A Good Home, Flowers, Garden Humour, Gardening, Home, Humour, Life in canada, Lifestyle, Nature, Poetry

Nature, The Boss Lady

Some gardeners will

Their flowers place

According to their measure

Blog Photo - Garden - Low flowers in front of tulips

Tall ones in back

Short ones in front

‘Tis best for viewing pleasure

 *

I wish I could

Claim this is what

Takes place in my own garden

*

But that would be

A lie from me

I’d have to beg your pardon

Blog Photo - Garden short flowers in front forget-me-nots

It started out

In this way, yes

All was in perfect order

Blog Photo - Garden short plants

But I forgot

To see what’s what

And Nature changed the border

Blog Photo - Garden Tall Flowers Everywhere

So now the tall ones

Bloom in front

While short ones hide behind them

Blog Photo - Garden Tall flowers in front

And if I want

To see most flow’rs

I have to go and find them.

Blog Photo - Garden Tall flowers gone wild

***

Dedicated to all who think they can perfectly control a garden. And to those who know better.

Cynthia Reyes Copyright August 2014

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A Man in Love With a House – Pt. 2 in the Ebor House Series

The moment Ron Coffin saw Ebor House,  he was smitten.

Blog Photo - Ebor House

“It was for sale for a couple of years and a friend said I should see it. I saw it and said, ‘My God!’ I fell absolutely in love with it.”

Blog Photo - Ebor House Entrance

Never mind the weed-choked acreage surrounding the grand old house and barn.

Blog Photo - Ebor House overgrown lawn

And the nearly derelict rooms inside.

Blog Photo - Ebor House derelict Room 1

The cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and spaces crammed with old contents.

The stuffy, old-house smell.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Derelict Room 3

Ron was a man in love.

**

That was 8 years ago.

Today it’s a remarkably beautiful place.

I first saw Ebor House recently, and was so impressed, I asked Ron to share his house’s story. Days later, we sat in his refurbished kitchen, sipping our coffee as Ron reflected on his decision to restore the property.

“What possessed you — to take on such a daunting task?” I asked.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Kitchen and side door

“In life there are things you have to do. Some people have to climb Everest. I had to do this.”

Blog Photo - Ebor House Ron Smiling

Ron, a single parent, has four children and a dog. He also ran his own business. But he had “a huge interest in Canada’s architectural heritage and how it fits into its time” and he loved both the house and its location in historic Bond Head in Newcastle, Ontario.

“It’s like being in another world here. You even have to go through a series of entrances to get to this home. The first entrance is a bridge that you have to go under when you leave the highway. Then there are the gates to the property. Then there are 2 entry doors before you can come into the house.”

Blog Photo - Ebor House Gates

Ron had a vision of the house at its best.

He decided to do some of the restoration work by himself.

“I made the common mistake of plastering the walls and painting, then realized the roof was leaking”, he said. “The house also needed all new plumbing, heating and wiring. So I had to rip out some of that work and start again.”

Luckily, the seller still had the architectural drawings from 1867,  the year Canada became a nation. (Construction started in 1868 and Ebor House was completed in 18 months.)  Those drawings convinced Ron that he was on the right track.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Dining Room full

Some chandeliers and furniture  – such as this Jacques & Hay sideboard on the right – were in the house in 1869. Ron bought other furnishings – including lighting, paintings, mirrors, and other furniture — after meticulous research.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Green Room with portait and walls and furniture

Sometimes he felt like a detective trying to solve a mystery.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Living Room

The house and grounds provided clues.

The pantry doors were found in the barn. Old pennies were found under the lawn.  The pennies, found together,  likely fell from someone’s pocket during a picnic, Ron thinks.

Blog Photo - Ebor House back lawn

Blog Photo - Ebor House Canadian penny 1858

The more Ron learned, the better he understood how people lived in the late 1800’s and early 20th century.

Blog Photo - Ebor House entrance inside

“One thing I learned was how the double front doors were used. On days when the family was receiving guests, they’d open the outer door, while the inside door was closed. That would signal that visitors were welcome.”

He also became deeply interested in the Farncombs, who built the house and lived here for more than 130 years. Theirs was a remarkable story of great success and happiness, as well as heartbreaking tragedy.

**Watch for Part 3: The Farncombs.

A Good Home, Architecture, Bond Head, Canadian life, Canadiana, Canadians, Country Living, Country roads, Farncomb Family History, Gardens, Heritage Homes, Historic Bond Head, historic neighborhoods, Home, Homes, Lakeside living, Life in canada, Lifestyle, Marina, neighborhoods, Newcastle, Ontario, Outdoor Living

Lost Without a Clue – Pt. 1, the Ebor House Series

I kid you not: I could get lost in a room. 

So – naturally – I got lost while coming home from an appointment in a nearby town.

Blog Photo - Bond Head main street

The key to getting lost graciously is to act as if where you’ve ended up is where you’d meant to go all along. But I was too agog at where I’d ended up to even pretend to be gracious. My mouth fell open.

Blog Photo - Bond Head Whtie fence and flowersIn no time at all, I’d gone from modern streets and brand-new neighborhoods to this old country road and a feeling that I’d time-traveled into the 1800’s. Beautiful old houses flanked both sides of the road.

Blog Photo - Bond Head White House1

And I knew, without being told, that some of these homes had belonged to certain local families for generations. It was that kind of place.

Blog Photo - Bond head grey hosue between trees

Most were surrounded by expansive grounds with big old trees…

Blog Photo - Bond Head Grey House and Lawn

Sweeping lawns and glorious gardens.

Blog Photo - Bond Head GRey House 3

On the lake side of the street, were more gardens, houses and infinite vistas….

Blog Photo - Bond Head Bayard and lake

Parkland and beaches and families at play….

Blog Photo - Bond head family playing by lake

Boats at the marina…

Blog Photo - Bond head marina boats in bg

People fishing…

Blog Photo - Bond Head Marina, Boats and Man fishing

Where on earth was I?

Blog Photo - Bond Head Boats at marina

Not one to panic till I’d run out of options, I kept going…  and thought I’d seen that enormous old tree just a minute or so before I turned…

Blog Photo - Bond Head huge tree and fence

So I turned around again and kept going…..

Blog Photo - Bond head lake shot

And discovered a sign…..

Blog Photo - Bond Head sign

Historic Bond Head.

I’d never heard of it.

Later, I’d learn that Bond Head, formerly known as Port Newcastle, was once a thriving harbour, with ships ferrying cargo to and from Quebec, Toronto to the west, Kingston to the east and various American ports.

In 1856, Bond Head and the neighboring village merged under the name of Newcastle. The overall region is now known as Clarington.

But right now, I was just busy being lost.

And then I saw a strangely beautiful old house.

This house must have a great story, I thought.

And this is how I met a man named Ron, whose historic home had belonged to generations of an illustrious Bond Head family which counted as relatives two Lord Mayors of London, England, and had a big impact on the life of many Canadians, including themselves.

I’ll introduce Ron, his house and the family to you in my next post.

Stay tuned.

**

Dedicated to lovers of history everywhere, including residents of Bond Head and Newcastle in Ontario.

 © 2008 CSR

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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.  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.