Windows on a lush, green world

Sunny outside, light inside combine in an elegant home with a spectacular garden, part of the Teeny Tiny Garden Tour fundraiser for Victoria Hospice.

A lush rose in Caroline Haywood’s garden is so vigorous that it blooms almost all summer, and she can’t keep up with the deadheading.

It’s a bit annoying, but that’s exactly what you want in a small garden: plants that make a big statement despite their small size. There is no room for an underperforming shrub, flower or tree.

This is certainly true of Haywood’s garden on the Portage Inlet waterfront, which will be featured during the annual Teeny Tiny Garden Tour taking place on Sunday, June 9, with proceeds going to Victoria Hospice. (See details below.)

Her small lot is vibrant with color, foliage and scent and her home is equally appealing on many levels – including most importantly: the owner’s desire to live here forever.

Haywood, a retired nurse, was twice widowed and, along with her husbands, decided to become a traveling nurse “after the children left home.”

She worked all over BC, was based in Newfoundland four times, and then spent months or years in California and New Hampshire. She went on four medical missions to Guatemala and lived with her second husband in Hawaii for several years.

She bought this property in 1996 and lived there in a small house until 2012, when she demolished it to rebuild it from the ground up.

The new house, designed to age in place, was completed two years later. It was conceived and built by her son Trevor Ross, a former furniture maker who now lives in Kelowna and works for an architect.

Good lighting is a big part of healthy aging, both practical and mood-boosting.

This open-concept home delivers mass through a wall of windows along the waterfront on both the main and top floors, as well as French doors to the dining area.

The master bedrooms have a second wall of windows that open onto a deck – “This is the view of my cruise ship” – and in addition to piano windows here and there, the owner has added transom windows above the main floor doors.

The floors are polished, easy-care concrete that is pale and mirror-like in the master suite and a warmer shade in the main suite, especially in the kitchen, where it is a lovely cinnamon shade.

“I love concrete and have it on the countertops,” Haywood explains.

In addition to being a traveling nurse, she worked at Victoria General Hospital for many years and is also keen to have health care in the area.

She seems to have thought of everything, as her 1,800-square-foot home has wide doorways, a staircase designed as an elevator in the future, and a legal suite in the basement.

A small garden is both relaxing and a healthy choice, as the 79-year-old can take care of it himself and often gardens until 9 p.m.

“The house originally had a beautiful garden,” she explains.

“So when I decided to build a new house, I took the plants out and kept them in pots for a few years during construction, then replanted them in my new garden.”

The 50 by 120 plot is densely planted, mainly with perennials, but also with annuals, from hydrangeas and astilbe to allium, iris and roses, which are a specialty. She especially likes the citrus scented one.

She is a huge fan of flowers and flower arranging in general, belongs to the Victoria Floral Artists Guild and is a member of three garden clubs.

As an official horticultural judge, she also spends much of her summer attending fairs and competitions around the South Island and Gulf Islands, and enjoys sharing her garden and raising money for the Hospice.

Visitors enter the rolling grounds along a charming stepping stone path, lined with bright, blooming rhodes and lush hostas.

To the right is a shady grotto she created between the house and the garage, and at the end of this colorful mini-alée are two small flagstone patios and a patch of lawn with wavy edges.

Surrounding the patios and lawn are numerous pots filled with tomatoes, strawberries, boysenberries, raspberries, and a fig and Japanese maple.

She explained that the garden is in a good location to grow things thanks to plenty of sunshine, “although the strong winds a week ago made it a challenge. I was surprised that I had anything left for the tour!”

Teeny Tiny Garden tour

When: Sunday June 9 from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm

Where: 11 small but spectacular gardens around Cordova Bay, Broadmead and the Gorge with a special stop at Elli’s Grow Your Own Groceries.”

Tickets: $30 at Brown’s the Florist, Gardenworks, Heirloom Linens, Wildwood Outdoor Living and Hospice development office, Richmond Pavilion on the 4th floor.

Remark: This is a fundraiser for Victoria Hospice

More information: (email protected)

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