Friday, July 30, 2010

Point Pelee National Park

The Handyman and I went off to visit the most southern point of mainland in Canada, Point Pelee National Park.  It didn't hurt that there were several wineries that we like there either. We visited after the Hurricane went through, and you could see the damage along the Erie shore. Many willows and large trees were split, especially at the water's edge.
It was a hot day.  You can see the Handyman walking out to the southern most tip of land, but it was an effort in the heat.  You just wanted to dive into the water to cool off, but signs everywhere warned of the deadly currents and of the drownings that had occurred. You could see the drop off from the shore.  They have a wonderful visitor centre there. You can rent canoes, learn about history of the area and see dioramas of the flora and fauna specific to the park. It's a birding paradise, but while we heard many birds, we did not see very many.  We did see the little barn swallow which had built its nest right on the stairs of the observation tower.  It's little babies stuck their beaks out of the nest everytime someone walked by. There was a long boardwalk out over the march full of redwinged blackbirds, turtles, muskrats and tourists! There were lots of the Canadian lotus plants.  I have one in my pond, but it has never bloomed.  I can only hope!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Best Garden Tour Ever!

Wow, someone at the Cloverleaf Garden Club told me about Buffalo Garden Walk and I will be eternally grateful! It was the best garden tour I have ever been on.  Buffalo hosts a Garden walk, free, the last week end of July every year.  They have been doing it for 19 years.  There are over 390 gardens to visit so you can't possibly do it all.  There is a free trolley to take you from one area of the city to another.
Theresa and I headed out from Toronto and with just a brief detention at the border (all Theresa's fault - she had to bring pruners and the border guards said ' no sharp objects'!) we arrived in Buffalo 2 hours later.  We spent the day viewing the most beautiful and extraordinary gardens that were calm, green oasis in the city.  As soon as you walked back into the rear yards, a feeling of calm and peace descended. They had winding paths, beautiful statuary, idiosyncratic art (like the green melamine cups floating in one pond, like so many virtual water lilies), secret haunts for wildlife and just amazingly beautiful flowers. A little sparrow lighted in a tiny hollow in a waterfall in one garden structure to take a bath, right in front of us.   Not only are the gardens amazing, but so are the houses.  We toured a cottage area where about 15 cottages were built by the same person in 1870 and were connected by narrow lanes to recreate a village in England. I felt like I was in Europe.
 It was certainly the weekend of the hydrangea! They were at their peek and just filled you with a desire to go home and plant one!  Lacy cap hydrangeas were the most eye catching. Another surprize was the use of coleus.  They were planted in almost all gardens and just provided that hit of colour in shade gardens to draw your eye to the back, or to complement a flower.  I forgot my camera, but go to the web site and scroll through the promotional video  The garden at 755 West Delavan, the Victorian home of Jennifer and Jim Guercio was the most outstanding garden we visited and it has been featured many times in garden magazines. There is one picture on the video and further down the web page is a part of an article about this amazing garden.
Mark your calendars for next year July 30 - 31.  It is one tour every gardener would relish.  I plan on staying two days next year!