A Marvelously Varied Patchwork of Plants
So let’s travel back in time to early June and the Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto. I’ve done a few posts already about the Fling (this one and this one about the Toronto Islands and then this one about Swansea), but I’ve been holding most of Judy’s photographs in reserve for when our own garden was slowing down.
For this post I want to talk about Marion Jarvies’ garden. Marion gardens on a suburban half acre north of Toronto. She is an enthusiastic plantswoman, a noted educator and speaker on topics horticultural.
Unfortunately we were there when the sunlight was strong enough to make photography a challenge, so please keep that in mind.
Hers is a plant collector’s garden, with a wide selection of irises, alliums, clematis, dwarf conifers, rock garden, and many other types of plants.
At her blog Toronto Gardens, Helen Battersby writes perceptively that a plant collector’s garden is like “a room in a museum.” “You wouldn’t judge the museum collection by standing back and looking at the whole room. You’d step up to the display cases.”
As Helen wrote, a great deal of the pleasure from this garden comes from examining the remarkable variety of plants up close and one by one.
For me, it was simply exciting to be surrounded by so many choice plants combined in one small space.
For example: Lady Slipper Orchids. They have undeniable plant charisma.
Not sure what this is, but it’s cute.
Succulents were not forgotten.
Nor were the peonies.
But I thought this garden was successful as more than just a collection. It fit together like a patchwork quilt, the patches small and varied but with just enough in common to make a striking whole.
There was enough repetition of specific plants, colors, and shapes to provide a sense of unity.
The back garden from a different angle.
And the tension of all that plant diversity was balanced by the water feature, which provided a calm center to the back garden.
There were also some pockets of tranquility to be found, such as this one along the hedge enclosing the back garden.
And here along the side of the house.
This is not a garden I would ever try to replicate on my own little plot of earth. But it is a joyful and invigorating garden, enhanced by Marion’s infectious enthusiasm.