On the second day of the 2015 Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto we visited The Parkwood Estate: "an autobaron’s home of inspiration & innovation." An "autobaron"... really? Yes as it turns out... Parkwood is a National Historic Site and the former home to R.S. "Sam" McLaughlin of General Motors. Well okay then, an autobaron. We enjoyed a lovely lunch next to the pool and afterwards wandered the grounds. But first...
We arrived early, and were led into a sort of waiting room, where we waited. I believe we were waiting for the staff who wasn't quite ready for us. The wait wasn't entirely unwelcome, as some of us needed to unpack and don our headgear. You see prior Flings have had planned, and impromptu, "fascinator" breakouts. This year there was an actual challenge issued by Helen, of the Toronto planning committee. Here's Pam (you know Pam) proving she's a southern belle with her big magnolia flower fascinator...(just over her shoulder is Barbara Wise, I wish I would have gotten a better shot of her hat)
This fabulous floral chapeau belongs to Jane.
And yes, this is me and my Agave-based fascinator. I wish I would have gotten more photos of other "Flingers" there were many fabulous creations, but sadly not as many as I'd hoped for...
Waiting over, we were split into groups and toured through the historic home. Truth be told I do not do well on guided tours. It takes every single bit of willpower I have to stay inline and not run (screaming) into the forbidden area.
Ok, I will admit that while the group was ogling a perfectly wonderful deco-styled bedroom I split off and closely inspected the adjoining bathroom. It was fantastic. Have you ever seen glass tile? It was lovely. No photos allowed inside though, so I can't share it with you.
Finally, just about when I couldn't take anymore "guided" we were shown to the outdoors and pointed in the direction of lunch.
Lunch was that way...
We learned something about reason for the leaning shrubs but I'll be jiggered if I can remember what. There were many of them.
That little frog looks fairly pleased with himself, don't you think?
Lunch happened in between that last image and the next. But I didn't take any photos, I will say it was tasty. Door prizes were given away after we finished up, but I didn't win anything.
This is where I remind you that, (in addition to guided tours), I don't like formal gardens. However I will surprise you and say this one, it wasn't so bad. I think because there was such beautiful structure. And rather than mile after mile of formal bedding annuals planted out there was really a lot of green, just green. This ended up being a sort of blank slate upon which I was able to project my own version. How I would garden within the existing structure. It was a fun exercise.
Take this fountain for example. If it were my garden there would be papyrus and water lilies crammed in the upper and lower levels. The semi circle section would be full of pennies, tossed for wishes. Oh wait! They have no pennies in Canada. Nickels then. Five wishes per toss.
There would be some sort of trailing plant along the upper edge, growing downward and obscuring the hard lines.
The geese (ducks? swans?) would stay exactly like this however. I adore them.
Looking back towards the fountain as I climb up and into an entirely different section of the garden.
As was this. All that hard stone in the garden below and now I'm looking at a wooden arch.
Quite a sensory clash.
A former pool maybe, that had been filled in?
This is where I pay the price for letting several weeks elapse between experiencing and writing. I usually keep the brochures I am given, and if that fails look things up on the internet. Sadly I find no brochure (although I'm sure we were given a map, what did I do with it?), and the website is lacking in garden information. I do think this was a pool though, or it should have been.
Color! Wow, yes please. Love orange poppies.
This is maybe the kitchen garden? The walled garden? The Italian garden? I don't remember, although I do know there was a fellow working to plant out the patterned beds...
Kind of fun.
It was so early in the season, the water plants hadn't even begun to grow. I bet by now the water is covered.
So yes, here you see another photo of my fascinator (aka the "agavinator"). I wasn't sure the earlier image was going to turn out (the lighting in the waiting room was horrid) so I asked Shawn of Ravenscourt Gardens if he wouldn't snap an image or two.
I loved this thing. As soon as I read we were encouraged to create something I knew mine had to include an Agave pup. The green moss as a great way to anchor things to the hair comb without seeing the wire. The long thin foliage is from a Dyckia, the serrated foliage is from a Banksia and of course the yellow ball is a Craspedia Globosa. I'm indulging myself with extra coverage because upon going through customs on our way back into the U.S. the whole thing was confiscated. I figured it would happen, but that didn't stop me from hoping I'd return home with it. Really I guess I should just feel fortunate that I made it into Canada with it, since I'd created it at home and carried live (not rooted, no soil!) plant material into Canada.
Moving on...greenhouses! I do love me some greenhouses.
These were the old-deal with big fat pipes bringing hot water in to heat the plants. Well, when there were plants.
This one had plants! Blooming cactus even.
So beautiful, right?
And you know, there's always an Agave, if you look hard enough. Even at an autobaron's estate in Ontario, Canada! (and as it turns out...I didn't have to count the one on my head).
All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.