Posts tagged path

Garden Visits: Garden House

The ‘Season’ has started in Barbados, and that is good for me and for our house guests. Until the end of April, there is lots and lots to see and do in Barbados. Between horse racing, polo, concerts, plays, National Trust open houses, etc., etc., Ian and I shall be very busy. Even better, the Barbados Horticultural Society has started their ‘Open Garden’ for the next two months. These are small private gardens that the owners are graciously opening for a small fee allowing the BHS to raise money.

For the first open garden it was the home of Mrs. Jean Robinson, in Constant, St. George.  She is the past president of the BHS and the Co-ordinator of the Barbados exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show from 1988, when the Society first began exhibiting, until her retirement last year. And we all know how Barbados cleans up at Chelsea,  15 Golds, 8 Silver-Gilt, and 1 Silver, quite the record. I got a chance to see a replica of their 2011 Gold winning exhibit when it was displayed at Limegrove Mall this summer.

The garden at Garden House, is over 2 acres of lawns divided by shrub borders. You enter via the poinsettia walk,

and through an opening in the wall.

A path takes you through the first garden room.

In the shrub borders that surround this first garden room there is a lovely combination of Dracaena marginata, Ixora and variegated Mahoe.

The variegated Mahoe up close and personal. We have this plant in my complex as well, and I love it.

The borders surround a beautiful 18th century Bajan house,

 and the vivid colours of the shrubs and trees, whether in flower or not, lend a sparkle to the garden



Bromeliad planter


Loved the Euphorbia lactea ‘White Ghost’, so striking against the dark  ivy backdrop. 

On one side of the house a lovely lily pool,

and a closeup of the dark tradescantia planted at the base.

Walking back towards the house, you pass this tree, wish I had been there when the orchids were in flower


I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a lot of the material that is used at Chelsea came from this garden, there is so much beautiful foliage that would be perfect in a floral arrangement,

Variegated Heliconia


Red Leafed Banana


Variegated Banana

This is  a yellow leafed form of Crinium, love  it.

In the back 40, were a number of fruit trees and this huge bamboo.

a very handy plant for any floral designer, and you can cut your own canes for staking as well.

Although there is no formal design (and you know how I like that), I was amazed by the colour throughout the garden, and the huge number of plants that I had no idea what they were. (And some I recognized as house plants in Canada).

And how to end a perfect afternoon, but a lovely tea in the shade, how civilized...

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Under Foot at Keppel Croft

I am always on the lookout for path ideas, I have quite a few leading the way throught Kilbourne Grove, and I would like to make them unique to the space they are in. Right now a lot are grass, but that becomes a problem in the spring when it is so muddy. Not to mention cutting the grass, I need to edge the sides as well (all time consuming), so I might as well spend the time and install a hard surface.

Stone, brick all beautiful, but expensive if you are planning a lot of paths, but cement, inexpensive and speedy. But how to make it interesting?

Imbed rocks…

Make a design with them…

I think Ian is going to be one busy boy!

If you want to read more about my visit to Keppel Croft, you can read about it here, about their art installations here, and their amazing pots here.

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Two Steps Forward…

One step back.

Ian got annoyed with me again.

So totally my fault. I love symmetry in my garden, and do not always think about how I am going to get it when designing a new space. Actually the problem arises when I add a new garden beside an established one.

The first arose when I decided the vista from the Flora Glade through the Lime Walk into the Croquet Lawn had to be in the middle of the Yew Garden, not at the bottom where it currently was. This would divide the Yew Garden in half, and when I am ready to design and plant it (one day), it is a pleasing (to my mind) shape. This was fairly easy as it was only a couple of years after planting, so move a few things and done.

You can see that it is not quite finished yet. Every spring I say I have to move those hydrangeas, and then get busy with other things, 2012 it is going to happen! I did get the cedars behind them moved this September, yay.

But of course, I had to turn my attention to the path leading from the Flora Glade to the Allee. When I designed the Allee, I hadn’t originally planned on extending it all the way to the Kitchen Garden, I had thoughts of another garden in between, but decided bigger was better. I extended it so it ran all the way to the Kitchen Garden with just a five foot wide strip allowing you to walk to either the north or south. If you walk to the south, you can walk up some stone steps Ian built, and through the hedge on top of the berm, but if you walked to the north, you just hit the cedar hedge enclosing the Flora Glade.

 The entrance to it through the hedge was 10 feet to the east.

Looking south to the Allee.

Well that was not going to be allowed, and I had better take care of it before Ian arrived from Barbados, I did not want to listen to ‘what are you doing nows’.

So I moved the cedars, filled in the old path from the huge pile of top soil that had been sitting on our drive from last fall, (I am sure the neighbours were happy to see the blue tarped pile go), and of course had to purchase a couple of new shrubs to go into that spot. I mean, it was the fall, sales were on all over, I did have to help the nurseries stay in business.

