Archive for history

My House, Kilbourne Grove

Way back in July, 2009 I wrote this post. And I had a grand total of 13 people check it out. For some reason I was looking at my ‘all time’ stats, and this post was near the bottom of the list. I though that over 3  years later, I should publish it again for all those who missed it the first time.

Ian decided to check out my blog at work the other day after he realized that someone he knew (Hi Kaaren) had looked at it.  He was horrified to realize that you could see a picture of the neighbours (we call it the Deliverance house) behind us and people would think that it is our house.

So just to clarify matters, I thought that I would post a picture of the house, only to realise that I do not have one.  All my pictures have been of the more important (to me anyway) garden, and I am in Toronto at the moment so I going to post the only one that I can find. 

The House

The House

This picture was taken from the other end of what will be the Lime Walk, looking towards our house.  As you can see, this was taken before the linden trees were planted and our muscari that I wrote about in Free Plants Are Great are in bloom.  If you feel compelled to check out the Deliverance house click here

Funnily enough, even 2 years later, I hardly have any more photos of the house, why not? Obviously I still feel the garden is more important, but I do have a photo of the front for you.

Obviously when I return to Canada in the spring, I shall have to (finally) take some photos of the house.

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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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Codrington College

Hiking with the Barbados National Trust is an excellent way for us to see the island and get some exercise at the same time. This past weekend we met at Codrington College in St. John, Barbados.  What a gorgeous spot. A very long, palm tree-lined driveway led to a wonderful coral stone building.

 Construction on this building started in 1715 and it was finally finished, and opened in 1745. As a Canadian, those kind of dates just blow my mind. Canada is such a young country, but here in Barbados, I am surrounded by history, and I am finding it fascinating.

Codrington College was established by Christopher Codrington III, who was the son of the Governor General of the Leeward Islands. He went to Oxford University in England, and then joined the army. Then he succeeded his father as the Governor General. When he died he left a portion of his estate to The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and they established Codrington College as a Theological College. The first graduate was ordained in 1759 and it is still in use today.

If you are lucky enough to go to school here (or visit), you can enjoy this view.

Love the door and the floor.

Looking in the other direction, towards the drive.

Another wonderful building.

I love how the coral stone gets all pitted and mossy looking.

But, look at this,

 aren’t these waterlilies a gorgeous colour.

I had to take s photo of them…..

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Top 11 of ’11

In case you were curious, I certainly was. These were the 11 posts written in 2011, that had the most page views. I was surprised that so many of them have to do with Barbados, not quite sure why I was surprised, I guess because I feel like my blog is about my garden, although now it feels more like about my life. And my life is now in Barbados, it least for the next two years. And I only like to write about personal things, not take a picture from the internet, and write a brief paragraph about it like some bloggers do. My blog has become a journal, a snapshot of what is happening in my life at this time, and that certainly includes Barbados.

1.  The Magnificent Seven

I was surprised this one was the number one post of 2011. I wrote 2 posts on my trip to Trinidad, but the post about the seven amazing houses was the most popular. It was certainly one of the most interesting things for me, I am sure you all know I love old houses, look at Kilbourne Grove.

2. Gardening in a Cold Climate

My visit to the amazing garden of Brian Bixley was sparked by reading a review of his book by Kathy Purdy on her website. Luckily I was in Canada for his first open garden of the year (you all know I love bulbs), and took a million photographs. Kathy was kind enough to post a link from her blog to mine, and she became my second largest referral site in 2011. Thanks Kathy.

3. Pride of Barbados

After gardening (and floral design) for soooo many years, it is disconcerting to live in a country where I only recognize 10% of the vegetation. It is fascinating for me (and I hope you) to discover new plants.

4. Gotta Have It: Bougainvillea

I have long loved bougs, and was super excited to find them in full flower when we moved here last December. The flowering seemed to go on and on and on. Luckily, I was given one for our terrace here, and have found it a super easy plant to grow, just wish they were hardy in Canada.

5. It’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to


What I left behind!


This post was a bit of a moan for me, sorry about that. At the time I was feeling a bit unhappy, leaving my friends, family, job, home and garden, to live in Barbados. When we moved to London, I was beyond excited, but that was LONDON, I could work, travel to Europe, and I am a bit of a city girl at heart. However, after spending most of the spring and fall in Canada, when I wanted to be there, and spending the winter in Barbados (who wouldn’t), I have adjusted.

6. St. Nicholas Abbey

Back to point number one, I love old houses. And Barbados has 2 of the 3 Jacobean houses in the Western hemisphere. St. Nicholas Abbey was sooo gorgeous.

7. Drax Hall

Funny that the second Jacobean house in Barbados was the next most popular post. This one is not open to the public, so we were only able to see the grounds.

8. Ah, Life!

For some reason, some of you wanted to know a little bit more about me, so I gave you a lot more, more than you asked for, sorry about that, I do like to ramble. Here is the story of my thoughts about moving to Barbados.

9. Pots, Pots, Pots!

Frank Kershaw was my garden design teacher at George Brown College and he opened his garden to the public. There was so much to see, I had to break it down into a couple of posts, but his pots were the most popular.

10. Porters Great House

Barbados has its own National Trust, and during the ‘season’ a number of homes opened to raise money for it. This was the only home I visited in 2011, but hope to visit more this year. I was surprised more people did not read Part 2, where I talk about the garden, that is where my true love lies.

11. I’m going home

Not sure why this one was so popular, unless you were happy to see me head back to my ‘forever’ home.  I certainly was.

