Posts tagged garden ornaments

In the Round

Well, at least half round. 

When we were in Canada last autumn, we found some stone benches for a great price near my MIL’s.  We purchased three of them, and finally got two back to Kilbourne Grove, with another one to return with us hopefully this fall.  The first year we were at Kilbourne Grove we had purchased one of those sets that you see a lot of, a concrete table with three rounded benches to go around them. My best friend had a set like this, and we learned after a dinner at her house, they are soooo uncomfortable. So we bring wicker chairs over to the table when we have dinner, and have placed the benches around the garden.

Can you see the benches?

Two were in the Kitchen garden with one under a tree near the Croquet lawn.  When I had designed my front path (which will hopefully happen as soon as we get transferred back to Canada), I placed a focal point opposite the bay window in the library.  Four ‘Emerald’ cedars echo the shape of the bay window, jutting out from the path. My teacher had suggested using it as a statue niche, but I had those benches at the back of my mind. And now that we had the new, (smaller) ones to take their place in the Kitchen Garden, they could be moved.

So we did,

lots of grunting and groaning going on

and they will have to be moved again when we do the path and the grass comes up, but I am super happy with the way they look now.

This photo was taken from inside the library.

It seems a bit empty behind them, but the spirea hedge will be extended along behind the cedars, hopefully this fall. I am super cheap, and wait until I find them on sale, and buy as many as will fit in whatever vehicle I have rented at the time. So far, 15 have been planted, and I am almost half way, yay!

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Art at Keppel Croft

I got sooo many ideas from the art installations at Keppel Croft, I hope you do too.

I especially like the stone balls. I remember reading Frances post on making them, perhaps this summer I will finally get to it, now I have even more inspiration. If you missed the first part of my story about Keppel Croft, you can read about it here.

I realized after I published the post on Keppel Croft I forgot to give you the link to their website. Please do go visit, they have lots of interesting stories.

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Hunte’s Gardens, Part deux

Now the really yummy (for me) part.

I am sure that anyone who reads my blog knows that while I love plants, I am a huge, huge fan of decorative objects in the garden. If money was no object, I would have a few of these…



I have a spot all picked out at Kilbourne Grove for this,

Anthony Hunte also has a lovely nursery as well, if I only had a garden,  I am sure that I would have spent quite a few dollars,

I would love to be able to bring back a couple of these as a souvenir of my time in Barbados, hopefully they don’t weigh too much, ha ha.

If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

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hortus deliciarum

Anyone who lives within driving distance of Toronto, could be in for a real treat on Sunday, April 25th. That is the day that Barry Parker, plantsman extraordinaire, opens his garden for Gardens Open Toronto 2010.  Barry has the first garden (and the last) open for this organization, he wants to show people that gardening does not start on Victoria day and end Labour Day, and he really knows how to extend the season. 

He has an amazing garden, full of botanical treasures. Yet it is not a jumble like some plant collectors end up with. He has the eye of an artist, and understands how important strong structure is in a garden. 

At  the entrance, you walk past a circle of brick,

 surrounded by a garden full of horticultural treasures. Your attention drawn to  a lovely gate,you walk past a fabulous bamboo,

and enter a world of fragrance and charm.

The greenhouse,full of amazing species that he grew from seed, is a lovely hideaway in the winter, but you move past it and are astounded by the number of troughs and pots on his back porch. A carefully edited collection allows for a cohesive look, this is not a jumble, more like a magazine shoot.

A circular table by the back door is a carefully edited vignette.

Just past the gravel terrace, a circular lawn is bordered by curving box hedges.

 A number of pollarded trees live in these borders, underplanted with a large selection of bulbs.  I almost fainted when I saw the huge quantity of frittalaria meliagris, they self seed for him.

Through the giant beech obelisks, lies another garden room.

Earlier Witch Hazel “Diane” had been flowering, now under her a lovely primrose yellow Corylopsis has stolen her spotlight. 

At the back, a lovely gate tempts you else where, but this is just for show, adding  an air  of mystery to Barry’s garden. There is a small fee collection at all the gardens involved in the Open Gardens Toronto program, this money is collected for the Canadian Women’s Foundation. So come on out, visit Barry’s garden and help support a good cause at the same time.

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The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Am I the only one who has song lyrics go through their head when they are trying to think of a title for their post?

Last weekend when we are up at Kilbourne Grove we bought two sentries for our home. Ian wanted them placed at the front door, where they are quite in the way. I gave in (temporarily, of course) it makes him feel like he has a say in the garden. LOL 

These were heavy, I mean very heavy! They had been at the nursery for so long that the price tag had faded and  no one could remember how much they were. We got them for $50 each, which I was quite pleased about. They are starting to get a bit mossy and I hope that one day they well look like a valuable antique!

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Forgive out front steps, I know they need repainting. They actually need rebuilding first. And I am thinking of changing the design, so it could be a while.  You can see that they have been many colours over the years.

I noticed when I was writing this that the doormat is still there. This is one of those items, that you do not notice after a while. I keep meaning to pick it up and throw it away, but keep forgetting. It has been there since we bought, May 2006, and is growing a lovely coat of moss. Maybe I can call it Garden Art!

