Posts tagged yew

A Rosedale Garden

I know the Toronto Botanical Society’s Rosedale garden tour was a couple of months ago. I soooo wish I could have gone on it, but was flying back to Barbados that weekend.  But I wanted to share a garden with you that is gorgeous enough to be on it. It is also in Rosedale, and belongs to a friend of mine.  We met in Barbados through my neighbour, and immediately bonded over gardening. When I returned to Canada in May, I was invited for lunch and a garden tour. This garden was a true labour of love for my friend, thought about in great detail and it shows. We are both huge fans of structure in the garden, both hard and green, flowers while gorgeous are an accent to the space.

You enter through two massive beech hedges, kept softly in shape rather than firmly clipped.

This allows you to enjoy the movement of the hedge as the wind blows and allows dark then light to shine out from them.  These are accented with a clipped box hedge which in turn leads to a square box of roses sitting directly in front of the main entrance.  The paving laid in a diamond pattern directs you towards the door where two more beech hedges on either side of the door echo the ones at the sidewalk,

repetition at its finest.  A yew hedge separates the house from the sidewalk and encloses two more planting areas. 

 Another enclosure of clipped box is a frame for peonies and sedum, both plants that look good all year. A serviceberry accents one corner, allowing for early season blooms.

On the other side, directly under the window is a box parterre. This is accented seasonally with a colourful annual, this year a dark coleus was planted. I love the structure and shapes in the front garden. Even if you did not have any flowering plants in it, the different colours of green and textures make it interesting.

I took this photo from the third floor so you could get a good look at the overall design of the back yard. The back yard is divided into three main areas.  A lovely brick garage has been accented with trellis-work, breaking up the expanse and allowing roses and clematis to climb. Beside it is the dining area, bordered by box, heuchera and carex.

Two steps down and you arrive at a small sitting area where you can admire the pool with its infinity edge. Water pours out of four opening into the pool allowing the sound to mask any city noise. The copper beech hedge looks dark and mysterious against the light stonework of the pool.

This provides a lovely backdrop in the third area, which is the main sitting area.

Two identical small buildings are joined by columns, roof and backed by a large mirror. This not only hides the neighbours beside them, but the mirror doubles the size of the garden, you can see the pool (and me) reflected in it.The overturned pot on the pedestal is planted up by now, usually with grass, which is also reflected.

Changing the flooring material sets off the sitting area beside the pool, the brick looking like a carpet.

 Four laburnum trees are also enclosed in diamond shaped box, that is also underplanted with coleus for colour later in the season. Box hedges edge the garden here as well and act as a frame for the hydrangea, fern and hostas that are planted behind them. The japanese maple beside the pool is the only remaining plant from the original garden. It was dug up and saved off site while the hard landscaping was going on. Then it was returned and replanted, and it certainly adds to the overall scheme with its size and colour.

Love it against the blue of the pool.

Although there are not a lot of perennials in this garden, there is colour all year.  This garden was designed to be low maintenance (although I am sure you do not believe it). The hedges are cut a couple of times each year, and the rest is really just a few varieties of easy care perennials. And if you did not want any colour, you could remove all the perennials and between the trees, hedges and ground covers, you still have an exciting and dynamic garden.  I LOVE it!


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The Good, The Bad and The Dead

Am I the only one that has song or movie titles stick in their head? Every time I try to come up with the title for a post, one of them comes up in my mind.

In homage to Clint, I would like to take a few minutes to introduce you to my  The  Good, The Bad and The Dead (it is supposed to be  The Ugly, but I am taking poetic licence.

First, the Good– for me it was my snowdrops. I am sure all my regular readers know how obsessed with snowdrops I am, and my pitiful very small collection of snowdrops doubled from last year. Even better, Jen from Muddy Boot Dreams was kind enough to post me some snowdrops ‘ in the green’. This means I will probably have treble next year, very good indeed.

Unfortunately we have to move on to the Bad. Last year, I bought this gorgeous golden yew from Marion Jarvies open garden. I wanted to bring more conifers into my garden, as well as foliage colours, other than green. It was a lovely pyramidal shape and looked perfect.  We do get a lot of now in Owen Sound. Sometimes it is good, as it gives some borderline plants a lot of winter protection, but sometimes, not so good.  The very heavy snow and the conical shape of the yew did not a good match make. As you can see, the top snapped right off.

