What to do now - Garden-Inspired Travel

Great fall escapes - Central Canada

Marni Andrews
Photography by
Tracey Cox

Discover inns, B&Bs and restaurants with gorgeous gardens in Central Canada!

Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa
(RR 33, Cambridge, ON N3H 4R8; 800/268-1898; www.langdonhall.ca)

Type of establishment: inn, restaurant, spa
The garden: originally designed by American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed New York's Central Park); perennial and shrub borders redesigned by Leslie Laking, former director of Royal Botanical Gardens; grounds include the Cloister Garden, as well as rock, kitchen and cutting gardens
Zone: 6b
Growing conditions: dry, sandy soil; very hot, dry summers; situated on a ridge; kitchen garden in full sun
Key plants: most vegetables and about 40 herbs are grown for the kitchen; trees (Camperdown elm, maidenhair tree, catalpa) that are original to the house (1898); perennials with prolonged or repeat bloom
Gardening secrets: homemade compost is piled on the kitchen garden every fall; mulch
Best time to visit: spectacular spring bulb display, perennial borders in summer, harvest season for the kitchen garden

Ripplecove Inn & Spa
(700 Ripplecove Rd., Ayer's Cliff, QC J0B 1C0; 800/668-4296; www.ripplecove.com)

Type of establishment: inn, spa
The garden: several gardens with varied plantings in both full sun and shade; taller plants on lee side of stone walls and fences; dozens of flower boxes. Gardens are spectacular contrasted with fall foliage
Zone: 4
Growing conditions: lakeside setting on a 12-acre peninsula protects garden from autumn frost and ensures a growing season until mid-October
Key plants: peonies, roses, tulips, daffodils, spring flowers (under trees), hostas, wild cranberries, flag irises, lilacs (late- and early-blooming varieties), clematis, dahlias, lady's mantle, daylilies; shrubs such as Van Houtte spirea, weigela and viburnum
Gardening secrets: regular weeding, a covering of leaves in fall, no chemical fertilizers. Solid grey clay was dug out to some 1.5 metres deep; topped up with 60 centimetres of horse manure and straw, and one metre of black loam; thin layer of composted duck manure is added every spring
Best time to visit: spring for bulbs and August to mid-October for fall foliage

Hummingbird Hill B&B/Spa
(254 Edmond Rd., Astorville, ON P0H 1B0; 705/752-4547; www.hummingbirdhill.ca)

Type of establishment: B&B, spa
The garden: crushed-stone pathways bordered by hostas lead to the spa, back gardens and pond; vine-covered screened porch
Zone: 4
Growing conditions: hilly, surrounded by trees; southern exposure provides warm spots where red hot poker plants and rhododendrons flourish; sun as well as shade/woodland
Key plants: delphiniums, foxgloves, peonies, oriental and peony poppies, phlox, shasta daisies, artemisias, clematis, day- and oriental lilies, evening primrose, lungwort, herbs, woolly lambs' ears, black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers, blanket flowers, yellow loosestrife; beds of ornamental grasses and shade plants, such as hostas, ferns and sweet woodruff; herbs, including oregano, tarragon, chives and mint
Gardening secrets: plenty of organic matter and regular watering; beds are kept weeded and mulched; plants are cut back hard after they finish flowering to promote more bloom
Best time to visit: July for delphiniums and foxgloves and August for daylilies

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