Christine Vincent does not speak to her plants. But she isn’t quite so quick to discourage the notion that her plants – in a manner of speaking – might communicate with her. She and husband Alan call a 10 acre property on Yellow Point Road home. Since 2001 they have transformed about three acres into a series of lush, meandering gardens that are as pleasing to the eye as they are soothing to the soul.
You will be able to stroll their grounds Sunday, May 31 as part of the 18th Annual Garden Tour, put on by the Ladysmith Rotary Club. The event includes a Show and Sale at the Aggie Hall from 8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and an invitation to visit some of the most splendid gardens in Ladysmith, Yellowpoint and Saltair. The Vincent’s place will be one stop you won’t want to miss on the self-directed tour which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets for the tour cost $15, which gets you a pass, program and map.
“The Rotary Garden Tour is a wonderful opportunity for gardeners of all skill levels to visit and admire gardens otherwise unavailable to them. Many visitors will benefit by finding fresh ideas and renewed enthusiasm for their own gardens,” says a news release from the Rotary Club of Ladysmith, which organizes the tour.
As well as enjoying horticulture at its finest, guests will be gratified to know they are supporting many worthwhile causes. “Rotary funds support ongoing local activities such as the food bank, senior and youth programs and scholarships.” says the release. “We also assist Disaster Aid Canada and many Rotary International projects – especially the plan to eradicate polio worldwide. Special emphasis for this year will be on the redevelopment of the Transfer Beach playground.”
The Vincents are only too happy to help out by opening their gates to local gardening enthusiasts, who will be greeted by a statue of Adonis at the foot of their meandering drive, which wends its way through the property between a profusion of blooms and bushes. There’s a sense of stately ease to it, of environment as art. But it’s taken vision, time and dedication to achieve that sense of casual harmony.
“We had loads and loads of soil brought in to create this,” Christine said, touring the grounds. Hardscaping – that is stone ponds, patios, pathways and stairs – defines separate spaces on the grounds. But the overall vision was anything but hardscaped. “It was a very loose vision,” Christine recalled, “and the vision changes as the plants grow.”
There’s a give-and-take, a symbiosis, that makes gardening a lifelong experience. “As much as you’re shaping a garden, it’s shaping me,” Christine said. To which Alan added, “It feeds the soul.” That’s why it’s hard to characterize what they do as a hobby.
Throughout the year, the Vincents will gravitate to different zones in their pocket paradise. In the height of summer, they can escape the heat in a vine drapped colonade on the northern side of their house; come dinner time, they can head down to the vegetable garden, which keeps kale and chard on their table even in winter; almost anwhere they go, they are soothed by the burble of running water.
“There’s space to move in a garden setting,” Alan said. “A garden shouldn’t be what you see from a window, it should be walked through all the time.” You are invited to see for yourself what he means. Call Ed Nicholson at 250-924-3402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the Rotary Garden Tour.