Garden Photo of the Day

Sunny’s hillside garden in Ontario

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sunny Montgomery

Today’s photos are from Sunny Montgomery in Peterborough, Ontario. Sunny says, “My garden was a labor of love as it was quite a challenge gardening on this incline down to the lake. I started the construction 5 years ago. The back hill was just grass so we hired a contractor to install a series of decks and then the large stepping stones down to the lake.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sunny Montgomery

“When the stones were finished it was too late to start the garden so I decided to wait until the following year. The next spring I was horrified! The earth-moving equipment used to install the stone steps had stirred up all of the weed seeds and I ended up with weeds that were (I’m not kidding….) four to five feet tall!! It was such a difficult undertaking. I was working with huge weeds on a hill and I started to wonder “what the heck was I thinking?”

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sunny Montgomery

“I worked one bed at a time, removing all the weeds, planting, installing landscape fabric, and then adding about 4 inches of mulch – everywhere! The soil was loaded with rocks so I had to remove all of the rocks as well. I didn’t even amend the soil – I added nothing and just prayed that the soil would support and nourish the extensive plantings. It took two seasons to get everything planted, but I am amazed now every time I look at the gardens. Everything grows beautifully and it’s been growing fast!

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sunny Montgomery

“I had the same situation in my front gardens as well but I actually removed the soil to a depth of about a foot in the front and added triple mix everywhere which was much easier to plant in. The major planting is done now and each spring I focus on my annual planters (about 50 of them!).

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sunny Montgomery

“My gardens will be featured on a local garden tour this year and I hope to be able to offer it to couples who would like have small, intimate wedding ceremonies. My bed and breakfast opens in May and I hope the gardens will be a major attraction for my guests!”

I’m sure they will be, Sunny! What a huge, successful undertaking. Thanks so much for sharing!

I hope everyone in the Northeast is all stocked up on the basic for the snowpocalypse! Stay warm, and take some time to take some pictures of the snow in your gardens…

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sunny Montgomery

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View Comments


  1. wGardens 02/08/2013

    What you have accomplished is amazing and beautiful! A HUGE undertaking and what a vision you must have had! Bravo! I am certain that your business will be a success! WOW! Thanks for sharing. Your project is certainly inspiring - and - appreciated!

  2. erla 02/08/2013

    Love your garden with the lovely lake below. Could you please tell me what are the blue flowers bordering the steps going up the hill. I can't tell if they are Nepeta or something else but they are a stunning color. Thank you.

  3. bee1nine 02/08/2013

    ErlaR- I was also admiring the blue flowers bordering the
    steps going up the hill. It looks like it could be lavender.

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/08/2013

    Quite a herculean task, but the fruit of your labors must be very rewarding! Picturesque!

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/08/2013

    Whew, Sunny, what a saga of perseverance ...and, fortunately, the pictures show how worthwhile all your efforts ended up being. In fact, I have a recollection of a saying (might not get it totally right ) that seems to fit your labor of love..."perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did". So, everything looks beautiful and very conducive to giving your bed and breakfast guests the feeling of being somewhere very special.
    I was wondering if the lovely abode right on the water is where the guest accommodations are or are they in your home at the top of the hill?

  6. dukeofargy 02/08/2013

    Fantastic. I, too, know the work involved in gardening on a hill. No easy task. Well done.

  7. tractor1 02/08/2013

    Having owned a similar lakeside property in Washington, New Hampshire (Highland Lake) I know well how difficult it is to landscape and maintain that steeply sloping property... Sunny did a fantastic job.

  8. Quiltingmamma 02/08/2013

    Love the view from the lake in particular and can see why you have decided to use it for your B & B photo. I would love to stay at the boathouse anytime. Great job and lovely result.

  9. Plant_Paradise 02/08/2013

    Absolutely beautiful! You have done an amazing job of creating a breathtaking oasis. It looks like a gardener's dream b & b place to stay. I have been to Peterborough, Ontario and it is beautiful there. Fresh air and clean water to swim in.

  10. MizScarlet 02/08/2013

    Sunny, You have created a number of beautiful settings--any one of which would provide wonderful pictures for your bed and breakfast. Thanks for all the work you put into it and especiallyfor sharing.

  11. SunnyinCanada 02/08/2013

    Thanks so much everyone! The blue flowers lining the walkway are indeed lavender! And I have saved the "perseverance" quote for posterity! I'm honored to be able to share my garden during "snowmaggeddon!"

  12. cwheat000 02/08/2013

    That deck looks so inviting. I would love to see a picture of the hill garden from that angle. I am sure it is gorgeous as well. Your containers and garden beds are such lovely combos. Good luck with your business. You should do well. You are obviously not afraid of hard work.

  13. pattyspencer 02/08/2013

    All your hard work has really paid off - it's just beautiful!! And I love the picture you took from across the lake - it really shows how big of a project this truly was.

  14. CJgardens 02/08/2013

    Sunny, your gardens are lovely. It must be so rewarding when you look at them and know it was your hard work and vision. I went to the bed & breakfast site and it all looks so relaxing and inviting. Good luck with the garden tour and your business venture.

  15. sheila_schultz 02/08/2013

    Your LABOR of love certainly paid off, Sunny. I have no doubt that you will have many guests strolling through the gardens with smiles on their faces. What a perfect spot for a wedding!

    Be safe all of our NE gardening friends, we'll be thinking of you.

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