Gardens - Featured Gardens

Improvised impressionism

Veronica Sliva
Photography by
Jerry Pavia

A bloom-filled West Coast garden, reminiscent of a Monet painting, is returned to its former glory, but with an Asian twist

One path leads to the greenhouse, where a “nursery” bed in front serves as a temporary home for young perennials awaiting their permanent spot in the garden. The greenhouse is put to good use, overwintering tender plants and storing spring bulbs once they’ve finished blooming.

Rocks are used throughout the property as features, in pathways and as retaining walls. A stunning 7.5-metre-long, 1.5-metre-high granite rock wall, for example, separates a courtyard from the entrance to the house. The wall is draped with the misty grey-greens, purples and pinks of azaleas, heather and rock cress (Aubrieta cvs.).

Near the house entrance, a long granite planter hugs the length of one wall of the home’s foundation, while a whisper away, beside the front doors, a bed of highly fragrant, sunshine yellow ‘Suzy’ Jonquilla daffodils (Narcissus ‘Suzy’) release their perfume.

impressionismC.jpgTucked away on the south side of the house, another granite planter box—several metres high—makes an impressive backdrop for a rectangular pond. Perennials and annuals are a riot of colour as they casually cascade over the planter’s edges to soften its geometric lines.

Behind the house, a retaining wall covered with passion flower (Passiflora spp.) and fuchsias frame the lawn that leads to a slope of naturalized groundcovers such as St. John’s wort (Hypericum spp.), rambling roses and cotoneasters. Looking eastward, you’re rewarded with that same view the Chwyls first fell in love with.

Gardeners know it takes more than good design to create a beautiful garden. “Keeping up with 2½ acres of fully landscaped property is a challenge,” says Ed. So, three years ago he contracted Lee Smith of Lee Smith Landscapes to help him care for the property. “We use an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach,” explains Smith. “No pesticides, only 100 per cent organic fertilizers and lots of compost and other amendments, such as manure and sand, to support the soil.”

The Chwyls’ garden is an outstanding example of what happens when all the elements of a beautiful landscape come together. True, an eye-pleasing design, the right plants in the right place and a healthy environment are all a recipe for success. But perhaps the success of a garden is reflected most in the emotions it evokes. As Ed puts it, “We just love being in the garden. We love the colour and the variety, and we really enjoy being stewards of our land.”

See more stunning photos of the Chwyl's garden in our slideshow!

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