My summer road trip began in Mesa, AZ and went as far east as Niagara Falls, Ontario, CA. I’d heard about the beauty and power of Niagara Falls since I was a kid, but this was my first look. The center of the Niagara River marks the border between the US and Canada. It is overwhelming to see the volume of water cascading over the falls. All my years of living in a desert landscape makes the exposure to swift moving rivers, great lakes, and the accompanying bridging structures quite startling. Everywhere you look there is water moving, alongside the road you are traveling, and then surprise, the location you are seeking is across yet another bridge. It is difficult to imagine living around so much water, there is moisture in the air, plants grow in abundance, and trees are everywhere. The change in landscape was demonstrated so clearly in the two gardens I explored, one on each side of the Falls.
Hatley Castle, on the grounds of Hatley Park Royal Roads University in Colwood, Vancouver Island, BC
Once upon a time on a beautiful summers’ day my fantasy of walking in a perfect garden came true. I entered an Italian style garden through a wisteria covered stone loggia (covered corridor). Pink roses climbed the loggia columns adding a bright color accent. A lawn formed a promenade to walk through the garden, with flower beds symmetrical in both color and shape surrounding the lawn. In each corner of the lawn stood a large floral urn. Boxwood hedges shaped the lines of the garden. A stone wall provided pattern and texture behind the flowers.
“A Garden is a perpetual reminder that there are no shortcuts to the important things in life”.– Princess Peggy Abkhazi
In Victoria, BC there are many fabulous gardens. The Abkhazi garden is an acre heritage site tucked away in a residential area of Victoria. This garden situated on a rocky ridge overlooks the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic mountains. Peggy and Nicholas Abkhazi built this garden over a period of 40 years as an expression of their shared joy.
The Alma Van Dusen perennial garden was in full bloom this July day.
The bed is a large oval shape with a path meandering through it. The highlight is the delphiniums which easily grew 8’ high. An unobtrusive bamboo frame helped hold these huge stalks upright. The flowers were in 3 shades of blue ranging from very dark to light.