Thursday, August 23, 2012

My friend Sheila's garden

Once upon a time (in the 80's), Marg, Sheila and I used to all work at the library together. We became great friends and have stayed that way over the years.
Marg and I went to visit Sheila today. Her home and gardens are situated on a property that spans more than an acre and extends down to the Grand River.
Almost as soon as we arrived, we went on a garden tour. Please join me as I show you the magnificent job Sheila and her husband have done with this huge yard.

One of Sheila's urn designs was featured in Fine Gardening a few years ago. This is a variation of the original: Kong coleus, sweet potato vine and corkscrew hazel branches in an "extremely heavy" heirloom urn from the 1800's.
Boxwood neatly borders the entrance gardens.

This section is filled with "goodies": a White Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus) that smells heavenly in the spring, Holly, Heuchera, Hosta and a clematis that spills over the wall.

Climbing hydrangea, clematis and Rose Glow Barberry share the front bed with a solemn golden Lady.

Sweet potato vine, a thin leaf variation of potato vine called "Illusion Emerald Lace"and dark red coleus make a wonderful "spiller" composition in an unusual container: an antique baby bathtub!

Beside the driveway is a bed that features, among many other things, ferns: Ostrich ferns, Ghost fern, Japanese Painted Fern and …..

…....Maidenhair Fern.

Over the years, Sheila has dug up and replanted into the front and the back many, many 'February' or 'Winter Daphne (Daphne mezereum) from an area near the river. These magnificent shrubs have highly scented lilac blooms in late April or early May and later have bright red berries. They seem to do well regardless where she transplants them!

These Heron are my favourite statues in the garden!

Sheila searches out and buys many Japanese Maples. Two recent purchases include Acer campestre 'Carnival', a beautiful variegated type and Acer palmetum 'Ukigumo' or 'Floating Cloud'.

I am always gushing about my Oakleaf Hydrangea, so I was very interested to see a dwarf one in this section of the garden. A small one like this would have been better suited to the location where I have my big overgrown one - sometime I lose sight of my front door!! Oh well - too late now…

Oooops! Bad Hair Day!!

Hosta 'Praying Hands' is definitely a collector's item. Its upright, narrow, tightly folded leaves resemble hands that are praying.

In the one large bed beside the driveway, Sheila has incorporated a Canna Lily (in a container), a purple smokebush and Sweet Autumn Clematis

Here's Sweet Autumn Clematis close up.

This is the Sun Border neatly bordered by boxwood and with a cedar hedge backdrop.

The corner of the property features a lime smokebush, a barberry bush that must be cut down every spring, hydrangea paniculata, a Gingko tree and an Eastern Redbud.

These are very special: a Tiger Eye Sumac…..

…….and Hydrangea 'Pinky Winky'.

And now we go to the "backyard", heading down towards the river.

Sheila describes the garden being in tiers, rather than rooms. Here, though is a "room" with an excellent spot to sit and view the river.

The idea was to create neat, orderly beds among the existing trees. But it had to look as if it had just "happened" that way. Sheila has been highly successful in achieving this.

Even the river bank has been planted with water loving plants.

Thanks so much for having us over, Sheila! The place looks even more magnificent than last year :)


Nadezda said...

Astrid, thank you for sharing your tour to Sheila's garden! I love the photo of a corner where Acer campestre 'Carnival', Acer palmetum 'Ukigumo', Hydrangea paniculata and hosta grow. It reminds me my garden, Hydrangea paniculata and hosta. I love the maples too.

Astrid said...

Hi Nadezda
I'm glad you enjoyed yourself! Sheila has become quite a collector of specialty plants over the years. Japanese Maples are among her favourites.

Anonymous said...

Sheila has a wonderful garden. Loved the visit.

Astrid said...

Thanks, Layanee! I'll tell her you enjoyed yourself!

debsgarden said...

Thanks for the tour! Sheila has a wonderful, well-loved garden. So much to see and admire, but my favorite part has to be the path to the river. I love how it winds through the woodland borders and trees.

Barry said...

Sheila is one of my favourite clients at the garden nursery where I work, and together we have introduced some truly amazing plants to her garden. She is the guest on my talk radio gardening show, which will air a week from this coming Monday - can hardly wait to talk about rare and unusual plants that are on the radar for 2013! Great tour of a magnificent property!

Jennifer said...

Hi Astrid, How wonderful that you have managed to stay friends over so many years. Sheila had a lovely garden. Thanks for taking us along for the visit!

Astrid said...

Hi Deb
In many ways Sheila's backyard garden reminds me of your woodland garden - beautiful and peaceful.

Hi Barry
Sheila was telling me about you and your wonderful nursery! I'm thrilled that you have been able to introduce her to new and interesting plants. She shows them off with great pride! Please let us know about the new unusual stuff for 2013! Thanks for dropping by!

Hi Jennifer
Sheila and I have always had gardening as one of our (many) common interests. Every one of Sheila's gardens in her 3 homes has been magnificent and special. I can hardly wait for my annual summer pilgrimage to her home for a tour and lunch and a long yak session. (She's also the one I went with on the Rosedale garden tour with in June).
Have a great weekend.

Patrick's Garden said...

This is such a beautiful and bountiful garden. The two ladies in waiting pair for such whimsy. Love 'em both. Thanks much.

Astrid said...

Hello Patrick
Thanks very much for dropping by my blog! Yes, Sheila's garden is one of the most beautiful private gardens that I know. I am proud to post these shots.
I certainly get new and wonderful ideas for my own garden using hers as an example.

Foxglove Lane said...

O wow! You were right pretty amazing. Loved that visit especially down by the river!

Astrid said...

Hi Foxglove Lane
Isn't it wonderful? Sheila has been developing this area bit by bit since she moved in. She's transplanted many Daphnes so it must be a fragrant paradise down there in early spring. Several years ago her husband built the dock and they often canoe on a calm day. Yup - pretty cool backyard. Glad you enjoyed it.

HELENE said...

What an amazing garden! I loved all the statues scattered around, and the 'back yard' was just lovely. Thanks for sharing :-)

Astrid said...

Hello Helene
Glad to see you are well enough to read a few blogs. Have been thinking about you and hoping you are recovering.
Yes, Sheila's garden is totally amazing and she's always doing something new and interesting. Glad you enjoyed the tour :)

Donald said...

Small world Astrid! I've visited this garden when I did the Fergus Highland games 10k run a few years ago. Sheila is my friend's aunt! At that time, she was just planting out her hosta and fern garden on the path down to the river. What a truly wonderful spot!

jane carter said...

When I stepped into the showroom, I felt like I was in Provence.
The scent of lavender and the sound of running water from the antique limestone fountain along with the incredible selection of French garden antiques were really impressive. If you are looking for very large garden ornaments, French planters, etc. this is the showroom to visit. A total of 15,000 square feet of the most incredible French garden antiques, French limestone fountains, fireplace mantels and the most selective collection of planters from France with immediate availability. Each piece feels real, the atmosphere is so calming and rural. A true and unique gem to be found in West Palm Beach! Their website is