Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Gardener’s Staycation

Edythe Falconer, Ottawa-Carelton

Les Jardins d’Emmarocalles

My Staycation included a group trip to Les Jardins d’Emmarocalles near Ripon, Quebec – about an hour’s drive from downtown Ottawa.  Although the five-acre garden is only six years old it has already expanded to include more than 1500 daylily cultivars and a thousand varieties of perennials.  Divided into twelve different sections or sub-gardens it is aesthetically pleasing and educational with each garden representing a different style and different growing conditions.

Les Jardins is part of a network that exemplifies local self-sufficiency, community building and agri-tourism.  On their own site they cater luncheons that feature locally grown products – fruit, vegetables, cheeses and meats.  They also sell some of the plants they grow.  Within easy reach of each other are sources of goat and sheep-milk cheeses, free range beef and poultry, berries and fruits, maple syrup and locally produced arts and crafts. No 3000 mile products here!
Agri-tourism – Tourism Outaouais – Day trip

Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Beresford-Kroeger is many things – author, renegade scientist, botanist, medical biochemist, speaker, and a major force in movements to reforest the planet. Her primary focus is to collect and preserve rare and endangered species and to that end she travels the world.  In fact, she and her husband were in Russia at the time of our group tour to her large and fairly secluded property.  One of her associates acted as our guide.  It was certainly an interesting and unusual experience.

There is nothing here that feels like being in a conventional garden with the possible exception of the vegetable plot. Everything else looks wild and unplanned.  However contained within this wildness is a considerable collection of rare and endangered species along with many of our old stalwarts.  Here is a fine example of permaculture whereby everything has more than one use, garden needs are supported in more than one way, biodiversity is celebrated and cultivated, native species are more than welcome and biological resources are not hauled off to the nearest dump. Rambling trails wend their way through Diana’s laboratory, knowledge is shared and discussed and an illuminating afternoon was enjoyed by all.


XXXX - My Renewed Romance with Annuals

The welcome “mat” at the front of the house cost a bit up front – literally – but has been worth it in so many ways. Because the harsh looking, heat-radiating tarmac was anything but welcoming and was surplus to our parking needs, I contracted to have five planters installed late last fall. This spring I filled them with mostly annuals and the result has been utter joy.  Ever since they started to bloom pollinators have been swarming the site. The most popular plant is a self-seeded boneset that’s regularly covered with bees, small wasps and flies. I’ve been delighted to see goldfinches on the cosmos – something I wouldn’t have believed possible until I saw it myself.


I could wax poetic about my self-administered course on Ornamental Grasses but enough is enough. I’ve had a very satisfactory Staycation and am pleased to be able to share some of it with you.

No comments:

Post a Comment