Gratitude for garden owners who share

A first glimpse at the most private section of a garden in Niagara-on-the-Lake

The generosity of private owners who open their personal spaces to the garden public should never be undervalued. I’ve known this as a garden tour fanatic and as a volunteer. But being one of the organizers for the 2015 Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto brought it home to me full force. Today, my gratitude goes out to those who could, with far less inconvenience, keep their gardens to themselves – but don’t. This spectacular garden in Niagara-on-the-Lake, shown in part, is just one.

This was one of the gardens on the 2015 Shaw Festival Guild Garden Tour, who partnered with the Toronto Fling on our optional Niagara day. The owners kindly agreed to keep it open one more day for our bloggers – along with gardens we blogged about here and here. Do keep alert for the 2016 Shaw Guild tour, which I’m sure will have equally wonderful gardens. Like many local garden tours, it’s a fundraiser for a great cause, which is a perfect way to express your gratitude.

A few steps more reveals a garden with wonderful attention to detail and fab foliage. “Fab” is the technical term.
What can I say? Beautiful on so many levels.
Picture yourself lounging here on a hot day.
Turning around presents you with this. Remember those curtains. We’ll come back to them.
The sweep staircase invites you to the upper terrace.
There, you enjoy this view of the pool below. The overcast sky was ideal for photography.
Sweep back down the stairs.
Pause to admire a subtle detail.
Then be beckoned through the gate – accompanied by the splash of a water wall.
Beyond the gate, you find yourself in a very different kind of space. Naturally, you want to cross the bridge.
The middle of the bridge lets you look across this edited wild space, with its river of yellow flags (Iris).
A little further, and a grove of birch trees screens that curtained area you saw before.
Steps? Of course you must climb them.
Here you find yourself on a second upper terrace, looking down at the azure swimming pool. Trimming the edge
of this terrace, an L-shaped pool with an infinity edge, lined with dark tile to be more reflective, is clearly the source
of the water wall you passed earlier.
When you tire of dipping your fingers into the pool from your lounge chair below, here’s where to hang out with your
wine and good book. Do people with gardens like this “hang out”? Who knows? I’m grateful they let us do it, though.

On Day Two of my month of gratitude, I’ll ask: would you be willing to open your garden like this?


  1. Hear, hear Marilyn. It was a great Fling. I don't have a garden anywhere like this one, so the only place it'll get opened to the public is on the internet 😉

  2. I absolutely loved this garden – all of the nooks and crannies…a surprise around every corner. If I had a garden like that, I think I would be more than willing to let people in to oogle it. Mine, however, is still at the "before" photo stage 😉

    Now that I am *almost* caught up with my garden chores and am only days away from putting all my beds to bed, so to speak, I have some Fling blogging to catch up on. I hope you enjoy our Indian summer this week!

    1. You're right, Margaret — I didn't even mention the front garden yet. But I will shortly. I look forward to reading your Fling posts. Please share them on the Facebook group page.

  3. I so wish I could have joined this day's tour. Based on reviews and photos, the gardens you saw were spectacular!

    Giving thanks to those who open their gardens can be reciprocal. I love having people visit Glen Villa although I do get anxious before every visit, worrying that too many things are not as they are meant to be. I find most visitors respond positively, even to short-comings. (What, weeds?) I particularly welcome helpful critiques — visitors have made some wonderful suggestions that have improved my garden. So, thank you to visitors, too!

    1. Pat, you would have appreciated it, I'm sure. I'd love to see your garden, and with one of our children living in Montreal, perhaps I might just swing it — if you're amenable.

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