Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Heart Is In It - a Grey County Garden

The other day we visited one of the gardens in the Grey-Bruce Gardens listing that we hadn't seen yet.  The owners call it 'My Heart Is In It', and it's obvious from the enormous work the chief gardener has done that it's true, her heart is in it.  It's about 30 minutes west of here, on the road west of Dornoch for anyone local looking to visit it.  Open to visitors Friday and Saturday 10 - 5.

It's original heart is a beautiful rock garden shown here, built on a wide mound in front of the two barns on the property.  Colourful shrubs in yellow and dark purple provide great colour contrasts with the many other plants, from large low-lying evergreens to tiny rock plants.  Lots of boulders, and tiny scree gravel is used as the mulch.  One of the most attractive rock gardens we've ever seen, and that was just the beginning.

Planting groups were particularly well done to my naive eyes, mixing colours, tall plants at the back and low in front (unlike our own garden, where some judicious transplanting is now needed).  Here four different colours of coneflower are all in bloom, the local farm fields beyond the fence.

Then we turned around and there was a cactus garden no less!  You rarely see more than a few scraggly cactus growing outdoors in Ontario, but this patch featured about 6 different types of cacti, looking very healthy indeed.  They bloomed earlier, but we did find one bloom on the prickly pear to photograph.

An interesting feature were these broken drainage tiles used for planters.We've looked at troughs for this purpose, but they're very expensive, whereas these are broken tiles that come very cheaply from the local plant where they're made.  Great idea we thought, and drove around after to see if we can arrange to get some.  The should be great for the tiny alpine scree plants.

As if they didn't have enough to do with these gardens (there was considerably more than these pictures suggest), they developed another very different woodland garden on the other side of the house.  The path, lined with hostas (and underlain with old carpet to control the weeds), leads you into the woods.

And there, beyond another decorative fence, is the most beautiful large naturalized pond garden I've ever seen.  Quite deep and 50 feet across, it's totally surrounded with plants, with lots of aquatic plants growing in the water.  Truly beautiful.

When you picture a large excavator in here scooping out the soil and creating the pond originally, leaving a large scar in the woods, it's very hard to believe that it has turned out to be so well vegetated.  I haven't been able to think of another country garden with anything remotely similar.

And of course there were lots of flowers.  But my wife is the horticulturalist; I always look for interesting elements of garden design and construction, and just notice the plants in passing.  This garden certainly gave me lots of ideas. 

If you're seriously interested in seeing any of these rural gardens in Grey and Bruce, check out '' for the current info.


  1. Wow, those are beautiful gardens! Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.

  2. I am really impressed with these gardens. Thank you very much for introducing me to them. I'll go look at ruralgardens for more. :-)

  3. Gosh, now that was really pretty. But to see the cactus garden... impressive. Won't see that around here. Much too cool. That's like growing a lemon tree in the backyard! A lovely post!

  4. Oh my goodness those gardens are fabulous and so much work! Wow what a place to take a walk around. Just beautiful!!

  5. Thank you all for visiting. There rare indeed lots of beautiful gardens around here, and we really enjoy checking them out.

  6. Furry, I really enjoyed your tour. What a gorgeous garden! The drainage tile containers are a cool idea. Re the pond scrape, it is amazing how quickly nature reclaims its own, isn't it.