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How Does Their Garden Grow?

How Does Their Garden Grow?

By: Pat Goyeche

Abbotsford Seniors Centre is hosting a unique and certainly beautiful fundraiser on Saturday June 22nd from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm.  This members-driven fundraiser offers a tour of eight magnificent local gardens.

The eight gardens on the tour represent the efforts of Abbotsford member gardeners in the Glebe, Old Ottawa South and Old Ottawa East, and at Lansdowne. Tour participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, learn and get inspiration from experienced gardeners with a variety of styles who have practical advice to offer about what grows well in our zone and in an urban setting.

You can purchase tickets for $25 over the telephone or in person at Abbotsford Seniors Centre Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.  Drop in at 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) or telephone us at 613-230-5730.  Have your Visa or MasterCard handy.

Check out these tantalizing descriptions of the gardens on the tour, to get your green thumb itching. And then be sure to pick up your ticket(s).

Organized disorder

The first garden, situated on a deep 165-foot lot, has been continuously maintained by the owner for 52 years. It has evolved over the decades from the shade of elms to full sun and vegetable plots, and then back to shade. The front garden is densely planted with full sun flowers and the back is an oasis of colourful shade perennials and annuals in containers. It is characterized by “organized disorder” and the gardener has incorporated many plants given by friends over the years. 

Native plants, flowers, shrubs and vegetables

Next, fittingly behind the Horticultural Building at Lansdowne, is a demonstration garden consisting of 25 raised beds of corten steel. The landscape designer, an Abbotsford member, will lead you through this garden and describe the themes of the various beds. She will share what has worked well in the last nine years since the original installation. Seven of the beds are planted with native plants of importance to the Algonquin people of the region. Other beds feature perennial and annual flowers grown together with shrubs and vegetables. You will learn about a variety of plants that grow in containers as well as the challenges and the benefits of integrating food and flowers in our plantings to optimize the benefits to pollinators.

Wild thing

Mine is a wild-ish shade garden.  Over my stewardship, it lost a venerable silver maple in an ice storm and been surrounded by infills.   I’ve planted many, many birches for privacy and summer cooling.  Wildlife loves the wee still pond.  Pampered plants are native woodland, including a big trillium patch. 

Particularly pleasant

Our next garden is all about enthusiasm for the diversity of leaf and flower forms. It has changing displays about every 10 days from April to November. Layers of colour and shape make up a tapestry of wild beauty. You move from a small sunny front garden packed with plants, down what was once a shared drive, but is now a fabulous pebbled path with flower beds on each side, to a rear garden that is a riot of colour and volume. After 25 years, the gardener no longer needs to manage her perennials, they just enjoy themselves and are supplemented by yearly gifts from other gardeners and must have nursery finds. 

Downsizing but blooming beauty

For our next gardener, downsizing their garden twelve years ago was one of the hardest parts of moving to a new home. From having a quarter of an acre to play in, it was quite a jolt to go to one small arc of earth around a concrete patio, (whilst a bit of a relief to aching bones). Retrieving small clumps of all the gardener’s favourite perennials, they transplanted them to a new garden very quickly that fall and crossed their fingers that the plants would survive. Some did and some didn’t. Eventually, all of them got moved around as the gardener gained new knowledge of the miniature patches of sun and shade in the new garden. Over the past twelve years they have nurtured a tiny garden that pretty much looks after itself with just enough soil to get a gardener’s hands dirty and enough tiny spaces to fill to justify visits to garden centres in the spring. And it is much loved!

The grass isn’t greener but the perennials are brilliant

This front yard garden was recently planted with an assortment of perennials and a wide variety of ornamental grasses to replace a front lawn. The gardener designed this partly-shaded space using a colour palette of chartreuse, steely blue, reds and greens. It features a Japanese lilac tree along with a Bloodgood maple. In the backyard of this home an inviting curved pathway leads you though a cottage style garden showing how much serenity can be achieved in a tiny garden using a large variety of shade loving perennials. It is further enlivened by lots of garden art. Don’t miss the shed featuring a green roof.

Round and round the garden

This small garden is neatly laid out on a small city lot. It is reminiscent of a formal English garden with roses, peonies, clematis and hydrangeas. It features a number of compact and columnar tresses, well-suited for a small urban site. A number of bird baths dot the garden and a small deck fountain blocks out city noise.

Whimsy and beauty combined

Our final garden, on a double lot, features whimsical containers such as a log train planted yearly with annuals. It abounds with perennials for both sun and shade. The collection expands annually and includes grasses, bleeding hearts, tradescantia, ferns, sedum, nine bark, tiger eye sumac and more.

What an inspiring, relaxing and beauty-filled way to spend a Saturday afternoon. You won’t want to miss this splendid opportunity. And you will be supporting Abbotsford at the same time!

Abbotsford Seniors Centre of The Glebe Centre Inc. is a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services and programming by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon – Fri 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all The Glebe Centre facilities and seniors services on our website