We had our First Open Garden Day in Years!

It’s hard to believe it’s already July. Where did the last six months go? We have done so many changes over the last few years that we decided to open the garden to the public. I know what you’re thinking, I must be crazy. I advertised the open garden day on my Facebook page at That Bloomin’ Garden and on my personal page. I mentioned it to a few friends as well but hoped to keep the numbers small. In the end we had fifteen people visit the garden and at different times. It was a lovely sunny day albeit a bit warm.

I wanted the share the history of the property with friends of the garden. Our home wasn’t always here. it was built in the Georgian Colonial style in 1989. Before that there was an old salt box house on the other side of the property. It was demolished when our existing home was built. This was done decades before we moved here. The old house was called the Alfred drupe Taylor house. Taylor was the first resident veterinarian and in 1905 the postmaster for Ladner. It was also known as the Winslow Staples house. Winslow lived here with his two sisters and he was employed at the Ladner saw mill as an accountant.

When we moved here in 2004 we uncovered a few things when restoring the garden. Things like old bolts, nails and door knobs were unearthed on the north side of the property. I’m sure we will find more as we create and maintain the gardens. This year we decided to name two of our gardens after the families that lived here. We now have the Taylor rose garden and the Winslow garden. Both are located on the north side of the property.

Shown above is the new Taylor rose garden. So far we’ve added Roses Quicksilver, Life of the Party, Dylan and Royal City. The bird bath sits in the centre of the garden surrounded by blue salvia and marigolds. I can’t wait for them to bloom. I went traditional and planted sweet alyssum or Lobularia around the roses. Not only does it smell amazing it attracts pollinators to the garden. Lavender has also been added to the garden. Fortunately I had done a few too many cuttings last summer so I have lavender by the flat. Farmer Jim built the pergola last summer using plans he sketched out himself. I love it as we can see the whole garden from the patio and keep an eye on the grandkids. Fencing and a small pergola along the back waterway has completed the look.

The Winslow garden was created last fall by Farmer Jim using the sheet mulching method. Around two existing azaleas he lay cardboard down over the lawn and wet it. Last fall fallen leaves and leaf mold were placed on the cardboard. I emptied old soil from containers on the leaves and this spring it was all covered in compost. I am gradually adding perennials this year. Since it takes time for them to grow in I filled in the empty spaces with annuals like Larksprur, bachelor’s buttons and snapdragons. One end of the Winslow garden is shadier so coleus, hostas, forest grass, astrantia and primulas were planted. At the sunnier end I can use pernnials that like sun like Baptista, Bergenia, Heuchera and Acanthus. Planting a garden takes time as you are playing with colours trying to get the right mix. It’s not any different than decorating your home. It takes time and planning to get it done.

I am also growing flowers for a wedding this year so all the raised beds are full of flowers. I expect there should be lots of colour by the end of July. Many of the flowers I’m growing are new to me and many of my visitors. Persian cress and Orach are seldom seen in home gardens. The cress seen above is used as a filler for bouquets and I will start to dry the stems full of seed pods this week. Orach is a striking deep purple leaved plant that grows over 4′ tall. Although I started seeds of a mix they are all purple.

Of all the flowers I’ve started this year the Chantilly white snapdragons are my favourite. Here I’ve used them in a vase with white statice, mountain mint and cress. I’m sure you can see why I like white flowers. Not only do I like playing with colour in the garden but I challenge myself to create bouquets using a colour theme. I may not be an artist but I can try and put colour together in the garden.

Our next project is underway. We picked up a playhouse for the grandkids. It looks like a gingerbread house of fairy tales with tiny window boxes for flowers and white trim around the edges. Now we have to figure out where it will go. I look at its placement from a design perspective but Farmer Jim has other ideas. Stay tuned for an update on its progress.

Happy Gardening,


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