Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Gulf Island Garden Tour ~ Tuesday's bits and bobs...

What a wonderful coincidence and joy to find out that a gorgeous garden was open for visitors the very same weekend that we were on Thetis Island.

A couple of women who live on the island year round joined me on the tour and we spent a lovely hour walking about the acreage sniffing roses and taking pictures.
It is no small feat keeping manicured lawns and perennial borders on an island rife with deer and the annual summer water shortage. The owners went to great expense erecting deer proof fencing and installing a watering system and you can see that it has paid off.

The waterfront estate looks out onto Clam Bay and has an expansive view from the patio of the architecturally designed residence.

The couple who have built the home and garden have sold and are moving off island due to health concerns.
One of the drawbacks of living on these smaller islands is that there are very few services so one needs to leave to see a doctor, buy supplies, groceries or do any banking.

This picture looks over the herb garden which is conveniently located adjacent to the kitchen door.
Love the riot of poppies.

The weather was sunny and warm, perfect for a stroll in the garden.

I liked this wee vignette of sea shells and coral on the granite counter top by the BBQ that sits centrally located in the outdoor kitchen space which I think must be great for entertaining.

I'd wished that the poppy seed pods were ready for picking as I'd love to sprinkle some of them in our garden.

There were lots of flowers but it seems that I focused primarily on the poppies and of course the roses!

All the roses were fragrant and I stopped to sniff each one.

Lilies looked lovely and stood tall under the canopy of trees as if to greet the sun.

Lily pads and flowers floating on the pond...
such a tranquil place to sit and ponder life.
It reminded me of Monet's painting.

Leaving a place of such beauty and a home with so many memories would be difficult.
I understand the couple have purchased a waterfront lot not far from Thetis on Vancouver Island and will be building a new home and designing and planting a new garden on a much smaller scale.
Their estate necessitated a full time gardener who coincidentally lived in the gardener's cottage on the property.

Our Graham Thomas rose is blooming in the back garden of our small but cozy Humble Bungalow.

I cannot imagine living in a mansion, can you?
Perhaps you live in one now or possibly you did when you were younger.
Just the thought of cleaning all those rooms and keeping everything tickety boo is daunting.

I polished the candle stick on the left and left the right one so you can see the difference...
please ignore that chunk of cat food in the strainer my "assistant" had the day off!

Just keeping my modest silver collection polished is an ongoing chore.
I wonder how I would handle being the lady of such a house.

I'm reading a fascinating book about the life of Huguette Clark.

"The Phantom of Fifth Avenue" by Meryl Gordon
Huguette was born in 1906 and grew up in a 121 room Beaux Arts mansion in Manhattan.
Her father William Andrews Clark was a copper magnate, the second richest man in America.
When Huguette died in 2011 at 104 the heiress left behind three sprawling apartments on New York's Fifth Avenue, a 23 acre oceanfront compound in Santa Barbara, and a battle ensued between her caregivers and long lost relatives over her 300 million dollar estate.
Curiously she lived as a recluse for the last 20 years of her life in a hospital even though she was in good health.

Money doesn't buy you happiness, nor health, nor friends.

Our hydrangea plant out front is so full of blooms that I am expecting to see the branches snap anytime soon.
This plant was a gift in 2007 when either my father or Mr. HB's father passed away.
When it was finished blooming indoors I popped it in the ground with my fingers crossed that it would take and it has flourished...
a lovely gift that keeps on giving.

Walking along the seafront has been wonderful in all this glorious sunshine.
I wear my hat to keep the sun off my face and pack along a bottle of Perrier as I am surprised how thirsty I get.

I'm so glad that I discovered this amazing almond milk.
I slather it on my arms, legs and feet before I put my socks on for my walks...
it has a subtle fragrance and delivers lots of soothing moisture.

I love all the L'Occitane almond line.
It's a little bit of luxury that is worth cultivating.

A rose posy always cheers me up.

To keep cool I have been wearing dresses.
This cotton one is in it's second season and evaded the clothing cull.
A little bit large and loose is cool when the temperature soars.

I don't know about you but I am really enjoying the fresh seasonal fruit that is available locally.
Topped with a dab of yogurt and it makes a delicious breakfast or dessert. 

Well I must close for now as I need to get outside and water the garden and the planters.
I planted a new jasmine whose fragrance is sweet and exotic and I will hope to train it up our back deck so that we can savour it's scent when we are sitting outside.

Embrace beauty everyday...



  1. The garden you visited is so beautiful. I do not know how they could leave it...but it sounds like they have money to buy, build, plant anew. How lovely of a day you must of had visiting, strolling its grounds. Your Summer days sound like just what they ought to be. xxo

  2. The Thetis Island garden is beautiful. It would take a team of gardeners to look after such grounds. Just cleaning my silver and dusting keep me busy enough. I love raspberries and Greek yogurt for breakfast at this time of year.That book looks interesting. I will put a hold on it.My new pedicure matches your dress!

