The Sperling's Pond, Hamilton
Dealing with a deep personal loss is never easy, but somehow Debbie Sperling managed to find in her grief a reason to do good things in her community. Rooted in happy memories of her sister, Jean, and inspired by her loss, Debbie set out in 2010 to organize what she hoped would be the largest pond tour in Canada. The wellspring for this inner strength? A deep spiritual bond with nature, her love of gardening and her own backyard pond.
"My sister Jean loved nature and my garden's pond," Debbie recalls. "After she was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in February 2009, she would visit as often as possible. I treasured the times I watched her pain and tension disappear as she sat pondering."
In July, Debbie and her sister toured the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice for Palliative Care in Hamilton, ON together. Debbie remembers, "She was nervous at first, but like all those times we sat looking over the pond, her anxiety melted away as she took in the beauty of the home and the smiling compassion of the staff...Within minutes Jean decided to spend her final weeks there."
Jean passed away at peace, having received what the family felt was exceptional care. "Our experience as a family made us want to give back to the Hospice," says Debbie."Jean's fancy for the pond gave me a vision for this project." The pond tour raised over five thousand dollars that first year and has gone on to become an annual event.
The Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice receives approximately 41% of its annual budget from the government, meaning that it must raise the remainder to cover its monthly operating costs. "It is for this reason that events such as the pond tour are critical to the home's survival," says Jan Nichols, the hospice's Director of Development.
The Lawson Pond, Hamilton
"This year's pond tour will showcase over 20 amazing private gardens,"says co-chair Melanie Downes of Clearwater Ponds. "On Saturday, June 23rd there will be tour stops in Hamilton, Grimsby, Burlington and the surrounding area. Sunday, June 24th will spotlight properties in Oakville, Mississauga and Halton Hills. There is even a "surprise feature garden" that will be open on both days."
The Brown's Pond in Mississauga, ON
The theme for this year's pond tour is "It's all about the memories" highlighting the role that memories have played in inspiring this year's gardens. For the Brown's of Mississauga, their pond is, "Where we begin and end our day. The sights and sounds draw us in and provide us with many happy hours of pleasure and relaxation."
Thought it was designed to look expansive, this is actually a mid-sized pond
on an average suburban lot.
Irises are a nice choice for pondside plantings and the Brown's have several pretty varieties.
Located right off the deck, this the perfect place to enjoy a morning coffee
or to relax on a fine summer evening.
Let's stop on our way to the next pond to admire the roses growing
all along the walkway to the back garden.
The Paquette's Pond in Mississauga, ON
The Paquette's pond is a great example of a water feature for a small-sized garden. Water tumbles into a small pond that is just inches deep. Though the pond is only a year old, already the Paquette's already have many happy memories of the times they have spent sitting by the pond.
"The pond is a mecca for cardinals, finches, robins and many varieties of butterflies. We often see different birds drinking at the same time," the Paquettes tell me.
"We even have racoons dropping by during their evening jaunts around the neighbourhood," laughs Robin Paquette. "Last summer they discovered the goldfish and now they think we are offering them up as hor d'oeuvres."
The Luke's Pond in Oakville, ON
For Jackie and Peter Luke, their Japanese-inspired bridge and garden pond has formed the perfect backdrop for a summer wedding, a grandson's christening and garden parties for friends and family. The sound of water cascading down the pond's waterfall (which you can see on the left) has added a lovely ambience to all these cherished summer memories.
Jackie wanted their garden to have a Japanese feel to it, where the emphasis is more on form and foliage than flowers. She did most of the plant selection and Peter did most of the planting.
The garden's design incorporates a large patio area just outside the back door
with ample seating for large parties.
Just a short walk across the bridge, there is second flagstone patio complete with a table and chairs.
The Clarke Pond, Halton Hills
There were no trees or grass, let alone a garden when the Clarke's moved into their home ten years ago. In 2004, they commissioned Clearwater Ponds to design a pond and garden that would transform their 2 acres on the outskirts of Glen Williams into the perfect backyard retreat.
Water now pools on an upper terrace and flows down a meandering stream, under a stone bridge and then cascades down into a large pond.
For the Clarke's 2 young boys, their pond is the place where summer memories are made.
There are goldfish to feed, croaking frogs to hear and needle-thin dragonflies to watch. Though the pond is sizeable, it is only two feet deep, making it the perfect place for supervised summer fun.
Highlights of the 2012 Pond Tour for the Hospice include pond-less waterfalls, small water features and beautifully landscaped gardens filled with colorful summer flowers. There are even prizes to be won and a photography contest to enter. The tour is self-guided, leaving participants free to plan each of the two tour days to their liking. All proceeds from the sale of tickets go directly to the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice.
"My sister would have loved this tour," Debbie Sperling says. "She would have bought tickets in a heartbeat. Jean would have toured both days, revelling in the tranquility, imagery and sensory stimulation of every pond she could get to."
The 2012 Pond Tour for the Hospice represents a perfect opportunity for you to find the inspiration to create your own personal garden sanctuary.
Just imagine two, fun-filled days of touring and the natural beauty of this area's most magnificent water gardens. Best of all, it is for a really great cause!
More Information and Links:
Tickets for the Pond Tour for the Hospice are available online and at selected retailers throughout the Golden Horsehoe. Tickets are $15 per adult and children under 12 are free of charge. The non-refundable tickets are good for both days of the event and you can visit as many ponds as you wish. The tour takes place rain or shine. For further information, and to purchase your tickets visit: thebestpondtour.com
Visit the The Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice for Palliative Care website