Blocks and Blooms 2018

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Photo Karen Graham.

Last Saturday the rain held off for a wonderful community event hosted by the Millbrook and Cavan Historical Society. 

Travelling on foot or on a complimentary ride on a stylish horse-drawn wagon, visitors were treated to an array of creative displays of local gardening and quilting talents in twenty venues in and around the downtown core.

Greeters at each residential stop were often the homeowners themselves, all expert gardeners who were sharing their own private paradise encompassing magazine-worthy vistas, cozy outdoor rooms and recreational areas.  Visitors were invited to share the vision of the garden designers, imagining tea on a porch, sitting under a tree soothed by the background music of running water in a small pond, or meandering along a “wineding” path paved with wine bottle corks from the owners’ previous celebrations.  A wide range of garden styles were ably demonstrated, from exuberant cottage styles to more manicured installations.  Many backyards also included tasteful garden sheds performing more than the usual garden equipment storage duties.

Photo Karen Graham. Quiltmaker’s home on display.

At several stops, visitors were treated to live music performed in intimate

settings and on a front porch and on the street, adding to the festive feel of the event.

Quilts on display were occasionally the handiwork of the homeowner, but more often they were created by members of the Millbrook Needlers Quilt Guild.  Launched in the fall of 2012, this talented group holds monthly meetings in the Centreville Presbyterian church hall, and has flourished from a small group of seventeen members to a group of sixty with a double-digit waiting list.  In addition to creating quilts for their personal use, they also donate quilts to the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Foundation and Community Care in Millbrook and last Christmas gave lap quilts to residents at Springdale Manor.

The quilting theme was also evident throughout town, with the announcement outside the Quilter’s Bolt that Millbrook was otherwise known as Quiltville.   Other downtown venues as well as the Millbrook Library, the Community Garden and St. Thomas Anglican church embraced the theme with artful displays featuring a wide variety of quilts in their windows and outside their doors.  Representatives of the local Barn Quilt Trail group were also on hand to promote their mission and solicit homeowners for additional barn quilt block installations.

Photo Karen Graham.
This view of Liz Avery’s backyard on Anne Street was one of many dramatic garden views on display last weekend featuring sweeping vistas as well as intimate vignettes. In each case, the gardens demonstrated their owner’s design sense as well as their energy and commitment to bringing their vision to reality. Judicious placement of complimentary quilts completed the settings, demonstrating another kind of artistic talent that seems to be abundant in our community.

Of course any event hosted by the Historical Society pays tribute to local heritage properties.  Many of the stops on the tour were properties notable for their historic value as well as their beautiful gardens.  Homes exhibiting architectural styles ranging from Regency cottage, Italianate, Gothic, Empire and early Georgian, with construction dates from extending from 1851 to 1886 were prevalent.  The informative brochure provided further details including the names and some background of some of the original home builders.

Photo Karen Graham.
Live music on the porch.

Visitors on this self-guided walking tour certainly had plenty of inspiration to take home to their own gardens. Congratulations to Celia Hunter and the Historical Society on a well-conceived and well-executed event that highlighted the beauty and talents in our village.  KG

Photo Karen Graham.
Under a tree by the Mill Pond.

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