Hosta Fest at Gardens Plus


by Festival Nomad "Scoop" Correspondent, Judi McWilliams

A Special Place...

Over the past few years we had heard a lot about “Gardens Plus”, located in the Peterborough area. Although my thumb isn’t “green”, both Gary and I enjoy gardens immensely and we even had our own special garden when we lived near Lakefield many years ago. My favorite, in our garden, was the vibrant orange tiger lilies. They ran the entire length of our property, along the fence line. It was when Dawn, the owner of Gardens Plus, contacted us to let me know about their special events coming up this spring that we decided to visit this "Special Place". Their “Hosta Fest” and the “Daylilies in Bloom” both sounded intriguing to me! So, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, Gary and I climbed in the car and headed north towards Peterborough to visit “Hosta Fest” at Gardens Plus. We followed the directions Dawn on the Gardens Plus website and were able to find the venue with ease. As soon as we came to the crest of the hill, we saw a beautiful array of gardens at the roadside. The Gardens Plus signs are bright and attractive. These also helped us find "Hosta Fest".

Go Around Back...

There is a shed at the entrance of the driveway which directs customers to the greenhouse, garden pathways and full fields of floral delights - "Go around back". It took a long time to get around the back, as we kept stopping to admire all the wonderful flowers in full bloom. Dawn met us with enthusiasm and introduced us to her partner in crime, and her beloved cat (who was on a long leash in the gardens to prevent it from running off at night and becoming a treat for the coyotes at night). The cool breeze on the hill top was welcoming and it helps keep the “bugs” away. We could see many large rain barrels alongside Dawn’s home. These are a great source of water for the gardens. A “well” use of natural resources! It was a special treat to talk to Dawn about her passion. As a result we learned a lot Hostas and Daylilies and about the Gardens Plus facilities. Dawn and her husband pride themselves on offering their expert knowledge of growing techniques, when to plant, shade versus sun, and much more. This "prides" translates into a “complete and personal package” of knowledge, including layout and design. Gardens Plus offers “No fuss, no muss” plants for sale, ones that keep the maintenance low! (Although Dawn tells us weeds are a fuss and muss).

New Beginnings...

I asked Dawn where she drew her knowledge and growing new ideas from. She told me she belongs to a club that meets regularly. There they share ideas and information. Dawn attends an annual auction where over 60-85 new species are offered each year. She can purchase up to 45 new species for herself. However, it can be quite expensive, as rare plants can be auctioned off for as such as $100 - $250 per single plant. Gardens Plus has been “growing” for about 13 years now and developed their amazing array of plants in what was once an overgrown field. Dawn has also accomplished an amazing feat by creating her own three new species. These are now registered with the Registrar in the U.S.A. The registered plants are, “Peterborough Sunset”, “Donwood”, “Donwood Fire Hall”. She explained the “mating” process and tried to explain how only 1 in 15 can take. Also, there could be up to 15 different colours, taking up to 10 years to grow enough in volume to sell at market! The day was getting on and a few drops of rain came. It was time to say our goodbyes and leave.
Don’t forget to “Go around back” to see the wonderful greenhouses, lush field full of amazing plants and the wonderful pathways with archways and a "riot" of colours! It certainly was worth the drive up the hill to Gardens Plus and Hosta Fest! And don't forget to visit "Daylilies in Bloom"!