It was my Grandmother who instilled the true and powerful potential of the quote I use in the header for this posting. True to form, she taught me to not be afraid of the powerful lessons in life, to always savor every passing moment as though it were my last. Looking back I wonder if this came as the result of fate silently stepping from the shadows on March 22, 1944 – the night my Grandfather, dressed in his police constable uniform, kissed her farewell and headed toward what would be, the final night of his life. I like to use this same phrase in regards to people. I have recently discovered that while I can remember a face, or a voice, I sometimes have the worst sense of recalling names. It can be downright embarrassing at times! The same can be said of gardens.
After recently visiting and photographing the delightful Elora property of Don and Inge Sinclair, and hoping that I wasn’t overstepping the boundaries of garden visit etiquette, I queried as to whether they had photos of their previous property, Foxwood House, which was located amongst the rolling hills of Creemore, Ontario. Observant readers will notice my purposeful use of the past tense: was. Not is. In many cases a garden remains behind when, for any number of reasons, its creators and caretakers move on. It may be for health reason, a job transfer, the realization that a property is simply to large to continue maintaining, even in some instances it results from a sudden death. But rarely does the garden itself die. Sadly, such was not the case with this truly magical property! The reasoning is moot. The house and many of the gardens were razed. Life goes on, the story continues, and for Don and Inge, it meant relocating to Elora! [An event for which plantaholics like myself rejoice!]
I first met Don and Inge at Lost Horizons, that magical woodland plant nursery near Acton, Ontario, and remember hearing about their property - Foxwood House. When a group of avid gardeners came to tour the nursery on behalf of the Toronto Botanical Gardens, the name was once again whispered on the air. Past fundraising events had been held there. Was I familiar with the property? Did I know Don and Inge? Oh goodness me, check it out! Somewhat shier at the time, I stumbled about wondering how one would go about getting an invitation. Perhaps there was an upcoming fundraiser? Did I dare approach this delightful couple who I had only met months previously?
Sadly, I missed my opportunity. It wasn’t until they strolled into the garden centre I know call ‘home’, did our paths cross once again. They’d recently relocated to neighboring Elora and were in the early days of creating a new garden. Both seemed possessed of an invigoration, eager to begin the creation process once again!
Lets return back to Foxwood House. Nervous of stirring up old emotions [upon reflection, Don and Inge, I apologize if revisiting these photographs have caused any undue grief!] I was hesitant to ask for intimate details of the property, the number of gardens, the amazing collections of rare and unusual plant materials – so I am unable to add further accent details other than the sharing of a series of photos which appear in my email inbox as though my magic. Who needs a messenger owl when you have kind friends like Don and Inge to satiate your appetite for all things horticultural!
[To my eye, there is one of Don’s paintings present in this photo!]
Clematis and Vitex atop the Pergola
Malus pendula ‘Red Jade’
Hypnotic this property, was it not? Stay tuned – as the photos come my way I will add them to this posting and then let readers know it has been updated! Don and Inge – kindest thanks for sharing what can only be the most bittersweet of memories, and for introducing me to the magic that was Foxwood House.