A History Lesson: Chapter III

We move on to the piece de resistance at Kilbourne Grove.   

When I was taking a garden design course, and in all the garden design books I have read, one piece of advice is to design from the inside out. You should start with the views from your windows. There are three windows on the ground floor of Kilbourne Grove that this could apply to. A bay window in the front parlour, looks out at our neighbour,  and the bay window in the library looks out at the street. Neither of them give me much room to work with, but the kitchen window looks out the back of the house and there is 100 feet to the fence.  
This is where I stand much of the day, after all, the kitchen is the heart of the home. So this is where I placed my Lime Walk.  
In England, Tillia or Linden trees are called Lime Trees. I am not sure why this is. But there is a beautiful Lime Walk at Sissinghurst, and it was one of my first garden influences.     
After spending my summer holidays laying out the Kitchen Garden and the Flora Glade, I didn’t have any free time until early November. Luckily it was a beautiful Indian summer.     

November 2007

After pegging a straight line, cedars were planted in a line. This will be pruned into a hedge, and back the pleached limes.     

Newly planted cedars, November 2007

November 2007

The cedars were free, yay, dug up from my brothers farm. They are a bit wonky, but in time they will grow and you will never know.    

You can see  that we have planted a few cedars at the end of the walk, in front of the maple tree. This will provide a backdrop to a focal point, an urn or a statue. You can also see that only the east side is planted, we ran out of cedars before the west side was planted, so that had to wait until 2008.    

May 2008

In early May 2008,  I starting making beds.  More bricks, (where were they all coming from?) outlined the beds. Four cubic yards of triple mix had been delivered, and was wheelbarrowed into place.    


Then it was time to haul out my booty, no, not the one behind me,(thank you J Lo for making them popular). Look at all the goodies that I got  free from work.  I got busy and planted a line of leftover Easter hydrangea. If they live, fab, if they don’t, oh well, they didn’t cost me anything. in front of them a mass of muscari. This was it for 2008, except for planting some Allium “Purple Sensation” in the fall.    

May 2009

 The muscari was beautiful in May 2009 (thank god, I finally got that digital camera)!    


The alliums look beautiful, I am so glad that I purchased another 100, fall 2009.    


The Lindens were purchased bare root (and very small, approx 5-6 feet tall), spring 2009. There are 12 planted in the Lime Walk 6 per side. I am hoping that they will be tall enough this spring to start with my first tier of pleaching, it will start at six feet of the ground.    


Boxwoods were planted in June 2009, they were largish specimens, loosely clipped into balls.    


Hydrangea stay in flower a long time, until a heavy frost.    


This is the view from my kitchen window.

If you want, you can read more here.  

Future plans are very limited, I need a focal point at the end of the walk, where the bird bath is now, I am thinking of a large urn on a pedestal, or a statue, but it needs to be 7-8 feet tall for the scale to be correct.  The limes have to be pleached, and the hedges to be shaped. I am unsure if I will plant a perennial in front of the hydrangea.  I hadn’t planned on it, but I find the muscari foliage is very messy and takes away from the look. The only other project I am toying with is using the bricks as a mowing strip, edging is a pain, so it doesn’t get down as often as it should.  


41 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    fairegarden said,

    I remember when you first posted about this walk, Deborah, and how envious I was and am of the space to do such a thing. It is coming along so nicely. I agree that brick mowing strips, and something to cooexist with the muscari would be wonderful. We await future developments! 🙂

    • 2

      Frances, you are probably bored seeing a rehash of my gardens. But, I find that I have a lot of new readers now, and people (mostly) do not go back and read older posts. I do not know why this is, when I found your blog, I went right back to the beginning and read everything. I loved watching your garden grow and change. But my newer posts are the ones being read, so I thought that I would re-introduce some of the older areas of the garden.

  2. 3

    gardeningasylum said,

    Oooh – a pleached lime walk! What lovely structure you’ve put on your blank canvas.

