Delusions of Grandeur

Autumn is the season of pumpkins.

The Northern Ontario Agri-Food Education and Marketing folks have a giant pumpkin contest.

Here are their photos of two previous winners.

Blog Photo - Pumpkin Giant and Children

So now I’m wondering if I should enter the pumpkin my husband and I grew this year.

What do you think?

Peach on left, Pumpkin on right

We planted 2 vines this year, and only this one pumpkin, above, survived. Next to the peach, it’s enormous.

It’s a matter of perspective.

And I’m declaring our pumpkin a giant.

Blog Photo - Pumpkin Giant from our Garden 2

If you’d like to grow slightly larger pumpkins, see Pumpkin Fest:

“July 1st-20th – watch for male and female flowers, cover these flowers with plastic baggies and when female opens (only for a couple of hours one day), pollinate the female by cutting male flowers from the plant and gently rubbing the pollen all over the segments in the female flower. (Re-cover to stop insect cross pollination). If you only have one plant and are not concerned about preserving the lineage of your pumpkin’s genetic line, you can let the bees do this work for you.”

Obviously, our giant pumpkin managed quite well without such advice.

But maybe next year….

**

Dedicated to pumpkin growers everywhere.

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Filed under A Good Home, Giant Pumpkins, Pumpkins

A Family’s Labour of Love

Photos by Hamlin Grange

One of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever seen grows behind a very modern house not far from Toronto’s downtown.Blog Photo - Mary's Garden Long shot from lower level

A lush, hidden garden in a world of its own.

A place where tall trees loom into the sky, water flows peacefully, plants thrive and a discovery waits around every corner.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden Steps and Trees

The garden is the ‘labour of love’ of Mary and Bob and their family. (Mary is on the right, below.)

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden Mary and CR

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden Cat

While there’s no doubt that Mary provides the driving passion behind the garden (and loves nothing better than working in it) Bob and daughter Adrianne also play central roles.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden structure 1

“Bob built the arbor and pergola and has been so supportive of my passion,” Mary says.

Bob, right, shows a visitor the garden

Bob, right, shows a visitor the garden

“My Adrianne has been a big part of the creation. She is an incredible artist and we love when her time permits for us to work together on the garden.”

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden Japanese forest grass and hosta

Mary describes the garden as “a canvas on which we have the privilege of unleashing our creativity”.

And what a work of art.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden right side

Japanese maples of different kinds – more than two hundred of them – weave through the garden, as do Japanese forest grass, hosta and other interesting plants.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden Japanese forest grass

Their foliage and colour contribute to the texture of the garden from spring to fall.

Hundreds of tropical plants thrive in the pool area, seeming completely at home.

Blog Photo - mary's Garden Visitors

Water features add to the feeling of peace here.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden stream

There are ponds.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden water lilies and fish

Waterfalls.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden Waterfall 2

And a water wall.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden with waterfall and Japanese maples

It is surprising to find a garden of this size and kind so close to downtown Toronto. Equally surprising: this garden is less than 6 years old.

The family was fortunate to have very large trees and more than an acre of land, but they had to start the garden from scratch.

Under the shade of the trees, and in many sunny spaces, the garden changed and evolved over those years.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden Pool and Grounds

You can see it many times and still find something new to admire every time.

New plants, new trees, new structures.

Which may explain why friends beg to tour the garden every time they visit.

And gardening magazines love producing features about it.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden begonia

Mary talks about her family’s creation with a gardener’s passion. There’s wonder and delight in her voice and on her face when she stops to look at a new development.

A late-season rose.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden Single Rose

A passion-flower, giving one of its first blooms near the end of summer.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden Passion flower

The fragrance of a gardenia.

Blog Photo - Mary's Garden White flower

“I love this garden!” Mary says. “It comes from our family’s heart.”

 **

Dedicated to the artist in all of us.

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Filed under A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Canadian life, Family Stories, Flowers, Gardens, Homes, Inspiration, Japanese Maples, Trees, Tropical Gardening in Canada