A labour of love. Lots of labour…lots of love. The Handyman built me an English secret garden over the past five years. I can’t wait for spring so I’m jumping ahead a few months.
As the Okanagan is so hot and dry in summer, the best way to re-create England was to do so in a contained area that could have heaps of compost and good soil and be efficiently irrigated. The soil is very sandy here so this step was key.
My ultimate garden is one where you can shove your hand into rich loamy soil up to your elbow. I’ve been working hard amending the soil every year to keep it that way.
Handyman can do pretty much anything with some rental equipment. The garden is located on what was a hill. We, well…he raised it even more and levelled it before installing cedar fencing around the perimeter.
He built this round gate in the garage in the winter and installed it the first spring we were here. I’ve toyed with painting it to emphasize the roundness but am still deciding. It’s awaiting a latch of some kind as well.
Stuff grows like Jack’s magic beanstalk with the good soil, proper irrigation and the protection from the wind. I’ve never seen anything like it. After moving from Calgary with its challenging gardening conditions its hard to have any discipline or order. I have a tendency to plant some of everything so it’s an editing work in progress.
Here’s just a few more photos for now. I’ll revisit the garden soon when the bulbs start blooming.
“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.” Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.
“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?” … “It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…” Frances Hodgson, The Secret Garden.
“The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place.” Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.
February 26, 2016 at 3:28 pm
This is the most beautiful garden I have seen in a long while. Oh, I wish I could do something like it here. Alas, so much shade in my backyard, soil so sandy I often find small ancient seashells in it, and a humid summer. Not to mention gnats. But your garden is gorgeous. (P.S. I also loved your blog about Julia & Paul Child’s french bread. There is no one like her.)
February 26, 2016 at 3:43 pm
Thanks! You have made my day! I have a special attachment to Julia. My dad watched her TV shows and loved her. I didn’t get it at the time but I sure do now. Heading out to the garden to do clean up. Pine needles everywhere…
February 26, 2016 at 4:41 pm
Wow! Wow! Wow! You have an amazing gorgeous garden! Looks like it could be in a magazine!
February 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm
Thanks! It has inspired me to get outside and do some clean up out there today.
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February 26, 2016 at 8:09 pm
OMG … this is my second attempt to leave a comment because I don’t use WordPress any more .. but never mind that !
Your garden is absolutely GORGEOUS !! .. I am in love with the round gate (you lucky devil your husband is so handy!) … and the wooden ‘tube” area for superwoman ! LOL .. all the secret nooks and crannies are wonderful : )
The plantings are perfect … I love it all and now will have to come back for ideas from YOU ! … but yes to your question … you need some lamb’s ears in little pockets of surprises : ) I think they would be great.
This secret garden is perfection … I would love to see it in person one day .. we all know seeing in person is such a different experience from pictures … you can really drink up the atmosphere.
Joy (Kingston ON) … so cold and snowy here yet !
February 26, 2016 at 8:15 pm
Plan a wine tour out here and come for ice tea in the garden. Thanks for taking the trouble to comment. It can be frustrating with all the different methods. Kingston is beautiful too. Lots of lovely historic houses.
February 26, 2016 at 8:12 pm
Oh Elaine, here in Canmore, the sun is shining bright but the gardens, what few there are in this tough climate, are buried under about 2 feet of dirty icy snow. Your photos of the Secret Garden are like a long drink of a favourite beer after a long bike ride, or a perfect merlot after a supremely good meal, or plunge into Lake Okanagan on a hot summer day. YUM.
February 26, 2016 at 8:16 pm
Your comment is poetry! The mountains are amazing too. See you in the summer!
February 26, 2016 at 9:41 pm
Glad you didn’t keep it a secret forever!
February 26, 2016 at 11:15 pm
August 4, 2017 at 5:38 pm
The spinning gate is amazing. I wonder if you have more pictures or a description of how it is built? I’d love to do something like this!
August 4, 2017 at 9:32 pm
I will talk the handyman into some description and take some more shots….I will get back to you