Garden Photo of the Day

Highlights from an Ontario Garden

By Kim Charles

Here is a snapshot from Alice Fleurkens garden, full of many surprises.

"The garden is in Sweaburg, Ontario and I get a lot of praise from a lot of people. We have a hill and I like working with rocks. Our garden is ever changing and really a never ending work of art that gives me a lot of Satisfaction.  It is full of surprises.  Also the birds, rabbits, chipmunks and neighbourhood like it. It is never perfect, there is always something to give away or move because it got too big.  And sometimes I have to bring it to the city yard for composting. If people only knew the treasures to be found there for free.   I used some of the extra plants for a garden in the park behind us. And my husband gets all the credit for cutting the lawn.  I try weeding before he does that so they get picked up by the lawnmower." 

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 09/01/2016

    Hello there Alice - Great to have a virtual tour of your beautiful Ontario garden. Yes it is a work of art - in progress, as is the case for all gardens. I am also a rock loving person - love using them on a slope for retaining walls (dry stone) and for borders of paths and tracks etc. Your work with rocks is fantastic. Boy the rocks for the border near the house (6th pic.) are large. Bet you needed to use machinery to position them!

    Here in Metung, Victoria, Australia we don't have chipmunks, but rather problems with wombats in gardens (to help you with the id. of these Aussie nocturnal marsupials, I have attached a pic. - cute, but very destructive!).

    No garden is perfect so don't feel that it is a problem. It is all about continuous improvement and having fun during the process I say. Nice pond, and team work with your husband to achieve such a lovely garden. Cheers, Frank

    1. user-7007498 09/01/2016

      Cute? I am glad I don't run into a wombat in my garden. I will take the pesky chipmunks.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 09/01/2016

        Actually Kev they cause enormous damage to cars when they wander onto the road at night (take out the whole undercarriage of the car). Tough as nails!

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/01/2016

          That's amazing, Frank. They look like they'd just be roadkill instead of car destroyers. They are adorable little monsters! Thanks for the education.

    2. User avater
      meander_michaele 09/01/2016

      Oh, my, they are cute but look sizable enough to command respect. I think I need to do a google read about them.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 09/01/2016

        They are a nice marsupial Michaele, but just not in one's garden!

    3. sheila_schultz 09/01/2016

      Now, that's what I'd call a cute little devil!

      1. frankgreenhalgh 09/01/2016

        Hi Sheila - We have a Tasmanian Devil in the island State of Tasmania (just south of Victoria)(see pic.) Do you reckon that's also cute?

        FYI wombats are about 40 inches long and weigh 45 -75lb, and they are all muscle.

    4. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 09/01/2016

      Good morning, Frank. Cute pic and I think that I'd take wombats over deer. They can't jump as high so it'd be easier to fence them out:)

      1. frankgreenhalgh 09/01/2016

        Hi Linda - the problem is that they dig under fences. Their holes are very big, and they are also powerful enough to bulldoze their way under fences.

        1. User avater
          LindaonWhidbey 09/02/2016

          Well, then, I guess I'll stick to deer and bunnies so that I at least know what I'm dealing with. You have a lot of scary critters in Oz, Frank.

          1. frankgreenhalgh 09/02/2016

            It's not that bad really, Linda!

          2. User avater
            LindaonWhidbey 09/02/2016

            Love this map, Frank. Hey did you see today's post?( Friday, your Sat.) I didn't get it by email so went to the FG site and found it but I was the only commenter and there is a new admin person.

          3. frankgreenhalgh 09/02/2016

            Linda, the post was more than 12 hours late, and because of withdrawal symptoms I contacted Kim (the new admin. person; been a few changes!) via email. Kim explained that that the admin. is in transition etc. etc., and that it was being fixed. I went to bed and have just seen the new post (well done Kim). Have a good Saturday Linda. Cheers, Frank

      2. frankgreenhalgh 09/01/2016

        Going under, Linda.

    5. alicefleurkens 09/03/2016

      Frank. From Australia,cool. No we don,t have that much muscle. The large rocks where put in by our son with the bobcat. From there up, wheelbarrow, appliance cart, (my favourite) shovel or if all,else fails muscle power. We already have the Australian possum. But thankfully no wombats or Tasmanian devils. We have no pond either. That area is black mulch on a rather steep hill. Nice map Frank.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 09/03/2016

        Thanks for responding Alice. There are a couple of other GPOD'ers from Canada (Cooee, Kriss - where are you?). The Canadians and Aussies seem to have a similar sense of humour - although I bet you are not laughing about those bl...y. possums.

        It took me a while to work out that it was the angle of the dark mulch. Please keep participating in GPOD. It is great to have the blog internationalised. Cheers, Frank

        1. alicefleurkens 09/03/2016

          Totally agree, talk about animals, any skunks there? They like to eat the grubs in the lawn, but the smell alone will wake one out of a deep sleep.

          1. frankgreenhalgh 09/03/2016

            Hey Alice - No skunks here thank goodness, but we have some lovely echidnas (egg laying mammal, commonly called spiny ant eaters) and plenty of kookaburras in our garden. You should come down and have a look at our lovely public and private gardens in Oz. We would look after you. Cheers, Frank

          2. alicefleurkens 09/04/2016

            Frank is that your beautiful yard I am seeing. The ant eater seems useful. We have anthills here for them to munch on. Believe me I would love to come to Australia with my husband.

