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In the Garden with Gail and Sam

Right away, you can tell that two avid gardeners live here.

Blog Photo - Gail's garden - implements on tray

These gloves don’t stay idle for long.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden - Covered Porch

Gail and Sam have lived in their home in a city east of Toronto for 25 years.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden - Covered Porch 2

Theirs is a mature, complex garden that is tended conscientiously every day. It has trees, vines, ponds, statuary, gazebos, and plants that grow in the ground and in a multitude of containers.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Buddha

Of course, a gardener’s work is never done. If you’re a gardener, you’ll relate to this moment:

The camera comes out and Gail spies a weed — way, way at the back of the garden.

“Wait!” she says. “Let me remove that weed!” As she pulls one, she finds one more. And one more.

Blog Photo - Gail pulling weeds

A Canadian who was born and raised in Jamaica, Gail has fond memories of the island.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden  Pond closer shot

This garden helps her to keep connected to it.

“We come out here and we’re in Jamaica!” says Gail.

Blog Photo - Gails Garden Gail talks

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Pond - Tree reflected

The garden is also a tribute to her mother, who died several years ago.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden - Ferns over pond CU

Gail is a passionate gardener. Luckily, her husband Sam, of Italian-Canadian background, also loves gardening — and Jamaica.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden water Lily

To see them in the garden is to see a team that works well together.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden - Sam

He does the building and hardscaping (paths, gazebos, trellises, stone walls, ponds, decking, etc.) while she chooses and takes care of the plants.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Wide shot from back

To no-one’s surprise, there’s a banana tree, rescued when the friend who had it was having trouble caring for it.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Rescued Banana Tree

It’s among umpteen tropical plants growing in containers spread throughout the garden.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Taro

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Tropical Plants

Most of them would be quite at home in a Jamaican garden.

Blog Photo - Gail's foliage plants 1

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden table and chairs

There’s even an old copper gallon-jug which was originally used to measure rum at the Appleton estate in Jamaica. Β It belonged to her father, and, thrilled with the historical significance of the jug, Gail was very pleased when her dad gave it to her for her garden in Canada.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Jug - Appleton

Gail’s an active volunteer in Canada’s Jamaican-Canadian community. She was a member of the Toronto committee celebrating Jamaica’s 50th anniversary in 2012 with a variety of cultural events, including concerts, author readings, an art show and other activities. That project is over, but when Gail wants to feel a connection to Jamaica, all she has to do is to step into her garden.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden - wide shot different angle

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden back porch view 2

Thanks, Gail and Sam, for allowing me to visit with you in your beautiful garden.

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56 thoughts on “In the Garden with Gail and Sam”

      1. good afternoon Cynthia, Playing catch up on my emails and post. We are in the northern most upstate of South Carolina living on top of a mountain that is very near the border of North Carolina. Our elevation is 3300 ft., we are in zone 6, so we do get the very cold temperatures, a lot of ice and snow.
        Since last Wednesday evening we have had 3.5 inches of rain and it is still raining on and off today, suppose to stop tomorrow evening. I have you have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

    1. No kidding…. umm… really?
      Did I pay you to say that – knowing me, I might have forgotten… haha…
      OK –
      I actually took almost all of those pix. My favorite is the one of the tree reflected in the pond.

  1. Wow. What a beautiful garden. Gail and Sam clearly have a passion and talent for gardening. It looks very lush, inviting and tropical. Thanks for sharing its beauty with us Cynthia. I bet that was a fun visit. πŸ™‚

    1. It really was, Brad. I like to walk, stop, walk, sit.
      Gail and Sam’s garden was perfect for this, with many places to stroll and sit without getting tired. And the two of them are such calming people with a quick laugh that I felt right at home.

  2. I love the idea that a garden can connect one to memories – both to a past home and to her mother. A beautifully lush garden, I liked the gazebo/pergola and particularly the pond with its reflective qualities.

  3. Me too. These two people are gifted at design, both inside the house and outside in the gardens. Their front garden is also a sight to behold, but that in itself would require a whole separate story!
    Memories: you’re so right. I really like the way the garden connects Gail to memories of her mother, as well as her homeland.

  4. Thank you for your wonderful visit Cynthia and especially for presenting the garden so beautifully! Sometimes it’s hard to see past the work involved. In answer to the question about where does the banana tree live in the winter – in our insulated garage along with many of the taros and cannas!

  5. I like this post of yours; written in a relaxed style that suits the gorgeous garden. I have a plant question: what is the variegated leaf plant in the (I think) 14th photo? Large arrow shaped leaves of light and dark green in the large woven pot. I like this one very much.

  6. You are correct Cynthia, the plant Claire asked about is the Colocasia β€˜mojito.’ I love taros for their unusually variegated leaves and grow several varieties each year. Once the frost comes I trim off the leaves (or say I will and most times never get to it) and stash the pots in the garage. In the late spring once danger of frost is gone we haul them outside in a spot that gets morning sun and water until I see new leaves spouting – most times they are already anxious to get outside and will have been “waking” up on their own!

  7. How lucky you are to have all of these friends with beautiful gardens, home renovations, and other fun stuff going on! The photos are great, the greenery lovely, and the words perfect. I loved this!

  8. What a wonderful virtual world we live in!Thank you everyone for your kind words and thank you Cynthia for thinking our very small piece of serenity was worth sharing and for presenting it so beautifully both in words and pictures.

  9. Thank you again for yet another beautiful garden. With winter a distant memory I can take all of this for granted. I will have to come back to this when the North winds blow again.

  10. Lush and lovely and blessed with a touch of the tropics. The gardener here at the marina creates lovely containers full of flowers each year. This year I complimented him on their beauty.
    “What about the banana trees?” he asked.
    I laughed. “They remind me of home,” I said. Home. It just slipped out. How strong our connections to the places and plants of our (now faraway) youth!
    Thank you for another reminder of that connection.

    1. Margaret, I understand completely. As you know, I write extensively about ‘home’ in its various forms and states. What seems to be always fixed and singular can indeed be plural and changing. But always, there seems to be a ‘home feeling’ that is unmistakable. For me, that feeling is so deep in my belly, that when a reminder comes along, I don’t know whether to cry or laugh from the wonder and memory of it.

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