve recently purchased in Northumberland County for a New Year’s visit and a wonderful walk through their wooded acreage. The former owners of this 70 acre estate farmed Dogwood, Curly Willow, Hydrangea and other perennials that they harvested and sold to many of the nurseries in the GTA, usually during the holiday season. They also used them to teach basket weaving and create other hand-crafted garden architectural products for sale.
The lovely under-realized town of Meaford just west of Thornbury has been homestead to our family for many years. With a new chapter of life before us we decided to leave city life and go in search of more tranquil and beautiful surroundings. Top priority was to search for waterfront property and after three years of intensive searching we finally found our new nest. The hope being that no one can build or develop on the water, so at the very least, half our view will always be naturally wondrous. With the right plan we can privatize the front half with mature plantings as any gardener would.
This Christmas was quietly special, spent with family at their farm just west of the Beaver Valley, near Georgian Bay. While this winter hasn’t been abundant with snow so far, Walnut Farm was blessed with a fresh falling just in time for a picture perfect holiday.
In spite of our hibernating gardens in Canada, the architecture of plantings, trees, berries and bordering evergreen add to the unique seasonal beauty of this cold dormant season. I’d encourage you to consider this even in the spring and summer as you plan for garden improvements. Imagine all of the seasons, the winter especially, and what you might include in your ongoing plans to ensure that half of the year is well accounted for in the garden design.