Sunday, August 7, 2011

Garden Tours - A Time to Share

A deck outside the kitchen provides an outdoor kitchen for entertaining.

Our largest pond with a newly created waterfall which still needs a little work.

This seating area is hidden from the main garden and is where my son Jeremy and his friends like to warm themselves on a chilly summer or autumn evening.

This newly appointed seating area is great for enjoying a glass of wine while the chef makes dinner on the BBQ.

The gazebo is where we enjoy our summer evening dinners close to the big pond. The raised box veggie gardens provide us with fresh produce.

Yesterday we were part of a garden tour for some visitors who came from Toronto with Garden Instructor Frank Kershaw. My son was surprised when the coach pulled up next to the house and a whole busload of people disembarked. But the rain held off and the weather was perfect for a garden tour. Everyone enjoyed some juice and goodies and a walk around the garden. I hope they got some good ideas.

We love hosting garden tours. Not only is it a great way to get those niggling garden tasks completed (my husband is a procrastinator and works best under pressure) but it forces you to look at your garden from someone else's perspective. I have started to rehabilitate our gardens this year. A small rock garden had become infested with a big ant nest, so I had to deal with that and then add more soil and replant and at the same time I added another great piece of granite.

You can see above that we also added a waterfall feature to our big pond. (We have three water features in our backyard - we love the sound of running water throughout the garden).The waterfall still has some adjustments to be made but it adds another dimension to the pond.

We also reconfigured our back deck. Previously it has held two Muskoka chairs on one level and a picnic table on the upper level. Well, the past couple of winters a huge icicle came down on the picnic table and finally broke the stone slab that was the table top. After having been at garden Walk Buffalo last year, we came home with an idea from that garden tour. We moved the BBQ up to replace the Muskoka chairs which had reached the end of their life span while at the same time remaking the picnic table into a table/counter for food preparation next to the BBQ. We then purchased a new seating arrangement for the upper deck. Using the frame of the old pergola (for the ice had smashed that too) we rearranged our fabric shade cover to work over this space and with enough of the leftover fabric I was able to recover the cushions so that all matched. Now we have a lovely are to sit, relax and enjoy a glass of wine while being able to converse with the grill master. And the counter area is great for setting up the food for a BBQ. Jeremy loves grilling the burgers while his friends can load their plates.

Garden tours are a great opportunity to share your garden triumphs, disappointments or mistakes. Two days before the tour while digging a hole to put up a bird house for me he cut the TV cable, luckily the cable guy came on Friday to restore order. For us, it is a chance to show the ability to reuse and recycle materials. One of our ponds is an old bathtub. The marble floor of the gazebo came from a building in Toronto via my sister's neighbours backyard. Our greenhouse was made from windows from a restaurant on our main street that was having the windows replaced and sided with leftover siding from the house and the pergola was once the children's play unit. Peter, the resident handyman, builds everything with screw nails so that he can constantly reuse materials when things outlive their current usefulness.

Take the opportunity to visit other peoples gardens and get ideas that you can use in creating your own personal sanctuary and then share what you do with others. Happy Gardening!


  1. Wow Kathy! What a gorgeous garden.. makes me realize I have a lot of work to do! :)

  2. Your garden looks wonderful Kathy! Very romantic...