Kathryn McHolm’s Garden
For more than twenty years now on my property in the Village of Welcome, I’ve been listening as the garden speaks to me. It had been previously owned by a couple who lived here, and gardened, for almost sixty years. The backbone retains plantings typical of the mid 1800’s coinciding with the age of my house. There are peonies, pie plant, lemon lily, mock orange, a nameless shrub rose, japanese quince and fragrant currant. As well, there are plantings from the early 1900’s, cherries, grapevines, annual poppies that seed themselves, a robust rosa rugosa and narcissus. My aim is to keep the garden as consistent as possible to it’s history. Some call it an English garden, or maybe Cottage style – whichever, it has an abundance of flowers and shrubs planted so that little earth is visible between. This shading of the earth conserves water as well as helping to prevent “weeds”. The various plants require, and get, support from butterflies and bees and their beneficial friends and relatives.
Birds are abundant – a nest is often found in my shrub island. Fruiting shrubs, trees and vines were planted to attract birds. This proved to be the case when a Mockingbird, which usually isn’t seen this far north in the winter, decided t o stay and eat until almost spring. Old apple trees with their dying limbs have been home to many a cavity nester and that ’s just fine by me, as I’m living every day with nature at my doorstep.
Many butterflies are also seen in my garden, A small area of stinging nettle is larval food for Red Admirals and Milbert’s Tortoise Shell; the hop vine provides food for Question Mark; milkweeds – common, swamp, butterfly and tropical, host Monarchs. In 2010 I became a certified Monarch Waystation. One of the requirements for certification is that you have both host and nectar plants my garden provides the monarchs with many choices.
In the fall of 2017 I applied for and received certification for a Wildlife Friendly Habitat through Canadian Wildlife Federation.
The ambience of “my space” lends itself to creating – my watercolours show the influence of gardening in general and my garden in particular. As a teenager, the experience of nurturing seedlings in what was known as my Grandmother’s garden, along with observing my father’s gardening practices, which were diametrically opposite to mine have inspired a series “From My Garden”.
My surroundings also provide me with materials for paper making, basket weaving and all sorts of floral creations. The garden is a reflection of my personality and my need to conserve and provide a habitat for “critters”. I invite you to visit during the two shows and studio tour that take place every year or you can contact me for other times.
(authored by Kathryn McHolm)