Gardening By Observing

April 15th, 2014

Even if you’re as passionate about your garden as my loyal customer, Donna George, it doesn’t mean you have to go it all alone.  I’m happy to welcome Donna as a guest author. Donna is a retired gardening enthusiast or as I affectionately call her, “my gardening from the deck lady”.  She shares with you her story and how we have successfully worked together for several years.


Do you garden according to a nursing care plan?  I do!  I assess, plan, implement and evaluate.

When I retired in 1997, my first TO DO thing was to do my own gardening.  When we lived in Aylmer, Ontario we had a very large garden, an arbour, a 3 pool pond, fish, a raised garden bed and lots of work to plan.

I had a potting shed, my potting table, and lots of thought about how to work.

I went to Lee Valley Tools in London and bought all the very best gardening tools!  I had my serviceable gardening gloves, my gardening straw hat, gardening clogs and I was ready!

I amassed 19 garden books by pre-eminent authors who knew and explained to the neophyte everything there was to know about gardening and gardens.

The first book that I bought had been “Chatelaine’s Gardening Book” by Lois Wilson (1970).  We still lived in an apartment but I could think ahead to the DAY.

From 1972 to 1987 we lived in our townhouse in Agincourt and that only had a small private front garden.  Not much work but I planted a bridal wreath spirea, a second spirea bush and some four o’clock plants.

In 1987 we moved to Aylmer, Ontario.

In 1994 we bought a house.  I wanted a garden!

A friend from the College of Nurses where I worked in Toronto gave me a split from her peony bush that had been her grandfather’s originally and I was ready to start!

In our 1995 garden installation there were sloping pathways and 6 distinct garden areas.  There were perennials, annuals, bushes, trees and we backed onto to a conservation area that made the garden look even larger that it really was!

However, things changed. I had a sudden onset of rheumatoid arthritis in 1998, was on homecare for 2 years and all my plans were dashed.   We had a beautiful sunroom built at the rear of the house and sitting on my green wicker plump cushion chaise lounge, I could only look out over that garden.

In 2005 we moved to Whitby and by 2006 I wanted a smaller garden, one that I could look at and one that someone could manage for me!

2008 back garden spring

Back Garden Spring 2008

I met Joanne Shaw who worked with me to realise my garden dream.

The rest as they say is history.   I still cannot walk on uneven ground or use any garden tools.  I threw out my Lee Valley clogs and now l garden from the elevated deck, taking notes for Joanne and sending her pictures of plants, spaces and trees. We have worked together for 6 years now developing my gardens that I watch over from the deck.

Back Garden Summer 2013

Back Garden Summer 2013

Joanne always says “Great Landscapes start with a great plan”….this is true even if it’s a nursing care plan and Joanne understands!

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