Lioness Judy Witczak has high standards when it comes to choosing sites for the annual Tillsonburg Tour of Gardens, hosted by the Tillsonburg Lioness Club.
Seven gardens were selected for the 2015 Tour of Gardens, June 27-28, from 1-4 p.m.
"I chose this property because it is fabulous," said Witczak, coordinator of the Lioness garden tour committee, at the home Valerie and Brian Smith in Baldwin Place.
"It's unique, but..." Valerie smiled.
"It is unique," Brian nodded.
"Fabulous," said Witczak. "That's the word... fabulous."
The Smiths moved into their Jean Ferrie Court home seven years ago from Oshawa. They've been gardening here for about five years, continuing a lifelong tradition. The first addition, even before they had grass, was the tulip tree.
"We're English, so it's (gardening) in our blood," said Brian.
"My favourite spot is right here," he said, stepping out to the deck, "with a glass of wine. Then you get to look down here (to the ravine) and you get to look at the garden. And my second favourite spot is down in those two chairs (on the edge of the woods)."
It's close enough for them to view nature up close – deer, wild turkeys, raccoons, chipmunks, fox... and birds of all kinds.
"Unbelievable," said Witczak, strolling down a stone walkway. "Imagine the work that's gone into this."
It's a garden that includes perennials, said Valerie, flowering shrubs, flowering trees, and wildflowers.
"Lots of hostas," she added. "Roses..."
"Beautiful, too," Witczak nodded. "And many varieties.
"And (Eastern prickly pear) cactus in the back corner," said Brian. "It's really just a mixture of everything."
Four gardens on this year's Lioness tour are in Baldwin Place, located on the southwestern edge of town off Quarter Town Line.
"It's a nice, really compact tour this year," said Witczak. "You can do it rather quickly because they're all pretty close together."
One of the seven gardens will be a 'host site.'
"At one garden (Trottier Drive) we are serving refreshments," said Lioness Judy Witczak, coordinator of the garden tour committee. "So people can enjoy a dessert and cold drink, free, compliments of the Tillsonburg Lioness Club."
With a $10 garden tour ticket, purchased at Coward PharmaChoice, Station Arts Centre, or Tillsonburg Garden Gate, a 10 per cent discount is available at Tillsonburg Garden Gate from June 26-28.
There will be a free draw at each of the seven homes.
"Each will have a nice prize," said Witczak, emphasizing 'nice.'
The Lioness will also be selling garden tour tickets at Turtlefest on Friday, June 19, with a free draw for prizes that include a plant, tickets, and flower wreath. Look for their table on Broadway.
Proceeds from the Tour of Gardens will go toward Lioness-sponsored scholarships at Glendale High School.
Tillsonburg Tour of Gardens
Hosted by the Tillsonburg Lioness
Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28
Tickets ($10) available at Coward PharmaChoice, The Station Arts Centre, and Tillsonburg Garden Gate.
Proceeds go toward Glendale High School scholarships.
The 2015 tour features seven beautiful gardens, all located in Tillsonburg.
'Hostal Hall' features more than 300 varieties of hostas! Follow the old stone pathway which meanders through this lovely garden, graced by magnificent old trees in the back yard, including what may be the oldest Magnolia tree in Tillsonburg. You will also see a Japanese Maple, ferns, rose bushes and... many hosta plants.
2. Hurley Ave.
Surrounding the home of this well-planned and cared for garden are approximately 500 annuals, 100 hostas, 100 daylilies, as well as lilacs, peony bushes, and alliums. Large elephant grass, newly planted Lupins, and a vegetable garden grow close by the backyard shed. Perennials and annuals surround a unique rock waterfall and pond.
3. Trottier Drive
The brick walkway lined with evergreen bushes and stoned border guides you to the front door. Along the side of the house you will see an assortment of hostas and climbing clematis. An herb garden containing parsley, sage, mint and chives grows near the back deck. In the backyard is a triangular pagoda, completely covered with a Virginia creeper vine, and a terraced rock garden full of shrubs, ferns, grasses and flowers.
HOST SITE: Take time to enjoy a dessert and cold drink at the Trottier site, compliments of the Lioness.
4. Fairs Crescent (Baldwin Place)
A good mixture of greenery in all different shapes and sizes with a Tamarix bush, Japanese Maple, Dogwood, Dawn Redwood tree, and vegetable garden. Colour is added by large containers of annuals on the patio and steps, and bright red and yellow bird house in the corner.
5. Fairs Crescent (Baldwin Place)
Well-maintained flower gardens surround the home with many perennials in a combination of red, white and mauve throughout. All the spaces are nicely filled in with some low ground cover. On the back wall and sides of the deck are big clematis vines in different colours, and strawberries growing in a hanging basket.
6. Weston Drive (Baldwin Place)
A low maintenance yard – there is no grass, but plenty of mulch to keep the moisture in and the weeds down. A stone path leads to the backyard where there is a myriad of perennials, daisies, Rudbeckia, daylilies, and flowering shrubbery. Geraniums add extra colour. Also hostas, ferns and clematis, climbing on the back trellis.
7. Jean Ferrie Court (Baldwin Place)
A large ravine lot on the edge of town, you will be impressed by the plants and creative garden items found here, including prickly pear cactus, tulip tree, and wildflower garden. Four raised vegetable gardens at the rear of the yard. Don't miss the collection of Talavera pottery from Mexico, plus the mosaic stained glass stepping stones, made by the owners.