Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Grand Time at the Shaw Garden Tour

... and Car Rally.  Fortunately Norma and I discovered we're both pretty casual when it comes to discovering that maps are not quite as they should be, and streets aren't always marked as they might be.  Niagara on the Lake is just so lovely, getting lost was at least half the fun.  When one of the nice ladies at an information table replied, "Well, yes you could get there that way."  Only after circling the block did we realize, it would have been much easier to turn the other way and be there in 5 minutes instead of 15.  What a giggle.

The first garden was at the Shaw Festival H.Q. where we picked up our tickets and discovered they were running out of forms to fill in to enter into the prize contest - we were deemed a couple and given one form to fill in. 

Imagine how nice it would be to enjoy some great theatre and stroll around before or after, enjoying the scenery.  Here's the secret garden, some luscious roses and the Linden Allee.

Back in the car and off to our first garden.  Sadly I can't tell you whose garden it is, because they ran out of forms that told you whose garden it was.  Lots of money, time and attention to detail in this showpiece garden.

I adore this little tree - I was told it was a Cornus - I'm thinking not - maybe a Prunus of some sort?  Our morning host didn't know for sure.

This is what I envision when I plant my variegated sage. 

They've borrowed the view of the house next door.  Can you imagine how lovely it would be to have a party here?

Here's some fancy building blocks.

Then on the way to our next garden on our extended walk, we discovered all these lovely old homes kept in perfect repair.

This is the Baha''i meeting centre on the main drag.

And then finally Brockhollow on Queen Street - our destination.  It had handouts, a master gardener and a very new perennial garden that will continue to look lovely in the years ahead.  Here's one of the side yards.

Norma and I strolled back to the car, only to discover there was a meter reader straight ahead - neither of us had noticed that we needed to put money in the meter.  I wish you could have seen us silly walk-hot foot it back to the car, only to jump in and be accosted by the meter maid.....who said, "Are you on the tour?  Did you get a parking pass - last year they gave out parking passes.  I'd just hate to give a ticket to someone who was visiting and enjoying the gardens."  Well, we didn't get a parking pass (perhaps they ran out?)  But what a nice gal - wanting to spread good will rather than fill the town's coffers.  And, after our charge back to the car, turns out we were in a free parking area anyway.

Norma and I then made several attempts to find the next garden and decided to stop and enjoy a picnic in the park.  I found a huge map on a sign but declared it was too big to drag along with us.  Fortified with food and being able to see a map where the direction was noted, we were back in action.

This was the garden of Etta and Keith Mill.  Lots of roses, interesting plants - a real dream garden.

Such a lovely place to sit.

Their side yard.

Wisteria - so small and cute when it's young.....

Onto the next garden - complete with garden kittie:

And, then onto the garden of Barbara Stratton at 15678 Niagara Parkway - a beautiful estate with many large trees.  She had a greenhouse, vegetable and herb garden and lily pond.  Mr. Stratton had passed away 6 months ago and so her good friend Allan Armitage helped her host the event.  They had met when he was teaching in the Niagara area.  He looked like the pied piper (complete with Tilley hat) walking through the garden given all sorts of great garden tips to his posse.

And just one more photo, because poor Blogger seems to not to have slept well last night....such sighs and such slowwwwwww

In addition to the gardens, there was a wine tasting at Reif Estate Winery, 10% coupon to shop till you drop at Mori's (plus a glass of iced tea), a tram ride (not taken) at Kurtz Orchards.  All in all a great way to spend a day - and for only $20.00 - a real deal as well.


Veronica Sliva said...

What a lovely photo journal Barbara. That tour will be on my list for next year.

Northern Shade said...

It sounds like a blast, a fun road trip with garden tours thrown in. The simple rectangular pond, with the stone edging and stork is very appealing.

Barry said...

At work, so will have to return to finish reading and salivating over the photos BUT that diminutive charmer is INDEED a Cornus, another fave of mine, Cornus kousa 'Samaritan'. Have you room for one..... it wilol not disappoint ever! Fabulous, elegant Spring foliage whose variegated edges turn a beautiful blushing pink in the fall and large flowers that smother the plant in the spring...... have I convinced you yet? [Send me the bill! LOL!]

Barbarapc said...

Thanks Veronica. It's definitely a tour I'll do again next year.
N.S. There was nothing over-the-top at the Stratton's garden - just simple and elegant - they had the biggest lawn I'd ever seen - apparently the year before they had a charity croquet game - everyone dressed in white.
Barry - thanks for the i.d. That is a plant you could design a garden around. And, I will when the budget allows. I saw dark purple varieties in Philly gardens several years ago - this was the first I'd seen here. And if it wasn't gorgeous enough, you tell me it has even more lovely attributes. Time to pull out that design package and start dreaming.

Knatolee said...

WOW, beautiful homes and gardens. I WANT that gazebo with the curtains.