A Tour of BeachBabyBob’s Garden in Cambridge, Ontario

Take the garden tour…

In today’s world of pesticides, water shortages, fertilizers, and power mowers, backyard gardeners are turning to rocks.  BeachBabyBob is one of those people.  Years ago, BeachBabyBob’s yard was mainly grass, with a few miniature fruit trees strategically spaced.  It was springtime, and there hadn’t been much rain, so the chinch bugs were plentiful, and they loved BeachBabyBob’s well fertilized lawn.  Brown patches began to appear and BeachBabyBob wasn’t happy.  He called a local lawn care company.  The company explained to him that in order to stop these insects from eating the grass, there needed to be a great deal of re-seeding, re-fertilizing, and much pesticides deposited on the lawn to get the job done.  After all that, Bob was told that he would have to water, water, and continue to water his new grass.  Chinch bugs hate water!  Bob didn’t like the lawn care company’s advice, and he particularly didn’t like the extensive use of poisons, so he turned to rocks and perennials.

Rocks

large granite garden rock

2 ton granite

BeachBabyBob purchased many tons of pea gravel, small and large beach stones, and a variety of red crushed bricks.  After he removed most of his grass, he began to create a very complicated, but beautiful rock garden.  He used many yards of very good quality landscape carpet, and many cubic yards of wood chips.  It took Bob over 20 years to get where he is today with his yard and the gardens.  Bob spent thousands of dollars on large boulders such as dolomite (limestone), granite, and armour stones.

Perennials

Bob loves plants.  He and his wife at one time, had over 60 house plants, that they treated like family.  When Bob was selecting plants for his yard, he decided that perennials were his best choice.  These are plants that you only have to plant once and they continue to grow every year.  There are perennials for sunny spots and perennials for shady spots.  Some are very large and some are small.  They come in all shapes, sizes, and colours.  Some of Bob’s favourites are the low growing, fast spreading silvery soft and delicate plant, called Snow in Summer.

Snow in Summer ground cover

Snow in Summer with white flowers, blooms in late Spring.

Bob has to plant the ever popular lavender in his gardenwhich brings peace and tranquility to any garden, through its intoxicating aroma.  Lavender loves the sun and has a soil ph of 6 to 8.

Lavender loves the sun and has a ph of 6-8

There are hundreds of perennials to choose from, and if you buy them locally, they will be easy to grow.  Another one of Bob’s favourites is Russian Sage.

Russian Sage

It is suited to large spaces, and grows sometimes very wide and 4 or  5 feet tall.  Its clouds of blue flowers in late summer will attract onlookers from near and far.  It loves the sun and can grow almost in any kind of soil. Just remember to give this beauty lots of room to do its thing.

Trees

When Bob purchased the house 30 years ago, it was one year old.  The first owner had planted a variety of miniature trees such as cherry, peach, apricot, pear, and plum trees.  BeachBabyBob was thrilled that the trees were on the property because he had always loved trees, and he also knew how important they are to a healthy world.  Humans breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.  Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen.  Trees are homes to many flora and fauna. Tees help cool down the planet and protect all living things from the bad ultraviolet rays from our sun.

Bob’s trees lived for many years, but because Bob wasn’t into using pesticides, they all died except the black cherry tree.  It lived for almost 30 years until last year,  Bob decided to keep the dead tree for the birds, insects, and squirrels.  Bob’s yard still has many trees because he planted more over the years.  He has White pine trees, which is the provincial tree of Ontario.  He has several Maple trees, which is Canada’s national tree..  He has 2 Larch or Tamarack trees, which look like evergreens, but are deciduous.  They are very hardy, and very beautiful, but the branches are brittle

One of Bob’s favourite trees is the Ginkgo, which is just a few years old and its leaves are shaped like hearts.  Ginkgo trees are one of the oldest trees on EarthSpruce and cedar trees act as a border at the back of his yard.  The squirrels and birds love the trees and so does Bob’s black cat, Twyla Mae.  BeachBabyBob's cat, Twyla Mae

Twyla Mae climbs to the top of Bob’s Catalpa tree to escape the large male orange cat that comes to bully her at least once a week.

bird feeders in the cherry tree

Garden Art

It helps that BeachBabyBob is artistic and very creative, because he doesn’t hesitate to create “art” for his yard with things like driftwood, statues, and paintings.  Bob particularly loves statues.  He has a life size Buddha holding a pitch fork and a round rock from Newfoundland.  garden Buddha

Bob visits famous gardens all over the world.  He studies these gardens and brings many interesting ideas home to his own small outdoor space around his house.  One of his favourite Canadian gardens is the Elsie Reford Garden along highway 200 in Quebec.  It is also called, “Les Jardins de Metis.”

Elsie Reford Garden

Elsie Reford garden

The Elsie Reford Garden has many themes.

He has brought several interesting pieces of driftwood from a garden called, Plantation 13-13, located on the Bruce Peninsula, in Southern Ontario.

driftwood in the garden

Bob loves to paint portraits, and if you look closely, you might notice his rock painting of the Mona Lisa, hanging from a very large tamarack tree in his front yard.

Seats, Swings, Tables, & More

BeachBabyBob is a very busy man, and he knows the value of taking some quiet time for himself during the day.  What better place to relax than in a beautiful backyard garden.  Bob has several very comfortable Muskoka chairs, which are perfect for sitting and reading a great book while sipping some herbal tea.  Bob has 2 swings in his backyard.  One swing is on his deck and Bob loves to nap there while the swing rocks him to sleep, on a hot afternoon.

swing on the deck

Bob’s other swing is hanging from some trees in the corner of his yard.

hanging swing

That swing is a special spot for Bob’s wife to read the New York Times, while she strokes her favourite black cat.

dining glass table

Bob has a glass table with some iron chairs, all found at local thrift stores.  You can find Bob and his family at this table most days around 6 p.m., eating, drinking, and discussing world politics.  His rock table is located under a shade tent.  Bob uses that space to repair things like his many wind chimes and bird feeders.

chimes

The BeachBabyBob family care greatly about the environment.  They recycle so that on garbage day, they have none.  They also compost fruits and vegetable scraps year round.

compost year round

Bob’s wife Sue is very dedicated to the yard and is a dedicated hard worker.  Sue is the real reason BeachBabyBob’s garden is so beautiful and successful!

BeachBabyBob's wife

Sue tending to the “Kids’ Corner” garden in the front yard. This is the place where kids can get freebies from BeachBabyBob.

In Closing

Bob says … “every yard needs a clothes line and a holiday surprise!”

BeachBabyBob with Twyla Mae

Hallowe'en

BBB's clothes line

Bob doesn’t own a dryer. They use too much electricity!

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