Forte_ revisiting summer gardens _ st. catharines standard

Images of brilliant summer gardens brightened my computer screen all weekend: vibrant zinnias and daylilies, romantic roses, cool green ferns, serene ponds and even an exuberant Italian vegetable garden.

I’ve been editing images taken on last summer’s garden walk sponsored by Niagara Falls Horticultural Society — immersing myself in July gardens is the perfect tonic for an overcast winter weekend.

What strikes me immediately is the diversity of gardens. Landscape ontario congress There are so many ways to express your creativity in the garden — rainbow-like flower beds, productive vegetable patches, secluded oasis of green, artists’ studios — each garden reflects the owner’s personal esthetic.


I have had the privilege of visiting hundreds of private gardens over the past 17 years. Football season is over I am both amazed and humbled by the generosity of the garden owners who graciously share their private gardens and their passion for gardening with me.

When I was growing up, just about everyone in our neighbourhood, including my dad, had a vegetable garden. Garden of eden story It was a simple rectangle, with straight rows of corn, tomatoes, beans, peas and carrots, and I vividly remember munching on sweet pea shells and beans in the garden. Football games download free By the time I was gardening, the custom of home vegetable gardens had fallen out favour and most of my neighbours turned to the grocery store for produce.

Not sure where to start? Start small and grow a few of the vegetables you enjoy eating, experiment with a few different varieties, tuck a few of your favourite herbs in as well, they are easy to grow.

The best news: vegetables no longer need a dedicated garden, if space is at a premium, include a few of your favourite veggies in a sunny flower border or in a container on the patio. Elite softball That sunny strip along the garage wall could be the ideal spot for a few heirloom tomato plants; lettuce makes a great container plant and can take a little shade on the deck.

On last year’s garden walk, one vegetable garden stood out: the backyard of Anna and Lou Beltrame on Stamford Green Drive, a true organic farm sized to fit a generous city lot. Garden A substantial sunroom on the back of the house doubles as a greenhouse when it’s time start seeds for the garden.

On the day of the garden walk, a group of visitors gathered around an unknown flowering plant, with coarse leaves and a cloud of small white flowers on tall stems. Basketball wives la season 5 episode 2 Anna was called upon to ID the suspect, “Radish, for seed.” Radish, along with most of the other vegetables and flowers, were grown from homegrown seed.

Along the back of the property, Lou led me through shoulder high rows of tomatoes, “They’re slow this year,” he lamented. Landscape photography tips and techniques My own tomato plants were barely knee high at this point. Baseball diamond vector Fragrant basil skirted the rows, “Tomatoes taste better when they’re grown with basil.”

Anna introduced me to pots of geranium cuttings, being grown for next year, that lined the windowsills along the back of the house. Furrow irrigation Vibrant pink, red, salmon, and white geraniums populated the gardens and hung from the vine covered pergola above the patio. Basketball court Crayola-coloured zinnia and daylily flowers lined the front drive, welcoming visitors to this charming garden.

Looking back at the images, I’m reminded of the generous spirit of homeowners who open their gardens on a tour. Pavestone Gardeners love to talk about plants, and the Beltrame’s generously shared their many years of experience growing vegetables and flowers from seed and cuttings with curious visitors that day, I suspect many people were encouraged to grow more vegetables and flowers from seed after meeting this inspiring couple.

Another creative garden, located on the corner of Lundy’s Lane and Mouland Avenue, made the most of a tiny space. Baseball players The homeowner has transformed a paved back yard (formerly a parking lot) into a friendly oasis brimming with colour. Gardenia Tall concrete cylinders, topped with boxwood create a substantial hedge defining the patio area. Pitch in music The containers raise the hedge to hip level, giving the space a sense of enclosure that a ground-level hedge would take many years to achieve. Softball field dimensions Container grown ornamental grasses surround a habitat garden for birds at the back of property, with its own bird bath and feeders. Spring training 2016 cardinals Generous plantings of sun-loving perennials in hot colours cheer the front gardens, while shade tolerant hosta and astilbes cool a narrow side garden that connects the front and back gardens. Asphalt 7 apk data Container grown hydrangeas created a live screen on a side porch on this busy corner. Asphalt 8 soundtrack If you are looking for ideas to make the most of small space, you won’t want to miss this garden.

After a weekend of editing, I’ve lined up my slides for this year’s presentation — it’s been a treat to look back on the colourful gardens, generous spirits and smiling faces of this sunny July tour.

Why not join us next Thursday evening, when I will be sharing the images of last year’s garden walk with members of Niagara Falls Horticultural Society. Spring training schedule 2016 florida We will be meeting in the LaMarsh Room of the Niagara Falls Library Victoria Avenue branch at 7:30 p.m. Unilock pavers Visitors are always welcome; first meeting is free.

If you are interested in learning more about growing edibles, flowers or trees, enjoy flower arranging, or just sharing your passion for gardens and plants, why not consider joining the horticultural society? Annual membership is $15 for adults, $2 for children.

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