GWA Durham Garden Tour/Meeting
June 24-26, 2005



Saturday was a full day. We started out visiting 4 private gardens - Hunca Munca Hollow, Greylings, Bob's Garden and Marvin's Garden. All these gardens were part of Rhapsody in Bloom to support the Laura Ellis Memorial Fund. We got a sneak preview of what was in store and I know those who visited them would be enchanted with them all as we were.

Then we visited the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens, boasting one of the largest collections of peonies in North America. This is very near and dear to Veronica as she is the Chair, OVBG Task Force and has worked tirelessly, along with her members to pull this garden together. The Canadian Peony Society donated the first 100 peonies, then came other donations including those from the estate of Wally Gilbert. Included in this collection are some bred by William Brown. After a short presentation on the garden and its goals we were off to Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village for lunch then time to wander the gardens. It should be noted that the temperature this day with humidity factored in was about 40C. Quite the heat wave! I had never been here before and was really quite excited to see the miniature village. It did not disappoint. The buildings were wonderful and as you look at the pictures note that even the trees and shrubs are in perfect balance to the buildings. A delightful place for both adult and child and even though hot, there were many tourists there visiting. Be sure to make time to visit the Lynde House as well, built in 1812-1814, one of Whitby's first settlers. Thank you to the City of Oshawa for providing those very welcome refreshments while at the garden, Cullen Gardens and our delicious lunch provided by the Town of Whitby.

On to Sheridan Nurseries to hear a presentation on the latest introductions and visit the nursery - it must be said that our group was hot and heavy into buying plants as we visited the various places that had them for sale. We were each treated to new plant introductions to take home with us as well! One of the plants I was given that I am very fond of is Sambucus nigra 'Eva' Black Lace, not due for main release until spring 2007.

Next stop was Parkwood, the R.S. McLaughlin Estate. Now I am hoping that you will get the opportunity to visit one of Canada's last grand estates in Oshawa. The gardens were beautiful. There were four weddings going on that day so it was kind of neat to see them all setting up for their photography and one of the wedding parties had fun in one of the fountains, cooling off, while we were there. We even had to wait while a wedding was taking place in the Japanese garden. A lovely piece of Canadian history both inside and out. Thank you to Parkwood and the City of Oshawa for refreshments by the pool ... what a perfect spot!

Back to the hotels to change and get ready as we were heading over to Herongate Barn Dinner Theatre for dinner and a play. 'The century old Herongate Barn Theatre began as a dairy farm, and it housed animals typical to this kind of farm until the 1970's when it ceased to be economical. It served as a location for auctions, barn dances, and hayrides until 1975 when it was converted by the Ward family for use as a theatre. It is now a truly unique dinner theatre experience. Where else can you dine in a bull pen or manger, and sit on a theatre seat that originally came from the historic old Victory Burlesque Theatre in Toronto? ' We all enjoyed a great meal then were treated to an MC who knew our group was there. He had fun with us, chatting with our group and welcoming us all to the area, then we proceeded upstairs to our seats for the last night of "Weekend Comedy". Another great place to put on your list of things to do while in the area. The City of Pickering sponsored this evening, thank you!





  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row