niagara spring garden tour photo marilyn cornwell

Garden Tours with Frank Kershaw

Return to Niagara Spring Garden Tour
Thursday, May 26, 2016
8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Public $150; Members $140


Spring in the Niagara area is special with early abundant bloom in fabulous garden destinations. The 2016 tour features new gardens that are sure to educate and inspire. We depart from the TBG at 8:30 am and travel to Grimsby Beach a unique historic community on the Lake Ontario shoreline. With early 1870 origins, as a Methodist summer church camp and 20th century fame as a summer tourist destination, it has evolved into a unique residential community. Its gingerbread decorated houses and intimate gardens are a sight to behold. We will enter several gardens in the village as well as street- side view many front yards along with its historic Auditorium Circle and waterfront path. Learn about the fascinating history of this one-of-a-kind community. Our next stop is a short distance away along the lakeshore with a beautifully detailed house and matching gardens. This lakeside property has panoramic views of Lake Ontario and extensive collections of specimen trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs in terrace beds and front gardens. Our last morning stop is a large, prestigious property on the flanks of the Niagara Escarpment. This garden features mature plantings, extensive hostas and wildflower gardens, a stream- side garden, stone bridge, garden architecture and mature forested areas bordering the Niagara Escarpment. This garden displays a seamless integration of nature and garden.

Lunch today will be at the Lake House a very popular stop on previous year’s ‘tours. Great food, service and spectacular lake views define this venue.

In the afternoon, we will travel above the Niagara Escarpment towards the Binbrook and Cayuga areas. Our first stop is The Potting Shed in Dunnville which offers the complete garden experience: a comprehensive garden centre, gift shop, propagation beds, beautiful display gardens (includes spectacular sculptures by one of the owners) and several garden ponds. If this is not enough, there are some very friendly farm animals that always welcome visitors. Our visit will provide the opportunity to purchase a wide variety of fabulous perennials (hostas and day lilies a specialty), shrubs, ornamental grasses or perhaps a unique gift from the gift shop. The owners have also agreed to give us a tour of their private gardens, which is a special treat. Last, but not least, is another large country garden in the Cayuga area. Designed, developed and maintained by the owners. This garden, which has been featured in many garden magazines, is a plant paradise with vast collections of woody and herbaceous plants, a large lily pond, vegetable garden and many interesting whimsical recyclables.

Today’s garden visit will be special provide lasting memories and much to talk about on the way back to Toronto.

Photo courtesy of Marilyn Cornwall


Stillwaters Plate and Pour Restaurant

Gardens of Ayr, Paris and Brantford
Thursday, June 9, 2016
8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Public $145; Members $135


Today’s garden adventure departs from the TBG at 8:30 a.m. visiting a variety of gardens in Ayr, Paris and Brantford Ontario. Noted for the scenic Grand and Nith Rivers, historic stone and cobble homes, tree-lined streets and a diversity of garden types, this tour has a lot to offer the garden traveller. Our first two gardens are in Ayr, Ontario south of Cambridge. One of the gardens borders the Nith River and contains a broad range of ornamental grasses, roses, woodland, bog and water garden plants. The owner has over three decades of occupancy and has imparted many personal touches and collectables throughout the garden. Nearby is our second garden which borders a pristine creek noted for its trout and salmon runs. Wrap-around gardens welcome the visitor through an allee of ferns and ground covers to the scenic lookouts and gardens bordering the stream.

Next, we travel to nearby Paris, Ontario and  additional gardens. The first garden situated on one of Paris main streets occupies a strategic corner location surrounded by gardens and hedges for privacy. This garden has a romantic air with its ornate furniture, lighting, garden structures and colourful, scented plants. A further garden in Paris designed and maintained by the owners has a distinct cottage garden look, featuring a broad mix of mature shrubs, perennials, garden structure covered in flowering vines.

Lunch today will be in downtown Paris at the popular Stillwaters Plate and Pour Restaurant. Overlooking the Grand River and viewable by a rooftop patio this restaurant is a favourite with locals and tourists

After lunch we visit a Paris garden that oozes Victorian charm and features a series of interconnected garden rooms running to a lookout at the rear of this elongated property. The owners, who are experienced gardeners, grow many of their own plants and have added many unusual trees and shrubs with dramatic form and texture. An ornamental pool with water fall and aquatic plantings adds to its charm. Before leaving Paris we will visit a large garden that features collections of Carolinian trees and shrubs as well as a dogwood collection. Plants are featured in mixed borders that also contain an abundance of full-sun perennials.

Before heading back to Toronto we will  make a stop at a more contemporary house and garden in Brantford. This garden, while relatively new has a mature look. Designed and maintained by the owners it is both extensive and intensive with grand plantings, a water feature, stonework and hillside plantings.

Today’s gardens will leave many memories so don’t forget your cameras.

Photo: Stillwaters Plate and Pour Restaurant




gardens of creemore and schomberg

Gardens of Creemore and Schomberg
Thursday, June 23, 2016
8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Public $145; Members: $135


The tour departs from the TBG at 8:30 a.m. for the rolling hills of Creemore, Ontario and three initial garden stops. The first garden has been a labour of love and inspiration for its owners for some 12 years. It presents a captivating series of linked gardens via garden structures as we move from sunken garden, to Japanese stroll garden, circle garden and water garden. The garden owners have designed and built this fabulous landscape which draws rave reviews from those who have had the pleasure to visit it. Next we travel to the countryside outside of Creemore to visit a spectacular country estate garden. Here the house sits atop a limestone ridge overlooking a waterfall to a grotto pool below. A magnificent rose and clematis pergola traverses the property linking garden areas. Gothic arch walls add to the magic and mystery of this unique garden.  Again, on the outskirts of Creemore, we will visit another large country garden that features richly planted garden terraces with perennial gardens, rock walls and alpines and panoramic views to a spectacular pond. Colourful outbuildings and many planters add to the property’s charm.

Lunch today will be at The Globe Restaurant in Rosemont on Hwy. 89. Well known for its cuisine and hospitality along with period building.

In the afternoon our stops will be in the Schomberg area off Hwy 9. The first stop is downtown and features an intimate garden with Japanese character. Beautifully planted and containing a superb water feature, deck and shade plantings along with colourful front yard, this garden will provide many ideas to think about. The last garden is on the outskirts of Schomberg and features a large award-winning garden. The owner is passionate about plants, a passion which is reflected in the many unusual shrubs, including rhododendrons and azaleas, as well as perennials throughout the property. A large pond with spectacular waterfall is a major attention getter and with good reason given its water lilies, colourful Japanese koi and sculptures.

Today’s trip will like the other tours this year will be very special with so much to see and appreciate.

Photo courtesy of Paul Vorstermans

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