This is a moderate sized suburban garden to the west of Montreal that has been converted over the years from what was originally a fairly unimaginative square of mown grass with a few flowers and shrubs into a habitat for wildlife. Some 120 species of birds have been recorded here, many attracted by the native plantings and the moving water feature. The trees and shrubs give shade where needed and create a quiet oasis of rest and calm.
The pictures forming this garden portrait were taken throughout the year 2017.
The garden was conceived as a quiet place where the owners could relax and enjoy both the garden and the wildlife that either live here or visit. It was fortunate that it already had mature trees around the boundary but the space inside needed a lot of work to fill it with mostly native plants to attract insects and provide seeds and fruits for the birds.
Even in the winter, when you would not want to sit out there in three feet of snow and temperatures down to -20C and below, the garden retains its structure and is pleasing to the well-muffled eye.
The camera doesn’t lie (much), but the garden is not quite the vast estate this image implies. In reality it is a modest suburban plot that artfully screens the neighbours from view. A wide-angle lens aids “a little” in creating this impression 😉 The European larch tree in the middle truly is that tall – it would make a wonderful mast for a sailing ship.
An important feature of this garden for wildlife is the presence of a pond with a small waterfall, headed by a shallow pool surrounded by rocks and shaded by shrubs that attracts many different species of birds – particularly during the spring and fall migration periods.
The birds in this picture are a pair of Indigo Buntings that arrived for a drink and to take a splash during May of 2017. They don’t nest in the garden (yet) but they do breed in the nearby Arboretum who knows what might happen in years to come. If you want birds in your garden, interesting and unusual birds, you must have a moving water feature.
Many of the plantings are of native flowers and ferns and shrubs – but by no means all. There are lilies and dahlias and roses … but many natives, including milkweed, planted here to attract and support the very much endangered monarch butterflies.
But, it’s also a garden that offers vistas for the human eye. Here we are in early summer with drifts of blue forget-me-not flowers amongst the grasses.
Take a book and sit on the carefully placed seats and simply enjoy the garden.
… such gardens are not made
By singing: “Oh, how beautiful,” and sitting in the shade
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.
There’s not a pair of legs so thin, there’s not a head so thick,
There’s not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick
But it can find some needful job that’s crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.
— Rudyard Kipling
Here is an album with more pictures from the garden. Click any one of the small images below to open up a full size gallery and wander through at leisure … or set the album to change the pictures automatically for you.
These garden portraits are assembled for our own pleasure and to share with friends and visitors … but perhaps you would like a Garden Portrait of your own garden? However large or small, elaborate or simple there is always something memorable to preserve for the future. If the idea appeals to you I would be pleased to talk about possibilities. You would receive a link to the Garden Portrait on the web and a collection of images suitable for printing or for putting in an album that you could share with friends or use as a gift. Many options. Contact me here.