  3. 5

    Joy said,

    Deborah I am really looking forward to see how the pleaching will look .. I haven’t seen very often and it still amazes me !
    I am so curious to see my own huge allium come up this Spring .. you can never have too many of them ?
    Right now winter seems forever even though we finally stepped out of January: )
    Love before and after pictures !

  4. 7

    Edith Hope said,

    Dear D, This is so exciting. And is exactly my kind of thing! You must be so pleased from the photographs to see the way the walk is developing, and it is!

    The way that you have punctuated the border with the box balls is excellent. I rather like them a tiny bit shaggy myself and I believe they stand up to summer heat better if they are not clipped too tightly. The idea of the muscari is, in theory, fine but as you yourself say, the foliage after the flowers are over can give somewhat of an untidy look. As this is a very formal area of the garden, then maybe they should go. If they are to stay, and you do not appear short of them, then a brick mowing strip would help to contain them.

    Yes, I agree about the focal point at the end and am in complete agreement with you about size and scale. A thought, which you may dismiss instantly, would be rather than a single urn, why not place a couple side by side [no more than 18 inches between them]? They would need, of course, to be on plinths and ideally vases of a ‘tulip’ shape. For my part I should leave them empty. In Sir R’s garden he uses inexpensive, concrete ornaments which are given added drama by being painted [masonry paint works well for this].

    Whatever, you are clearly creating something very special and personal at Kilbourne Grove and I shall very much look forward, as I do to all your postings, to future developments.

    • 8

      Edith, thank you for your very insightful comments. I love the idea of the double urns at the bottom of the Lime Walk. I am finding it very difficult to find anything of the size that I need in Ontario, mostly the inexpensive concrete is of a very small scale and a bit “cutesy”. There are a few retailers who import Haddonstone or Chilstone, (where Sir R purchased his lovely stag from), but the shipping cost really drives the price up. I will keep searching though, I am sure that what I need will turn up one day.

      • 9

        Kate Orage said,

        Hi I’ve just picked up on your blog. You project sounds really interesting and the garden looks like it is really taking shape! I’m sure in the summer when the rest of the planting is in full bloom it will be lovely. I thought you may be interested to know that Haddonstone does have an office in New Jersey and in the UK so if you were interested in choosing a couple of Haddonstone urns for your focal point then please contact someone in one of our offices who would be more than happy to help and advise you.

      • 10

        Kate, thank you for visiting and your kind comments. I will go and check out the New Jersey location.

      • 11

        Kate Orage said,

        great, i hope we are able to help!

  5. 12

    Teza said,


    There is nothing more exciting than being able to witness the creation of a new garden, and here at Kilbournegrove, we are lucky enough to get front row seating!

    This project has intrigued me from day one as I am so envious of someone having the space within which to bring such an endeavor to life! I love especially that you pay close attention to even the smallest detail [Muscari for example] and understand that sometimes changes are necessary.

    I assume that you must be especially proud with the overall effect from the last photograph – again, being afforded the luxury of this view on a daily basis – sublime! I so look forward to the next exciting chapter in this continuing saga!

    • 13

      Teza, I can give you more than front row seating, when you come to visit, I will give you a hoe!
      When we were searching for our “forever” house, a large garden was the very first requirement. I have been keeping lists for years of all the features that I wanted in my garden, (still not enough room for everything). There is still so much to change and refine, I am not able to purchase all the plants and hard landscaping that I need all at once to achieve my vision, so there will be a lot of changes over the years, as time and money permits.

  6. 14

    Barbara H. said,

    Oh Deborah, what a joy to see how that house disappears with the foliage out. Your Walk is looking splendid – I’m so impressed. What a lot of work! But what a payoff! The digital camera sure made a difference. Keep on trucking, ma’am!

