Today Pam Fraser is taking us on a tour of a beautiful garden where she volunteers.
I live in Ladysmith on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, Zone 8, on the west coast of Canada. Today I would like to share some photos of a garden where I volunteer. The Doris Gallagher Memorial Gardens are located behind our community health centre and next to an extended care facility. In normal times, residents from the facility often visit and enjoy the gardens; hopefully (I write this in early June 2020) they will be able to do so again soon. We have noticed more visitors from the general public during the pandemic. As we gardeners know, visiting a garden is a wonderful antidote to all kinds of troubles.
The gardens are maintained by volunteers from the Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary, founded in 1909 as a support for the then-new hospital. Today our main activity is running a successful thrift store, which we are in the process of reopening. We donate the profits to local and regional organizations that support all types of community wellness, including our food bank, various support programs, search and rescue, hospice, and health care equipment. A bit of the money raised goes to buy supplies for the Memorial Gardens.
In the Memorial Gardens, we strive for year-round interest, but spring is the season of the real floral fireworks. The garden is nearly 40 years old, so many of the plantings are mature. The pictures are from this spring and others, and they take you through some of the highlights of the season.
The first of the flowering trees, the magnolias, are brief but spectacular.
Next are the cherry trees, which line many streets in our region. This is a later double cherry with the pompom blossoms (probably the variety Prunus ‘Kanzan’, Zones 5–9).
In April the tulips and the pink flowering dogwood (Cornus florida, Zones 5–9) in the background put on their show. Unfortunately, this picture is not from this year. The bunnies ate virtually all the tulips this spring. I have lots of empathy now for Farmer McGregor and much less for Peter Rabbit.
In May the over-the-top rhododendrons shine.
We have a number of varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas to keep the show going.
Our mature rhododendrons create tunnels of bloom.
Later in May we plant out some annuals, including this “Welcome to the garden” raised planter.
Another “planter” that has done well is this Douglas fir tree stump with some edging bricks on top. At first we tried annuals here with mixed success. Then I planted an orphan spiraea from my garden a couple of years ago. It seems to love the location. That’s a California lilac (Ceanothus) in the background.
In June the rose garden takes over. This is a ‘Queen Elizabeth’ rose, one of the stars.
From the garden is a view of Ladysmith Harbor. On a clear day, we can see the top of Mt. Baker in Washington State. The white flowering trees in the foreground are dogwoods. Both native and cultivated dogwoods put on another spring show all over town.
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