Garden Visits: Spindletree Gardens

One Word-AMAZING!!!!!!

Wow, Susan Meisner and Tom Brown have made an magnificent garden, the culmination of their lifes work. I am sure that it has to be one of the largest, private gardens to be developed in the last few years.

Tom, a retired architect from Toronto, led us on the garden tour. There is 80 acres, of which 5 is gardened, and they started their garden in 1996.  They both have a huge work ethic, they must have, the progress they have made in the past 13 years is immense. Tom says that he moved 400 tons of stone by himself, building all the stones walls and paths. The garden is called Spindletree, due to the number of Euonymous europaeus, that were on the property when they bought it.

When we visited, there was a few garden features that were not on the garden map.  A  300 foot  locust allee has been planted, with the Victorian Well Cover as the focal point at one end. On the other end, Tom and Susan are planning on a huge glasshouse. A cedar maze had just been planted, and was due for its first haircut. And there are  more plans for the future, including a fern grotto.

 I hope that I don’t bore you with so many pictures, but I was blown away by their garden.  It has a European sensibility, which is rare in Canada, formal gardens are unusual in the country.  The combination of formal, very structured garden near the house, moving into an English park like setting was magnificent. They have developed 5 acres of amazing garden, divided into a series of gardenrooms, all with their own theme.

Tom took us on an hour and a half tour, full of interesting stories and helpful tips.  From the tan pea gravel imported from Montana, to the wooden croquet hoops, built to look like landmarks in England, there was so much to see.

  

You start of the tour near the house,

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Lovely statuary!  This is Kwan Yin, the compassionate goddess of the garden.

 

 

 

Clipped Yew Pillars

Clipped Yew Pillars

 The Yew pillars give you wonderful structure for the winter, and insert a sense of rhythm in the garden.

 

Architectural Salvage

Architectural Salvage

 

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse

 The Greenhouse has beautiful Gothic church windows and a stained glass clerestory. Sorry I didn’t get pictures of the inside, my camera battery ran out. You can just see the stained glass at the top of the picture.

The Croquet Pavilion

The Croquet Pavilion

 The croquet pavilion started out life as a chicken coop. Talk about making a silk purse out of a sows ear!

A Croquet Hoop

A Croquet Hoop

 Tom designed and built these all himself.

 

The Colonnade

The Colonnade

Inside the Colonnade, is a circular rose garden. It has over 70 pink and white roses.

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The chevrons of blue lymegrass are filled with Limelight hydrangea. On the other side of the hill is the parking lot.  Good way to hide it!

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Here is one of the stone walls that Tom built himself.  All the evergreens on the property, including this hedge are wrapped for the winter. This is to protect them against attack by the murdering hordes-the deer.

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I wished that I had asked what variety of echinacea this was.

Korean Blue Spruce

Korean Blue Spruce

This is Toms favourite tree. The needles are soft, but feel like plastic.

Victorian Well Cover

Victorian Well Cover

He was given this 150 year old Victorian Well Cover.  Of course, it was not in this condition then, Tom and Susan restored it.

The Bridge

The Bridge

The gorgeous iron bridge reflecting in the Upper Pond.

 

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The view across the Upper Pond from Spindle Tree Lane to the Rondel. You can just make out the ring of iris above the stonework. When these flower blue, the colour is echoed by the nepeta below.

The Waterfall

The Waterfall

 

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From the bridge, looking over the Lower Pond to Lion’s Court.

Bacchus

Bacchus

Bacchus, the Roman god of festivity, overlooks the bridge.

The Rondel

The Rondel

The  Rondel is centred by a waterlily pond and has a bronze statue in the middle.  Clipped boxwood surround it and a line of maples are being shaped into a stilt hedge. The boxwood are surrounded by daffodils, that give way to day lilies. Behind them are the row of iris that you can see from Spindle Tree Lane.

 

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The view towards Lion’s Court from the bottom of the Walled Kitchen Garden.

The Walled Garden

The Walled Garden

Pea gravel and brick paths surround a  formal layout with all the beds edged with low boxwood hedges.

The Obelisk

The Obelisk

In the centre, giving height to the area, stands a black metal obelisk.

 

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A view through the Walled Kitchen Garden to Lion’s Court.

 

The Rill

The Rill

 

The Pergola

The Pergola

 

Lion's Court

Lion's Court

 The reflecting pool with lion head fountains.

