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.
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.
The garden is the ‘labour of love’ of Mary and Bob and their family. (Mary is on the right, below.)
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.
“Bob built the arbor and pergola and has been so supportive of my passion,” Mary says.
“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.”
Mary describes the garden as “a canvas on which we have the privilege of unleashing our creativity”.
And what a work of art.
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.
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.
Water features add to the feeling of peace here.
There are ponds.
And a water wall.
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.
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.
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.
A passion-flower, giving one of its first blooms near the end of summer.
The fragrance of a gardenia.
“I love this garden!” Mary says. “It comes from our family’s heart.”
Dedicated to the artist in all of us.