Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nelson House Heritage Garden

A gardener must be an optimist - always planting for the future with the eye of one's imagination. As often happens in life, the future might not work out as planned or, let's face it, we just might not be around to see it happen.

One of the delights of a mature garden is the chance to see those loving plans come to beautiful fruition. Nelson House B & B, a century-old house, has such a garden. It is small - a city garden only - but it has been planted with excellent "bones" and tended with love for generations. A visit to our little urban oasis is a step back in time. Several of our trees, shrubs and roses are truly heritage specimens, planted when the House was young, circa 1905-10.

The photo above shows the "bones" of an astonishing pieris japonica - described by garden sources as growing slowly with an elegant, upright and layered habit. What is astonishing is that this very slow-growing shrub, a native of rainy, shaded mountainsides in Japan and China, is expected to reach no more than nine to twelve feet - ours is fifteen to twenty! Even in Vancouver's well-watered, shady environment, this specimen is undoubtedly one of the oldest on the West Coast.

Blooming through much of March and April in Vancouver, the pieris japonica graceful, dangling bell-like flowers are matched in their day-time charm by the old-fashioned lily of the valley perfume - especially on a mild spring night.

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