Last Saturday was a grand day for a grand tour put on by the Durand Neighbourhood Association in Hamilton, Ontario. The area is bound by Queen Street South/Main Street West/James Street South and a gentle diagonal on James Mountain Road.
There were so many things to recommend about the tour - the first, was the homeowners were there at most gardens - a real plus if you had any questions, or just wanted to thank them in person for opening their garden to the public. It was walkable. There was free street parking. And the gardens seemed to really reflect the personality of the owner rather than that of a hired landscape architect - nothing wrong with those gardens, but a tour of looking at pristine pools, polished stone and boxwood doesn't feed my gardener's soul. There were coolers filled with water, that they handed out if you wanted one. And, there was a little tea & entertainment in the gardens of one of the old homes - Whitehearn - that's now a museum. Nine gardens + the tea - all for $20. And if you hold onto your ticket, you can tour Whitehearn for free until December 31st.
We decided to start in the middle of the tour #4 - 141 Markland - the owners of Lose the Lawn. All sorts of good ideas to try in the garden.
The back garden was quite diminutive, but they still managed to grow herbs and tomatoes in the pocket garden (made of pop bottles). The metal stand was made for them - hopefully if you expand the photo you can see the little nobby thorny features the artist has added. She had some of the prettiest pots - both these blue pots with the basil and the more formal ones pictured in the next photos.
I wouldn't have thought of doing such large walls in this little space, but it worked perfectly, and they were at a sit-able height if you had friends over.
#5 was 7 Ravenscliff - designed by William P. Witton built on a severed lot. Needless to say back in 1910 if you lived in a posh neighbourhood, the severed lots were not as mean as they are today. According to the blurb, the front garden was reshaped by boxwood and floral design inspired by the Conservatory in New York's Central Park.
This dear little creature lives in the 'hood and what you don't see is that she was wearing her soccer boots.
Now how's this for a back veranda:
The lucky cat who lives in the big house. The tiles were redone with clay-extruded tiles imported from the same company in Wales that supplied the originals 103 years ago.
This gives you a better view of the house and the formal gardens that have been recently replanted.
One of two of the beautiful ladies who stand next to the fence at the back of the garden.
Not on the tour - but the lovely garden next door.
Aren't the lamps beautiful? Looks like a very fancy hotel.
Not on the tour, but across the road.
Again, not on the tour, but a great collection of styles - and a huge backyard (excuse me, lawn) that was just begging for a croquet party.
The garden at Chilton was elegant and charming. And the hardest to photograph given the number of visitors that just didn't want to leave. Here's my friend Joan trying to get her shot.
It had formal elements and some wonderful old-fashioned perennials.
I'm the orange caution in the mirror at the back of the garden.
Don't you love the pots tucked into the formal box hedge.
The shade beds on the side of the garden - and look how he's kept the area open for the neighbours to be able to enjoy.
This is the front of the house - the original portion build in 1880.
40 St. James Place was built by the owners parents. They had several Dandy Dinmont puppies that drew as many viewers as their magnificent black walnuts and hosta.
Note the doggie-bow in the shutter.
On to 316 James Street South. Ballinahinch built in 1850 is now 6 condominiums. There were two little gardens to see.
Here's the shade garden belonging to one owner.
And a sunny garden belonging to another owner.
Not on tour - good to see guard dog hard at work.
Joan and I took a break at Whitehearn for our tea - really a great place to catch your breath and enjoy the garden.
From there we walked over to Bold Street. This was an old 1889 Victorian home that has been restored by the owners. A view of the rooftop garden.
The main garden below.
I think the garden on Duke was my favourite from a design perspective. Great planter.
The rear garden.
Excellent sight lines, sculpture, plant material and pathways.
A swishy curtained deck.
And then to our last garden on Robinson Street - and just one photo of Josephine to end the day.
All in all, a great day at the Grand Durand Garden Tour.