Welcome to Garden Canadensis.
Located on two acres just outside of the town of Milton, Garden Canadensis is the creation of Chen and his lovely wife Linda. I asked Chen to tell me the garden's name and a bit about its history:
"Although we started building this garden when we first moved here about 26 years ago, we started a hobby bonsai nursery business (which we called Garden Cnaadensis) shortly after, and struggled for a few years. We soon realized that our professional career commitments and raising two kids etc. made it impossible to keep up with the gardening and the nursery hobbies."
"I did not go back to serious gardening until about 2007/2008: renovating/extending the beds, removing overcrowded trees/shrubs and starting to collect new plant material again. That is why you will find a mix of very mature trees and relatively young trees in the garden. We kept Garden Canadensis as the name of our garden to signify our connection with this land even from a botanical perspective."
From the driveway the garden appears somewhat unassuming, but the moment you come closer, and start moving among the plantings, you realize that you are in the midst of something special.
Miscanthus sinensis 'Dixieland'
Chen on geraniums:
"Geraniums may not be the kind of plant that takes your breath away on first sight, or second. After you have a couple of them around for a few years, you may find that their quiet charm in mingling with other plants in shade or sun seems to make your garden more compete. Then you want more...I wish I could say they are easy to grow, but the fact is some of those that I like simply will not live here for more than a few years."
See more pictures and read Chen's notes on Geraniums. Click the 'i' to the top left of the image to have each cultivar identified.
Penstemon 'Dark Towers'
Penstemon 'Dark Towers'
An excerpt from Chen's notes on Heuchera:
"In terms of ornamental attributes, usefulness, versatility and maintenance I would consider Heucheras as one of the most valuable perennials in our garden; yes I am biased. Heuchera has an interesting and wide color range, a compact neat habit, beautiful textures, and is semi-evergreen...Depending on the varieties, it can be grown in sun and shade."
Read more notes on the subject of Heuchera on Chen's website. Click the 'i' to the top left of the image to have each cultivar identified.
Penstemon barbatus 'Coccineus'
Penstemon barbatus 'Coccineus'
I asked Chen if there was an overall vision for the garden when they began to create it or if it came together over time:
"Like all 'city folks', our initial dream when we moved here was to create an enchanting 2 acre garden. However, the initial shock of country gardening (extremely poor clay soil, poor drainage, limited water resource, extra vicious weeds and the scale of the garden) quickly limited our initial landscaping efforts to a few beds and patios around the house.
However, I did divide the one acre around the house into a number of imaginary zones (beds) and paths from the beginning, and planted some structure conifers in them...Over the years theses imaginary beds evolved iteratively and took shape (about 70% of them now)."
We are going to head into the back garden now.
On the left there is a large family swimming pool and to the right is the house. Ahead of us is the winding path that leads into the main part of the back garden.
A rose covered arbor leads into the pool area. Let's stop to admire the roses before we look back
toward the plantings surrounding the pool.
Rosa 'Climbing Iceberg'
These overall shots are not as glamourous as closeups of beautiful flowers, but I wanted to include a few of them to show you how well the planting beds have been conceived and executed.
This is the view looking back towards the pool.
Let's step back onto the path and see more of the garden.
Penstemon 'Husker's Red'
What a love best about this garden are the many special moments.
This is a garden that is beautiful even when it is quiet and green.
And it is stunning where there are stands of flowers like these tall, graceful Delphinium.
Delphiniums 'Pacific Giants'
Some of Chen's views on delphiniums:
"Our Delphiniums all came from inexpensive seed packages. I generally don't like flowers that need to be staked, but I would make an exception for the blue delphiniums; tall or short. Maybe it is because they are sooo...true blue. Their elegant presence in the garden is always noticed first."
Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising'
Chen tells me:
'Mercury Rising' was aquired last April and bloomed from June till frost. It was introduced to the marketplace as part of the Big Bang Series, and like 'Red Shift' is supposed to be hardy, but I am not holding my breath. I hope the claim by the breeder/nursery is true."
Chen has a wonderful array of Coreopsis. See additional pictures and read his notes regarding other cultivars here. Click the 'i' to the top left of the image to have each cultivar identified.
A shady area near the house.
The plant with soft grey foliage is Veronica incana. The tall variegated green plant is Phlox 'Norah Leigh'. In the foreground with orange-red foliage is Heuchera 'Marmalade'. The pink flower is Veronica spicata 'Giles Van Hees'
This is a very long post I know, but honestly, I haven't shown you the half of it!
In upcoming posts, I will take a closer look some of the many wonderful planting combinations and offer more excerpts from Chen's notes on specific cultivars.
Have a wonderful weekend!
More Information and Links: You can also read more about the garden and see additional pictures by visiting Chen's website: Garden Canadensis .