17 Aug 2012

Three Years On: When Country-Styled Gardening Meets In-Town Elora – The Gardens of Don and Inge Sinclair [Part the Second]


My tour of the gardens of Don and Inge Sinclair continues as we make our way into what I refer to as the ‘Mediterranean’ side of the property – the sunnier slopes awash with grays, blues and pink. Lavandula, Buddleja and a smattering of Gentiana ensured that I of the Barry’s Blue hue obsession would feel right at home!

DSC_0046DSC_0048 Buddleja with blooms who girth weighted them almost to the ground! While I have heard comments fluttering by about how good a year it has been for this genus, it wasn’t until I lifted one of the blooms up for myself did I fully comprehend the statement!

DSC_0049 DSC_0050Inge is going to be my in studio guest two weeks this coming Monday on ‘Through the Garden Gate,’ and in prepping for our interview, I decided my focus would be on what its like moving from a sprawling rural property in Creemore, to a visible from all sides property in downtown Elora. We spoke briefly about what its like to start over – a task she has fully embraced and called her own – but also, what its like to greet friends and neighbors on the street whilst working in the garden. Four times her merry voice rang out, ‘Good Morning!’ while we traversed the Mediterranean garden. Being very much a solitary gardener, I’m not quite sure how I would adjust!

DSC_0052   Perovskia atriplicifolia appeared to be so happy that it was literally falling over itself with exuberance!

DSC_0053 While Don and Inge brought a number of their favourite plants with them from Foxwood, [two truckloads worth if memory serves me correctly!] it was a mature Wisteria that begged for a trellis to be built. The Mediterranean picture will be complete when this wall is awash in pendulous bloom!

DSC_0055 DSC_0056 DSC_0059 The distinctively recognizable foliage of Ginkgo biloba caught my roving eye. Utterly fascinating for something that existed during the reign of the dinosaur!

DSC_0062No my friends, these Agapanthus are not in pots. Nor are they over-wintered inside. Rather they seem to be happily thriving and multiplying in a protected nook next to a raised border. I wasn’t sure of Inge was aware of the raging competition alive and well amongst Elora’s gardening community as to who can successfully cultivate this mesmerizing plant completely out-of-doors. I wish now I would have mentioned it. I think she would have had a great laugh to know that she is at the epicenter of this swirling garden controversy!

DSC_0067 While difficult to discern from this photograph, the back of the property, home to the Potage is raised 2m from street level, affording it a wonderful view as well as cloaking it in relative silence. A trio of Chamaecyparis nootkanensis ‘Pendula’ are thriving! I remember when they were installed! A frothy mass of Verbena bonariensis helps to continue the theme first introduced by the Buddleja. I adore this annual and only wish I had more sun!

DSC_0064One of the prized possessions that also ventured to Elora from Foxwood was this magnificent water feature. It completes the picture of what could easily be a fountain in the centre of a French provincial square. The Lavandula, the potage, and now the sound of bubbling water…… when exactly did we vacate Elora?

DSC_0063  DSC_0068 DSC_0069 Instantly recognizable by its sumptuous heart shaped foliage, Cercis canadensis, gifted from Toronto gardener Frank Kershaw, will one day add yet another element of drama to a shaded pocket near to the windows of Don’s studio. Perhaps it will one day become the subject of a painting!

DSC_0074DSC_0079 DSC_0078A delightful stone trough was brought back from a recent trip to Paris. Only slightly modified with the addition of two holes in the base for drainage, it now houses a collection of Sempervivum and other succulents.

DSC_0084DSC_0086   The return to the shadier side of the property brought my guided tour to a close. Now it was time to venture inside for coffee and wonderful conversation with Don and Inge. Kindest thanks for allowing me to photograph this dream property, for accepting an ‘adoption’ and agreeing to come on my show! Gardening inspired friendships are amongst the most genuine and rewarding there are!

DSC_0089 DSC_0090 *********

Having mentioned Don’s art studio, I couldn’t turn a page without showing you a trio of his paintings.

DSC_0091 DSC_0092 DSC_0093 Having heard about Foxwood not only from Don and Inge but from other well versed gardeners as well, I coyly asked if they had any photographs that they would mind sharing. Stay tuned for Foxwood: A Treasure in Creemore.

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