Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Visit us on Saturday, June 22nd, for the 16th Annual Country Gardens Tour

This weekend marks the seventh time that our garden has been included in the regional Country Gardens Water Garden Tour.    

Country Gardens, the premier water garden specialists in our area, sponsor this annual tour which features dozens of gardens with water features located up and down the North Shore.

Many enthusiastic gardeners have agreed to open their yards to the public this weekend and will be on hand to answer questions about their gardens in general and water gardens in particular.  This is a great way to learn more about the plants that grow well in our area as well as to see how homeowners have incorporated water features of many varieties and sizes into every kind of setting and into gardens both large and small.  Homeowners will also share their experiences and advice about everything and anything to do with the construction, maintenance, and pros and woes of pond ownership. (Herons can be a headache but algae doesn't have to be forever.)

One of our several water features, an urn fountain in our Zen garden.
You can find a link to a list of detailed descriptions and directions for each of the participating gardens HERE on the Country Gardens web site. There are separate lists for Saturday and Sunday, so do pay careful attention to the schedule.

Our garden will be open on Saturday, June 22nd, from 9 AM to 4 PM.  In addition to our 9,000 gallon water garden, we have 32 other individual with several water features in our extensive garden.  If you've ever thought of replacing your lawn with .... garden .... well drop by and see what we've done.

Our half acre "garden" features a flowering shrub and tree grove, sun and shade cottage beds, a butterfly garden, an almost all white shade garden, herb garden, woodland wildflower garden, kitchen garden, and succulent garden. 

The water garden anchors a formal English garden with both rose and perennial beds edged in Munstead lavender.  We are rose enthusiasts with over 230 roses.  (And yes, roses really are easy to grow ~ come talk to us!)

Water gardens often mean fish - we are parents to nine very large koi... Goldie, Buttercup, Sherbert, Tiger, Streak, Comet, Pearly, and our calico twins, Frick and Frack.  We live next to a large meadow and frequently play host to the bees from our neighbor's apiaries for their visits in search of nectar. We also are furparents to four little dogs and two cats.

This means gardening using all natural organic methods -- no noxious or toxic chemicals are used here out of concern for our fish, bees, pets, and the neighboring ecosystem in the meadow.  Our protocol, which is posted here on our blog periodically, will be available to visitors.  We will also be giving demos on proper rose planting and pruning throughout the day.

If you've some free time on Saturday, do come by for some iced tea, lemonade, and cookies and chat with us about gardens!  Children are welcome, however, we ask that you please leave pets at home.

The water garden, edged by Kouza dogwood at left, Japanese maple and variegated willlows in the background, and roses along the crest of the berm.  In bloom are double pink and double red Knock-Out roses and Joseph's Coat, a climber that tends to cascade down along the waterfall.

The lavender hedges around our beds should be blooming this weekend.  Through the trellis is a walking path that meanders through our woodland garden and tree grove.
One of our favorite grandiflora roses, Sunshine Daydream, with one of our favorite David Austin English shrub roses, the beautiful pink James Galway in the background.
Last summer we recycled a leaky fountain into a succulent planter.  We obtained hardy succulents locally and they wintered over beautifully with minimal winter protection. We use portulaca to add color and textural interest;  the leaves and blooms are so similar to a succulent, many people don't recognize them outside of their usual spot in the cottage garden. Shown here is one side of the fountain base.
Climber New Dawn (center, pale pink), Climbing Blaze (left, red), Clotilde Soupert (center, small pale pink and whtie polyantha climber in background), elephant hosta, Red Drift rose, and catmint (foreground) greet you as you enter the back gardens.

Looking down on the water garden.
The large flowered climber Eden and Stella D'Oro daylilies are in bloom just in time for the tour.
Looking across the formal garden to the tree grove.  Oops, we need to sweep the walks before our weekend guests arrive!
Disclaimer:  Although we highly recommend them, please know that this post is not a compensated advertisement for Country Gardens.  We wrote this to showcase and promote the water garden tour and to invite our  blog followers and friends to drop by this weekend.  Other than being very satisfied, long-time customers, we have no personal relationship with any of the staff at Country Gardens.  This is our tenth season with a water garden and since we first built our pond, we have benefited enormously from their superb advice and guidance.  They are full-service water garden specialists and Bill and Lisa, the pond experts, are always available with a smile and an answer to any question you might have.  Moreover, they've been there in a flash whenever we've needed an emergency professional consultation. You can count on them for prompt, exceptional service, reasonable prices, and superb quality.  


  1. Kathy and Steve,
    Thanks so much for the invitation, though we already have other plans for the weekend. I enjoyed my little stroll through the gardens (photos) just now and remember them well from our visit when you hosted a FOC pawty. I'm sure that everyone who visits your gardens this weekend will be in awe of the serene setting that is your "yard." Be well. Judi Albarano

  2. Cathy & Steve your roses are ever so beautiful.

    1. Thanks so much! And thanks for coming by for a virtual tour. ;)

      We had a gorgeous day for the tour and lots of visitors. I had many plants on the Give Away cart already but still spent a fair amount of time digging up pieces of this and that for people who visited, which is always fun -- so nice to see someone get excited about a plant they either haven't seen or haven't been able to get, and to be able to share it.

  3. Cathy and Steve, I was just about to say I hope your open day went well but I have the answer above. When I see what you have done I find myself wishing I was brave enough to say goodbye to the grass in our main area of the back garden. In fact I just called Myra over to take a look over my shoulder, very impressed and she shares my feelings.

    1. Alistair, the best way I can explain it is to say that losing your lawn is sort of like losing your hair. It's easier when you do it a little at a time, but as the guys who shave their heads say, once you go bald, you never go back.

      We started with just the formal garden, tree grove (when it was more like a twig garden - oh so pathetic-looking that first year! - and one small cottage bed in the front.

      Every year we've added one or a few beds. Although the basic design and the bones have remained the same, the garden itself has evolved and changed significantly over time as we've learned more about what works in our yard and as we've learned what we really like. (I never thought I would end up with 230 roses -- I remember when we were bragging that we had 75 and thought THAT was a lot LOL!)

      When I designed it, I had a better idea than I realized about what I wanted and for the most part, the design is laid out exactly as the first drawings I made on graph paper. Some of the plants have changed a wee bit, the kitchen garden on the deck has taken on a life of its own (all of our vegetables are up there now), and I finally gave up trying to have a lavender variety bed, but as far as how the beds are placed, it has remained virtually true to my original drawings.

      As we added beds, we just kept digging up a bit more grass with each one. We now have a narrow strip of grass behind the gazebo, most of which we will leave in place, as it's our main path between the shed and the gate to the side and front beds. It takes about 6 minutes to mow it, if you move slowly LOL.

      Thanks so much for dropping by -- we would love for you and Myra to REALLY drop by sometime!

      Cathy and Steve


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Everyone else, do have a great gardening day!