This is my second summer in Glen Williams and the gardens and I have bonded. When I arrived my first thought was, “I don’t know anyone here” – and I was talking about the plants. People thought it was quite funny when I said that, but I was serious – I need to see a garden through all four seasons before I feel comfortable that I have met all the inhabitants.
Unlike the garden, I settled in as a resident of the village immediately. The wonderful humans of Glen Williams had already embraced me as their own.
The gardens have responded with gratifying enthusiasm to their new home and my ministrations. Even the shocked truckloads of plants I hauled from my last garden are recovering from the trauma of that day and are starting to approach their former glory. The conditions are quite different here from my last residence, the soil is sandy as opposed to wetland clay. The house and gardens are on a steep slope tucked into the side of the escarpment so the drainage is – shall we say – rather good. However, the same tactics apply; a deep mulch of lots and lots of shredded leaves in the fall cures all.
The gardens were already full of mature perennials and shrubs when I arrived, so it’s been a match made in heaven. The former gardeners had a keen interest in native species and I inherited an eye-popping variety of beauties. I can’t decide if the delicate Pale Coneflower (Echnicaea pallida) is my favourite, or the Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) simply because I’ve never seen one before. I can’t understand why this beauty isn’t in everyone’s garden.
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about these gardens is that they are vibrant and alive. Birds of all kinds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators, a friendly toad, cheeky chipmunks, a garter snake, newts, tree frogs, turkeys… Not to mention the surviving long-tailed weasel in the barn area who keeps the rabbits under control, a raccoon, a possum… Turbo is acquainted with the resident skunk. Naturally.