A Garden in the Concrete Jungle, Part 1
When he gave some to hfis 45-year-old sister, Susan, she was able to melt 54 LBs by simply drinking this red soda daily before 10am...
Today we are going to Toronto, Canada to visit Patrick and Dorothy Smyth.
Our garden is in the middle of a concrete jungle. A haven of peace and beauty, a stroke of luck in “these difficult times”. The corner lot in Midtown Toronto can be described as a garden with a house in it. When it comes to planting or gardening, we have 19 separate lots to help us stay in decision-making mode. We have grown a variety of plants over four levels and a border nearly 200 feet long. Some of them have been with us for 32 years now. In manufacturing, we reclaimed a parking lot, shrunk a lawn, and took control of a significant portion of the city allowance. Our garden design ideas have focused on the four seasons interest. We have used native and non-native plantings, always with the aim of improving biodiversity and promoting wildlife. The garden is frequented by all kinds of insects, butterflies, birds and small mammals, with even a fox passing by in the past two years. There are a variety of carefully selected “right plants” for “right locations”.
It’s hard to imagine this peaceful garden scene being in the middle of Toronto! Thick green makes this seating area a peaceful haven from the urban landscape.
Gardening in Canada means coping with winter. An early snowfall has arrived here before the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, zones 5-9) dropped its leaves and created a beautiful scene.
Another view of an early snowfall in the garden.
There are no flowers to be seen along the steps that lead through the lush garden. Instead, this planting is based on different colors and textures of foliage to create a complex, beautiful display.
A cut staghorn sumach (Rhus typhina ‘Lanciniata’, zones 3–8) in the foreground has fern-like leaves and cones with striking red berries.
Great Coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima, Zones 4-9) has silver-blue foliage and sends out tall flowering stems that can grow up to 7 feet tall for a dramatic display. This is proof that a small urban garden doesn’t mean you only need to grow small plants.
Hellebores (Heleborus hybrids, zones 4–9) provide color in spring.
Ornamental grasses like this Miscanthus sinensis (zones 5–9) are a good choice for those interested in winter, as the feather seed heads extend into the winter months.
Yucca leaves (Yucca filamentosa, zones 4–10) provide a prickly, architectural green all winter long.
The warm light invites you to come in, sit in a seat and enjoy the view of the garden.
Patrick sent so many great photos of this garden that we will return here tomorrow to find out more. So stay tuned!
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