Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nature Gem in My Backyard ~ Part 2

From gravel pit ~ to Rock Gardens

The following message appeared in the Hamilton Spectator end of April:

Royal Botanical Gardens is embarking on the final twelve months of renovating our beloved Rock Garden.  Time has not been kind to this garden and it is receiving a much needed makeover.  To help us remember the history of our iconic Rock Garden, Royal Botanical Gardens  invites you to share your memories  through a submission of photos, stories and/or video with the grand prize winner receiving a trip to New York City.

Praise for the Royal Botanical Gardens
(my submission dated May 2, 2014)

A Blissful Event:  The day was extremely hot and humid.  My Wedding Day was the last Saturday in June, 1962...after a teaching year.  My dress, custom-designed in the Spring by Mary Thornton of Hamilton, was fashioned from white Swiss cotton with sprawling satin-embroidered white daisies;  Svarovski crystals centered them on the front and long tapered sleeves.  My attendants wore below-the-knee light royal blue satin dresses (Mary-designed).  Our bouquets were of blue trailing lobelia and white daisies. I was sweltering from the heat and humidity of this tropical-weather-day!

Following the ceremony at All Saints Church, the wedding party and guests adjourned to the scenic Royal Botanical Gardens for photos and celebration.  It was a soft-blue-sky-day with drifting clouds.  The Gardens was a park-scape of lush green lawns, of stately deciduous and evergreen trees, of  flowering shrubs, of dramatically sculpted rock and a trickling stream winding its quiet flow through this horticultural paradise.  Truly a “Garden of Eden” setting!

A Little Boy's Joy: After our son was born, we frequently spent summer evenings at the RBG.  It was a great escape from our warm apartment on the East Mountain to leisurely enjoy the pathways, the nature-induced created wonder ~ the essence of being totally inspired by this Garden of Beauty.  Our son, mesmerized by the stream, was fascinated by the tiny fish that flitted playfully through the cool flowing waters.  At home we had a fishbowl with a couple fan-tailed goldfish.  When they outgrew this small aquarium, our family chatted about releasing them to a bigger and better habitat.  After water-bagging them, one evening we visited the RBG stream and with a prayerful farewell, our son gave them a more suitable home. Thereafter, when we visiting the Gardens,  to the stream he would go, ensuring his fish were happy.

To compensate for this loss, his father helped him to make small paper boats...a delightful activity as our son in bare feet would set his boat afloat on the stream and to be caught by his bare-foot again be re-floated and captured again and again and again.

Appreciation Days:  Such a thrill it was when we moved to Burlington, now having this nature magnet  of green including the Rose Garden and those of Lilacs and Irises in our neighbourhood. Over the years, we enjoyed the Mediterranean Garden, the Tea House and Garden Cafe, the lower level recently built waterfall cascading over a limestone wall, the informative displays throughout the complex, the available conference facilities and banquet rooms.

The camera and I were constant photographic partners for several years.  Expressing the essence of nature through my eyes and lens inspired me to capture the subtle beauty of colour and environment.  Several of these on-site-prints, I crafted into cards mounted on pastel-toned linen-type paper with matching envelopes.  The RBG Gift Shop was receptive to marketing these innovative “write your own message” inside the cards...a new idea at that time. 

I praise the Royal Botanical Gardens and its staff
for the numerous developed endeavours
which endear the public and tourists who frequent this Gem!

Merle Baird-Kerr...scripted August 5, 2014
Comments appreciated...e-mail to:


  1. I spent many a Happy Day with my Parents in that lovely Rock Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens. My passion for flowers began there and continues on today !
    Sherrie xo

  2. The RBG has inspired you as it has inspired me for many years. Its beauty speaks "volumes" and arouses numerous sentiments. Thank you, Sherrie, for your comments.

  3. What a terrific Essay.....Mission accomplished....
    Your work is as extraordinary as your recall, flowing with a wealth of delightful details.
    Great work...Watch Out N.Y !
    You're on your way...!!

    1. "A Man with the Gift of Words"...that's you, Sol. Graciously I thank you for these compliments about my RBG essay. If I win the trip to NY...shall advise you. There is a Part 3 which I shall be posting in a few days...about Scotty who years ago designed the original gardens.