Beyond the hosta bed, seemingly suspended in mid-air, is a white door. Betty Lou explains: “You know how the books talk about creating rooms in your garden? Well, this is the door to one of the rooms.” This space, shaded by Austrian pine, maple, larch and oak, is the perfect home for the fragrant, tangerine-peach blooms of ‘Spicy Lights’ azalea, ‘Haaga’, ‘Elvira’ and ‘Helsinki University’ rhododendrons as well as numerous hostas that Betty Lou grew from the seed of a blue Hosta sieboldiana var. elegans.
At the head of the driveway across from the house is a one-room cottage used for relaxing, built amidst a ‘Liberty’ apple, a ‘Selkirk’ flowering crabapple and a ‘Stanley’ plum tree. Directly behind the house, three ‘Arctic Queen’ clematis grow up a fence, their white flowers accenting the deep navy blue blooms of ‘Multi Blue’ and the violet-purple blooms of ‘Star of India’ clematis. Deep crimson ‘William Shakespeare’, medium pink ‘Morden Centennial’ and light pink ‘Morden Blush’ roses grow among the clematis. Winding its way up an obelisk is Clematis viticella ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’, a hardy, rosy purple cultivar that is rarely hit by the dreaded clematis wilt. Growing in the centre of the obelisk is the classic ‘Boule de Neige’ rose, a tall shrub with strong, richly fragrant, camellia-like white flowers.
A short walk away, an old manure spreader stands among a copper beech (Fagus sylvatica forma purpurea), a blue spruce and a Laburnum anagyroides, with long chains of yellow flowers. Intertwining itself through the manure spreader’s wheels is Clematis macropetala ‘Markham’s Pink’. Betty Lou is particularly fond of this tableau and points out jokingly that she’s cut guests’ visits short if they don’t agree.
Behind the barn is a rock garden, home to one of the rare plants in Betty Lou’s collection: horned rampion (Phyteuma scheuchzeri), an alpine with rich blue, spiky flower heads. A pergola behind the barn is both a showcase of bloom and a fragrant oasis, with complements of numerous clematis—‘Margot Koster’, ‘Mme. Baron Veillard’, ‘Blue Boy’ and ‘Jillian’s Blade’—and roses—‘William Baffin’, ‘New Dawn’, ‘Mme. Alfred Carrière’ and ‘Henry Kelsey’.