I’ve been twitching with excitement since emailing a garden blogging friend to see if she would care to make a visit to Lost Horizons with me, since she is back home in Canada and all! For those in the know, it will be easy to guess that I am talking about Deborah, whose sublime garden weblog is Green Theatre, detailing her adventures at ‘Kilbourne Grove,’ she and her husband’s property in Owen Sound, Ontario, a destination roughly 1.5 hours north of here.
Garden blogging has become the ‘pen pal’ equivalent in this the age of the computer, Facebook and plethora of other social media platforms that exist. Having never met ‘face-to-face’ it was an exciting moment for me as we briefly toured my garden before heading off to Lost Horizons.
This is the first time I’ve visited the nursery this early in the season, [excluding when I was briefly employed there] and it was refreshing to see so many of the breathtakingly beautiful plantings I have come to love from my visits over the years. It truly is a four season display garden.
Deborah is everything I’d expected and more, with a wonderful sense of humour and an ease that made it feel as though we were long lost friends reacquainted. It was interesting hearing about her new life in Barbados, the land of sand, surf and sunshine, but what I really wanted to know was what were her plans for Kilbourne Grove, her residence in Owen Sound. She discussed the changes that have occurred over the past year and a half, and commented that she was now focusing more on the ‘woodies’ – plants that would be durable to last over the long haul while she was sipping margaritas on the beach while here in Canada we would be digging ourselves out of ten foot snow drifts! Okay, so I exaggerate if this past non-winter is any indication of what is to come!
I’d call it a booty call, but in reality its a pose most familiar to those amongst us who are more than slightly obsessed with plants. ‘Now wave your %$% in the air like you don’t care!’ Oh I am so going to pay for this aren’t I Deborah?
I want to say that this beguiling self seeded Primula was what had captured Deborah’s attention, but it might also have been a mesmerizing drift of fabulously chartreuse Carex ‘Bowles Golden.’ Obviously we’re both suckers for fabulously chartreuse!
Looking back across the stream to the selection of plants that awaited us, it was a good thing we didn’t have an itinerary that required following. We were free to meander throughout the two acres of display garden, all lovingly planted and tended by Larry and his stellar staff! Having worked there briefly four years ago, it truly was like a Spring homecoming for me.
I was most eager to see a newer section of the display gardens that Larry was starting to plant during the Fall of my last season with the nursery. Clipped evergreen and Buxus give this ‘room’ a structured, knot-garden appeal which was in a different vein from the woodland atmosphere present throughout most of the gardens and nursery in general. I’d not relish being the one responsible for maintaining the intricate patterns but it is a striking and memorable addition indeed!
Everywhere the eye landed was followed with a gasp! ‘Look at that Acer palmatum, which one do you think it is? And Sweet Jesus, the load of blooms on that Cercis canadensis ‘Covey’…… the sign of true plantaholics in the presence of beauty unrivaled! And then we were crossing the bridge again and I could feel my heart racing with the anticipation of being up close and personal with the three thousand plants that make this Ontario’s leading woodland garden nursery! On your mark set…. oh excuse me Barry, that cart over there has everything you emailed in asking for, but you will likely find more enticing, hypnotic, rare and unusual beauties to add to it. Please make yourself at home! Who said that?
Stay tuned for Part Two: The Plants and the Candid Surprise!