Algonquin Island Gardens, Part I

Algonquin Island is part of the Toronto Islands, which I wrote about in this post a few days ago. The Toronto Islands are a unique space, the largest urban area in North America without motor vehicles. In that last post we wandered around Ward Island, which has the flavor of a North Woods artist colony.

The bridge to Algonquin Island
The bridge to Algonquin Island

Now let’s pick up where we left off, crossing the foot bridge between Ward and Algonquin Island.

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We walked under a canopy formed by tall conifers on either side of a narrow lane.

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The first garden we came to was built around a small pond with paths made of wooden planks. I loved the combination of water with wood, stone, and tall grassy plants.

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The yellow iris were just beginning to bloom.

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Water flowed into the pond from a hollow bamboo pole, one of several elements suggestive of a Japanese garden.

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I like that table made from the cross section of a tree, but those stumps look more decorative than comfortable.

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You can never have too  many flower pots. The repetition of the containers on the shelf is very appealing, and somehow they look right with the flowers blooming in the raised bed below.

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We strolled onward to another garden. Algonquin Island is a very green place.

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My parents had some big Rhododendrons in their New York garden and I think of it as an eastern shrub. These are beautiful, and I love the contrast with the Japanese Maple.

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Not really sure, but I think this was not one of the open gardens and Judy took this picture from the lane. The house and its surroundings have a real “cottage in the woods” feel.

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A rusty metal ladder, a birdhouse, and an old pot full of flowers provide company for a venerable tree.

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Some of the gardens on Algonquin Island had more of a suburban feel, or suggested the garden of a gracious summer cottage, as opposed to the more bohemian vibe on Ward Island.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many happy ferns and hostas.

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OK, that’s it for now. Let’s close with a picture of the photographer against the Toronto skyline seen from Algonquin Island.

In another post (coming in the near future), we’ll finish up at Algonquin Island. There’s one more garden in particular that is really worth seeing.

38 Comments on “Algonquin Island Gardens, Part I

  1. I really like that first garden. Very interesting that these islands are so close to a city.

  2. What a treat! And yet another garden to see on Algonquin Island. You keep us in suspense. . .

  3. I like this post! I love the photos with the long shots of the road ahead, the water feature is beautiful, and what’s not to like about those raised pots, the birdhouse with a ladder and that adirondack seating arrangement. I could be real happy sitting with my coffee anywhere in this post. 🙂

  4. I agree with you about the Japanese feel of the first garden. That combination of water, wood, rock, and grasses is beautiful and very appealing. It’s funny though; I love visiting and looking at Asian-style gardens, but would rather live in a less formal one. And Judy let you use her camera? Well, you did a great job. And after wandering with you (blog-wise) through those gardens, that skyline is such a surprise!

    • I use the camera only rarely, but how else do we get any pictures of Judy! The skyline is a surprise, that’s part of what makes the Toronto Islands so unique.

  5. The photos really capture a mood. The tree stump seating does look uncomfortable, but with the amount of time most of us spend sitting in our gardens, what does it matter?

  6. I so love looking back through someone else’s lens! I really enjoyed the islands. Great photos!

  7. What a lovely tour – so green and inviting (yet so close to a big city) – I think the lack of the car has forced the best sort of creativity in these gardens, as they would have to re-use almost everything….I assume without cars, there wouldn’t be a large-scale garbage service. The homes on this island are especially charming as they look to be completely nestled in the forest!

    • In a lot of small communities there is a town dump and you pay a fee every time you bring stuff there for disposal. That may be how it works on these islands. But without cars or trucks, you’d really want to think twice before making any major consumer purchases.

  8. They were all ones not to miss. So many stood out for creativity and that “down home” feel. I just got back from a garden tour in Canada, and as beautiful as gardens were today, I still think it hard to beat those on the islands.

    • And if they could, people would no doubt pay millions to enjoy that view if the islands were open to development. I’m glad they aren’t.

  9. What absolutely awesome pictures and what a lovely place !

    It reminded me of another place in Turkey- an island called the ‘Princes’ Island’ which during the heydays of the Ottoman empire, was where the Ottoman princes would retire to and to this day, not motor vehicles are allowed.


    • Hi Shakti. I think the idea of an island where noise and bustle is excluded is very appealing to people in all cultures.

  10. How lovely to have a garden within a forested area, I did like that walk through the trees and the water garden….water is always so pleasant in a garden, loved the row of potted plants and the tree stumps and seats, gardeners are so

  11. How peaceful and gracious! I’m sorry that I missed that day but enjoying it thanks to you two. Oh, how I wish we could grow hostas!

  12. Great photo of Judy! There was just so much to see on those islands! Thanks for the memories. I’m really missing everyone … and the Toronto gardens … and vacation. 😉

  13. Great post, it’s been years since we’ve visited Wards Island, your post has me hankering for a trip there next month when we visit TO. Just so unique and quaint.

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