In the early 1990s friends who lived close to Stradford, Ontario took me to a garden centre. I was in for a surprise. As you entered the property there was an area where perennial plants were being sold, then a large area for the "zoo" ... a collection of animals for children to pet. I remember only the donkeys and peacocks. Walking on you came to a quaint tearoom and then to the entrance to the gardens ... a small section of which can be seen in the article that is posted below. Wide gravel pathways meandered between magnificent beds of herbs and flowers where we could linger and be inspired to our hearts content. It was simply splendid. Gerry Brickman and his family had a dream and he brought it to life out in the countryside north of Stratford.
Fast forward 10 years and I return with my son ... only to find things had changed. Lives end and dreams fade away. The gardens and tearoom were closed and getting overgrown. Now there were parrots being housed in the house on the property. Many different birds that had been rescued and brought to Brickmans. Still though there were perennials to be purchased and although the larger animals were gone the peacocks and geese were very active and noisy. Oh yes, and so were the parrots : )
My husband and I visited about eight years ago and this is where our love for hostas begins. We brought home dozens of new plants to live in our garden. Again a couple of years later we returned to add to our collection ... and this was to be our last visit. The son told us he was selling off the plants that had been growing for over 40 years and we knew that Brickmans would not be around much longer. We asked if we could take photos and he was most happy to let us do so. Mrs Brickman was watering in the front section of the property. We believe she was living in a nursing home close by and came to help out during the day. She looked so happy to be in the garden that she had helped create. We came home with many new hostas, one of which had been part of her garden since she began collecting hostas over 40 years ago. As well we purchased from her the base of a bird bath that was lying forlorn on the path that once led to the tearoom. It now sits happily in our garden and has become our sundial.
Yesterday I called Brickmans to see if they were still open. The line rang busy, so I called again this morning. Same thing ... busy tone. So I called the business next door and amazingly on a Saturday afternoon the phone was answered. The news he shared was not a surprise. "Brickmans is closed now. We own the property and have done so for a few years. We gave away the remaining hostas and this summer we are planning on tearing down the remaining derelict buildings. All that's left now are the peacocks".
This article is from a google review here.
And these are the photos we took ... memories of a time gone by.
And these three pages are from an article written by Art Drysdale in 2003 about Gerry Brickman.
The dozens of hostas that surround our home are mostly all from Brickmans. They are superb specimens.
These images below are of the hostas in the back of our property ... there are almost as many more at the side and the front too.
They're like old friends coming back year after year. Yes, we have our favourites like the giant under the kitchen window, and the pretty pink flowered plant.
The elegant pedestal awaits its new sundial ... the first one we made was just a prototype. A fun project to look forward to.
Lovely memories of a special little place from yesteryear.
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|Bittersweet by Sharon||Jun 23, 2013 3:27 AM||1|
|Lovely memories and photos! by Calif_Sue||Jun 23, 2013 3:26 AM||1|
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