Of course, dummy that I am, I forgot to take a photo of the new entrance. In the spring, after the bulbs are moved, I’ll update you.

Just need to fix the curve in the path, ran out of soil. You can see the new opening in the cedars, just behind the red Japanese Maple.

Now, in the spring, after moving any bulbs that are lurking where the new path is to be, I can finish it, or leave it half done like the other one…

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Stony Ground

Yes, we finally did it. Last autumn we raked up all the mulch from the paths in the Flora Glade. I have long wanted to have pea gravel paths, but as we had a ton of wood chips, curtesy of a tree that blew down in a storm, decided to start with that, after all, they were free. So a couple of years ago, we took up all the grass, and put down the bark.

Then last year, it came up, and a base of limestone screening was put down. What a difference, firm underfoot, dry, I loved it.

 The only thing I did not love was the colour, waaay to white.  But Mother Nature took care of that quickly (with a bit of help from some worms), and the colour dulled down.This spring, (during the short time we were back in Canada), we had some pea gravel delivered.  And working as the fabulous team that we are, Ian and I started to spread it. 

We had pea gravel paths when we lived in Kingston (and they were a very handy warning system when a burglar was trying to break in, but that is another story), but we had laid the gravel to thick.

It was very hard to walk on, so we learned our lesson this time. We only put down one or two inches on top of the limestone. And it worked beautifully, instantly firm and lovely to walk on. And it really finished off the Flora Glade,and made it look much more polished.

Now, I am debating what to do about the Kitchen Garden. A couple of years ago, we took up the grass paths and laid the rest of our bark mulch.


I would like to change that was well, but would it be too  much to continue the pea gravel from the Flora Glade? Should there not be a different medium underfoot? What do you think?

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On The Beach

I am not really on the beach, but every time I look at my new path, it reminds me of sand.  It is not ‘sandy’ coloured, so it must be the texture. I am not sure that I like it, I am hoping after all that work that I just have to get used to it.

When I laid out the Flora Glade, 4 years ago, I used the very lazy mans method of gardening. The lasagna method.  I laid out all my beds with bricks, placed a very thick layer of newspapers down, and then added a deep layer of topsoil.  For the paths, I also laid newspapers, then covered the newspapers with a thick layer of bark chips. I never wanted to leave the bark chips as a permanent feature, but we had a lot of them when a tree came down on our property. So I used them. 

They weren’t a perfect solution. As they decomposed, they turned to soil, which is good, but not for paths, and weeds grew in it, which is also not good.

So last week, I finally did something about it. We changed our paths.

First all the wood chips were raked up, and used as mulch on the existing flower beds. 

 Then I had to weed. Oh, it needed to be done.

Then the stone was wheeled in. I gave this a lot of thought, It might not appear like I did, but I did. There is not a huge selection of places in Owen Sound to get stone for paths, but I went to all of them, and looked at what they had. I decided to get what I call limestone screening, but might also be called stonedust. I had pea gravel paths in Kingston and really loved them, but I found that they were not firm enough under foot. I thought maybe we had laid it too thick, so this time I would have a layer of stonedust under it, and then the peagravel could be a very thin layer over top.

The stonedust was laid down

Do you think Ian deserves a new pair of trousers?

 and raked smooth (kind of) and became firmer the more I walked over it.

The  path is much wider here, although that is temporary. One day we hope to attatch a pergola to the back of the garage. That will be 6 feet deep, and will take the path down to a normal width. The clay pot is there, marking a high tree root. The tree had been cut down before we bought the house, and the stump removed, at least all of it except this one root.

We got rain one day and that really caused the stonedust to pack down, it became as hard as stone, lol.  I am hoping that the weeds will grow much more slowly in this, as it is such a hard surface, but we will see. Maybe next year, we will add the peagravel.

While we were at it, Ian even built a step up between his new pillars.


I was really proud of myself until my dad came by later in the week. I proudly showed him the new paths and felt really pleased until he told me we should have laid the pea gravel at the same time. That way, when it rained, the peagravel would have sank into the stonedust, and when it dried out the peagravel would have firmed up, and it ‘would not roll around so much’. Now he tells me!

I am hoping that I will get used to the pale paths, and they will stop standing out so much, I mean they are stone coloured.  What do you think?

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Walk This Way

Please, please, walk this way Mr.Plumber. See the path, Mr. Electrician? Do not go to the back door, you might see a scary, overweight lady, standing in her knickers, making a cup of tea.

One of the annoying things about the way the house is laid out on the lot is “people” coming to the back door, the kitchen door to be more precise. And it is glass!!!

When Kilbourne Grove was originally built in the late 1800’s the road that runs beside the house was the driveway to the stable, behind the house, and the front door, faced the street, 250 feet away. Over the years, the front yard was sold off piece by piece, until there is only 20 feet separating our front door form the side of the neighbours house.  When people pull into our driveway, it is logical for them to go to the back door.

