A Good Home, Bowmanville, Heritage Trees, Trees

Wondrous Wednesday

This tree, which I ambitiously tried to hug — in my own special lop-sided way — is a mighty oak indeed. It stands tall and wide in the front-yard of a beautiful brick home, and though the home is old, the oak is older.

I recently met the owners of house and tree at their home in the gorgeous heritage district of one of Canada’s nicest small towns: Bowmanville, Ontario. They’ve lived here for decades and have learned much about their home, the town, and of course, the tree.

“It’s more than 300 years old,” the husband told me. “Many people stop to take photos.” 

As did my husband and I.  I’ve even told friends about this tree, and directed them to it!

It is, indeed, a wondrous tree. 


There are other large trees on this beautiful street. Maples, magnificent beeches and others. But none as massive and wondrous as the oak.  Which is ironic as the street is called Beech.

Here’s to the mighty oak!


A Good Home, Maples, Nature, Poetry, Spring, Trees

In Praise of Trees

Blog Photo - Apple Tree and others

The apple blossoms soon will bloom

The lilac fragrance fill my room

Leaf buds will open on large trees

Gardeners will fall upon their knees

Blog Photo - Tree and Shady Garden

Bring forth your green, oh maple grand

Welcome the spring across the land

Whisper to me through rustling leaf

And I shall sigh with great relief

Blog Photo - Trees Woman hugs tree

Bring back your shelter, copper beech

With arms that dare to heaven reach

Bring back your green leaves, walnut friend

And cleanse the air, our bodies mend

Blog Photo - Ebor House back lawn

Give us your shade, oh mighty beings

Cover our spaces with your wings

Shade so the grass becomes a bed

Shade for the place where lies our dead

Blog Photo - Trees and Memorial Stone

Shade for the robin, perched on limb

Nest for the bugs that pester him

Blog Photo - Bird Scratches self For trees are gifts to creatures all

From those who walk to those who crawl.


Dedicated to all my blogger friends.

A Good Home, Trees

Home is Where the Trees Are— A Guest Post

My thanks to Georgeina Knapp for this lovely story.

And to Hamlin Grange for the Photos.


I love trees.

Big or small, deciduous or evergreen.

Blog Photo - Trees Woman hugs tree

There were always trees around our house and to me as a child they seemed very large and very old.  Maybe that’s why I felt so safe around them.

Three old maples stood along the edge of the lawn, like sentries between us and the world.

Blog Photo - Trees three trunks in autumn

Another maple grew at the corner of the garage and along with a giant lilac bush and a cedar made the space between the house and garage a cool quiet, shady haven.

A monumental old apple tree shaded a portion of the backyard and held one end of our clothesline.

Blog Photo - Trees and Apples

A pear tree stood between the apple tree and the house but it met an early fate when its branches snagged onto the clothes line full of laundry — one time too many. My mother did not give anyone many chances — not even a pear tree — if their behaviour didn’t improve.

One tree was special. I loved that tree and our relationship lasted for forty years. ‘Relationship’ may seem a strange word to use about a tree. But this one had a personality and we even had a sort of communication. (I had always been a rather odd child.)

Blog Photo - Trees of Various kinds

The relationship started when my father took us children to the wooded area near our house to pick wildflowers, as he did every spring. This time I found a tiny seedling.

“What is it?” I asked my father.

He explained that  it was a baby cedar. It would grow into a tall tree.

My four year old mind didn’t quite believe it. This was something I had to see for myself.

The baby tree was dug up, carefully brought home and planted in a flower pot.

Month after month, year after year, the little tree flourished. It was eventually planted outside, next to the lumber pile. It grew steadily but was soon in danger from growing too close to the lumber pile so my father moved it to a spot near our back door.

Even through the hot, dry summer days, my tree stayed green.

“That’s no surprise,” my mother pointed out. “It’s close to the well. Its roots have a constant source of water.”

The tree grew fast and was soon as tall, then taller than I. At Christmas we always put lights on it. The first year it held only one light, then each year a few more lights would fit until we had to get more strings of lights to cover it.

Blog Photo - Trees and snow 2

I worried about my tree when ice and snow covered it. If a branch got damaged, I suffered with it. On warm summer days I fussed over it, checking for insects and brown spots.

I loved the beautiful cedar scent.

The years went by.  After my parents died, I had to sell our home. It broke my heart to leave the home I was born in, and to leave my beloved tree.  It was nineteen years before I could return to see our home and my tree.

The house was there but Tree was gone. There was no sign that it had even been there. 

Except in my memory.  I have never forgotten the seedling that grew into a big, beautiful tree and was my friend for decades.


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


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.