A Good Home, Amaryllis in Bloom, An Honest House, Architectural Conservancy, Architecture, Architecture and Design, Authors, Bond Head Harbour, Country Homes, Family Stories, Heritage Homes, Historic Bond Head, historic neighborhoods, Homes

This, That and The Ebor

 

There’s this: a crop of summer-blooming Amaryllis, a huge flower that normally blooms in winter — unless you’re like me and forgot the bulbs in the cold room until recently….Blog Photo Red Amaryllis2

Blog Photo Amaryllis Red and White

Then there’s this darling photo of Mr. D. and Mr. JC. 

Blog Photos JC and Dawson

Then – for a change of pace – these two vintage cars….

Blog Photo Ebor House doors open 16 jpgEH

In front of my favorite 17-room mansion, Ebor House…

You may remember that time I got lost and ended up sipping tea in a stranger’s kitchen in his beautiful old mansion…. 

Ebor House was built in 1868 by the Farncombs, a remarkable English-Canadian family which counted two Lord Mayors of London, England, as close relatives.

Blog Photo Doors Open Ebor House

Well, there I was at Ebor House again last Saturday, and this time, for a very different reason.

Ebor House was a highlight of Doors Open Clarington.  The architectural conservancy event features many beautiful heritage buildings in Clarington. And I was the author guest, invited to speak about my books, share my knowledge of Ebor House and also the Farncombs’ history.

Blog Photo Farncomb Legresley

While I was in one room, “Farnie”, great-grandson of the Farncombs, was in another room, charming visitors with tales of growing up at Ebor House. He inspired me to keep going: his energy was so radiant! 

Well over a thousand visitors — including a few cyclists- visited Ebor House. 

Blog Photo Doors Open Cynthia

It was a lovely day.

The volunteers (including Leo Blindenbach, who was in charge of the Ebor House site) were organized and gracious — as were the owners, Andrea and Nav.

Thanks to MaryAnn Isbister, whose excellent work turned my 6-part blog series on Ebor House into a full colour booklet for the event. Organizers Bernice Norton, Marilyn Morawetz, Leo and the rest of the team should be very proud! 

Bravo, all of you!

 

 

 

 

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A Good Home, Canadian Homes, Canadian life, Family Moments, Family Stories

What Did You Do With My Mother?

I sat on the rug in the family room, concentrating on the needle in my hand.

Without turning, I could tell that my daughter was standing in the doorway to the kitchen.

“What are you doing, Mum?” she asked.

“I’m darning the rug. It’s got a few holes and I’m trying to mend them.”

“Who are you?” she asked.

Unasked, but loud nonetheless, was her follow-up question: “And what did you do with my mother?”

Some of you know this rug. It’s the one that was on our verandah. We suspect it’s about 100 years old. But how many things do you know that have retained their gorgeous colour (despite the threadbare spots and holes) after 100 years?

blog-photo-verandah-chairs

But I digress.

I’m not a do-it-yourselfer. I have ten thumbs and no talent.

But it was a great day in my world:  pain no worse than usual; speech clear; best of all, my daughter was here. It was like winning the lottery.

Plus, the lady in the yarn store was sure I could mend the rug.

“I even lost the two sets of yarn I’d bought here”, I confessed. 

She smiled and reassured me yet again.

Back at home, I threaded the huge needle and pulled the wool over the hole, criss-cross. It looked awful. My mother’s voice popped into my head: “You need a patch of fabric.”

Of course.

I asked my husband: “Have you a thick old sock? Something I can cut up?”

We found one. Its colour almost perfectly matched that section of the rug. I cut out a chunk, put it under the hole and started mending.

And that’s what I was doing when my daughter spied me.

But when she came closer to inspect, even she was impressed.

If a bit speechless.

**

Book Cover Promo - Coming Soon

 

 

 

 

A Good Home, Family Moments, Family Stories

Mama Said…

Some of Mama’s sayings confused the daylights out of us children. These tended to be the old Jamaican/British proverbs or parables.

If we saw our mother looking worried about something, and asked her what was wrong, she might tell us this story:

“Little Pig said to Mama Pig: ‘Mama, why is your snout so long?'”

“Mama Pig replied: ‘Ah, m’child. You’re growing up, one day you will find out for yourself.'”

Photo Credit publicdomainpictures.net

Credit: publicdomainpictures.net

What kind of answer was that?  And I didn’t like the idea of being compared to pigs. But she never explained what she meant.

In later years, I figured it out:

1: It was ‘adult business’ that was worrying her – we were too young for her to share it with us.

2: The troubles of life can make a person weary and ragged. Sometimes it’s hard for a child to understand.  But, when we grew up, we would.

At least, that’s what I think she meant.

 

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

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.