Here 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.
Hastings House Country Estate
(160 Upper Ganges Rd., Salt Spring Island, BC; V8K 2S2; 800/661-9255; http://www.hastingshouse.com/)
Type of establishment: inn, restaurant
The garden: organic kitchen gardens, heritage fruit orchards
Growing conditions: warm and dry summers; wet winters, little snow; heavy clay soil and rock
Key plants: herbs, edible flowers, mixed greens, daffodils, tulips, forget-me-nots, alliums, mums and kale; some beds edged with clipped boxwood. For lush display, about 80 five-gallon containers of annuals (five successive plantings) are placed in one bed
Gardening secrets: perennial beds are overplanted by about 30 per cent to suppress weeds. Soil is routinely analyzed in the heavily used kitchen garden. All beds are top-dressed annually with compost or manure
Best time to visit: spring, when 4,000 bulbs are in bloom.
(1240 8th Ave. SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0M7; 403/531-2767; http://www.rougecalgary.com/)
Type of establishment: restaurant
The garden: about one acre; four-metre-tall caragana hedge on one side. One-quarter of the land is used for food production; the rest has many flowering plants
Growing conditions: high-altitude prairie with near-drought conditions most years; late and early frost. Cool nights even in summer; daily temperature difference can be 30°C
Key plants: apple, crabapple, pin cherry, conifer, maple, ornamental crabapple trees-some 100 years old-lilac bushes; gooseberries, raspberries and saskatoon berries are also grown
Gardening secrets: garden has had a century of care and some original plants survive; plants thrive on homemade compost, sunlight and water
Best time to visit: August