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go to sit in peace and enjoy the artistic creation.

Planters of herbs and vegetables can add to the beauty of the garden in a practical way.

even winter is a boring season in this edible haven since many of the plants – perennials, evergreens and even vines – hold snow artistically. In a province where snow flies five (and sometimes seven) months of the year, this is important. This garden isn’t just for Andy and Julie. It was

designed to teach the public about the fact that ‘eco’ doesn’t have to sacrifice beauty. If you know your plants, learn which ones are tolerant of clay soils (it’s a surprisingly huge list!) and, most importantly, design with texture in mind before flowers, any garden on any soil type can be just as, if not more beautiful than gardens where the soil is modified to suit the plants…and it’s less work in the long run. Soil type never needs to limit beauty; wet or dry, sandy or clay, there’s a list of plants that suit the conditions. It’s just a matter of research. Not all plants succeeded on the site. Don’t feel bad

when plants die. With plants, failure is a learning experience and a chance to try something different. We take gardening too seriously. It’s supposed to be fun. Relax! Look to nature for what plants succeed in certain areas. Most people are looking for low- maintenance gardening. Well-maintained gardens are low maintenance. Perhaps what we’re looking for is low-stress gardens? Part of that is simply a matter of changing our perceptions so that we return to the days where gardening was fun. K Sean James is a graduate of the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture and owner of Fern Ridge Landscaping & Eco-consulting. He’s been speaking publicly and writing about eco-gardening issues since the early 90’s. He’s also the Chair of Landscape Ontario’s Environmental Stew- ardship Committee and several other eco-committees.

Many of the plants in this water garden are edible, including water hyacinth and arrowhead. Water in the garden is soothing and great for wildlife, especially birds, which help control pests.

Beautiful Gardens 2015 • 15

Photo by Juho Vaino.

Photo by Juho Vaino.

Photo by Juho Vaino.

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