When traveling – be it close to home or far away – we are always on lookout for interesting gardens. This time we were going for a weekend trip up Vancouver Island, here in British Columbia, Canada.
We wanted to see Milner Gardens in Qualicum Beach, advertised as very extensive and interesting, with hundreds of rhododendrons and other attractive plants. That will be theme of my next post, but today I want to share with you impressions from another garden we visited on this trip – a small jewel near Ladysmith, between Victoria and Nanaimo.
Well, this place did not disappoint, and our visit was much longer than expected. We were kindly allowed to enter and photograph even private parts of this unique garden, and our visual feast begun. From the very first moment, you sense really good and happy vibrations surrounding this garden. Creators had to feel really free and happy to come up with so many unusual ideas, making this place a visual orgy stimulating your mind. Not only it was cleverly planned with many unexpected vistas opening at every corner and angle, but the slightly crazy and untamed style of decoration proves to you at every point that really anything is possible in this place.
Indeed, we felt a similar way of creative thinking here, at Barton & Leier Garden.
Only a free spirit, someone who lets one’s imagination fly high can come up with such colorful, inspirational and amazing space. From little décor pieces like a dozen of tiny elephants nailed onto a wooden rail, or a purple hippo immersed in garden pond, through impressive green painted human heads, and faces mounted in surprising locations – to a real yellow school bus – the garden is full of lively surprises impacting you on every step. Even the door to artists’ studio is decorated so extensively that it is hard to find an inch of bare space on it.
We were sad to hear this slightly surreal masterpiece of garden and gallery enjoys its last season here , as the gallery and studio will be moved to Nanaimo. Well, at least we had the chance to see it at its final eighteenth season of activity.
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All photographs copyright Derek Galon, Ozone Zone Books – no usage without written authorization please.