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Archive for July 16th, 2014

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It’s always enjoyable and instructive to visit a new garden. I come away with fresh ideas and knowledge, and you don’t have to worry about someone else’s weeds! It was a lovely day on Saturday, so RailGuy and I travelled to Spindletree Gardens, about 2 hours west of our home.

The 20 acre property is located in the Tamworth area, north of Kingston, Ontario. The garden hosts are Susan Meisner and Tom Brown. For more information about the garden, you can visit their webpage, linked here.

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At the house, a screened porch makes a pleasant setting for the tea room. We didn’t stop for lunch, however. We set out to view the gardens, following a stone wall into the property.

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This leads to the Croquet Pavilion, which overlooks a regulation croquet playing field, complete with miniature English historical buildings serving as hoops for the game.

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The little buildings were designed and built by Mr. Brown, and hint at the important role structures play in this garden. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Tom Brown is an architect.

Beyond the Pavilion, there is a circular Rose Garden with double Colonnade, followed by a Rock Garden set on a granite-surfaced hillside.

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A long stroll leads to a restored 150-year-old Victorian Well Cover, framed by an English Park setting. Beyond is a fun maze you can find your way through. The shrubs were dense and nicely maintained.

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A Grand Allee lined with black locust trees leads to a highlight of the garden, the Orangery. Newly constructed, the finishing touches are still underway. On one side, the two wings embrace stepped gardens and windows provide greenhouse space within the pavilion. On the other side, a winding, elevated rampway curves through a pond.

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The path then leads over a decorative bridge to the Rondel with a lily pond and fountains surrounded by a chain of pearls of clipped boxwood and maple trees. This was one of my favorite spots.

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A hop and grape-vine enclosed tunnel then leads to a walled Kitchen Garden. Some of the produce from the garden is used in the tea room.

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By this point, we had caught up to a group being led by Tom Brown himself, and enjoyed his commentary on his remarkable garden. As the tour ended, we visited the original greenhouse conservatory, with gothic windows and a stained glass clerestory. It was a very enjoyable visit and well worth the drive.

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