The first sign of change for me is the ground flowers that flag us to the warmer weather coming and ultimately, gardening season. Hyacinths, Bloodroot, Daffodils, English Bluebells, Tulips and Vinca are a few of my favourites.
A friend invited me to visit their home in the quaint southwestern Ontario town of Fergus to discuss a design and landscape project. I had been through Fergus before, but never long enough to tour about and fully appreciate what a remarkable town it really is. Resting on the bank of the Grand River is part of the original founding family’s John Black Estate and the former 1879 limestone “carriage house”, which is now their charming abode and property called “Wits End”.
Mr. Chris Houston walks me through his lovely Carriage House property on the banks of the Grand River in the Canadian Scottish settlement of Fergus.
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.