Gardens - Featured Gardens

Exotic garden retreat

Karen York
Photography by
Janis Nicolay

A plant-packed property in Victoria, British Columbia is part botanical garden and part Dr. Seuss.


Ancient apple tree
The Murphys arrived here in 2007 to an ocean of bindweed-studded lawn lapping around an ancient apple tree, the last remnant of what was once an orchard. Paul quickly set about removing most of the grass, gave the apple tree a good haircut, hauled in loads of good soil and installed an irrigation system. Then it was all plants on deck. “I came here with about 400 potted plants; now I have about 1,000 different species and varieties, including more than 50 varieties of hosta.”

The venerable apple tree, remnant of a former orchard, offers gravitas and some shade. Typifying Paul’s clever mix of shapes and colours are a rusty-hued Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Villa Taranto’), frothy meadow rue (Thalictrum rochebruneanum ‘Laven- der Mist’), giant Broussa mullein, blue hostas, low-growing sedums, a little golden English yew (Taxus baccata Fastigiata Aurea Group) and pale Oriental lilies (Lilium ‘Aubade’)

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