Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of visiting Kristin Kendall’s garden in an old central neighbourhood of our city. Tucked next to the Rideau River, and surrounded by other charming homes of similar vintage, the Kendall home is full of character and style. And so is the garden.
Barely large enough to swing a cat, the natural paving stone patio nonetheless is furnished with a small teak table and two wicker viewing chairs. The secateurs and trowel on the table are not props; Kristin and her husband Bill (my old high school teacher no less!) are active workers in this jewel of a garden and keenly choreograph the plants and keep them happy and healthy. There is not a weed to be seen!
Of course, there is no swinging of cats here. Sorry, didn’t mean to offend.
The colours in this half and half sunny/shady garden are hot and luminous. The brights include Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’, as well as a scarlet coleus, a lupin, Japanese blood grass, a dark border sedum and monarda in the rear. A weeping hemlock on the right, Virginia creeper on the fence and a Serbian spruce on the left all provide a green backdrop for this brilliant canvas.
A stone water bowl with rhythmic striations provides a feature in the garden as well as a drink for wildlife. These grooves are mimicked by the shadows of the iris growing alongside.
Kristin would have me tell you that the garden is impeccable at this moment because it is post-tour. But I’m not so sure — I think the stylish gardener and homeowner is detail oriented every day.
On this day the hyssop was absolutely covered in buzzing bees; a sound that complemented that of the gently bubbling fountain…
The weeping larch cascades to the ground alongside the giant boulder, bubbling constantly. Everything is compact in this garden, but every inch has been thoughtfully filled.
Non-living details in this garden are chosen with style and taste. Kendall’s brother is the owner of Balleycanoe & Co., a business that sells 19th century architectural salvage pieces in Mallorytown.
This garden is truly a labour of love and the owners appreciate what they have helped to create. You may even find one of them sitting, every once in a while, appreciating the view…