When we finished the tour, we visited the Green Teapot Cafe for a English cream tea.  We each had three scones, with butter, jam and cream, and a green teapot(really) for our tea.  It was very reasonably priced and certainly delicious.  Susan is a very good hostess, and makes you feel right at home. 

I certainly want to revisit this garden, I would like to see it at different times of year.  Apparently, you can buy a seasons pass ( like the English Gardens) and you can visit it as many times as you wish, during the season.  I wished that I lived closer, I would be visiting monthly, curious to see how the garden progresses.  It is a coup to get in the the design of the garden near the beginning, most times you only see it at the end, and have no idea how it was accomplished.   And I definitely need another cream tea, or maybe a panini?  Or maybe both!

The address for SpindletreeGardens is 6248 County Road 4, Tamworth, Ontario  K0K 3G0  the phone number is 613-379-5898.  You can get directions on their website at spindletree.ca or e-mail Susan at susan@spindletree.ca

They are open spring through fall, Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and the admission charge is $12.00.

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13 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Teresa said,

    Wow, that is a spectacular place. They must work like dogs to keep it so beautiful!

    • 2

      Teresa,
      I am sure they do. When I was on the tour, I just couldn’t believe how well kept up it was. Believe me, I was not keeping the weeds out of the shots. There were no weeds. Absolutely a labour of love.
      Thank you for visiting my blog, please come back again soon.

  2. 3

    Joy said,

    That was amazing Deborah ! .. I loved it all .. the dry laid stone wall reminded me of the ones I saw in Louisbourg for the areas around Fortress Louisbourg .. I can’t remember if it was the French or English that had the design of the walls in the beginning.
    Water features are so beautiful and those are eye candy for sure : )
    The echinacea is most likely “Green Jewel” .. surprisingly one I don’t have .. I have been a bit echinacea crazy .. I have to sort that out soon ? haha
    That was a great pictorial tour : )
    Thank you !
    Joy

  3. 5

    Barbara H. said,

    I’m working backwards through your posts! Forgot to introduce myself in my comment about the kitchen garden gravel project. I live in NE Alabama on 3 acres, maybe 1 acre of it in woods that are overgrown with invasive privet, honeysuckle, poison ivy, wisteria and who know what else. I don’t remember how I got here – perhaps from Each Little World. Thank you for this spectacular garden tour! I don’t know which was my favorite – the chevrons, the rondel, the rill…? It’s all lovely.

  4. 6

    Barbara, thank you for giving me a “visual” of your garden. You are lucky to have so much land, I would love to have some woods. I grew up in the country and long for some open space around me. But there is the city boy to consider, so I make do with what I have.
    The climate must be amazing in Alabama, can you grow plants year round?

  5. 7

    Barbara H. said,

    Oops – I replied to the Donotreply email address for WordPress! I’ll do this again and try to keep it short.

    I was very surprised at how cold it gets here in the winter. I’m in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Summer is very hot and humid, so even plants that “need” full sun aren’t necessarily happy there.

    I moved from Portland, Oregon 2 years ago in August. Portland, of course, is a gardening mecca, even though they had a very tough winter this last year. I’d been there for 30 years and did not truly appreciate how special it is for gardeners.

    I’m getting a better feel for the gardening thing here. Alabama was in a severe drought when I got here, but now we get enough rain that everything is green and tall – especially the weeds. The invasive plants come back pretty quickly. I can’t work in the woods much during the summer because of the heat, the poisonous snakes and the ticks. The rest of the property is flat at the top and then slopes down to the neighbor’s yard.

  6. 8

    Barbara, that is quite a change from Portland to Alabama. I think that I will take the snow over the poisonous snakes and ticks, after all, I need the rest!

  7. 9

    miss m said,

    Please do bore us with as many photos as you like !
    What an amazing place. What I find best is that they did the work themselves. They clearly had the dosh to have it contracted. Applause !

  8. 11

    植治阿健 said,

    wow! It is a great pleasure to meet you by biing ( Microsoft) from hangzhou china! xjbxh@yahoo.com.cn

  9. 13

    […] the drought, or the rain and come with me to visit Spindletree Gardens in the spring.  I visited there in fall 2009 and I loved it (hoped you did as well), but spring is my favourite time of year, and […]


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