Inge and Don Sinclair left behind eleven acres in the rolling hills of Mulmer and moved to the picturesque village of Elora. Of course this didn’t stop her from bringing two truck loads of plants and only one of furniture! If this statement speaks of nothing else, it confirms her passion for plants, with an affinity towards a select group that have resided with her for some time.
I first met Don and Inge five years ago at, where else, Lost Horizons! They were looking for a pair of weeping ornamental pears – Pyrus salicifolius ‘Pendula.’ Being that it was Fall, they were immediately added to the wishlist for the following year. Their previous showcase property, Foxwood House, was in every way, shape and form, a botanical wonderment! Moving to Elora afforded Inge and Don the opportunity to start afresh on a property that was manageable.
Meconopsis, Arisaema candidissimum, Taxodium distichum, and of course Pyrus salicifolius are but four of the delightful botanical wonders that await visitors. The property situated in the heart of the community has undergone a major metamorphosis in the last three years and without a doubt the surprises are still occurring. Don and Inge, its always a thrill and pleasure to visit your intoxicating property, and I always look forward to hearing about the newest rare and unusual treasure to take up residence within the gardens. Inge, your interview on ‘Through the Garden Gate’ remains a listener favourite….. we must do it again sometime! Kindest thanks for extending your friendship, wisdom and knowledge of all things gardening!
Many of my childhood weekends were spent in the company of my Grandparents, exploring and learning about plants in what I refer to as the ‘Darkling Wood’ of Lambton County. It was there that my lifelong affinity for woodland plants took root. I was thrilled to find myself transported back to similar woodland settings when I finally managed [after many generous invitations!] to visit the gardens of Sheila Gamble. Her riverside property combines the best of both worlds: an attention to and for the most exquisite, rare and unusual botanical treasures combined with a rationale that allows for Mother Nature and a professed plantswoman to coexist on a property just over an acre in size!
Sheila belongs to a small group of gardeners who, for lack of a better term, allow for me to garden vicariously through their properties. I am always looking for the latest rare and unusual botanical bounty, whereupon procuring them, I discover that my postage stamp sized property is anything but adequate to house them. Or I realize that whilst I can count to eleven, quite often the plants I fall in love with seem to be obsessed with the number range of say seven to nine!
When I was finally able to place greedy hands on the pot belonging to Acer campestre ‘Carnival’, that diminutive, variegated hedge Maple, I knew I would have to bring in two…. one for me and one for Sheila. This was promply followed by Cornus x ‘Venus’, Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ and Acer palmatum ‘Ukigumo.’
What Mother Nature does naturally, Sheila gracefully and delicately provides a magical, finishing touch. Anyone who can cultivate Cercis canadensis in town is guaranteed of my undying respect. Two remain showing signs of life on my property, whereas Sheila has no less than four!
See what I mean! Everywhere I looked throughout the woodland, there before my eyes appeared the sumptuous, familiar heart shaped foliage! Your property is indeed magical Sheila, please know that I greatly appreciate the opportunity to add a few of my own personal favourites to your property now and again. Already there is a delightful dwarf Ginkgo on order for you for Spring 2013. I thoroughly enjoy our garden centre conversations and always look forward to the next ‘list’ of horticultural wonders that have piqued your curiosity. I love that our taste in plants seem to converge time and time again. Your presence on ‘Through the Garden Gate’ means so much to me!
I was approached in late April regarding the possibility of me hosting a radio show on Centre Wellington’s newest radio station! It felt like I was asleep and was afraid that someone would come along and rustle me back into consciousness! Now with over twenty episodes under my belt, I feel as though I am finally hitting my comfort zone. It allowed for me to do what I love best……. to talk about, discuss, and lets be honest, pontificate at great length about plants. I wanted to incorporate the whole ‘Botanical Trespassing’ idea from a few years ago into the structure, and was lucky to discover the perfect union: I call upon and visit the gardens not only of friends and clients [both past and present] but I am also always on the lookout for those secret hidden gems….. what I like to refer to as ‘gardening’s dirty little secrets!’ – and let me tell you, they are everywhere you look, and more specifically, they’re the ones that we tend to glance over without really taking the time for an up close and personal perusal! Already I’m lining up a sweet collection for next season’s show. A million thanks to J and A, my employers at LittleTree Garden Market for not only suggesting me, but for your continued support in sponsoring the show on local radio The Grand at 92.9.
It was the shaded sanctuary of Wayne and Joan Prowse that inspired and gave me the confidence to approach gardeners with the idea of ‘Botanical Trespassing.’ Two of the kindest, most generous people I have had the privilege of knowing, it is this photo of their previous property taken by Wayne himself that I have adopted as my signature image for ‘Through the Garden Gate.’ You are both always close in my thoughts and I hope that one day soon you will join me on my show!
Lastly, it was this past year that I also discovered what quickly became a favourite blog! Gabriella Costea is a nursery manager at Lost Horizons, and when she debuted Botanically Inclined, I was immediately hooked. Imagine having direct access to an amazing inventory of plants that is easily in excess of 2500! Her tantalizing posts never fail to result in yet another venture to procure that latest rare and unusual gem that she ever so adroitly pontificates on. I like to think that we are cut from the same cloth! If you’re wanting to delve into the wonderful, intoxicating, addictive, mesmerizing world of woodland plants, look no further than Gabi’s incredible blog. And why stop there? Plan a visit to Lost Horizons for 2013…… it is so well worth the drive to Acton!
Two of my all-time favourite plants I first stumbled upon at Lost Horizons are Acer campestre ‘Carnival’ and Anemonopsis macrophylla. I cannot forget the kindness and generosity of plantsman and owner of this magical nursery, Larry Davidson for inspiring and coaxing within me the desire to learn as much about the world of woodland perennial treasures!
All in all, weather aside, its been an incredible gardening year for me. Its time to do the final walkthrough of the garden, and then I will embark on the winter activities…… looking for new, rare and exciting plant material with which to woo my loyal clients at LittleTree, not to mention the creation of my own personal wishlist, beginning with the hope that my new neighbors share even the most minute interest and passion for plants. That’s all I need. A mere hint of interest……… I can confidently take it from there. With close to 90000 visits to my blog, a million thanks to all of my supporters. I love the comments, so keep them coming, and you have my word that in the coming weeks and months, I’ll have more time to return the favor and visit your blogs as well. A special call out to Joy in Kingston. You’ve been there from the very start – it was you who made the very first comment on my meager blog. I love our email discourses and promise that as soon as I find my way to Kingston, we’ll be off on our own nursery crawl adventures of our own! Kind thanks Sweetie!