Blue skies over lush green gardens brimming with blooms, serene and quiet summer shade: sounds like sheer poetry for the eyes, doesn’t it.
And so it is, this weekend with the Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s Garden Tour 2012: six beautiful landscapes to admire and enjoy as much as the avid green-thumb gardeners who host the event this time around.
The Source was treated to a sneak peak of one of the gardens. It was hard to leave the oasis of harmony designed by Margaret and David Curtis. Oh yes, and Bella, official lookout-for-squirrels-and-such that innocently might trespass.
In the Curtis’ garden the green theme is simply lovely around the pale yellow of their house. Stately trees; shrubs and plants with fascinating shapes and textures; an unexpected splash or two of colour, but all predominantly lush and green and cool. Clearly indicative of the 19 or so years of loving care Margaret and David have put into their front and backyards. We sat comfortably under the patterned awning of a pergola sipping fresh lemonade.
“I wanted a kind of outdoor living room, so my newer construction has a sloped roof to shed water and snow; it’s made of treated rough-sawn cedar from Dorion,” said David. “I put the best stain I could find on it. It provides nice shade and gives us an outdoor living space.”
Margaret’s focus is the plants.
“I love variety. The first thing is to check for (growing) zones and of course,” she smiled, “to make great friends with the wonderful greenhouses we have in our area. They have a wealth of information. But sometimes it’s just trial and error; some plants will survive and become long-term, others not so.”
“We have a difficult climate; lovely when we get a good snow cover. I don’t baby things. My plants don’t get covered, so each year brings new surprises. When I see my plants coming back after a difficult winter it’s wonderful. I pretty much go by what I heard a Canadian gardener say: you put your garden to bed. So I don’t trim anything; I just let it die back over the winter.”
Margaret enjoys her garden through all four seasons.
“Where does my garden go in winter? Oh, I think it just sleeps. It wants to rejuvenate, to rest. Roots become dormant, and I think they like that dormancy. In winter, too, there’s hardscape in a garden; evergreens, dogwoods with their interesting colour in winter, seeing the snow falling on our beautiful blue spruce: gorgeous.”
But in summertime the Curtis garden gets shared with monarch butterflies instead.
Garden Tour 2012 takes place rain or shine from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. this Sunday, July 29.
As always master gardeners will be on hand, as will musicians and various artists at the locations.
Addresses, tickets and details surrounding the self-guided tour are available at the art gallery; folks can also get tickets up until Saturday at Landale Gardens and Vaillant Florists. Gallery members $15, non-members $20, with a special discount to the Roy Thomas exhibit until Aug. 12.
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