Even worse, we come to the Dead.

When you are planting an allee, or in this case a pleached walk, you want all your trees to match. Nothing is worse then when one of them dies, but that is what happened to me.  One of the linden trees in my Lime Walk, did not make it through the winter. Now it will have to be replaced and I have lost a whole growing year. But it could have been worse, the walk could have been planted a number of years ago, that would have been more difficult to match up. Now I only needed a five foot Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’ and the walk is complete again.

This is what it should look like,

But one of them looks like this,

The good news is that 5 new Tilia are arriving on Saturday, one to replace this one, and I am extending the walk by four trees. After all, can you ever have too many trees.

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Courthouse Square

When I was studying Landscape Architecture at Ryerson University (ok, I only took the one course, how was I to know that Ian would get transferred the next year), my course instructor took the class to see this small park. It is behind the old Adelaide Street courthouse, and the small street behind it is called Court House Lane.   It was designed by Janet Rosenberg, who is a very famous landscape architect in Toronto.

The course I was taking  was called Landscape Building and Materials, and the instructor wanted us to see all the different materials that were used.

These pictures were taken last summer, when Toronto was in the middle of a strike, so excuse the weeds, long grass and garbage. We are not always like that.

I love the polished granite, window.

Love the contrast between the shrub and the yew, the play of light and dark.

But what I love the most about this tiny, tucked away garden is this, look at the gorgeous espalier on the metal structure.

It looks great, summer or winter. Ignore the snow, I took this picture after one of our rare snowfall, back in February.

A close up of the espalier. These would be such a great feature to give your garden some privacy, and takes up very little room.

This was taken in January, just after they pruned the espalier for the year.


A closeup of the branch after pruning. You can see the fruiting spurs that have been kept. At least, I assume that is what they are, never having pruned a fruit tree or espalier in my life.

These lovely iron obelisks run the length of the street. In summer they support roses and clematis,

and are very sculptural in winter.

This is the  spot where I found the snowdrops in flower, I told you about in Mondays post. I do not know why more public gardens do not plant these, they are not any trouble.

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My Garden Design: Part II

The very first garden feature that I drew on my plan was the “Lime Walk”.

I have always wanted a Lime Walk, starting with my first glimpse of Sissinghursts, and I am currently in love with Monty Dons (and him as well). They were in many parks when we lived in England and I love the strong architectural lines.

This is what I wanted to see when I washed the many, many dishes at my kitchen sink. I designed it so you look the full depth of the garden (from the house approx  75  feet) and one day will have a focal point at the end, a statue or a big urn on a pedestal. You can read more about how I laid it out here.

I also wanted a “Kitchen Garden” or potager. I do want to be able to grow some veggies, when we are living there full time, and I also want to use this as a holding area (for those impulse purchases that every gardener makes), gifts from friends, plants growing from seed, and flowers for cutting for the house.

We built this in the second sunniest spot on the property (the first being saved for a swimming pool, hopefully). It happens to be as far away from the house as you can get, most of the bigger trees are planted around the house (great for keeping it cool inside, Mother Natures air conditioner).

We have a berm, on the south and west side of our property, redirecting water run off from the Niagara Escarpment, away from the house.  So after leaving a three foot path at the bottom fo the berm, we started building the raised beds for the Kitchen Garden.  You can read about it here.

The north dividing wall for the Kitchen Garden is a cedar hedge. On the other side of that hedge is the second garden that I made, the Flora Glade.

This is the area immediately behind the garage, and there were two clumps (thats the technical term) of silver maples.  One of two and the other of three, approx 15 feet away.  Also there is a large silver maple and a red maple on the south east corner of the garage. So a lot of trees, actually a grove of trees! This has become the most informally planted area, except for a straight hedge on the south and east side, all the beds in here are curved. You can read about it here.

The last garden I have laid out is the Serviceberry Allee. This was just planted (at least half of it) two weeks ago.  It starts from the Lime Walk and runs to the Kitchen Garden. You can read my post on it here and here.

