When it comes to weather, there is no magic in the timing of my visits to Merlin's Hollow. On my first visit to David and Deirdre Tomlinson's garden in Aurora, Ontario, it was not only raining, it was pouring!
The weather forecast for my second planned visit called for showers in the afternoon. As I grabbed my camera and hopped into the car that morning, I crossed my fingers and decided to hope for the best.
Luck did not travel with me!
I swear that it commenced to rain the very moment I steered the car onto the exit ramp for Aurora. Then, as I stepped out of the car and opened my umbrella, light rain turned into a heavy downpour.
Seconds later the lightening and thunder began.
Have you ever tried to take pictures with a camera while holding an umbrella? There is a lot of juggling involved. For this reason, many of my pictures are slightly out of focus.
For those of you who may have missed my first post on Merlin's Hollow, the garden was designed by David to be a series of 4 themed gardens surrounded by a tall cedar hedge. At the entrance to each of the 4 gardens is an arched garden gate.
There is a Perennial Flower Garden, a Fragrant Garden (with a thyme lawn), a Rock and Water Garden (with a stream and pond), and a Winter Garden (that is a formal knot garden that looks great even in winter).
What prompted me to brave the weather and make this second visit was plain and simple curiosity.
I don't know about you, but I find that after the tulips and daffodils have faded, there is a bit of a lull in my garden where there is little or no color.
Sure there are the alliums take over where the other bulbs have left off, but overall, there is a lot of green and not much else until the summer perennials and roses really kick in.
Merlin's Hollow was spectacular in early May, but I wondered how David and Deirdre manage to carry that early spring color through those last few weeks in May and first week in June?
The answer in good part? Columbines! Lots of them. And in every pretty shade imaginable.
But what else did Merlin's Hollow have to offer by way of color in those early days of June?
Let's take a look around and see. First, we will look at the Perennial Flower Garden (Lower left on the garden plan).
In this front part of the garden, there were irises of all colors.
(Sorry, David was unsure of the names of the particular varieties.)
Cushion Spruge, Euphorbia Polychroma
Centaurea hypoleuca 'John Coutts' (For some reason, the flower here has photographed to be much more purple than it really appears. 'John Coutts' is actually more of a magenta color.)
While at the front of the garden, we will take a quick one-picture-look at the formal knot garden by the house (the Winter Garden in the lower right corner on the garden plan).
Now let's head into the top lefthand side of the garden, where there is a thyme lawn and a gazebo ( The 'Fragrant Garden' on the garden plan above).
The secret to the success of this thyme lawn? David says it is as simple as poor, gravely soil.
Finally, (sorry this post is getting hopelessly long!) we will head out of the Fragrant Garden and enter the Rock and Water Garden (see top right on the plan).
Here there is a small pond, bridge and waterfall.
A Thalictrum that appears almost as wet as I was at this point in my garden tour!
But before we go, let's take a very brief look at some of the beautiful irises in this part of the garden.
Have a great weekend and happy gardening!
More Information and Links:
This Saturday will be the first Merlin's Hollow Open Garden for this year. The dates for the 2012 open gardens are:
Saturday, May 12th
Saturday, June 9th
Saturday, July 7th
Sunday, July 15th
Here is a good general information link on Merlin's Hollow with address and contact information: Merlin's Hollow.