A Peek Into Local Gardens Was Inspirational!

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I had the privilege of doing some judging for City Beautification last week. It’s very inspiring to see how other gardeners personalize their space.

At one property the homeowners had turned a carport into a seasonal outdoor room. It was decorated with an area rug, comfortable furniture, lighting, side tables and of course planters full of summer colour.

The interior walls of the carport had been covered with horizontal wood boards. Beautiful glass garden doors on the back wall led to the backyard and  let in more natural light. Within the carport, the typical concrete steps up to the house had been covered with wood too, so that the entire space looked cohesive.   

I was very impressed with the attention to detail that turned that space into a true outdoor room. However, there was still enough open area that when the furniture and accessories are stored for the winter, the family car could be in out of the snow.

Also, the entire front yard border beds were planted with a mixture of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs. That was the reason I was there and it was a real delight to judge.

The next stop on my judging tour was a very deep, fenced backyard that was well landscaped right from the back deck to the property line. The focus of the landscaping was a waterfall and pond that took centre stage, prominently visible from the back deck. This house fronts onto a busy street, so the sound of the waterfall and fountain within the pond help to mask road noise.

Gardens had been planted around the pond to settle it into the landscape. A naturalized garden full of ferns took care of the really shady area adjacent to the deck. Gardens further back in the yard enjoyed the sun and were full of blooming perennials and shrubs. Then behind those gardens, raised vegetable boxes had been built beside a shed at the rear of the property.

What impressed me here was how the home owners used all the available space to the best advantage. Their passion for gardening really came through.

The last stop on my judging journey was a newly renovated back yard. I knew it was going to be interesting as soon as I came up the driveway and saw the potting bench and unique planter vignette that started at the side door to the house and led you into the backyard. I wasn’t disappointed!

Several water features where placed throughout the  gardens to add life to the landscape. A charming fairy garden ran along a fence under some mature trees also had a small water feature.

Adjacent to the deck was a private little oasis that had room for outdoor dining. It was surrounded by gardens and had a woodland fountain as its focal point. At the back of this space, an unused set of wide stairs from patio doors was converted into an area to set a lush collection of potted ferns!

The main part of the open backyard had a wide garden had been created in front of the fence that delineated the space.  A very sturdy pergola with a garden swing had been built to anchor one corner. The other side of the yard had a big slope up the fence.

Quite a bit of thought had been put into plant choice for the big border garden. Trees, shrubs and perennials where chosen that suited each area’s light conditions. They were planted in large groupings so the plants created impact in that big space.

Once again the entire yard was used to the best advantage. You could tell the homeowners really enjoyed gardening and living in the paradise they had worked so hard to create.

The day after this judging trip I was inspired to start renovating my own side garden. I have lots of ideas brewing in my head!

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About Me

I began my journey in horticulture in 1982 after graduating from the Humber College Landscape Technician program. At that time, I lead a talented crew of landscapers, taught evening courses in horticulture and had my own landscape design and consulting business. Then I ventured into the garden centre world. I’m lucky enough to be leading the friendly and knowledgeable team at New North Greenhouses. 

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New North Greenhouses

719 Airport Road

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

P6A 5K6


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