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OK, no laughing, this is a very roughly drawn (on my dining room table) map of what I have accomplished so far.  (Perhaps when I have time this winter, I will attempt a more detailed drawing.) I did not draw on the cedar hedge that separates the Kitchen Garden and the Yew Garden from the Flora Glade.

The Yew Garden consists of two freshly planted yew hedges, running east and west, with lawn in the middle.  You can read about that here. I have not decided what I will put in here, although a million and one ideas are swirling through my brain. Water feature, parterre, oh what to do? Oh well, lots of time to think about it, and certainly no rush to do anything.

You can see how the garden is divided into three sections, one behind the garage, and one behind the house. The third, that we refer to as the Croquet Lawn is currently reserved in my mind for the pool.

In the spring, I hope to address the problem of a path from the driveway to the front door.  I already started by planting a row of Emerald Cedars on the north side of what will be a path. You can read about that here. I will post pictures on that if and when it happens.

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The Allee: Part II

 OK, maybe I shouldn’t have done it, am I jumping the gun a bit?

Did I give enough agonizing thought to the tree selection for my allee?

I had tons of great ideas, especially Teza’s cornus’, but I worried that having two lines of 7 cornus (14 in total) was asking for trouble, not only very expensive to buy, but maybe marginally hardy, what if one or two died, it would take forever for them to match up in size.

So this weekend Ian was sailing in the Canadians, and I was driving up to Kilbourne Grove by myself. Really, he had only himself to blame. He should have known if I was by myself, I would be compelled to visit as many nurseries as possible on the way.

I started (and ended) at Humber Nurseries, not because I was tired of plant shopping (that will never happen), but because the car was crammed to the rafters.  They had serviceberries 50% off.  Obviously I was meant to plant them, the birds will love me and all those cornus’ that Teza suggested, I will get one of each of them and plant them in the Flora Glade (making it even more glade like).

After all, I am an instant gratification girl, I don’t like to wait for anything. Gardening is definitely teaching me patience.

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Here you can see that I just set the pots on top of the beds that I told you about here.

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I had to work out the spacing. A bit difficult, as I need to put two paths through the middle of the north walk, and one path through the south walk. One path enters the Allees north side from the (what I am calling the Yew garden, as it has a newly planted yew hedge on both north and south sides) and also a path from the Flora Glade.  The south side has a path exactly opposite the Flora Glade path through the north side (does this make sense?) so you can get to the cedar hedge at the back of the property. One problem, is this has only been worked out in my mind, there is nothing to see here folks.

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The south side is planted.

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Here you can see the whole thing from the kitchen garden, as much as you can see, it was a sunny day, the middle of the afternoon, not the premium time to be taking photographs, but needs must.

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And from the Lime Walk. You can see that only one serviceberry has been planted on the north side, add that to the 4 on the south equals 5. Did I not tell you that I bought 6! When I went to plant the 6th, I hit the uncomposted materials that I had dumped in here, before covering with a layer of topsoil and bark mulch. The other side and the end where the first serviceberry were planted, is straight compost. So I have heeled the 6th serviceberry in the Kitchen Garden for the winter. In the spring the compost should have rotted down and I can transplant it then.

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I had a lot of helleborus from the shop. I have been holding them in the Kitchen Garden since April, and they have done very well. I transplanted them to the Allee and underplanted with Bridal Crown narcissus, Woodstock hyacinths and (a perpetual Kilbourne Grove favourite) muscari.

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I still have a long way to go. This portion of the Allee is 20 feet with a 4 foot path dividing it from the Lime Walk. I am going to continue all the way to the Kitchen Garden (had toyed with the idea of making a different “room” there, but I worry that I am getting a bit “botanical Garden” like, to quote my Landscape Design professor). The Allee will end up at 45 feet long and there will either be 7 or 8  trees on each side. (I did have it counted and measured, but that is up at Kilbourne Grove and I am sitting in my Toronto condo, so I am guessing). I will not be able to get back to Humber and get more serviceberry this year, (it is a bit out of my way), not to mention I don’t even think that I will get the other portion of the Allees beds made. There is still tons of bulbs to plant, peonies to transplant and leaves(in the future) to rake. I think this will become a spring project.

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