It’s that wonderful time of year when life springs from the earth in a palette of spring flower hues and shades of green. It’s also a time when we like to look over our neighbours fences and see what’s growing over yonder.
You will get a chance to walk through eight amazing gardens at this year’s Ladysmith Rotary Garden Tour on May 26, from 10 am to 4 pm. This is wonderful opportunity to admire gardens otherwise closed to the public. Many visitors will find inspiration and ideas for their own gardens.
One of the new gardens that will be open to the public is Robin and Zinda FitzGerald’s in Cedar-by-the-Sea.
The owners moved down from Calgary in 2005. “We built our house and started the new landscaping in 2009. We’ve always been intrigued by how the tour gardens bring you into parts of our region and neighbourhoods that we otherwise wouldn’t know about,” says Robin.
On a rectangular half-acre waterfront lot in Cedar-by-the Sea, the FitzGerald garden’s “land side” layout has been dictated by pre-existing fruit trees — apple, plum and fig — but they’ve built a deer-proof vegetable garden enclosure and a deer-proof front courtyard (west-facing). The water-side garden is the real “feature” where they’ve built patio terraces and two ponds to enjoy the view.
The planting has developed without a master plan. “We buy plants that interest us and put each in where it seems right!”
For the FitzGerald’s, the primary feature is the sea view, and the house and garden design is all about keeping the view wide open and unobstructed by trees or bushes. A few years ago, Robin built a wood-fired pizza oven, which is used year-round. “We’ve packed a number of hard landscaping features and walkways into the available space. I do the building, but Zinda is the real gardener!”
One of the main challenges for the couple has been dealing with the local deer and rabbit populations. They don’t want to be fenced in; that would spoil the view.
Tickets for the Rotary Garden Tour are $20 and are available at the 49th Parallel Grocery in Ladysmith, Nancy’s Fashions, from local Rotarians and online. Maps, tickets, raffle and information are available from 9 am to noon, on May 26, in the tent at the upper parking lot of the 49th Parallel Grocery in Ladysmith.
Ma Maison Café in Saltair will be hosting “Tea in the Garden,” with a special menu for Rotary Garden patrons.