Twenty Years of Gardening Growth
@ Frog Hollow Gardens

In 2000 my wife Carol and I purchased what has become Frog Hollow Gardens at the top of the Niagara Escarpment. We got “the view to die for” looking down on Thornbury and out to Georgian Bay one way, and down the Beaver Valley the other. In fact, we bought a view with a house attached! We also inherited some perennial gardens around the house and 55 feet of raspberries. We also acquired 2 ½ acres of clay, the kind you make clay pots with. Forget about amending the soil. We trucked in triple mix, compost, gravel and bog soil to build and expand the gardens over the years. Our objective has been to have as many different environments – types of growing conditions - as possible, so we could grow the widest possible range of plant material, from bog plants to desert cactus.

Beside the gravel driveway we added more gravel to create a raised Xeriscape or desert garden to grow plants that require good drainage and full sun, like sedum, thyme, and succulents.

Along the farm field to the south, we created a boundary flowering shrub border, and cut out a 20-foot-wide window to enjoy views down the Beaver Valley.

We directed the rainwater from the house roof into the first of three bog gardens for moisture loving plants.

The septic inspector ordered the flag stone off the septic bed and we created a nursery with the protection of a cedar hedge on 2 side that are now 30 feet tall.

At the bottom of the property, we dug a pond with the overflow that goes into the second bog garden. Unfortunately, the pond leaks, so there is yet another project for the TO DO List.  

We added three blue spruce trees across the south side of what we call The Lower 48 and then added a 65-foot shrub border that blooms from spring to fall.

We piled up the soil from the excavation for an enlarged house to create a berm between our property and the home above us. We negotiated with the owner to pay for and plant a grove of blue spruce on his property to create privacy for both families.

Master Gardener Sara Kates designed a 80 x 12 perennial garden with swaths of bloom all summer long.

We created a large perennial border with 2 or 3 of each of a wide variety of traditional and unique plants.

We added a 60-foot Daylily bed that blooms from June until September.

We filled in a proposed fish pond that was just a hole in the ground for 10 years to finally add a rose garden featuring Explorer Roses developed in Ottawa and named after great Canadian explorers.

To create a formal Mediterranean garden to grow lavender, sedums and 10 kinds of Thyme, we added gravel over the enlarged septic bed, and a foot of sandy soil to plant in plus pea-gravel paths and a fountain.

Carol has decreed that there are to be NO NEW GARDENS, just fix the pond, continue weeding and show people around the diversity of Frog Hollow Gardens.