“On the right morning, you may be greeted by the wonderful smell of dew, fresh cut grass and the perfumes of myriad flowers. Carlo and Claire Tarini have a quiet, welcoming home in Hanmer amid grounds that live up to the name ‘Tarini gardens’.”
Although primarily a summer garden, in early June Carlo and Claire Tarini’s garden has a damp area that is profuse with Siberian iris and lots and lots of pink and blue lupines. From first sight I have always liked Queen-of-the-Prairie (Filipendula rubra), and am struggling to grow one of my own, yet I find they grow like weeds in the Tarinis’ garden.
The mounds of green in the beds are the spring harbinger, as it were, of beds full of hosta. Carlo has a large round bed of mostly Sedum Autumn Joy. From the vigour and healthy looking plants, it must be a sight to see in the fall.
The one thing that impressed me about his garden is the number of annuals, especially petunias. He purchases the surfinia variety as small plants in early spring and then nurtures them in his greenhouse. The secret to full-bodied plants is continuous pinching of the buds so the plant branches out from lower stems.
These petunias are showcased in the many pots around the garden. They may be strategically placed on the deck to show off—indeed they seem to be bursting with pride. Other petunias are hanging from the arbour, trees, the porch or an eye-catching pair of merry-go-round white stallions. By late July the surfinias are trailing four-foot tresses.
The herbaceous borders are a mix of daylilies, pinky mallows, coreopsis, ancient peonies, pale blue delphinium and the tallest crimson-blue monkshood I have seen in a long time.
As if the flowers do not keep him busy enough Carlo is also a dedicated veggie gardener. He has his favourites in tomatoes, zuchini, cucumbers, lettuce. His success in both areas is due to mulching all his beds with shredded wood he gets locally by the truckload. He also adds his own brand of compost from chicken manure and compost pile. From his father, he inherited some copper nails that he pushes into the near soil level. Apparently this copper is an element that keeps blight off his tomatoes.
HIs father was a gardener in Copper Cliff in spite of the threat of emissions from the stacks.
“Dad had a wonderful flower and vegetable garden, was proud of his work and loved to share it with people. When he was not there, he had me watchful for shifts of wind that could blow blue clouds of sulphur towards us and had me roll out the row covers which he had fashioned on raised beds to protect the plants.”
A big time factor is mowing the grass—about three hours a week. Sure Carlo rides the mower but it is still a lot of grass to cut. He says it is good therapy, a time for noting what he might do here and there in his garden and beyond.
This article appeared in the Summer 2013 edition.