  3. The flowers are so lovely and I am enjoying them vicariously. I have been having the most dreadful time with my flower baskets this season. One petunia box contracted powdery mildew. Another hanging basket had an entire section simply die. With guests coming this weekend, I am relying on a local nursery to put together boxes to replace my problematic ones. I am happy that you reminded me of the L'Occitane products. I have been replacing some products and had forgotten about L'Occitane.

  4. The roses and hydrangea are GORGEOUS. The book you mentioned sounds interesting, I might check it out.

  5. Your garden pictures are always so uplifting! I'm going to have to try that L'Occitaine almond line. I've been on the lookout for some new body lotion. I couldn't imagine living in a mansion, at least not without a full staff! ;-) In fact the older I get, the better an apartment or condo looks. Except that I love my yard and trees.

  6. What a stunning garden and how serendipitous to have it open for touring while you were there. I can't imagine having a such a large estate. Probably there would be someone to clean as well, so you wouldn't have to do that, Hostess. The L'Occitane line looks soothing and creamy - just what summer skin needs. Your own roses certainly are on equal ground with those on Thetis Island! I love the color of that summery dress. Stay cool!

  7. I enjoy giving L'Occitane products as gifts. They are always appreciated!

    Lovely garden photos. Thank you for sharing them.

  8. Again, incentive for me to get out to some of our nearby islands. In the summer, we tend to be quite content to stay on our own, but there's so much out there to explore.
    Clever you, planting a jasmine for its scent. That's on my list after smelling them everywhere in southern France and Italy -- they don't always (often?) make it through the winter here, but the joy they provide in the summer more than repays the cost of a pot. . . enjoy yours!

  9. I really enjoy reading your blog as soon as I wake in the morning such wonderful,inspiration with my favourite things, flowers, food and fashion. Thank you so much.

  10. Your roses are amazing, Hostess. I can't imagine having flowers in my yard as lush as yours. Sigh! I love LOccitaine products and keep a bottle of lemon verbena spay toilette in my refrigerator for cooling spritzes

  11. Oh my dear, I adore these missives--after reading these, I always feel a tad more elegant...your sense of grace inspires me.

    Have you ever considered collecting your blog posts and amazing photography into a publishable book? A coffee table book, for sure! I'd love it! Put me down as a pre-order!



    1. Hi Michelle,
      I have not considered a book as this blog seems to fulfill my need to write...and I wouldn't have the foggiest idea where to start!

  12. Love a garden tour! My girlfriends and I once took a tour of a fairly famous garden by the sea here, many years ago. I got the giggles, the uncontrollable kind, as we were easily the youngest people there by about fifty years! The three of us ended up in hysterics as we moved amongst all the gorgeous oldies with their canes and slow moving ways. We were ahead of our time big time. We all still love to garden and two of us have had weddings at home for our children. I hate to think of the day when we can no longer care for our large plot. Still, I am sure that I will always have a garden of some sort. Lovely blog as always. Tonkath

    1. Oh that experience sounds a wee bit familiar! I was a young member of the Victoria Horticultural Society when my children were small and the age of most of the members were well into their 70's...I think it might be time I rejoined as I am almost 60 :-))

  13. Yes - dresses are key in the heat! I live in them instead of shorts. More flattering for me too! Tonkath

  14. The island garden is beautiful, and so are your flowers. Mmm . . . almond lotion sounds yummy. I live in a largish house, and I would like staff! no way would I ever live in anything bigger without a Mrs. Hughes et al with me.

  15. Beautiful gardens . . . what a treat . . .
    I loved your post . . . and the thought of how you must live your day . . .
    Silver polished . . .
    Fresh lime fragrance . . .
    Cool comfy dress . . .
    Sunshine, roses, appreciation, relaxed . . .
    I liked . . .

  16. Don't forget to show us a picture of those chairs after you painted them! I'd like to see the affect they make around them. Thanks and good luck!

  17. I love your photography! I don't know if it qualifies as a mansion, but I lived in a 6,000 square foot home for two years in Italy. I had rooms that had nothing in them (there were only 3 of us in a 7 bedroom home). My daughter had her own floor and she had about 6 balconies :) It was a lot of work to keep clean and it was a relief to move back to the States to a home I could manage.

  18. I lived in a huge Greek Revival house when we were newly married. Our family was involved in a major restoration project at the time, and we lived, probably unwisely, in the chaos. With a baby. The main garden comprised two 90 feet perennial borders with stone walls espaliered with ivy. By the time we had almost finished the project, I had learned how to garden. Then we sold the place before we had more than a year to enjoy it all! But since then, I have lived in successively smaller houses. The present (and last) one is a modest 18th c. cape. We can keep it up fairly easily, including our newly-designed gardens. How wonderful to know that you can take good care of your own dwelling!