My Mum’s Spring Garden

I published this post last summer, long after these photos were taken.  However, with spring a few days away and North American gardens beginning to wake up, I keep thinking of them.  The post seems far more relevant and topical now, so I am re-publishing it for spring inspiration.


My mother’s large and ever-evolving garden is tucked between mountains in the “supernatural” paradise of Vancouver Island.  Climatic conditions allow for a wide range of vegetation compared to that in Southern Ontario.  Soil is moist, full of organic material and rain is prolific at times; however, summers are dry and constant watering is a challenge.

The garden blends seamlessly with its natural setting, and rhododendrons often grow to the size of small trees in the rainforest setting.

I have always loved my mum’s sense of humour in her garden–she is not constrained by the same unrelenting seriousness that sometimes prevents a less-exerienced gardener from his or her full self-expression.

A close-up of this vignette, with the fountain, hollowed-out stone and sculptures:

Below, a newer area with rustic trellises and screens designed by my mother.  Something more traditional would be out of place with the strength of this natural backdrop.

A water feature coaxed out of the natural features of the property, and planted to enhance, rather than compete with, the setting.

Another view of the textured hillside along the pond, with its rich mix of foliage:

A glimpse of the contemporary house in its garden setting, also designed in keeping with the organic sensibility once so well expressed, “No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.”

What moves me about this garden is the strength of self-expression that it reflects, while balanced seamlessly with the majesty of nature on the Island.  

While every garden should ideally be created after careful reflection of its context, it can be difficult for even the most skilled gardener to respect the context down to the finest details. I feel that I am constantly striving to achieve this, though I am unlikely to come up against a setting with such a powerful voice of its own as the one in these photos.

Many gardens have inspired my own pursuits, but as I’m sure is obvious, none nearly so much as my mother’s unique piece of paradise.

What garden has inspired you?  Please share your inspirations in the comments below.  

About patinaandcompany

I am a compulsive beautifier of all things habitable. Give me your ugly, non-functional and visually repellent, and I am in my element. Also, an avid and experienced gardener determined to share my horticultural experiences with others. See more at "About"
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26 Responses to My Mum’s Spring Garden

  1. elenawill says:

    Beautifully peaceful.

  2. I also love your mothers artistic touch. It is a garden that pulls you in and makes your feel good.

  3. gracefully50 says:

    Well, your mom’s garden has inspired me! It looks so peaceful! I WANT!!

  4. jakesprinter says:

    Stunning photography my friend , Beautiful Garden 🙂

  5. Boomdeeadda says:

    You pretty much have the dream location and climate for sure fire spectacularness (I’m making up words..hehe). I imagine the love and time it takes to have a garden so gorgeous, wow. A friend of a friend had us over to her garden for lunch in Edmonton, I was astonished at what she’s achieved in a zone 3. A climbing pink rose that covered an entire trellis and pretty much hid her whole garage. Lila is in her 80’s and has help now, but still manages to get around the garden. I think gardening is great exercise and you can sit and enjoy it when you’re done. You can’t say that about a treadmill.

    • You make the same point my mum has always made about “exercising”–she’d rather be doing something productive (always gardening!). And yes, the garden really is such an expression of love and devotion. Your friend’s friend sounds like an amazing gardener and it sure shows you how the garden keeps people inspired, active and young at heart.

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  7. josiecrafter says:

    I love it! Especially because it looks natural and organic. That’s the best any gardener can do.

  8. Hi there! Just to let you know I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Check out my post here for the instructions 🙂
    KiKi x

  9. I did the same–a post about my mother’s real price and joy. 🙂 Lovely work, and all the effort that goes in bring such a brief period of satisfaction for the outside observer. Thank you for sharing her garden!

    • Decades upon decades of effort, in fact! But for the person who creates it and their friends and family it brings much more than that brief look from the outside obsever. And the beauty of the internet is that so many more people can enjoy these things. On that note, I am going to check out your post about your mother’s garden.

    • I can’t seem to find this post of yours–can you give me the link?

  10. What a lovely incorporation of beds and lawns in this garden! Your Mother must have a very strong green thumb and lively artist`s eye.

  11. Your mother’s garden really looks tranquil. I too like how it moves from garden to natural areas. This adds to the peacefulness. Nature inspires me, all that awakens in Spring.

  12. Sartenada says:

    Beautiful garden and lovely photos.

  13. Pingback: Fall Garden Inspiration | patinaandcompany

  14. Truly lovely. thank you. And thanks to your mom!

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