  7. 16

    Another fantastic post Deborah, love the instructional qualities. Gorgeous views, and such lovely composition to your beds. 🙂

  8. 18

    Gloria Bonde said,

    Deborah, your plans are wonderful. LOL, I had to google pleached lime trees. We live in cold zone 4. I’m from California and I couldn’t imagine pleached “lime” citrus trees. But, of course, as soon as I saw a picture I knew what an amazing walk you will have! So, when people talk about a “lime walk” is this what they mean, or is it a limestone pathway? 🙂 Gloria

    • 19

      Gloria, Tillia or Linden trees are called Lime trees in England, not sure why. But Sissinghurst called their garden with Lindens their Lime Walk, and that garden has been a major influence on me. So I shamelessly copied it.

  9. 20

    leavesnbloom said,

    This is just fabulous I love seeing how your garden has grown over the years – you rarely see pleached lime walks in folks gardens here – it will be so worth the effort Deborah to see this mature – working in the kitchen and having a view like this is really special. I would move the muscari – I keep that to the backs of my borders where other things are growning to hide all that straggly foliage. A tall urn on a high plinth would be perfect at the end of that walkway cover it in a yoghurt mixture and then the lichen will quickly come to make it look like its always been there. 🙂 Rosie

    • 21

      Rosie, I’m likin the lichen! I do not know why pleached tress are not more common. It is just a hedge in the air, a very good way of screening out the neighbours, it is thin so does not take up a lot of room and you can plant a garden at the base.

  10. 22

    Thanks for posting the progress of your garden. You have done a great job! I love the aliums and all the blues and pinks.

  11. 24

    miss m said,

    You know how much I’m looking forward to the pleaching ! Great post. And yes, thank God you finally got a digital cam ! 😀

  12. 26

    Mary Delle said,

    I am so excited to see the plans, design and then the further growth and development of your walk. It is such fun to follow it!! Thank you for your well wishes.

  13. 28

    Wonderful progress Deborah! You must be so happy with the results so far… your last photo with the dappled light is gorgeous… I can just imagine what this will look like in a few years… with your Lindens and more alliums! It is looking really lovely. Quite the project you have going there! Inside and Outside … creating magical spaces. I look forward to your next installment! Carol

  14. 30

    That will be a fantastic kitchen window view – how will you get anything done in the kitchen? 🙂

    I love the idea on an urn on a plinth, even with an obelisk stuck in the urn for year-round interest. It is quite a distance so you need a strong vertical element.

    Great to see the evolution of this!

  15. 32

    The view from your kitchen window is wonderful! I have enjoyed seeing the progression of your garden. You have done a great job. My lady garden is still in its early stages. Seeing how lovely yours is after only a few years gives me encouragement!

    • 33

      Deborah, your lady garden is already lovely. I was determined that I would document the evolution of my garden this time. I had not done this for my last gardens, and you forget what it looked like (or how many plants you have killed).

  16. 34

    Barry said,

    Hi Deborah,
    Thanks for visiting and for the flowers. I hope we can do this again in the Spring.

  17. 36

    I love following the progress of your home and garden. Your yard must be huge! I’m jealous. And your home is just simply beautiful. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

    • 37

      It is huge, at least to me. Me first house as on a lot 20 x 90 feet, then my next was 35 x 152 feet. Thsi was the total space, that we owned, not just the garden. Finally, with this house, I got a big garden 150 x 210 feet.
      Thank you for the compliments and visiting my blog. I hope to see you again.

  18. 38

    Wendy said,

    I love it love it love it. I really like what you’ve done because of that house behind you? uh…not the greatest view. I love how you’ve created privacy and something really beautiful to look at. I’d be looking outside all day long. It’s totally true that it’s important to consider how the garden looks from the inside out. We spend more time looking out than we do standing at the curb looking in.

    • 39

      Oh Wendy, isn’t that house terrible! We call it the Deliverance house. The cedar hedge cannot grow fast enough for me. one the Limes get taller and thicken up, that will make a difference as well. I only have two other views from the ground floor, one from my library in todays post, and one from the front parlour. Both are “short” views, rather than a “long” view like this.

  19. 40

    catmint said,

    Hi Deborah, I am continually amazed and impressed at the scale and beauty of your house and garden. c.

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