Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Glades

For years,  Linda has wanted to show off her favourite garden, The Glades in south Surrey, to her former co-workers. On Friday, we finally made it. Left to right, Mariken, Karenn, Linda and Cheryl. (I'm taking the photo!)

Even though The Glades -- with 10 acres, going up to 15 -- is tiny compared to the 55-acre VanDusen Garden in Vancouver, it has many similar features.  Such as a water course with fountains.

Karenn looks out over banks of rhododendrons. The garden has over 1,600 mature rhododendrons, azaleas and companion plants. It was begun in 1956 by Lydia and Murray Stephen, who bought five acres of rough land and began creating a rhododendron garden. 

Over the years, my ex-colleague Linda has often mentioned a garden in south Surrey owned by friends of a friend. And every time she does, a look comes into her eyes signaling that this is no ordinary garden; this one is magical.

Some kind of colourful wonderland in deepest, darkest Surrey, I always imagined. Given its location near the U.S. border and the fact that it’s open to the public only occasionally, I didn’t pursue details.

But Linda was determined to share her special place with a group of former colleagues, and on Friday, there we were in the rain, booted and umbrellaed, trekking down the trails of the garden known as The Glades. As a gardener who has often fantasized impossible gardens, I understood immediately what makes it special.

 Imagine having a huge wild back yard, with woods and water galore, then being able to organize it and add everything to it you ever dreamed of. All your favourite trees. Layers upon layers of rhododendrons of all colours. A water course with fountains spouting along its length. Statues. A curved bridge. A waterfall tumbling down rocks into a fern-surrounded pool. A stand of giant red cedars. A field of ferns. A bank of red trilliums. All impeccably groomed and maintained.

There’s more to the garden than its contents, of course. Linda has watched it evolve for years, along with a dear friend, an avid gardener who lived nearby and knew the owners. The friend has died, but Linda’s connection with the garden remains. She had to take a second look at a view spot called the ridge before we left on Friday. And when we drove past the garden once again on our way back to Vancouver, she called out to it: “Goodbye, Glades!” she said.

A bank of red trilliums greets visitors at the start of the tour.

A curved bridge, just like we'd all like in our own gardens.

A Japanese maple with pink leaves -- no, those are not blossoms. There is a pink rhododendron underneath.
The Glades is called a woodland garden; scenes like this show why.

This is a western red cedar, known in the garden as the Bent Tree, for obvious reasons.

A waterfall, a pond, a statue.

A chat about an addition to the garden between Elfrieda DeWolf and Linda. (Left to right, Mariken, Cheryl, Elfrieda and Linda.) Elfrieda and her husband Jim DeWolf bought the garden in 1994, which had declined after its previous owner died in 1970. The DeWolfs gifted the garden to city of Surrey in 2002, but they continue to live there and are active in its operation.

This is the new area that is the subject of the chat.

Statues like this are scattered throughout the garden.

Linda with umbrella and maple, with its fresh new leaves. 

The ridge area at the high spot of the garden. Walk down this lawn between the rhodos and look out on even more rhodos. 

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful place and how lovely that it was gifted to the city of Surrey. That Japanese maple is amazing.