This had to change!!!

When I took my garden design course last winter, we had to come up with a client and design a garden for them. I decided to pick myself (after all, I am a very easy customer), I was taking this course for my own benefit, not to change my career. Since it was a very short course, and I have a large garden (not as large as some, but I intend to landscape every square inch), I had to choose an area to focus on. I chose to work on the side yard.

This is the area that would bring visitors from the driveway to the front door. I need to block off the view of the kitchen and back door, and a fence will be built linking house and garage.

Then a path, leading from the driveway, along the side of the house, turning south at the end to the front door.

This is the plan that I drew for my teacher. None of gardens south of the house are on, this part took forever to draw!

Ok, I should have taken a picture of the legend, but I can walk you through it.

 You enter from the driveway (left on the diagram), through an arbour, and walk along a pea gravel path. On your left (top of the diagram) is a row of Emerald cedars (B), underplanted  by European ginger(L). On your fight, a row of Limelight hydrangea(C), with a boxwood hedge(K), this is also underplanted with ginger. You walk to the end and make a sharp turn to the right. I am thinking about having another arbour here. I also am adding a bench here, for those of you to tired from the long walk to the front door. The rows of Emerald cedars and hydrangea continue all the way to the front door.

N on the diagram was the blue spruce that Ian and I moved. Its story is here.

The rectangular box near the entrance arbour is another small garden. As the house is indented here, but I wanted the path to stay straight, this gave me room for a planting bed. It will also be edged with box, and a specimen tree(A) will be planted here. A magnolia, redbud or perhaps a dogwood.

There is a picket fence running from the house, north towards the street, along the path to the property line on the east, with a gate at the front sidewalk.

You might notice a gap between the fence(J) attaching the house and garage and the picket fence. This is where the greenhouse will be built. (One day).

We have already started on this project.

The line of Emerald cedars on the north or street  side of the garden. The tulips were there when we purchased the house. The developer had sodded over them. I was very surprised when they came up in the spring.

Here you can see the indent, where the old kitchen wing is narrower than the main house.

There is nothing between these cedars and the street, hopefully they will give us the illusion of privacy.

A planting plan is always fluid and open to change. When we were planting these, I changed it slightly. The cedars had been so cheap ($20 each) that I decided to make a bit of a niche, bumping it out to match the bay window in the library. This can be used for a bench, or perhaps some container planting.

This is where the second arbour would go. Right behind those grasses, and in line with that white trailer. That is not ours, it is our next door neighbours, we are storing it in our driveway for the winter, in exchange for him snow blowing the drive, yay! Sorry, Edith, about the rocks, they were there when we purchased, and have not been moved yet. Talk about someone just lining them up! I am hoping to have a stacked stone retaining wall built in the future.

Seen from the other side. That big rock is natural, it would have to stay.

And from the street. See how the line of Emerald cedars marches along the side of the house. The retaining wall would start at the left at the sidewalk and follow the curve of those lined up rocks and end at the big buried rock.

Next, would be digging out all those very old, and very large shrubs beside the house, so the hydrangea and the other row of cedars can go in. I can feel my back ache already.

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And So To Bed

We put the garden to bed this weekend. Well, as much as I actually do. All I do is put a thick layer of bark chips (will they never end) on it.  And do a lot (a lot) of raking.  I don’t cut back my perennials, I like to see something, (at least until the snow covers them) in the garden.

The Lime Walk. looking north from the Deliverance house towards our house. Looking at this picture, I find the boxwoods look unbalanced. My idea was to have them on either side of a path, that runs east and west through the Lime Walk, from the Yew Garden to the Croquet Lawn. The path has not been made yet, (mostly because I moved the original path I made, isn’t changing your mind frequently, a womans prerogative?). I will make it in the spring, perhaps then the boxwood will look like they were placed there for a reason, instead of looking like I lost two. I am also toying with the idea of cedar buttresses, marking the east/west path. (I have so many ideas whirling through my head, poor Ian is terrified, more work for him).

The leaves are all, either raked onto garden beds, wheelbarrowed into a leaf composter, or mulched with the lawn mower.

The Serviceberry Allee is all neat and tidy.  Here you are looking west, towards the Kitchen Garden. However my helleborus seem to think that spring has arrived, and they are sending up buds. I covered them with a fluffy duvet of leaves hoping they will get the idea that it is winter. I have decided to extend the Allee, all the way and meet the Kitchen Garden. Another project for the spring.

 Here you can see the north side of the Serviceberry Allee and the south side of the Yew Garden. There is a 6 foot wide space between them, I am still up in the air about what I will do with this space. (not leave it empty of course!)

 Now, I am already for the snow to arrive, actually I am seriously hoping for spring to be right around the corner and another season to begin!

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