How does their garden grow?  

 Daisies are delightful. 

Photo: Brenda Small  


Art enhances a garden. 

Photo: Elizabeth Ballard 


How does their garden grow?  

By Pat Goyeche 


Abbotsford Seniors Centre is hosting a unique and beautiful fundraiser on Saturday, June 22 from 12 to 4 p.m.  This members-driven fundraiser offers a tour of eight magnificent local gardens. 

These gardens represent the gardening efforts of Abbotsford members in the Glebe, Old Ottawa South and Old Ottawa East and Lansdowne. Tour participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, learn and get inspiration from experienced gardeners who have practical advice to offer about what grows well in our zone and in an urban setting. 

You can purchase tickets for $25 over the telephone or in person at Abbotsford Seniors Centre Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Drop in at 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) or telephone us at 613-230-5730.  Have your Visa or MasterCard handy. 


Organized disorder 

The first garden, situated on a deep 165-foot lot, has been continuously maintained by the owner for 52 years. It has evolved over the decades from the shade of elms to full sun with vegetable plots, and now back to shade. The front garden is densely planted with sunflowers, and the back is an oasis of colourful shade perennials and annuals in containers. Its style might be called “organized disorder.”  


Native plants, flowers, shrubs and vegetables 

Next, behind the Horticultural Building at Lansdowne, is a demonstration garden consisting of 25 raised beds of corten steel. The landscape designer will describe the themes of the various beds and share what has worked well in the nine years since the original installation. Seven beds are planted with native plants of importance to the Algonquin people of the region.  


Wild thing 

This is a wildish shade garden which lost a venerable silver maple in an ice storm and has been surrounded by infills. Many birches have been planted for privacy and summer cooling. Wildlife loves the wee still pond. Pampered plants are native woodland, including a big trillium patch.  


Particularly pleasant 

Our next garden is all about enthusiasm for the diversity of leaf and flower forms. It has changing displays about every 10 days from April to November. Layers of colour and shape make up a tapestry of wild beauty. You move from a small sunny front garden packed with plants, down a fabulous, pebbled path with flower beds on each side, to a rear garden that is a riot of colour and volume. After 25 years, the gardener no longer needs to manage her perennials, they just enjoy themselves and are supplemented by yearly gifts from other gardeners and must-have nursery finds.  


Downsizing but blooming beauty 

For our next gardener, downsizing their garden 12 years ago was one of the hardest parts of moving to a new home. From having a quarter of an acre, it was quite a jolt to go to one small arc of earth around a concrete patio. Favourite perennials from the old garden where transplanted to the new one; some survived, others didn’t. Survivors were moved around, as the gardener figured out the miniature patches of sun and shade in the new garden. The tiny garden now pretty much looks after itself. 


The grass isn’t greener, but the perennials are brilliant 

This front yard garden was recently planted with an assortment of perennials and a wide variety of ornamental grasses to replace a front lawn. The gardener designed the partly shaded space using a colour palette of chartreuse, steely blue, reds and greens. It features a Japanese lilac tree along with a Bloodgood maple. In the backyard, an inviting curved pathway leads though a cottage-style garden showing how much serenity can be achieved in a small space. Don’t miss the shed featuring a green roof. 


Round and round the garden 

This small garden is neatly laid out on a small city lot. It is reminiscent of a formal English garden with roses, peonies, clematis and hydrangeas. It features compact and columnar tresses, well-suited for a small urban site. Several bird baths dot the garden, and a small deck fountain muffles city noise. 


Whimsy and beauty combined 

Our final garden, on a double lot, features whimsical containers such as a log train planted yearly with annuals. It abounds with perennials for both sun and shade. The collection expands annually and includes grasses, bleeding hearts, tradescantia, ferns, sedum, nine bark, tiger eye sumac and more. 


What an inspiring, relaxing and beauty-filled way to spend a Saturday afternoon. You won’t want to miss this splendid opportunity. And you will be supporting Abbotsford at the same time! 


Pat Goyeche is coordinator of community programs at Abbotsford at The Glebe Centre. 


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