My husband, Greg, and I are avid gardeners. Below are some photos of the work we have done together over the past 25yrs.
Since adopting these 2 rural acres in Ward 6 in 1989, we have planted hundreds of native trees, shrubs and perennials. Our purchases have been concentrated on drought tolerant species that can cope with the vagaries clay. We only provide supplemental water during their first year of establishment and then expect plants to cope on their own. We capture and recycle rainwater through multiple rain barrels and a system which connects our eavestroughs to a large underground cistern installed by Watson Excavating.
We have never used chemicals on our property, preferring to manually pull weeds as we can and accept the many imperfections of nature. To lessen the weeding and retain soil moisture, we divide and move groundcovers each spring. We compost all kitchen waste, leaves and yard debris to feed our plants. Every year we participate in the Region’s fantastic Compost Give Away as well as purchase a truckload of Gro-Bark’s CPM® Composted Pine Mulch.
Greg embraces good hard, physical work. He has laboured with stone over the past 25yrs to create our gatehouse, garage, garden walls and curving pathways. With wood he has designed and built two gazebos and an arbour – the last two for the weddings we have hosted for family and dear friends. It is rewarding to design the gardens, knowing there isn’t any project that Greg wouldn’t or couldn’t tackle for me. The final photo is of Greg proudly showing off the beech tree he planted, generously purchased by Dr. Leith’s family to honour Greg’s mother who passed away December 2013.
We’ve learned a lot from Whistling Gardens, American Conifer Society, GardenWeb forums, numerous landscape blogs and the Fine Gardening magazine. We have worked extensively with Sean James of Fern Ridge Landscaping and Eco-Consulting to install a pond with waterfall and a small arboretum.
To honour my father after he died in September 2012, I transplanted poppies to our front gates. My father volunteered to serve with the RCAF in 1939 and was completing his second tour when his bomber was shot down over Hamburg, Germany in 1944. He was captured and held as a POW in Stalag Luft III for nine months. While the poppies are messy once they’ve finished blooming; their short-lived glory serves as a poignant reminder to my family of our Papa.
I will never forget the joy my mother derived from gardening. As a child, I didn’t understand it. As an older mother, as I fiddle about in different sections of our garden, they each bring an image to me … of the children throwing water balloons down from the 3rd story of the treehouse, of the younger siblings sitting on the stone wall waiting for the Kilbride school bus, of hiding treasures for our annual Easter egg hunt, of the kids squealing with delight as they pumped to get the swings higher and higher. I love to remember both my sister’s weddings here and dream of my children’s to come.
Indeed, our gardens hold so many family memories that it’s not hard to understand why I look through the frost covered window each winter with such yearning for spring.