          3. frankgreenhalgh 09/04/2016

            Hi Alice - yes it is the garden of our holiday home. My first post on GPOD was in Feb this year. Here is the link FYI. Hope you and your husband can make it down here one day. Cheers


  2. user-7007960 09/01/2016

    Alice, beautiful gardens and lush plants! I live across our Great Lake in NY, Sodus Bay. I luv our zone, and find great climate for growing. Question, is the fuscia plant in the blue pot a potato vine variation or a coleus? I have one,, for the first time. It does not grow as a vine and is prolific. Your stonework is a strong element in your design---love it! Rocks from the Lake? I am 76. And still trying to garden with multiple mobility issues. Wish my strong sons were still around to harvest the shores of stone ! You are amazing to work the hillside palette of art that you have! Keep the spirit. Thanks ! Carol

  3. user-7007960 09/01/2016

    To Aussie, Did. You see a pond? I can't.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 09/01/2016

      Hi Carol - I may be wrong, but I thought photo 4 (i.e. the one with the collection of rocks) was a water feature/pond. There is reflection off some of the rocks on what I think is water. Cheers, Frank

      On further inspection, I think I'm wrong (there is a second layer of rocks i.e. not a reflection) - sorry Carol. A kangaroo loose in the top paddock again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Aussie, Aussie, Aussie - Oi, Oi, Oi

  4. user-7007498 09/01/2016

    Alice, you have creating a very natural terrace with the rocks. The planting seeds are diverse with a nice mix of color. Well done. I am a big fan of ornamental grasses. It looks like you have a fair number of sedum that are about to bloom in the next few weeks. Mine are just starting here in Harrisburg. The bees are very happy now.

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/01/2016

    You certainly have a lovely balance of evergreens and perennials, Alice...all so beautifully set off by the generous inclusion of rocks and stones. I especially like the pops of blue from the spruces and the variety of ornamental grass that definitely has a blue tone. Your healthy looking heucheras are giving me a stab of envy...mine are transitioning from just having crispy edged leaves to being in the full throes of a death spiral. Nice to see yours looking so flower laden and happy.

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/01/2016

    Just gorgeous!! Love every bit of it.

  7. Luvfall 09/01/2016

    Beautiful Alice. The rock work and plantings in the front are a textural treat. It would take me forever to get to the front door, there is so much to enjoy.

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/01/2016

    I'm ready to move in, Alice. Looks so great. I dream of having large, roughly dressed stones like you have in the photo of the front of your house (bordering a driveway or parking pad?). Love all of your stonework and the plantings. Great choice of Heucheras and love the specimens trees (beech and evergreen). I love how you have showcased the blue grass. It looks like one of my favorites, Helictotrichon sempervirens: yes?
    Do you know the cultivar of the lavender in the first photo? I never seem to be able to find a variety with flower that tight and in that color.

    1. alicefleurkens 09/03/2016

      Thank you for your nice comments,
      The large stones are limestone from the quarry, our son put them in with the bobcat,however the smaller limestone has been built into the hill by myself to look like a rocky hill. The common name for the blue grass is blue oat grass. I believe the lavender Flowers so tight because I cut it back by 2/3 in the spring. Then once after the first flowering. I have no idea what kind though, but it is just about. To flower for the second time.

  9. Sunshine111 09/01/2016

    Your compositions are lovely!

  10. annek 09/01/2016


  11. sheila_schultz 09/01/2016

    Your gardens are very, very happy, Alice, from the evergreens to the shrubs and trees to the perennials. All are so beautifully sassy, especially the Heucheras... there were so many flowers in the 5th image I thought they were a different plant! And the positioning of all the rocks... perfect!

  12. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 09/01/2016

    Love your rock bed leading up to your house, Alice, and your choice of plantings, especially the pops of purple in the heucheras and barberries mixed in with the blue grasses. Everything looks so beautiful. Oh, did I mention that I also like the way that you put that weeping beech with the grafted(?) conifers in your back bed? And is that a ligularia in a pot?

    1. alicefleurkens 09/03/2016

      Hi linda. Thanks for your nice comments. No the deck is higher then the garden. The ligularias are in the garden beside the deck

  13. Cenepk10 09/01/2016

    Wow ! The plants & that rock !!!! Wow !!!!!!!!

  14. GrannyCC 09/01/2016

    Love all the rock. Hope you have strong muscles to move those big ones.

  15. schatzi 09/01/2016

    It may be wishful thinking, but I thought I saw what could be ponds in several of the pictures. Either way, it's beautiful. I can only say "me too!" to all the complimentary comments. Hi Frank. That wombat is cute, but BIG! No wonder they do so much damage. They are not all muscle - I saw some pretty impressive teeth too. Guess I'll stick with the darn deer and rabbits...

    1. frankgreenhalgh 09/01/2016

      Hi Shirley - I also made the mistake of thinking there was a pond. Linda is prepared to take the wombat rather than the deer, but she doesn't realise how extensively the wombat scratches and burrows in the ground. Cheers, Frank

  16. foxglove12 09/01/2016

    Very nice!

  17. bsavage 09/02/2016


  18. NCYarden 09/02/2016

    Delightful. Really love the conifers, and certainly all the stones.

  19. janeeliz 09/03/2016

    Love it all.....your rocks, grasses, heucheras are fantastic! Glad you have no wombats to tear it up!!

  20. alicefleurkens 09/03/2016

    Hi diane. I am so thrilled with all the comments. Yes I too love The white wheeping spruce. Every year it gets about 18" taller. It did not take long to get to that heights, so yours will be that hight soon i should thnk

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