A Canadian country garden
I'm trying to create an English country garden on our little bit of the Laurentians in Quebec. But the truth is as I plant lupins, foxgloves, wisteria and blue hydrangeas the wild flowers that grow around our woods are just as beautiful. Like our lawn full of forget-me-nots which catch the evening light, the weird looking wild lily-of-the-valley which resembles a game of noughts and crosses and the secretive pink lady's slipper orchid.
Among them the wild strawberry below, the vibrant blue bugleweed reputed to stem bleeding and on our old road, pink and purple columbines are standing proud yet hardly a soul will ever see them. Many of them ARE appreciated by the bees and butterflies however. Tiger swallowtails and white admirals are in abundance but we see none of the threatened monarchs which used to fly these woods (despite all the milkweed which they need to survive and which David Suzuki has a campaign to encourage us to plant.)
|Wild strawberry flower|
We've been here a month and as summer takes hold the colours start to change. The cool blues of early Spring give way to the hot-looking indian paintbrush which fills the lawn by the lake and is much loved by the tiger swallowtail.
Keeping a flower garden here in the woods is fraught with difficulties. For many of the wild animals it is a handy buffet and so gardeners can be heard cursing the rabbits, groundhogs and deer when they notice the loss of their lettuces or phlox. Garden sprinklers are employed by some as a gentle way of keeping deer from their plants.
|Tiger swallowtail on indian paintbrush|
|Pink lady's slipper orchid|
The truth is being British I find these creatures incredibly cute. Even the family of raccoons who were living in our crawl space when we first moved in and prevented us from having water. It wasn't that they drank it all but in order to turn on our water we have to go into the crawl space and flick some ...er...switches (you can tell I never do it). So we managed without water for a week, collected it in buckets from the lake, and lowered a radio into the space inhabited by the raccoons. They don't like the sound of the human voice and they definitely don't like the CBC because after a night of that - they had moved out and we were able to make endless pots of tea as is our wont. To be fair to the raccoons the CBC can be really annoying sometimes.
|Groundhog or woodchuck : either way he's cheeky.|
Read about the stunning Reford Gardens in the Gaspé.