1995 we purchased a neglected property in the historic district of Old Oakville, along the shores of Lake Ontario. This 1949 Arts and Crafts home was designed and built by Toronto architect Barney Ellis, as a weekend getaway cottage. In spite of some poor choices over the years by various owners, this lovely property still had a phantom of charm, exuding promise for a better future. We simply fell in love with it and the neighbourhood.
For nearly six years the house was in a state of upheaval and renovation, but once completed we embarked on building a beautiful garden to envelop it. Really my first serious garden. The fruit of our labour paid off with many lessons learned, thanks to the help of our garden architect, Christopher Campbell. What happened to me on William Street was truly transformative. The experience of building that garden was like a green house university that opened my mind to the role a garden takes in transforming a property – a neighbourhood. We had the joy of celebrating that effort by being featured in Canadian House & Home’s “Gardening Life” magazine. What a wonderful crescendo to the blood, sweat and well, tears, that went into the project.
Though we’ve moved on, every time we walk by our old home, it’s still a pleasure to see the amazing maturity of a garden I planted nearly 20 years ago. Proving the benefit of patience, hard work and good counsel along the way.