Backyard Oasis: Communal garden in Toronto offers residents beauty, stress relief

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WATCH ABOVE: A Toronto communal garden has become increasingly important to the residents of a heritage condominium amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In this next installment of "Backyard Oasis," Melanie Zettler visits the property to learn what it takes to create the perfect garden – Jul 14, 2020

Nestled between Rosedale, Leaside and the Don Valley Ravine in Toronto, Governor’s Bridge is a small neighborhood with a heritage property called Governor’s Manor.

Built in 1929 with 20 units and 10 townhouses, the Governor’s Manor’s main outdoor space – part of the circular driveway entrance and exit – required revitalization over the decades. In the early 2000s, landscape architect and resident Kent Ford came up with the plan.

“Three beds were created in a formal square layout,” said Ford, adding that a very colourful, large and dramatic urn in the centre becomes the focal point of the shared space.

A River’s Beech tree with matching, opposing hedging offers shade and an area for private, seated conversations.

Read more: Backyard Oasis: Toronto shade garden offers peace, tranquility amid hard times

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Ford said the trick to a great garden is to select perennials that “bloom as early and as late as possible so you have a bloom cycle.”

Ford added the roses at the Governor’s Manor rebloom into October.

But since the COVID-19 lockdown, the public area had become much more than a beautiful garden to admire.

“It’s been a space that we can bring the kids out, they can get some exercise, some fresh air, they can just run around, socially-distance visit with neighbours. It’s just been really perfect for that,” said Shraddha Walker, a Governor’s Manor resident.

“The kids really find it quite a bummer to see all the parks locked up with the tape. This has been a good place for them to come … they chase the butterflies,” said Adrian Walker.

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The garden beds are also a favorite spot for pets like Pumpkin the cat and Charlie the dog.

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