Take a beau­ti­ful stroll

Ni­a­gara Falls Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety’s 23rd an­nual Gar­den Walk to­day

The Niagara Falls Review - - Arts & Life - THERESA FORTE Spe­cial to The St. Catharines Stan­dard Theresa Forte is a lo­cal gar­den writer, photographer and speaker. You can reach her by call­ing 905-351-7540 or by email there­sa_­forte@sym­pa­tico.ca.

A two-storey brick and stucco home with a clas­si­cal Tu­dor feel, sur­rounded by stately trees, top­i­ary and wrought iron fenc­ing, has been watch­ing over the Wel­land River in Chip­pawa for the bet­ter part of this cen­tury.

On Mon­day night, Mau­reen and Fred Cade wel­comed Russ Boles, pres­i­dent of the Ni­a­gara Falls Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety and my­self for a pre­view stroll through their gra­cious gar­den. Russ knows the gar­den well, he has helped the Cades en­hance and tend their ex­pan­sive gar­dens for the past 20 years. Join us for a walk around the gar­den as Russ in­tro­duces us to some of gar­den’s finer points.

The Cade gar­den has been opened for Ni­a­gara Falls Gar­den Walk sev­eral times over the years, but it con­tin­ues to evolve.

“The big­gest change,” Boles said, “was put in last fall with the help of a lo­cal con­trac­tor — two hard sur­face seat­ing ar­eas. These new ar­eas re­ally in­vite you to come out and re­lax.”

The spa­ces are like out­door rooms with chairs, loungers and fire ta­bles, and of course en­hanced plant­ings.

“We have added ex­ten­sive or­na­men­tal and na­tive flow­er­ing trees, es­pe­cially at the back of the prop­erty to cre­ate a wood­land gar­den ef­fect.”

It’s a gen­er­ous lot, stretch­ing ap­prox­i­mately 100 me­tres from front to back, and has two faces. The front, and more for­mal face along Bridge­wa­ter Street, fea­tures clipped box­wood balls lin­ing the front walk and hedg­ing across the front of the house, along with roses, hy­drangeas and an­nual bed­ding plants. The gar­den re­laxes as it stretches to­ward the back of the prop­erty along Main Street. An iron fence, hedg­ing and a dou­ble row of cedar trees pep­pered with Ser­bian spruce help screen the back of prop­erty.

“Sev­eral big trees on the perime­ter

of the prop­erty had to be taken down, they saved the best ones, and luck­ily they didn’t have a lot of ash trees.”

The re­main­ing canopy of wal­nut, sil­ver and Nor­way maple trees are very tall and well spaced. Boles add- ed, “They give a sense of en­clo­sure.”

Ja­panese maple, pine, ser­vice­berry, cedars and red­buds have been tucked in among the ma­ture trees in the back sec­tion.

“The red­buds are my favourites, but we will have hun­dreds in the fu­ture be­cause they do seed,” Boles said. “The area gets quite wet in the spring, the beds in­clude hosta, tiger lily, astilbe, ferns and Joe Pye weed be­hind the bench.”

A mulched path di­vides the space, en­cour­ag­ing you to ex­plore.

Boles seems to be pleased with progress: “The fourth di­men­sion of the gar­den is the time fac­tor, it’s how things change over the years.”

Along the back of the house, burn­ing bush, a pair of Annabelle hy­drangeas, toma­toes, basil, and an el­e­gant three-tiered iron foun­tain cre­ate a pretty fo­cal point.

An in­ter­est­ing mix of conifers, de­cid­u­ous trees, peren­ni­als and an­nu­als keep the gar­den look­ing good through­out the sea­sons, “I love the change in tex­tures, there are six dif­fer­ent greens just look­ing across this lit­tle sec­tion,” Russ ex­plains.

A re­cessed, cir­cu­lar con­ver­sa­tion area, screened with trum­pet vine, wis­te­ria and or­na­men­tal metal pan­els was re­cently up­dated with a floor of grey stone pavers. A dou­ble file vibur­num an­chors the en­trance to this wel­com­ing space, the ex­tra screen­ing adds a lit­tle mys­tery, ac­cord­ing to Boles, and works un­der the wal­nut tree.

“Yew, hy­drangea and lady’s man­tle are also hold­ing up un­der the wal­nuts.”

A gen­er­ous shade bor­der lines one side of the back gar­den.

“Lily-of-the-val­ley we in­her­ited, along with tiger lilies and hosta and a few shrubs like chokecherry. The rest we’ve added over the years: Ja­panese painted fern, iris, astilbe, monks­hood and Solomon’s seal. It’s mostly fo­liage with in­ter­mit­tent colour, rud­beckia, daylily, hosta and an­nual coleus add a splash of light green and yel­low.”

Low shafts of even­ing light stream through the trees giv­ing the bor­der a soft, gen­tle glow — the feel­ing is cool and re­laxed.

It’s such a pretty night, the Wel­land River (af­fec­tion­ately known as the creek) mir­rors the trees along the shore­line, Boles and I paused on a bench to talk about the gar­den walk, and the role it plays for the group.

“The hard­est part about or­ga­niz­ing the gar­den walk,” Russ said, “this is our 23rd year, is find­ing enough new gar­dens and peo­ple who want to par­tic­i­pate. We’ve found some lovely new gar­dens, but peo­ple are re­luc­tant to par­tic­i­pate, ei­ther they think that their gar­den is not good enough, or more of­ten, they value their pri­vacy and don’t want an in­va­sion of 200 to 300 peo­ple in their back yard. Some peo­ple are afraid it’s too much work. Most of the peo­ple on the gar­den walk like to see the hands-on home gar­dener, every gar­den is dif­fer­ent … they have char­ac­ter, in­di­vid­ual de­tails and high­light the style of that par­tic­u­lar owner.”

The Cade gar­den will be open for the Ni­a­gara Falls Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety’s 23rd an­nual Gar­den Walk, to­day — it’s not too late to pick up a ticket and visit this charm­ing gar­den, along with six other unique pri­vate gar­dens and the Project SHARE Com­mu­nity Gar­dens on Thorold Stone Road.

“The tour is fairly com­pact, there are four gar­dens in Chip­pawa, the oth­ers are in the Falls, you can start wher­ever you want.

“The so­ci­ety is all vol­un­teers, and this is our ma­jor fundraiser, all money raised goes back into the com­mu­nity: We do the fire hall and ar­moury beds, and spon­sor bur­saries for Ni­a­gara Col­lege and Ni­a­gara Parks

School of Hor­ti­cul­ture stu­dents.”

Tick­ets are $10 and are avail­able at Mullen Gar­den Mar­ket, Coun­try Bas­ket, Gauld’s Gar­den Cen­tre or Allen Land­scape Sup­ply or at any of the gar­dens on the tour. It runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. rain or shine. Get out your walk­ing shoes, sun­hat and a bot­tle of wa­ter and join in the fun. Hope to see you there.

THERESA FORTE SPE­CIAL TO THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

The Cade res­i­dence, a brick and stucco home with a clas­si­cal Tu­dor feel, sur­rounded by stately trees, top­i­ary and wrought iron fenc­ing, over­look­ing the Wel­land River in Chip­pawa will be one of eight gar­dens fea­tured on the Ni­a­gara Falls Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety’s 23rd an­nual Gar­den Walk. A cherub an­chors a plant­ing of Ja­panese painted ferns and hosta in the Cade’s shade bor­der.

A sig­na­ture weep­ing Kat­sura tree, un­der-planted with hostas and roses, makes a lovely fo­cal point in the Fair­bairn gar­den. The hand crafted bird house was a gift from a neigh­bour.

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