There you have it, my most popular posts in 2011, what will 2012 hold…

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The Year in Review 2011

Another  year has come and gone, where does the time go!


Yet another idea for my garden, it would be a lovely reminder of my time in Barbados!


Bumped up my country count with a quick trip to Trinidad.


Oooh, maybe this would be a better reminder of my time in Barbados.


I arrive back in Canada, just in time for the snowdrops, yay!


I finally get to visit Brian Bixleys garden, after wanting to for many years.


The trees in the Lime Walk get their first prune.


Visited Hunte’s Gardens, an amazing place in Barbados.


Saw my first Kadooment Day parade, and vowed to start exercising when I saw the size of the costumes.


The hydrangea (free leftovers from Easter sales), finally started bulking up in the Lime Walk and looking like something.


Visited another amazing garden while I was home in the autumn. Keppel Croft is located close to Kilbourne Grove.


My SIL came for a visit and we tried zip lining, what an adrenalin rush.


Christmas on the island, what a glorious feeling.

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

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The Story Behind the Name

I love a good story. And when Monica from Garden Faerie Musings asked how we came up with our names, I was eager to comply. Some of you will already know my story, I hope you will bear with me when I tell it again.

 As I have mentioned before, we have a name for our garden.  It is Kilbourne Grove.  The Kilbourne Family built our house back in 1880 and they passed it on through the family until the 1940’s, when a doctor and his family bought it.   They lived there until 2005. The doctor died and his wife moved to a nursing home.  It sat vacant for a year, while the architect/property developer who bought it made some changes.  We bought it from her and moved in in May 2006.

When we lived in England, we lived in Notting Hill.  But even that is further divided into smaller sections, and we were in Westbourne Grove.  It was a very trendy and expensive street with a lot of high end antique and clothing shops, trendy bars and restaurants.

When we were thinking of a name, we wanted to pay tribute to the original family and give a nod to our years in London.

Having read too many books, both English historical and gardening, it seemed like everyone named their house/garden and not only that, parts in the garden as well.  Think of Rosemary Vereys “Laburnum Walk”, Sir Roy Strongs “Silver Jubilee Garden” and Sissinghursts “Lime Walk” and “The Rondel”. 

It was a way for us to pay tribute to the historic tradition of English gardens.

As Linda said, it is a great way of your better half finding you.  At the moment, our hedges are too small, and Ian usually can see me when I am out in the garden, but give it a few years.

So far, I have divided my garden into 6 sections at the back.  I have a Lime Walk.  I had to have one of those.  Everywhere we went in England, there was pleached trees and I love the look.  That whole formal straight line thing.

The Kitchen Garden  or Potager was the first thing that we put in, it gave us a place to heel in any plants that we were given or had purchased, while we were preparing a space for them.

Next, came the Flora Glade.  I stole this name from “The Laskett”,  my favourite garden in England (at least I think so now, not having seen them all, who ever could, talk about a life’s work).  This was an area behind our garage that had a few maple trees, and it is (so far) the only garden without straight lines.

We have just planted two yew hedges, running from the Flora Glade to the Lime Walk, giving us another 30 foot square garden (I am now calling it the Yew Garden, until I can decide what to do with it).

Our huge lawn on the south/east side goes by the name  “Croquet Lawn” as it is the only open spot when we want to play croquet or bocce.

I also have a Lilac Dell,  just a huge clump of very old lilacs by the street, with 2 paths running through them.  One day, I plan to limb up the lilacs and underplant them. 

But all plans change, and change frequently.  That is the beauty of life, and of gardening.

I was so unknowledgable about blogging that when I came up with the name ‘Green Theatre’ for the blog, I did not realize my user name would be the one most people would recognize me by. You can read about that here. But if you want to know how I came up with the name Green Theatre, you can read about that here.

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Oh, It’s a very good year

After my huge disappointment last year with my hydrangea, I was fully prepared to return to Kilbourne Grove and find horrible and wilty hydrangea. I had been reading people’s blogs, and they were all talking about how hot and dry the summer had been. No one is watering my garden while I am away (no one had been watering it when I lived in Toronto either), I am a firm believer in the sink or swim method. As a weekend gardener (and now long, long distance gardener),  I cannot afford to coddle plants. So I was very prepared.

And very pleasantly surprised.

My ‘free’ hydrangeas are really settling into their space and starting to fill out.

Hard to believe that these were all ‘blue’ hydrangea at one time. I was a bit of a hydrangea snob, would not take the bright pink ones. Now they are all various shades of pink, and purple, not a blue to be seen. I now that you need acidic soil to keep them blue, which we do not have in Ontario, and I am actually starting to prefer these colours.

I love how the Allium christophii seed heads look with the hydrangea. I wish I had been there when they flowered, very curious how it looked.

You can also see some seed heads of Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, these have been planted a number of years, but I wanted to extend the Allium season by planting the christophii.

The Hakonechloa ‘Aureola’ is just one of the variety of plants that I am testing at the base of the hydrangea. As you know, I have muscari planted there and when it finishes flowering I find it a bit tatty. Along with the Hakonechloa  I am testing Nepeta, Hosta and Geranium ‘Rozanne’. The geranium was the first to go, I dug it up and moved the plants to the Allee in September. I love the plant, and it certainly flowers heavily, weaving its way through the hydrangea. Unfortunately it also weaves its way onto the path, and I prefer something a bit more tailored looking in this section of the garden. You can also see at the top of the photo the nepeta. Looking at at here, I am not feeling it, but I think I should give it another couple of years before I make a decision. See how messy the muscari seedheads get, must hide them.  We shall see how the other plants make out over the next few years.

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