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I like his shield, no burglar is going to get past him. I do worry a bit leaving the house empty so often. There is nothing there to steal, it is vandalism that is my biggest fear. But the neighbours are really nice about keeping an eye on it, and, knock wood, nothing has happened yet. And now we have our guards!

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But, I do think that they look a bit like the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz.  Hopefully no burglar (or salesman) will get close enough to realize that they are just a big pussycat!

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Architectural Salvage

OK., Maybe not architectural, but definitely salvage.

When my dad bought his new house there was a tv tower high up in the sky. there was also a satellite dish and no one had bothered to take down the tower.  I looked at the x’s on the side and thought that they were quite pretty. Then I had my brainwave (and let me tell you, that thing hurt!).

My dad and brother took it down, it was bolted together in 8 foot section, so there were four of them. My dad thinks that I am pretty brilliant (what parent doesn’t) after he heard my idea, and if I was going to do it, he was going to as well, so he kept two.

We took  the other two home to Kilbourne Grove and Ian painted them and the grass as well) a bright blue with Tremclad paint.


One we made the centre of the Kitchen Garden, this one has a variegated porcelain vine planted on it. I love it when the berries have coloured up in the fall, some are almost the same colour as the tower. However it is lovely in the summer as well, the green and white leaves and pink stems really stand out against the blue.

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Centrepiece of the Kitchen Garden

Centrepiece of the Kitchen Garden

 Please ignore the grass, I really hate to edge these wooden beds, that is why I am planning on getting rid of the grass. I also feel it is a waste of valuable gardening time cutting the grass every weekend, when I could be accomplishing so much more.


 The other we put up in the  Flora Glade. It is basically a roundabout in the Glade, with paths going off in three directions. At the moment the roundabout is looking very open and spacious, but I am hoping that over the years as the trees and shrubs fill in, it will look more mysterious. You can also see how much grass I still have to remove.  This has a hot pink Felix LeClerc rose that my friends at work gave me for my birthday.

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and here is a close up

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Flora Glade

 The area directly behind the garage I have dubbed the “Flora Glade”.  The name was stolen from Roy Strongs garden “The Lasket”.  I felt as it was going to be a mix of flowers and trees the name was appropriate. This is where almost all of the perennials are, as well as some shrubs.  It is the one area that is a more ‘natural’ planting, instead of the straight formal lines that I so love.

When we moved in, the only thing behind the garage was a large number of weeds.  There was a huge pile of bark chips from some trees that had been cut down after being damaged during a storm the previous winter.   Bricks were piled against the garage and there was 5 maples in roughly a straight line.  So it was quite shady. 

I started by planting a cedar hedge in a straight line just east of the trees and then running (again in a straight line) between the trees and the “Kitchen Garden”.  From the rest of the garden, this area will look geometric, not to be revealed as more “cottagey” until you are inside (at least, that is the plan). Then I made a bed under the trees,by laying bricks directly on the soil, then a layer of newspapers and then filling with topsoil. I  divided them with paths (and used up the bark mulch) to the “Kitchen Garden”, and paths to the west, east and another to the south. 


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In this bed you can see 5 variegated willows that were left over from a planting at work.  These I cut back to the ground in the spring and they are a lovely pink, white and green. Behind them is a birch clump. One problem with mulching the paths with the bark chips and the bed as well, no definition shows between the beds and the paths. There are bricks there, but they are slowly sinking down to ground level (another job to do, pull up my bricks). One I have more plants and the beds are filled in more, It should be more obvious, what is bed and what is path.

 I also put a large island bed in the middle.  This I started in the summer of 2007.  In the large island bed I planted a small redbud tree.  I was worried that it wouldn’t be hardy in Owen Sound, but it has flowered and grown alot ever since. To balance it at the other end is a sambucus “Black Lace”.



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Sorry, for the poor quality of these photos, they were the very first shots that I took with my new digital camera, and I didn’t know what I was doing (I still don’t). The tree on the left has now been lost in a storm.

I also built a smaller island bed west of the large island bed.  In this I have planted a cornus kousa.  This is my memorial garden to my mum. The cornus was her favourite tree, and she tried in vain to get one to grow for her in Niagara.  It was replaced three times, before she gave up.  This one has lived through two Owen Sound winters since she died, I think that she is looking after it for me.

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 Here you can see the redbud and the cornus in the next bed.


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 Can you see the cedar hedge, I don’t think so.  It really needs that definition of edge.


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Behind the garage we are thinking of building a pergola , with a vine trained over the top.  That is a set of harrows that my dad gave me. I saw a set turned into a gate at Stonyground, that great Canadian garden. There is still more bricks to be put to use somewhere. Everytime we dig in the garden, it seems that we find more bricks, I don’t know why they are buried.


I have planted a lot of shrubs at the edge of the bed. I hope that as they grow, the paths will become hidden and more mysterious.  You will not know what is around the corner. Then I will be able to take out a lot of the “free” perennials that I have been given.

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