Story and Photos by Tara George
Sunday, July 24th marked the day of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s much anticipated garden tour. With only a few moments of misty rain, the warmth and sunshine set the stage for the six stunning gardens that made up the tour.
Over 500 ticket holders made their way around the city to experience a variety of different gardens, each unique and stunning. Master gardeners were at hand at every stop to answer questions participants may have about the garden.
The Lakehead University Campus Garden consisted of a number of small plots that boasted an impressive display of vegetables that will be sure to reap a bountiful harvest. The garden coordinator said that several community groups use the garden as a therapy and learning tool, as well as about 30 individuals who have personal gardens.
Eva Tucci, has transformed her Riviera Drive garden into a beautiful collaboration of rocks and plants that gently melds into the sidewalk and boulevard, inviting passersby to slow down and appreciate the beauty. Toni Hudyma’s garden, at Westview Place, could equally be viewed an art gallery, with an interesting piece of art included in every glance. The highlight piece being two large tiled cement sculptures, Thor and Olga, that function as an archway into the back part of the garden.
The windy pathways at Kathy Schmidt’s Riverview Drive garden leads you first through her front yard and then into the back where the sounds of the water in the pond and bees busily collecting pollen from brilliantly coloured flowers soothes the senses as you lose yourself in a forest of flowers, shrubs, and grasses.
Dawn Murphy’s garden on Tarbutt Street is fit for a photo shoot for Home and Garden. The seating areas and loungers, with throw blankets and brightly printed pillows, draw you into the space that is filled with beautiful garden art, set in a stage of flowers that seem to have taken full bloom for the occasion.
Finally, Frank and Debbie Bil have established a combination of sophistication and whimsy in their Broad Oaks Drive garden. The stunning gardens that meander along the edge of the house was the subject for a painting by Linda Dell, local painter who will donate the painting to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s Art Auction on September 30th. Making your way into the backyard, you realize that you are amongst a fairy garden, with little doors at the base of the trees. Post-event notes suggest that the tour served as a huge inspiration for attendees.