Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cranbrook's Eighteenth Open Garden Day

Annie Schweitzer welcoming guests to her forest garden. The natural rock wall
cascades with strawberries
It doesn’t matter the size or composition of any of the gardens on Open Garden Days, there is always something to be learned and admired.  This years’ tour was no exception. I admit that this is one of my favourite days of the year as being a plant lover and gardener, I don’t think there is any better way to revel in what you love and to give those other hard working gardeners the appreciation they deserve. 

Gardening is an art form kept behind fences and rarely shared by homeowners.  This is its day to shine.

A special garden tool shed hidden in the Schweitzer garden
Two themes emerged from the gardens on this tour – the use of our beautiful and abundantly occurring rocks and the use of the natural landscape.

One of the first tenets of garden design is the term ‘genius loci’.  When looking at the blank canvas of a bare piece of land and trying to decide what to do with it, it helps to ask, “What is the genius of this place?”  For all of us, living in the Rocky Mountains, well, it is rather obvious; so to see a garden exquisitely landscaped with local rocks, native poplars, native shrubs and an under planting or groundcover of strawberries was a joy. 

Camp fire in the forest

This beautiful garden of Rick and Annie Schweitzer had all the elements of great garden design, flow, surprise, beautiful plant selection and function.  With the exception of a separate vegetable garden and some cultivated fruit trees, much of the planting in this garden was native to the area. Poplars, Douglas Fir, Saskatoon, Soopolallie or Canadian Buffalo Berry were featured in a natural forest setting all bundled into a large city lot. This garden was a stunner.

healthy veggie garden

Who says you can't get Wisteria to bloom in Cranbrook?!
Tim Benson and Eric Fisher’s garden contained a magnificent naturally occurring boulder! It was genius that when this home was originally built this natural feature was left in place and not blasted away.  The native Ferns, Heuchera and mosses that grew in this location did not require further embellishment although a few pots added colour and interest.
Tim and Eric chat with Snap representative

Vibrant simplicity of Oxalis in a pot, Granville Martin garden
Flagstone paths were featured in several gardens including that of the Granville-Martins where they surrounded a very pretty pond. 

In the 'Mass' garden, the ground cover of rocks with a southern exposure against the white wall of the house provided the perfect micro desert climate for a magnificently blooming Yucca and a collection of blooming Prickly Pear cactus.

The magnificent Yucca in bloom
All the gardens on this year’s tour had interest and ideas for those new to gardening in this area as well as for those of us whose gardens continually evolve. 

The work of local artists was featured in several gardens.  Below, a Jeanette Oostalander's painting of Echinacea is on display as, en plein air, she painted away and chatted to those on the tour.
'Echinacea' on display against the backdrop of the Granville Martin's well tended vegetable garden
Thank you to all those brave garden hosts who were willing to have hundreds of people walking through their garden retreats.  We know you spent the last few weeks, bending, kneeling and questioning yourselves about what you agreed to but you and your gardens are truly appreciated.  You provide inspiration and an understanding of the natural environment that we all need in order to appreciate the land on which we depend.  

Thank you also to the Cranbrook Garden Club for continuing to organise this very enjoyable day.

No comments:

Post a Comment