Archive for garden visits

Garden Visits: Folmer’s Botanical Gardens

I have wanted to visit Folmer’s Botanical Gardens in Walkerton for years, but it never worked out. This garden was featured in Canadian Garden magazine a few years ago and I became even more determined to get there. However this spring, I finally succeeded. And I wish I had made more of an effort because I loved it.  I got so inspired, I feel like I need to buy thousands of Anamone blanda bulbs this fall.

Certainly need me a display like this,

and this

what about this.


Brian Folmer has been passionate about gardening since he was 15 and studied Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph.  in 1996 he purchased 108 acres and began planning a garden centre, garden design and display gardens.  According to their website, they are the largest privately owned botanical gardens in southwestern Ontario.  There is over 30 acres of display gardens, both formal and informal.


I need gates,

just like these ones.

And a gazebo,

all good.

Now this I could do,

I certainly have enough muscari, just need to put a path in.

And lots and lots of spring bulbs.


we got vistas for days, (need to work on mine, it is one of my favourite design features).

And did I mention the serviceberry allee,

certainly longer then mine, and with single trunk specimens, rather then multi trunked,

it gave me lots of hope that mine will one day be as gorgeous. Love the vistas and focal points in every direction.


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Garden Visits: Kingston

Are you sick of spring yet? I showed you what was happening in my garden, and then at Marion Jarvies. Now I want to show you an amazing garden I visited when I was in Kingston.

Just north of Kingston, which is called the Limestone City, (why, you guessed it, Kingston is built on limestone,) is an area where the limestone of the south, meets the granite of the north. Here you can garden and have the luxury of choosing to plant in either an alkaline soil or an acidic soil.  And this gardener took clever advantage of that with her rock garden. 

Divided by a very low stone wall,

one side of the rock garden has granite boulders with the other side limestone. 

Can you tell Pulsatilla vulgaris is my new favourite plant?

Here she can have both acidic or alkaline growing plants almost side by side.

She also has the luxury of space and has taken advantage of that as well. Everywhere you look there is an exciting vista,

from looking through the trees and seeing the lake in the distance, 

or the woods as a backdrop to an arboretum.

Stone walls,

either built or rebuilt by the gardener,

are also an amazing backdrop to the profusion of spring bulbs. 

She has also started to naturalize bulbs in the grass, both tall like narcissus, but also mixed small bulbs. This ‘flowery mead’ is the look I am thinking of for my front lawn at Kilbourne Grove and I got lots of great ideas here.

And what a great idea,

turning some cedars into a topiary. They are very easy to get where I live, and free from my brothers farm. Another idea I am pondering for my garden.

Stone and water is everywhere in the garden,

from boulders used as punctuation points,

to birdbaths being carved into it.

However it was when we went to leave, driving down the lane to the main road that I got super excited. Lining it, on both sides were thousands of Dicentra cucullaria, or Dutchman’s breeches.

This is a native plant to the woods in eastern North America, and I have seen them over the years.

But never in that profusion, amazing. Of course I went and bought a few for Kilbourne Grove, hoping they might multiply a bit while I am living in Barbados. Perhaps one day I will be able to achieve a tiny bit of that perfection.

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Garden Visits: Marion Jarvie

I know, I know. You are probably horribly bored of seeing Marion Jarvies garden over and over and over again. But I can’t help it, I love it. She is one of my plant gurus. Every time I visit I see something else I just have to have, darn it all. And this is one garden that I go out of my way to see every time I return from Barbados.

This time I was paying a lot of attention to shrubs and conifers in her garden, last year it was the hellebores.

Not that I didn’t take a huge number of photos of them, but I was astonished by how much colour diversity there was in the woody plant material.

Sorry, I did not get the names of the conifers. It was raining and we thought we would have to cancel the course so I ran around getting as many photos as possible. We did not have to cancel, but did cut it short so I am glad I did.

A couple of deciduous shrubs flowering,

Daphne mezereum ‘Marion Jarvie’, which I purchased last year,

and a cornus mas.

And her urn, gorgeous.

I soooo miss planting up seasonal urns, I even taught a few workshops on it when I worked at East of Eliza, one of my favourite jobs when I worked there.

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Fustic House

The ‘season’ in Barbados is underway, and lots is going on.  The National Trust of Barbados is having open houses all through feb-april to raise money and support it.  This year I became a volunteer, a ‘room sitter’, that means I am the one that makes sure you don’t sit on the bed, lol.  My first of the season was Fustic House in St. Lucy.  This is very near to where I live in Barbados, so easy to get to, a nice change from my usual one hour drive.

Fustic House was originally known as Seaview, and is the last surviving plantation house on the west coast of Barbados, overlooking the sea.  The original  ‘Great House’, dates back to the 17th century, but in the 1970’s, the house was redesigned by Oliver Messel.  He is very well-known and loved in Barbados, designing a number of houses during those years. In fact, the green on this bench is known in Barbados as ‘Messel Green’ and you can purchase it at the paint store.

No photographs were allowed inside during the ‘Open House’, but you can see it here, if you are interested in purchasing. There are four buildings, the original great house, the addition built by Oliver Messel, the guest cottage known as the Plantation House, and the Pavillion.  I was stationed in the Plantation Wing, two amazing guest rooms, with an open air sitting room, and gym. The showers in the en suite bathrooms were gorgeous, open to the elements above, but privacy on all sides, I would love to have one like them. 

But I was able to take photos of the grounds, over 10 acres. From Dendrobium orchids

to Philodendron in the trees,

pots and sculpture everywhere,

and lots of winding paths, it was a picture. 

The pool has been carved into a rocky ridge,

and there is a lovely pond higher up the hill.

Terraces and small sitting areas were everywhere making it a joy to stroll around the garden. It was truly a wonderful afternoon, lovely to enjoy a bit of Barbados history.

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The Year in Review 2012

Another year has come and gone, we are now 2/3’s of the way through our posting in Barbados, where does the time go!


I visited the Barbados Horticulture Society Garden Show for the first time. What beautiful hibiscus!


Ian had to go to Nassau on business, so I tagged along. Another country to add to my count.


A week long cruise to five different Caribbean islands bumped up my country count some more.


Had my first face to face visit with the fabulous Mr. T.


Back  to visit Brian Bixleys garden, I know feel the need for Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’, or double bloodroot.


My white eremurus finally bloomed, only took 2 years.


Lots of garden visiting going on, this was an amazing garden in Rosedale.


Trying to keep up my design skills, despite not working for two years.


Yikes, hard to see all my freshly applied gravel

Yikes, hard to see all my freshly applied gravel

Spent most of my first weeks at home, weeding.


Got to see a tiny bit of fall colour before we headed back to Barbados.


Perfected the art of Sundowners, or cocktails to you northern folks.


Christmas on the island, what a glorious feeling.

Interested in what happened last year? You can read about it here, 2010 here.

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