Canadians are a nation of gardeners. This may stem from the fact that our country is cold for so much of the year, so it's not surprising that we need to nurture fertile, blooming places that add joyful, living punctuation to the rhythm of the seasons.
This passion extends to the owners of some commercial establishments, too. What follows is a guide to the lovely gardens of a small sampling of inns, bed and breakfasts and restaurants that dot this country from coast-to-coast. We hope they'll inspire you to take an afternoon drive in September's mellow light, or arrange for a longer stay. So hit the road, and please let us know of any others in your neck of the woods that should be included on our next list. You can write to us or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melfort Cottage B&B
(155 Douglas Ave., Oakville, ON L6J 3R7; 905/849-9729; www.bbcanada.com/melfortcottage)
Type of establishment: B&B
The garden: white-flowering plants on three levels: a formal area, a rock garden with dwarf plants and a lower level with a circular path around a woodland; half a kilometre from Lake Ontario
Growing conditions: sandy soil
Key plants: yews, boxwood, roses, weeping pear, snowdrop and a yellowwood tree (Cladrastis lutea) that screens the garden from neighbours
Gardening secrets: soil is heavily supplemented with manure, compost and mulch
Best time to visit: spring to early summer