Garden Visits: No Rhyme, No Reason Garden

 I visited another very lovely garden when I was in Kingston, the middle of August. Lois Smith has a major garden on the family farm near Moscow, Ontario.  What started with a horse paddock in the front of the house, has become an obsession for the gardener.  When her children’s attention turned from horses, Lois decided that the paddock would be a good place for a garden. Starting over twenty years ago, she has carved out a huge garden, with many meandering paths through it. Her secret to having such a large garden and not have it become a weeding nightmare is “hay”. Yes, that is right! She does let it age a year before she uses it to mulch the flower beds, this way the “weed seeds” in it are not as viable.

When this garden became “filled”, Lois turned her attention elsewhere. A large field on the north side of her house is slowly being turned into an arboretum.  She has made it her mission in life to plant specimen trees here. A truly noble cause, as she will never see most of them come to maturity.  Most people would say “Why do it?”, Lois says “Why not?”. Mowed paths through the field, take you from one interesting tree to another. The best feature is the allee that has a neighbouring church as a focal point. How many of us can say that!

She has plant sales at her farm in May, where she sells plants that she has grown from seed, or divisions from her garden. She even grows trees from seed, and if you are lucky, she may even have one or two for sale.

Come see what one woman can do with many wheelbarrows, a load of hay and a handful of seeds!  



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This used to be a horse paddock. Notice the wheelbarrow? Keep watching…

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The hosta collection at the side of the house with a great stacked stone wall.

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Now that is a peony support!

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The split rail fence is a wonderful backdrop.

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Lovely grasses.

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Love this combination.

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Again, those split rail fences, a great backdrop.

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Love the variegated pokeweed! It is just coming into flower. We use this a lot at the flower shop.

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Another great combination.

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A very cool obelisk.

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I love zebra grass.

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A great colour combination.

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This is the focal point at the end of her allee in the arboretum. Shouldn’t everybody have a church to base a design on! And look at the colour of that door, doesn’t it just pop at you.

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The wheelbarrow collection.

To Be Continued……

8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Oh my goodness, what a spectacular garden. One lovely combination after another. I especially like the purple coneflower photo, and the grasses are lovely. It would be so much fun to attend one of the sales. Looking forward to part 2. 🙂

    • 2

      Lois does have an amazing garden. I wish I had taken more pictures then I did. I keep wanting to attend one of her sales, I am just so busy in the spring it is hard to give up a weekend and drive to Kingston. But one year I will!

  2. 3

    helen kensinger said,

    Wheelbarrow races to the church!
    What a wonderful property and garden. Thanks for sharing your images.

  3. 4

    Helen, it is wonderful garden. She has never ending plans of changing it. I heard that she was wanting more grasses and was busy finding places to put them. Thank you for visiting my blog.

  4. 5

    Wendy said,

    This is just lovely! I could definitely while away the day working in this garden. I love the use of grasses. I’m planning an expansion and want to incorporate more grass. Do you know what the pink flower with dark purple foliage is? THe one in between the photo of the blue/green grass? It looks a little like gomphrena – the plant I covet (though I’m not too sure what it looks like in the garden. Is that an allium and coneflower blooming at the same time?

  5. 6

    If you are talking about the photo with the two chairs, it is a sedum. It might be Purple Emperor, but I can find out from Lois.
    I too was shocked to see the allium flowering so late. And then I found out about allium senescens, which blooms in late summer. I assume that is what it is.

  6. 7

    Barbarapc said,

    What a great garden – so many good ideas – & a terrific blog. Have you tried Tradewinds – a wholesaler in Toronto – minimum order is $250.
    Generally orders should be in by August, but there’s always something to tempt – you just have to be ready to order in units of 50 or 100 – which sounds like something you’re ready to do. Best wishes.

  7. 8

    Thanks for your kind words about my blog, and your advice about Tradewinds. I sure am ready to order in these quanities, just don’t tell my husband.

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