The purpose of Ann’s Garden is to maintain a cottage-style garden in memory of Barbara Ann Jardine (1923-1991).
About half of this garden is in full sun whereby mature conifers provide shade for the rest. However, the combination of heavy clay soil and large trees generates a difficult soil environment that ranges from saturated to very dry. Regular hand-watering is frequently necessary to supplement the pop-up irrigation system. Leaf mulch in the fall and steer manure mulch in the spring help maintain consistent soil moisture as well as providing nutrients and weed control.
This is a genuine memorial garden in that it utilizes plants that Ann Jardine loves and carries on Ann’s own gardening style. In addition to serving as a memorial, the garden also serves as model for homeowners with moderate gardening skills and aspirations. It is not large and does not include unusual or difficult-to-maintain plants.
Cottage gardens are casual rather than formal and are productive as well as attractive. Thus, you will find herbal and food plants as well as the flowers. There are a lot of plants in a relatively small space, and you may see plants growing through one another.
Although Ann’s garden is primarily a summer garden, winter seed heads and berries, evergreen foliage and early spring bulbs provide some year-round interest. The basic design involves a set of larger structural plants that define spaces and provide the backdrop for a wide variety of other plants.
Major structural plants start with three naturally occurring Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). This vertical, conical element continues, on a smaller scale, with plants from three genera of the Cupressaceae family (Thuja, Juniperus and Chamaecyparis).The use of a horizontal variety of juniper brings our focus back to the ground.
Flowering shrubs include:-
- Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’
- Lace cap hydrangea (Hydrangea mariesi ‘Perfecta’).
Challenges of Ann’s Garden
It is difficult to get plants to grow under mature forest trees. Here the challenge has been nicely met with:-
- sword fern (Polystichum munitum)
- salal (Gaultheria shallon)
- barrenwort (Epimedium x versicolor)
- two varieties of sedum
- a variety of bulbs.
Flowers in Ann’s Garden
Spring bulbs in this garden are those that provide flowers from February into May. The bulb flowers start the year with snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), move through crocus and daffodils and ends with tulips. These bulbs provide a lot of early bloom without too much effort. Gardeners need to remove foliage and old blossoms after flowering. Also, gardeners will divide the bulbs every three to four years.
Roses are pretty much obligatory in cottage gardens, but the three varieties here are not doing well and will probably need replacing with more disease resistant varieties.
There are two flowering climbers:-
- Clematis montana is a vigorous, deciduous perennial that gardeners tend to grow up the trunks of the Douglas-fir trees. Clematis has numerous, vanilla-scented, light pink blossoms in mid-spring.
- The annual sweet pea (Lathynus odoratus) is also fragrant, and provides color for several months providing gardeners deadhead the spent blossoms
Vegetables and Herbs
The vegetables in Ann’s garden vary from year to year. In addition the herbs in Ann’s garden include:-
- lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- two varieties of sage (Salvia officinalis)
- thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
- golden oregano (Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’)
- borage (Borago officinalis).
Self-seeders provide a good return on gardening investment.
In Ann’s garden there are also the following flowers:-
- Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
- Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea )
- Hardy geraniums (Geranium sp.)
- Mullein (Verbascum sp.)
- Forget-me-nots (Myosotis scorpioides)
- Snapdragons (Antirrhinum sp., yarrow (Achillea sp.), Verbena bonariensis, Centaurea montana and Aquilegia sp.
Cottage gardens have a wide variety of plants and many plants are cared for through entire life cycles. Thus, maintenance requires good plant knowledge and a moderate time commitment. However, these gardens also have built into them a basic approach that gardeners have developed over the centuries to reduce their workload.
The key elements of this approach are to stay alert for opportunities and to keep things informal. With a constantly shifting pattern of self-seeding plants, flowers, seed heads, berries, etc., one can allow what is attractive and useful to remain while removing the unattractive bits. The informal, even crowded, element keeps the occasional weed or spent flower from being too obvious.
This garden was established and is currently maintained by the Jardine family. Family support includes both garden labour and financial contributions for both plants and professional gardener services.
Return to Home Page