Last week Federal Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, planted a Canadian Sugar Maple tree near the gazebo in the cutting garden area of the Estate. This tree planting commemorates the inaugural National Tree Day September 21, a new program initiated by the federal government in conjunction with 2011 being identified as the Year of the Forest by the United Nations. The sugar maple is the first planting of the new shade garden in development for this area.

The tree planting coincided with the Landscape Ontario Board of Directors meeting that was held over two days at Parkwood. This meeting included house and garden tours where the Dunington-Grubb gardens were a highlight to this group, who recognise the importance and legacy of the husband and wife landscape design team in terms of early Canadian horticultural heritage.

As landscape designers, the Dunington-Grubbs established a practice that soon became highly successful, especially after founding a much needed nursery to provide ornamental plant material at Sheridan, Ontario, a nursery most Canadians would recognise today as Sheridan Nurseries.

Howard Burlington Grubb was born in York, England, in 1881. He obtained his B.S.A. from the Cornell School of Landscape Architecture before returning to England in 1908 to work for T.H. Mawson as an apprentice. He married another successful young landscape architect, Lorrie Alfreda Dunington, whose name he adopted.  Lorrie Alfreda Dunington-Grubb was born in 1877 in England, she attended Swanley College of Horticulture in Surrey and had founded her own private practice before her marriage in 1911. Drawn to landscape architecture by her love of floral design, she published in both English and Canadian journals and was a founding member of the Canadian Society for Landscape Architects (CSLA) in 1934 and its president in 1944.

Parkwood is fortunate to have some of the last remaining residential work of the Dunington-Grubbs at the site, specifically the Italian Garden & the Sunken Garden area.

While out on the grounds with the members of Landscape Ontario, I mentioned the McLaughlin home movies we have of the property and its evolution and I saw their eyes sparkle. Well folks, watch this space and I will be uploading various aspects of our home movies over the next while.