Gardeners, both expert and novice, are very pleased to see the Through the Garden Gate garden tour, organized by the Kincardine and District Horticultural Society, back for 2021.
On Aug. 8, from noon until 4:30 p.m., ticket-holders can take a self-guided tour of eight different gardens in the area and experience the creativity, beauty and calm created by the homeowners.
Peter and Grace Morris, owners of one of the properties on the 2021 tour, have lived in their Park Street home since 1993. Their backyard garden is a work in progress that (so far) includes a sunny deck, stone patio, hammock (Peter says it is well-used by their grandchildren), dining area and hot tub. Along one side of the property, a cedar hedge at least 10 feet tall provides a natural privacy fence.
Grace says she had no formal rendering of what her garden might look like when they installed an interlocking patio about 20 years ago, but knew she wanted “a relaxed and casual atmosphere” for her and Peter to enjoy.
As any gardener will tell you, sun exposure plays a significant role in how a garden is designed and what can be planted. Mature trees in their backyard blocked out all of the sun, limiting the type of plants Grace could choose to those that would thrive with very little sunshine.
“I am careful,” she said. “Certain plants want sun so I have to get plants that are happy in the shade.”
As the years have passed, the Morris’ have added a variety of elements that make the garden both unique and a reflection of their personalities. Grace creates glass flowers made from repurposed pieces of fine china and crystal, as well as hanging art pieces that reflect light and add colour. A fairy garden is tucked in among the hostas, and a special laneway, Paul’s Lane, honours the memory of an old friend. A walkway, built from bricks and succulents, forms a path leading to the backyard. A large mirror hangs behind the dining area, dividing the area into two rooms.
“You are never done gardening, especially with pine trees and squirrels,” said Grace.
Nestled right in town, Peter says the garden sees its share of wildlife visitors, including rabbits, squirrels and even coyotes.
Grace says the garden tour gives gardeners the opportunity to peek into the backyards of hidden gems in the community and may spur their own creativity.
“You can come and see a garden that might inspire you,” she said. “(You may decide) I can do that and enhance your own space.”
“Watching something grow – everybody can appreciate nature. It doesn’t have to be super-groomed, you just have to enjoy nature.”
The garden tour is a rain or shine event. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Accents, at the corner of Queen and Harbour Streets and at Wilder & Rain Flowers, in the Quinn plaza, for $12, or on the day of the event, Aug. 8, at The Walker House, for $15. Ticketholders will receive a map of all gardens on the tour, and can set out at their own pace to visit.
All funds raised pay for speakers and expenses associated with the monthly Kincardine and District Horticultural Society meetings throughout the year and to cover the cost of plants purchased for the flagpole garden on Harbour Street. A tea at The Walker House, which in previous years welcomed guests at the end of their tour, has been cancelled this year, but organizers hope to bring back the gathering in 2022.
“If you’re tired of being closed in, it may be time to go Through the Garden Gate, a self-guided tour of gardens within the Kincardine area,” said tour chairperson, Dan Roy. “You’ll leave all stress behind as you stroll through structured greenery; discover masses of colourful flowers and unique garden features. Come discover the unknown!”
Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent