Friday, August 20, 2010

Creating Magic Out of Nothing - Will Gilles Exotic Garden

Bus tours - gotta luv 'em.  Each time we pulled up to a new garden, there would be a chorus of  "Is this it?"  "Is this what we're supposed to be looking at?  "We came all this way for this?" "Do we have to climb up all that way?"  Even after we had been delighted by gorgeous garden after gorgeous garden, there were those who were ready to be disappointed.  Perhaps, I'm a little naughty, but I was especially delighted to see our bus stop right here:

And, just to give you the full effect, this was the pathway through the parking lot:

This photo was of our return - delighted and full of conversation.  As it turns out this former stubble of a property, that was littered with garbage, had been magically transformed by Will Giles into his aptly named Exotic Garden:

He explained how his love of gardening and tropicals came from his grandmother and their visits to Kew.  As you can see, in just a short distance we've travelled from concrete to a veritable paradise.

His garden is resplendent with tropicals of all shapes and sizes - and with a tree house and ladders to higher levels.   He's one of the few grown-ups I know who has been wise enough to hold on to the fun that makes life a delight.

Can you believe all those palms?

For those of us who cannot have palms growing outside all the time, but want a tropical look - one thing we can do is grab those plants within our Zone hardiness parameters that look tropical and weave them with a pot or two that you take in and out of the house over winter.

I'm definitely going to have to plant some Dahlias next year.

And once again, more of these mind bending - this-can't-be-a-British dry garden.

Even though I'd have to use Mesembryanthemum as an annual to get this effect - I bet it would combine well with some of my sturdier hens and chicks and Sedum.

It was amazing how the garden could hold us all and hide us.

Down at the bottom of the garden was what looked like an old confessional - no confessions today - just a nice cup of tea and a little quiet sit me down.

Here's the tree house up at the top.  I was a total wuss - Kevin climbed up the ladder into the tree house.  I saved my going up high for the London Eye for later in the week.

If ever there was a garden to prove you shouldn't judge a book by its cover it was this one.  It also has me thinking about how I might encorporate an element or two of surprise into my own garden here in Oakville.  Something to mull over during our long cold winter......


Gail said...

Barbara, Aren't tourists funny or irritatingly funny! What a smashing garden...I've always liked that word! Do you ever visit Victoria's garden blog? She has a wonderful tropical backyard garden in the middle of LOndon. This garden is larger, but it does make me think of hers. I can't wait to see the London Eye post! gail

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara, I had to laugh at your observation "ready to be disappointed." Isn't that the truth. And yet look at the gorgeous surroundings they were privy to. I love it!! I probably would have filled my memory card at this garden alone and my head would be swimming in ideas. Thank you for taking us along. I wonder what London's average winter low temperature is.

Carol said...

Your last photo is wonderful Barbara. I love that element of surprise. What magical gardens indeed! Looks like you all had a great time exploring. I love the tree house and look forward to your next post. ;>)

Frances said...

Oh Barbara, what a joyful place! Some people just like to complain, it is easier than looking for the good in everything. I consider them lazy,(when I am out of sorts)! It does look very southwest/tropical, if that is even possible. Lots of good ideas and how fun that the crowd was hidden. So much better for the photogs. :-)

Knatolee said...

Wow, fantastic! And I want the treehouse.