It has been SO busy around here for the last month that it was a shock to realize Mother’s Day had arrived. Especially shocking was the fact that it was our opening day and Susie was having a Jubilee Mother’s Day afternoon tea. Little sandwiches (crusts cut off!) and tea and Victoria sponges, tea breads, cakes and pastries for days! We were saved by the exertions of two friends from Toronto who came to our assistance (no, to our rescue) and with Susie at the helm, worked and baked and decorated and worked some more for three exhausting days that ended in a very successful tea party held amidst Union Jack bunting, the royal coat of arms (immense, in the tea room) and a pretty portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, post-coronation and dewy as a rose.
Since “I-am-not-a-cook”, it must be self evident that for me to be busy something else must have been happening at SpindleTree!
In fact, the second phase of the new curved Orangery (Fr. ‘orangerie’) is well under construction (the first wing was roofed in last autumn) and the 60 (count ‘em – 60) French doors are almost all painted (three coats of paint each side for a total of 360 doors painted!). Thirty-three of them are installed and exterior work has started on the first wing.
Because we ran out of water for the gardens last fall, I have been mulling over whether or not to build a water reservoir. This spring, as well, brought a fairly long period with no rain that finally prompted the design of an elliptical reservoir that will hold 450,000 litres of water. Having designed it and seeing a potential drought coming, we decided to build it. Construction started in mid-April and is almost complete now. It has been dubbed the Jubilee Pond and features a walkway across the water that also happens to have a garden of trees and shrubs halfway across. This small ‘emerald isle set in a silver sea’ is now known as England.
As if that isn’t enough to keep us busy, the old tool shed we built in 1995 has been emptied (the tools are now in the storage areas of the new orangery) and completely renovated into a gift shop for SpindleTree aprons and T-shirts and tea cozies and other interesting and/or useful products and is almost ready for its opening day. Still has to be prettied up a bit with some bright fabric on ceiling and windows.
And another thing – we are now offering a variety of perennials for sale along with specimen spindle trees (the spindle trees add a special, autumnal beauty to your garden).
In between all this work we managed to speak to the Kingston Horticultural Society, the Collins Bay Horticultural Society and the Toronto Garden Club. As well, A week before Mother’s Day, Carola Vyhnak came to visit SpindleTree Gardens from Toronto and interviewed us. To our considerable gratification, her article, complete with colour photos was published in the Toronto Star on May 15 on the front page of the Life section. It’s nice to get the recognition – it makes us try even harder!
Enough for now. I’m ready for a bit of a rest. Talk to you again soon.