The OMG Summer Tour, Part 1: A city garden redefines “space-saving”

There were plants everywhere–in the ground, dangling from trellises, stacked over other plants and lining the tops of fences. And yet, despite the sheer number of plants crammed into this garden, there was a distinct sense of calmness and elegance. This was an eye-opening garden. But discovering a place that leaves you gob-smacked is to be expected when you’re on a tour presented by the Toronto Botanical Gardens and hosted by the remarkable Frank Kershaw, renowned garden design teacher, knower of multitudinous amazing private gardens (and how to get you into them) and indefatigable fount of plant and gardening information. I took so many photos that I’ve had to divide them up into several postings. Here’s a look at our first stop on the tour. Two more postings will follow. I hope you enjoy them all.

With a property of typical suburban proportions, the owner of this Brampton home had created a garden filled to bursting with (literally) thousands of plants. Space was not only saved here, it was divided and grown like so many of the plants.

Path with trellises

With your back to the house, you look out over the pool to a central path, lined with pots and arching trellises, that leads to the back of the garden. The pots and arches slow down the eye as you look down the path, making the distance appear greater.

Curvy flower beds

On either side of the path leading to the back of the garden, undulating beds frame small lawns. The curvy borders slow the eye down so you’re less apt to take in the measure of the small spaces.

Waterfall and pool

The pool adds new meaning to ‘water feature’, incorporating a rocky waterfall. Note the bright yellow flowers just peaking out along the top of the falls. Then take a look at the next photo.

Back of waterfall

Here are those yellow flowers you could just see peaking out at the top of the waterfall in the previous photo. The back of the falls has been transformed into a rock garden lining a path that runs down the side of the garden.

Water fountain and grasses

Another water feature looks much bigger than it actually is thanks to ornamental grasses that add to the feeling of spraying water.

Fencing and pots

Even the fence surrounding the garden has been put to good use supporting trays of small pots for seedlings.

Arch and mirror

At the end of one path along the side of the garden, an arch filled with a mirror stealthily adds to the feeling that this garden goes on forever.

Arch and hanging pot

Arches don’t always serve to lead you down a path. They also frame views, slow the eye yet again and, yup, hold up some more plants.

Pots on stands

Behind a wall of plants at the very back of the garden, a private nursery saves space by stacking potted plants on stands….

Pots of fence and shelves

…storing pots on shelves and hanging them high on the back fence.

This extraordinary garden makes you think twice about the capacity of an average backyard. Is there a limit? Maybe not. More about the latest Toronto Botanical Garden tour in my next posting.

This extraordinary garden makes you think twice about the capacity of an average backyard to amass plants and defy its proportions. Is there a limit? Maybe not.
More about the latest Toronto Botanical Garden tour in my next posting.

4 thoughts on “The OMG Summer Tour, Part 1: A city garden redefines “space-saving”

  1. Pingback: The OMG Summer Tour, Part 3: Rocking the countryside | Rhymes with Linnaeus

  2. Pingback: The OMG Summer Tour, Part 2: Hot colour in the country | Rhymes with Linnaeus

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