My grandparents owned a nursery, so from very early on I had a great opportunity to learn about gardening and plant life. They say a garden is the closest you can get to God, and in some ways I believe it. There is something mystical and awe-inspiring about how flowers bloom and gardens grow.
I take a particular pride in cultivating my gardens – whether at home or at my Muskoka cottage – because they are an extension of me and represent just how much I adore nature. Being surrounded by my lush gardens is what grounds me and surprisingly they don’t take that much work to manage.
My garden at my cottage is as low maintenance as they come, and that’s mostly due to the fact that I won’t spend my whole weekend toiling in the soil! (My dock is far too enticing.) Canadian cottages do have some challenges when it comes to growing a garden: weather, sunlight exposure, temperature fluctuations and even wildlife all play a part in whether your little garden will grow. I first understood this to be true when I was building up my garden at my second home in Arizona. The climate there is brutally hot so I had to really learn and understand how climate affects plants, foliage and flowers. It became my case study for my other gardens!
My advice is to stick with plants, flowers or shrubs that are indigenous to the region you live in. It will make easy work of keeping your gardens well and alive, plus aesthetically it maintains a certain authenticity to the area. You want the garden to look as if it has been here all along.
I love keeping my gardens a bit unkempt with a nice jumble of wildflowers, daisies, hydrangeas and black-eyed Susan’s to yield a bigger impact. Sounds funny, but I wanted it to look massive so it spread across a large area. I also planted rosehips so I could make tea from the bulbs! Cute, right? These flowers will last the whole summer. Even if a few weeds pop up here and there, it just adds to the charm.
Don’t forget trees! Do your research and find out which variety is specific to your area (Apple tree? Birch tree?). They are integral in adding a framework to the garden space.
Our cottage season is short, so why not enjoy it with an inspired landscape that makes you feel entirely immersed in nature?