Grand Magazine - - CONTENTS - | MELINDA MARKS

Amazed by the imag­i­na­tion of gar­den­ers

Idon’t gar­den . . . but I love see­ing what other peo­ple can do with the prop­erty around their homes. Colour­ful flow­ers, dec­o­ra­tive grasses, me­an­der­ing walk­ways punc­tu­ated by whim­si­cal sculp­tures. I am amazed at the imag­i­na­tion and ef­fort I see in some of the splen­did gar­dens while out walk­ing our dog.

With win­ter wind­ing down, this edi­tion of Grand is an ap­pro­pri­ate time to wel­come back thoughts of spring flow­ers and lux­u­ri­ant gar­dens in the area. They show us how boost­ing curb ap­peal or sim­ply find­ing in­ter­est­ing ways to nav­i­gate through gar­dens us­ing beau­ti­ful land­scap­ing tech­niques can yield joy to gar­den­ers and on­look­ers alike.

We have talked to one home­owner who moved from the sub­urbs to a house in mid­town Kitch­ener. A front por­tico and great room at the back of the house were added, as well as flow­ers, planters, or­na­men­tal grasses, vines, etc. She had no green thumb to speak of, so a lot of trial and er­ror went into that stun­ning yard. And that seems to be an im­por­tant point in gar­den­ing. What you think you want to have, and what you end up with, is of­ten very dif­fer­ent.

A Kitch­ener cou­ple bought a house with a gar­den they liked a lot. But by adding a lit­tle of their own de­sign here and there, they cre­ated a truly spec­tac­u­lar out­door space, put­ting their own stamp on a gar­den that was al­ready there.

Of course, not ev­ery­body has a large piece of prop­erty with which to play. But it turns out that with pre­cise de­sign and clever ac­cents, you can also turn a small town­house prop­erty into a thing of beauty.

And don’t for­get a gar­den sculp­ture. Whether big or small, a sculp­ture can of­ten add stately el­e­gance, or a lit­tle whimsy, to a gar­den. The scale of the piece, the tex­ture and the ap­pro­pri­ate place­ment are things to con­sider.

There is a fas­ci­nat­ing gar­den at McCrae House in Guelph (birth­place of poet John McCrae, who penned In Flan­ders Fields, in 1915). A corps of ded­i­cated vol­un­teers look af­ter the prop­erty, sens­ing what to keep and what to ig­nore to pro­vide visi­tors with a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what the land would have looked like at that time.

Bring­ing the out­doors in­doors is what noted print­maker and ed­u­ca­tor Michelle Pur­chase does. Her play­ful images in­spired by things such as tree houses, ice huts and forts seem to con­nect peo­ple to na­ture in a de­light­ful way.

So, even though it’s not quite spring yet, we hope our an­nual Home and Gar­den edi­tion helps put you in the right frame of mind.

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