The aptly named Pathways To Perennials boutique garden centre is located about halfway between Kettleby and Schomberg, Ontario. I ventured there on a hot, sunny day in August, husband and daughter in tow. As I pulled into the long driveway my husband questioned “Are you sure this isn’t someone’s house?” It probably is, but since they have a big sign out front I’m pretty sure it’s okay to go on in.
It’s a long driveway, but keep going.
We pulled into the parking area, depressurized the air conditioned car and stepped out into the heat. To the right across the lawn was a pond with a waterfall, but there were people there, so we went off to the left. And discovered paths. I love paths! I didn’t expect the name to be so literal, but I was extremely happy about it. We’d pulled the stroller out for our little one to ride around in but it was too big to fit down the first path, so I ventured ahead while hubby offered to hang back with the kiddo. My inner child goes bonkers over a good path, and this was a good one! I walked slowly, crooning over the plants and plant combinations, the trellises, the trees, sculptures and of course, the path itself. Before I had gone halfway I rushed back, exclaiming “You have to see this!”, and promptly dragged everyone back to the car to trade the stroller for the Baby Bjorn pouch and my camera.
Down and around path after path, we happened upon water fountains, seating areas, trellises and arbors, sculptures, a sand pit with toys for the kids to play in and lovely plant combinations adorned it all. Down another path we found a quiet circle of grass surrounded by a variety of hostas and astilbe that served as a buffer between the grass and the encircling forest. An excellent spot to relax.
There were other paths that went off into the woods, but we did not venture down those as we had our little one with us and she would have been defenseless against the mosquitoes.
In front of the nursery were lovely display gardens featuring birdbaths, dry riverbeds, statuary and colourful child-sized accents and furniture including a fantastic purple wrought iron bridge. This was one of my favourite areas.
The nursery section itself was rather smaller than I’d expected, but perhaps that was because it was later in the season? The plants available looked well-cared for and healthy. The store offered a variety of the usual sorts of items carried in such shops: signs and decor for the house and garden, kitchen utensils and cookbooks, etc.
Finally we made our way back around to the pond we’d seen on our way in. It was a pleasant area that would inspire any gardener to include a water feature in their yard, and it provided a happy home to a number of frogs.
Of particular interest were the educational courses offered by Pathways to Perennials. The classes covered topics on garden design, pest management, garden maintenance and more. I’d especially like to attend their Blossom Breakfast Club sessions. You can check out a list of their upcoming events here.
The whole place exhibited a pleasing and relaxing demeanor and was more charming for not seeming to be strictly manicured. Pathways To Perennials also offers a casual restaurant and patio tucked behind the nursery and store, as well as an outdoor wedding venue called Hidcote Hideaway. And, of course, landscape design and construction services are also available.
Well worth the drive. Definitely on the list of garden day trips to visit again, perhaps earlier in the season next time!