Chris Graham: Perenials

Chris Graham: Perenials

One of the first questions asked of me is why Kimberley Cottage Garden when you are located in Eugenia? The answer is three fold. First, Kimberley Cottage Garden sounds more alliterative than Eugenia Cottage Garden, second, when I bought the place Canada Post told me my mailing address would Kimberley, and third, my grandfather owned an Inn in the Ottawa valley he called the Kimberley Hotel – presumably named after a town in Ireland. In any case, I am just up the hill a few kms from Kimberley so I’m not too far off.

I am a life long gardener and career Horticulturist with a love of plants. I have worked in both the private and public sectors but most of my time was spent with Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton/Burlington, ON. After nearly 30 years I left RBG and spent the next four years helping the love of my life, Luba Taylor, develop and expand her garden and business, BritAli Gardens, located in Sutton, ON. It is ,we believe, the largest privately owned display garden in York Region. Luba has accompanied to the Flesherton Market on several occasions so many of you may have had the opportunity of talking with her about plants and gaining from her knowledge.

After having owned a condo–or as my son called it the ski cottage- in Collingwood for many years, I decided the time had come to purchase a place where I could just garden and grow plants for my own amusement. I moved into my current location in Eugenia just before Christmas 2006. The house is a very old, run down and slightly listing cottage –which regrettably I have not made much progress in repairing- on an acre of property that had been neglected for several years. The ground is very, very stony and as a result has necessitated the importing of many yards of soil to create gardens.

Shortly after moving in I saw an ad posted on a Markdale grocery store bulletin board inviting potential vendors for the Flesherton Farmer’s Market to a meeting at the Library. I attended and was warmly welcomed. What a wonderful group of people! They accepted me, however, I realized I had no plants or garden to draw from. I had only a few short winter months to come up with product. Luba came to my rescue and provided me with starter stock from which I could propagate and I drew on other business contacts in the horticultural trade to help me get started. It was all very satisfactory.

I am by nature and profession a plant collector, as is Luba. If we don’t know it or have it we must try it for ourselves. If a plant in our gardens demonstrates merit, it stays and is recommended to others. If not, it becomes compost.

Kimberley Cottage Garden is not a full service garden centre. It is a one person operation whose goal is not to offer you everything for your garden, just some very special plants.